As I mentioned in my previous blog spots, as well as in my comments, my mind is currently obsessed with the etymology of the word hipster and how it has entered into our collective mind and meant different things to different people at different times. And also looking at this change beyond just the mere word: has what we call a hipster today always existed? Interesting question. To understand how generally accepted connotations for words morph in the 4th dimension one need only think of the word ‘bad’. Michael Jackson’s song of the same name is the perfect example as it is generally understood, by children even, that by ‘bad’ he meant ‘good’, or something decidedly positive to aspire to.
In France they give the same connotation to the word ‘terrible’. A ‘terrible’ album in France is a 'great' album. A French friend of mine living in Berlin the word terrible in the French context when she speaks in English. I remember this one time when it to a misunderstanding with others (albeit not insurmountably so) not so clued up on French as the adulation in her tone of voice did not match the seemingly negative one-word-review of the concert we just witnessed.
It is my belief that the word hipster has also undergone such transformation. What I am currently less sure of is which way the wind has blown, as it were. What did it mean in the beginning? However, before going into the past of hipsterdom let’s begin by coming back to future. What does it mean to be a hipster now? I believe the video my co-conspirator Cat posted from Happy Endings is a great example. And also since a picture is worth a thousand words I have spotted a picture on buzzfeed of the arguably the most hipster dude you will ever (forever ever, forever ever?) come across. The hilarious caption says it all:
“Vintage threads, skinny jeans, a stack of vinyl at the ready, a portable turntable, oversized headphones, and a disinterested hipster girlfriend? That's it. Game over. He won.”
This is where we are today. In my next blog post I will go to where it all started… perhaps.