Against “hipster”

I realised I was going to ban “hipster” from my vocabulary sometime last week, when the morning host on the country’s most popular radio station referred to the few million that watched a viral video as “hipsters”.

“Hipster” is over. Fini. Kaput. What used to be a celebration of indie and alternative has now become a word used by everyone — from the most controversial TV host in an Eastern European country to my grandma. It has not only been exhausted as a concept, but worse, filled with meanings for whatever is different than the accepted norm.

  • It contradicts something you already believe in? It’s hipster.
  • It’s something you never heard of but sounds shady? Hipster.
  • You’re not willing to make an effort to understand a particular choice? Hiiiiipster.

It sounds just as pejorative as any other politically incorrect term.

But “hipster” is not over because of the word’s fatigue. After all, it would be easy to find a fancy new concept that describes the inclination towards the niches. Most of all, “hipster” is over because, as some of my favorite guys in the world have put it — “We live in mass indie times”.

It would be silly to assume that in today’s connected and globalised world our choices and tastes are unique and special. Maybe you like buying your chocolate bars from a little organic company in Bulgaria. Maybe you listen to a band that has less than 1000 listens on Spotify. Maybe you like going to a bar that no one knows of. Your choices may be about the less-known, small-sized, underground *whatever* — but so are mine, my friends’, my parents’ and so on.

The alternatives are everywhere. They no longer imply extensive research or specialised knowledge. Alternative has gone mainstream.

And so, we’re all hipsters in a sense. It would benefit us to accept being different as the new norm and to become more tolerant by eliminating “hipster” from our vocabulary.

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