Hipsterism is so Over!
Hipster. You might think of a Williamsburg fixie-riding mustachioed microbrew-drinking privileged fair-trade coffee-sipping young man or woman. But that’s just a cliché.
I’ve always appreciated the hipster movement.
It has its roots in underground African-American jazz, way back, and then a few generations later, in the independent troublemaking poor art-as-truth-seeking Beat Generation. In the 90s, it became a loosely-defined community seeking to walk to the beat of their own drummer: to live life eco-responsibly, to party with like-minded artists, to rebel against Consumerism and The Man.
But then Republican-owned Urban Outfitters and Murdoch-sell-out VICE came along and everyone began figuring out how to turn anti-consumption Hipsterism into $50 dollar Made-in-China fake-old tee shirts and other BS that mallrat kids could get their parents to buy for them.
That’s all fine: that’s capitalism. But what has become lost in the Hipster cliché is that it is, fundamentally, about independence, about anti-consumerism, about simple joys of life (say, bike touring), about art, about truth. These “true Hipsters” are written about here. The origin of the hipster, here.
And true Hipsterism isn’t defined by Filson, which is beginning to make its stuff overseas (I called ’em out, respectfully, on Twitter last week see @elephantjournal). It’s not defined by a $30,000 vintage Ford Bronco or Made-in-Vietnam trucker hats or anything we can buy. It’s defined by folks like this who are trying to do the mindful thing, the hard way, and make it easier for others.
True hipsterism isn’t privileged. It’s anyone. It’s actually about living life affordably, and prioritizing the fundamental joys of life. So if you want to find it, don’t go shopping for it. Read Dharma Bums (get it used or at your library). Support Unions and the middle class. Read by a creek on a Saturday. Volunteer. Work your ass off to build something awesome and useful and eco-responsible—entrepreneurs may be the last great hipsters among us. Raise a child to be kind. Bike or walk to work instead of burning oil borne of suffering. Boycott plastic to-go cups. Drink for-here and slow down, and get your money’s worth by really appreciating your coffee. Support mindful companies. Engage in non-aggressive activism and meditate, each morning, to tame your own speedy busy monkey mind. Don’t mistake fashion for integrity. Sound your barbaric yawp. Communicate openly about difficult things. Take responsibility first. Garden, a little. Support local community, when possible. Xeriscape. Save the cold water you run in your shower, waiting for hot, and water your plants with it. Use less TP. Boycott palm oil. Go vegan—if only for a meal or two a week. Read and contribute to indie media, or media with journalistic integrity. Look up at the sky, right now, and breathe in and out deeply.
Hipster originally meant “hip” to the moment, alive to life. That’s one “club” I would happily join.
Being alive, or awake, or hip to life—being present—is good stuff. And it can’t be bought, generally. And when it can, it’s conscious consumerism—and it changes our world for the kinder.
Enjoy the rest of summer—here’s my mindful tips on how to slow it down and enjoy it fully. Video of me pratting on here.
Yours in the Vision of an Enlightened Society,
Editor-in-Chief: elephant journal; host: Walk the Talk Show
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