#19) Thinking about the economy

Friday, September 26, 2008

By now, most Americans have at least some inkling that the United States is in the midst of a grave economic crisis. But after scouring Bedford Avenue and interviewing various individuals who seemed to be outwardly “hip,” I have come to the conclusion that hipsters do not have the slightest clue about anything relating to the economy, possibly less so than the average American (see graph).

In order to help hipsters understand what is going on with major Wall Street financial institutions and the American economy, I have devised a simple analogy to outline the situation in terms hipsters can understand.

Let us pretend that the major players involved in the crisis are the members of the traditional hipster family, in which we have:

  • Daddy Warbucks, the successful businessman with several overseas bank accounts (the American Government)
  • The two beloved children, we’ll call them Fannie and Freddy (The Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)
  • The second wife (the American economy)
  • The coke-head hipster stepchild (recipients of the $700 billion bailout plan)
  • The hipster’s drug dealer (foreign investors)

(NOTE: If you get lost, hover on the links for guidance)

It all began back when Fannie and Freddy were in high school. They were ambitious children who got good grades and were involved in extra-curriculars. To the delight of Daddy Warbucks, Freddy and Fannie were booming entrepreneurs like himself! They each had their own lucrative lawn-mowing service and between the two of them, they mowed half of all the lawns in their suburban neighborhood. But their success came at the expense of their peers: Because Daddy Warbucks was so proud of the kids for adopting his cutthroat Capitalist ideals, he supported their lawn-mowing company by sponsoring them so that the kids could keep their prices obscenely low and stomp out any hopes of another kid getting even a pity mow gig from a neighbor.
Daddy Warbucks was notorious for bragging about his children while golfing at the Country Club. When other parents (China and Europe) would tell him about some of the problems they were facing with their kids (ie: they played loud shitty music, talked back and were into drugs), Daddy Warbucks would always advise them to simply cut them off and let them fend for themselves until they “shaped up” — that was the only way they would build character and learn their lesson.
Eventually though, Fannie and Freddy got into trouble. While outwardly, they appeared to have it all, they were secretly disturbed because their father had divorced their biological mother (AKA: the founding fathers’ democratic ideals) and married a gold digging hussy who moved into the house with her awkward hipster child. So Freddie and Fanny turned to drugs and alcohol to escape! They started using their profits from their business to feed their new-found lifestyle, and then were always too hungover on the weekends to keep their neighbors’ grass presentable. Their clients began to stop paying in advance for their lawn-mowing services as Fannie and Freddy became more entrenched in delinquency. Eventually, the two were busted by the cops for drinking underage and their father found a stash of Xanax in Freddy’s sock drawer.
Instead of doing what he condescendingly advised other parents to do, Daddy Warbucks coddled Fannie and Freddy, took over their lawn-mowing business and sent them to a therapist who charged $300 an hour. This prompted his Country Club buddies who had taken his advice (and whose kids had subsequently sold all of the household appliances on eBay and ran away) to lose all respect for him. They shunned him on the golf field and didn’t even want to sit with him and his wife at dinner.
The hipster stepchild watched in silent amusement the whole time Fannie and Freddy were having problems. All the while daddy Warbucks and his mother were busy paying attention to his beloved children, the hipster discretely started going to raves and snorting $100 up his nose nightly using the allowance his step dad gave him to stay out of his field of vision at all times. NOBODY NOTICED! The hipster stepchild got hella addicted, and started buying from dealers who fronted him massive amounts after his tolerance went up and his allowance wouldn’t cover his needs. He kept promising the dealers that he would have access to his trust fund when he turned 18 in four months. Soon enough, the hipster was fronted like 30 times the coke he had actually payed for.
Too bad for the hipster, one of the dealers needed money to pay for an abortion for one of his potential baby mamas. The dealer demanded that he pay him immediately or else he would kill his mother!
First, the hipster tried to earn the money by soliciting at the Country Club, asking his stepfather’s old friends for donations for Walk America and various other charities for fatal diseases. But the Country Club friends were still embittered by Daddy Warbucks and would not even pledge 10 cents per mile! “We know how that family is,” they would say.
Cokeless and hopeless, the hipster went on a frantic rampage throughout Daddy Warbucks’ mansion, breaking irreplaceable vases. His mother found him crying on the floor and the hipster confessed everything, breaking his mother’s heart. She became suicidal and stayed in bed for weeks on the verge of a depressive meltdown.
Worried his wife would intentionally overdose if he didn’t do something, Daddy Warbucks took it upon himself to help his stepchild, although he was weary after having gone through it with Fannie and Freddy. He knew the hipster would need years of rehab, expensive therapy, and probably more drug money to taper him off in the meantime. Not caring enough to monitor how the hipster’s rehabilitation was going but intent on making a show of it to satisfy his wife, Daddy Warbucks devised a plan to cure everything by emptying the hipster’s $700 billion trust fund into his checking account. That way, the hipster could (potentially) pull himself out of his exuberant cracked-out life style and the avoidant father wouldn’t ever have to see a single bank statement and be forced to pretend to care! And hey, if he relapsed, at least he could show his wife and the American people he tried.


From this explanation, event the soberist of hipsters should be able to piece together what went wrong with the American economy, maybe even relate it in some form of semi-inteligent conversation!

And for the elitist economists who are mocking my analogy, can you honestly tell me that’s it’s not better than the rest of them flying around (or at least less worse)?


Expert photoshopping of main image by Laine Stranahan for Stuff Hipsters Don’t Like ©2008. Graph by Lola Wakefield. Video from Splice Today. Concept and video recommended by the hipster who taught me how to roll a spliff.


13 Responses to “#19) Thinking about the economy”

  1. valefore said

    I consider myself a snooty economist and I think this is brilliant.

  2. diehipster said

    cute but the hipster will never care about the economy no matter how simple you make it for them. Btw it’s a 700 billion bailout not 70.


  3. Oh shit. Typo. Yeah I should read that book I wrote, huh?

  4. I agree with DieHipster. So long as Mom and Dad continue to send checks to cover rent and beer, and so long as they can continue to scam subsidized housing for “artists” and medical care intended for people with serious health and financial problems, hipsters will never give a shit about the economy. Make things tight enough that Dad starts asking for some of that money back, though, and hipsters become Republican-for-life yuppies so fast it’ll make your head spin.

  5. Luke said

    This is freaking hilarious. I’m just imagining Ben Bernake wearing skinny jeans and drinking Pabst from a paper bag.

  6. cyrus said

    that was quite amazing im not going to lie. hpstrs really do need to get their heads out of the dance party for once.

  7. I know two words that always work to wake up hipsters to economic issues: “reverse mortgage”. You’d be amazed at the number of wankers I know who don’t worry about how they’re going to afford to retire because they’re waiting to inherit their parents’ savings. Right about now, I’m hearing the first screams, as they’re discovering that their parents will not only most likely die broke, as the money will run out about the time they croak, but that the hipsters will be responsible for paying the funeral costs.

  8. Kelley said

    doooode! i tottally get it now. and the fact that you said “hella” ..brilliant! thx for breakin it down for us. though most of us have college educations, we take stevo’s anarchist approach (from slc punk) and choose to fight the establishment by not utilizing the thousands of dollars and hours wasted during those blissful four (maybe five) years.

  9. Niko said

    Lola, this feature is more awesome than a good dessert! Now a question for you : Since you are a great arbiter of hipster etiquette, here’s one for you. The Union square location of Max Brenner: Chocolate from the Bald Man always has mad hipsters all over the place like rats in KFC. But to foodies and cooks (with a fair amount of hipsters among them) the place is just Disneyland of desserts… So tell me, bad judgment of a place to hang out that will ruin your hipster street cred or does the draw of sweets just trump looking cool?

    Ps when I get homeI will link to this…

  10. MAA said

    This piece was incredible. Keep up the good work. Next, I’m looking for you to incorporate AIG (the uncle), WaMu, Lehman, Wachovia (the “friends”) and tell us how this story will end ;)

  11. Jimena said

    Incredible analogy if i may say so…

  12. hadassahhh said

    I laughed when I saw MacCain’s name on the chart :]

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