Thursday, September 18, 2008
Although I do not identify with being a full-blown hipster, I openly admit that I have some hipster traits (call me a hipster chimera if you will). One trait that I currently share with the non-trustfunded hipster (which is a much more elusive breed than its well-off counterpart) is the state of being really effing broke (moneyless!). This, coupled with my inability refusal to enter into the corporate jungle or serve others prepared food with a smile on my face (even though I am not happy to be there) presents quite a predicament.
So, with less than two weeks remaining before my sublease squatting arrangement is up, I have been grudgingly doing something that many-a-hipster has been forced to do over the past few years due to the powerful financial forces of yuppienization pushing the hip out of Williamsburg: I have been looking for an apartment in Bushwick.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I e-met this hipSTAR after our pet projects were featured 2 posts away from each other on FREEwilliamsburg.com, which I’m sure you all check daily, if not by having the page perpetually open and refreshing the screen every few minutes or so. After robbing a bodega and creating the Mr and Miss Williamsburg Pageant as retribution, Misha became an infamous icon in the hipster realm, attracting a stream of comments with such sentiments as “I hope your eggs fall out Misha,” “i hope you fall onto the L train tracks” and “lousy fucking bitch-cunt,” among others. But shrugging these comments off with skilled nonchalance, her pageant will prevail – and be attended by Gawker.
Mischa reached out to me through email and suggested that I participate in her pageant. I wrote her back, commended her for robbing the bodega (which started this whole escapade), and graciously agreed to participate. After that, we emailed each other back and forth so much that we automatically popped up on each others’ g-talk lists, and so the conversations began.
One day, Misha said, “I’d love to do an interview.” My narcissistic inclinations shining through, I asked when she wanted to interview me. Her narcissistic inclinations trumping mine tenfold, she explained that she was asking me to interview her.
In the midst of awkward confusion, Misha suggested that we “shake up the medium” and interview each other, and so this interview was born. Hopefully, it will satiate everyone’s narcissistic inclinations:
Lola: So Misha, judging from some of the comments on websites that featured your pageant, it appears that hipsters don’t like you. Do you generally find this to be true?
Misha: First of all, thank you for recognizing that I am not a hipster. Although by many accounts, that very denial would make me one.
Lola: This is correct
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The other day, I did something awful for which I will surely be shunned throughout Williamsburg:
I got hired.
Oh, it gets worse. I didn’t just get hired at any old dive bar or bodega – I was hired by a corporation in the financial district where I would work 9-5 shifts. At such an institution, the term “disposable income” might cease to be an intangible concept like “the real world” and “success.” (Note: especially for hipsters, these things are eternally intangible.)
I don’t know what made me apply with that temp agency in the first place. Hipsters characteristically abhor employment and having self-generated income, preferring instead to spend their days complaining about their lack of adhesion to the larger world outside their college bubbles. To be a genuine hipster, I should have embraced my inner insecurity and continued spending business hours searching craigslist job postings at the local internet cafe and sleeping in my windowless room. By joining Corporate America, my hipster dilemma would cease to be a dilemma.
But as I would learn going to my job interview, the worst part about being employed by a corporation is that you automatically become excommunicated from hipster social circles. This happens for many reasons, the most prominent of which is that you are forced to do something that is intolerable in a hipster’s mind: You must wear “corporate attire.”
It was on this day I realized that while hipsters will enthusiastically faux-grudgingly wear any combination of seemingly ridiculous or unfunctional clothing and walk down Bedford Avenue with pride (or at least with a “I know I’m hot but if you look at me again I will fucking kill you” ambiance), the one thing a hipster will not wear is a suit. They are also hesitant about anything that falls under the “corporate attire” category.
For example, here is a website that attempts to market corporate attire to hipster females:
As you can see, this company is trying to market it’s clothing to both the hipster and the corporate whore, but I anticipate their plan will fail due to the prominance of the “how to” section on their site. Hipsters would never buy anything from someone who is telling them how to do something, especially if that something is dressing like a yupster.
Walking down Havemeyer at 8:00 am (AM!!! Note: This is a hipster’s deepest REM sleep time), the streets were empty save a few hipsters in suits. If you think that the disposition of a hipster is generally distraught, seeing the agony on the faces of the few hipsters whoring themselves out to Corporate America, onlookers would surely assume they were on their way to a concentration camp.
Beyond being physically uncomfortable in the loose-fitting slacks, non-v-necked button-up shirts and other items of customary corporate garb, hipsters feel the utmost sense of embarassment while walking the streets of Williamsburg in such blasphemous clothing. As researchers have learned through in-depth interviews with corporate hipsters, this feeling can only be compared to what hipsters felt when were forced to walk the halls of their middle schools wearing parentally-purchased items that weren’t at all what the “cool” kids were wearing. As this crippling stage of development is known as the root of all the common hipster’s problems (and is therefore considered the inspiration for their pilgrimige to Williamsburg), the irony that these feelings should be rekindled in their place of solace is too much for the hipster to bear. To compensate, the corporate hipster then spends approximately 85% of his gross income on cocaine and Jack Daniels.
At my interview I was instantly hired and asked to come in for a background test the next morning. I left feeling desolate at the thought I would have to endure the hipster walk of shame every week day. I couldn’t even fathom what the walk home from the JMZ would be like, what with the hipsters awake and in full force. I resigned myself to taking comfort in that I would soon be home and could change into an empire-waisted plaid dress and flip flops.
Good news: By a stroke of luck I slept through my background check! I was deeply humbled by that extreme close call and have since vowed to never work anywhere where “corporate attire” is required. Or anywhere that I have to wake up at 7:30 am every day. Or anywhere with the word “Corporation” in its title.
That same day, I was hired on Bedford Avenue! When I walked in on my first day, my manager (who wears tight jeans and has hella tattoos) was smoking a cigarette outside while the front desk was unattended. Hence, my first official training exercise was “how to smoke cigarettes and stand around.” I go into work at 4pm and the only requirement is that I “try to be nice to people.” I’m making a full $10 and hour less than I would be at the corporation, but I can do whatever the fuck I want (which consists of blogging and drinking coffee)!
Expect great posts to come.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Smiling is considered a natural, often involuntary response to certain stimulating factors in the environment. But recently, scientists have observed a phenomenon in a small subset of American teenagers and post-graduate Liberal Arts majors residing in urban areas. It seems that when these anomalous individuals, whom researchers refer to as the “hipster cohort,” are presented with experimental stimulus considered “pleasant,” “joyus” and “delightful” by the control group (individuals of the same age group located in Grainfield, Kansas), this group will remain completely stoic, offering no facial indication that the stimulus is favorable in any way.
Explanations for this behavior are heavily debated. One possibility is that hipsters, having had all of their needs consistently met and exceeded by indulgent suburban parents, have nothing with which to contrast happiness. Therefore, the hipster’s baseline level of contentment is much higher than that of the average human being.
Hipsters do occasionally smile, but the act is almost always coupled with the act of swiping a major credit card through a reader when making a purchase, especially at faux-vintage clothing stores located in Brooklyn.
To some, especially self-righteous Canadian anarchists, this behavior is looked upon with extreme disdain. In the most recent issue of Adbusters magazine, Douglass Haddow cited this hipster phenomenon as evidence that hipsters are solely responsible for the decline of America Civilization (See article here).
“Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion,” Haddow writes.
But I don’t think the blame should fall completely on the hipster. Being part of the first generation to face the onslaught of advertisements through technologically advanced mediums, hipsters have simply done what has been asked of them by the capitalist machines past generations have failed to prevent and thus, have effectively created. The fleeting smile in response to capitalistic exchanges – and little else – is something to be expected. Moreover, the modern hipster has come to expect enjoyment from buying things like the people who typically criticize them expect fulfillment from sexual intercourse. (note: while the expectations built around sexual intercourse often exceed the actual pleasure received, the pleasure a hipster experiences from buying random crap is real and can consistently produce a euphoria that lasts hours. This act also requires smoking a cigarette immediately after exiting a location where a purchase was made.)
Additionally, researchers have concluded that the loss of facial motor function and inappropriate emotional response is merely the hipster’s way of adapting to a world in which real anguish is not commonly experienced. This is also why, the worst possible thing for a hipster to encounter is to find out that access to her constant stream of monetary parental support has been cut off until she gets a “real” job to actually earn money to feed her compulsions. This imposition, however, is too ironic for hipsters to handle for the following reason: The only way for hipsters to break out of the patterns that characterize them as such, is to join the very organizations that contributed to their awkward state in the first place: the advertising industries, the corporations, Hollywood – which are the only industries that are still functioning despite the decrepit state of the economy (besides the war profiteering industry).
Perhaps, the satisfaction a hipster gets from shopping at second-hand stores comes from the subconscious knowledge that in buying these products, they are failing to contribute to sweatshop labor and global warming, thereby chipping a minute amount of income away from Corporate America, the Dr. Frankenstein of the hipster cohort. (Note: sadly, these effects are canceled out when anyone shops at Urban Outfitters and American Apparel – 50 items must be purchased at the Salvation Army in order to karmically redeem one item purchased at Urban Outfitters.)
Photo by Christophe Legris for Stuff Hipsters Don’t Like ©2008.