Time to play a word game. Here’s the question: what is a hipster? I ask because I have heard the word about a zillion times recently, and everyone seems to mean something different by it.
Although, in each case, I also understood the point they were making by using the word.
First, here is the word used in a sentence by the Oxford English Dictionary:
Carrying his language and his new philosophy like concealed weapons, the hipster set out to conquer the world.
A few overheard (by me) examples:
There are tons of hipsters in Minneapolis. I can’t stand to see them dance.
Did you see that hipster chick? It’s way too hot in here for hipster clothes.
No, I do not eat meat, but that doesn’t make me a hipster.
You hipster doofus! (Elaine from Seinfeld, to Kramer)
I also have my own examples and experiences with the word. For me there is only one memory and its accompanying flock of hideous images that I need.
Modernist poetry class, University of Utah, 2006. Man with turtleneck sweater and fingerless gloves endures torrential perspiration in weather that is pushing 95 degrees outside.
A metal thermos with a lid. The lid has a handle; it doesn’t screw on, it lifts off.
The guy sips the coffee before, during, and after saying anything. Every time he must remove the lid, set it down with a light clink that you can see everyone in the class anticipating, a slurp, then clink and the lid is on again.
Somehow during that class Romero’s zombies came up. He referred to zombies as “vegetative non-life commodities” with a totally straight face.
No matter what else happens, he’s the hipster in my head. I also think of this guy from The Onion who said “I’ll try anything with a detached air of superiority.”
How about you? For all I know, every single person reading this blog thinks of themselves as hipsters, although that wouldn’t mesh with anything I know about the word, since I’m not hip and I don’t carry my philosophy like a conceal weapon.