Where do hipsters come from? And, why do they stink? You could say the hipster is just a result of the Internet, and just another piece of history repeating… But who are the true people that did this all before it was cool? Let’s take it back now, to the French Revolution. The sans culottes wore trousers instead of knee britches… And as a result, hipster biddies are really bitches. I tell you true! Just like fashion comes from Paris, the concept of counterculture arose right around the time they were cutting off Marie Antoinette’s head.
First, there were the sans culottes, followed by an underlying tone of Bohemians, “hip” hit the scene at the turn of the century, then the 1940s and 50s there were the beatniks and hepcats, followed closely by hippies, next came punks… Pre- Internet club kids flocked to New York City to attend clubs and bizarre costumes. After the introduction of the Internet, all subcultures melded into one. Re-claiming the term “hipster” to describe any and all people that don’t follow constructs of the normal dress and culture of the mainstream contemporary society is both silly and wrong. Now, using the term “hipster” to describe people that try to achieve this attainable indie aesthetic is perfectly okay- if they stink as people.
Ya see, it goes beyond the cut of your denim. But, seriously- why do hipsters stink? Former US President Reagan famously said, “A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah.” If there’s some correlation between hippie’s stink and hipster stink? If all things are interconnected, is there a difference between the hipsters that stink and hipsters that don’t stink?
I guess it all depends on whether or not you’re a good person. If you look hip and you don’t stink you’re not a hipster…right?
We re-claimed “hipster” in the 1990’s. The umbrella term does not seem accurate today when hipsterism is as wide-spread as it is. There ought to be new terms to be coined. Just like Herb Caen invented the word “beatnik” to make fun of members of the beat generation, people in the internet age ought to describe the crap they see in their lives freely- without “hipster” spewed all the time. Hipsters are stinky- not all people who are hip stink up the scene.
The term “hip” as an adjective was first published in Oxford Dictionary in 1904… and the suffix -ster is defined by Oxford dictionary as “a person who is connected with or has the quality of.” But I think it ought to be just that those connected to hip-ness and not those that merely hold the quality of hipsterdom that ought to be praised. Hipsters: bad, but- those who naturally connect with hipness can be very well-connected, no? Maybe the line between hipsterism and non-hipsterism-while-still-being-hip is knowing what is and isn’t cool without blindly conforming. Conformity is the essence of the mainstream, isn’t it? Perhaps the faux-bohemianism separates the conformists from the people that “did it before it was cool”- but let’s not make it a contest (that would be super hipster-y of you).
In 2007, Time Out New York published an article called “Why The Hipster Must Die” and describes two types of hipsters: there’s the hipster, and the “Mainstream Hipster” who is “not an artist or a musician. He has an office job, and wears one hat to work and another at night…latter is a trucker—or a porkpie—hat.” It is those hipsters that choose when to be hip and when to conform that are the stinky-fungi-hipsters. Time Out NY’s article discusses hipsterism as a sort of not-excusively-white whiteness, but in 1957, Norman Mailer described hipsters in his controversial essay “The White Negro” as “the bohemian and the juvenile delinquent came face-to-face with the Negro, and the hipster was a fact in American life. If marijuana was the wedding ring, the child was the language of Hip for its argot gave expression to abstract states of feeling which all could share: at least all who were Hip.” According to Mailer, there are hipsters and squares- just like today there are those that are hip and the mainstream. But do you have to be caught in a cloud of pot smoke to be a hipster? Is marijuana the perfume de Hipster? Can a scent be trendy? Are pheromones ‘in’?
Before the birth of “Beatnik” Jack Kerouac ‘reps a scene in On The Road saying: “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” It seems as though his peeps are the hipsters that don’t stink- regardless of how they smell.
Let’s look at the birth of the counterculture. According to Survey of Historic Costume, the sans culottes were men associated with the French Revolution that wore pants instead of knee britches. Their dress ‘flagged’ their ideals. Much like how the contemporary hipster wear flamboyant bandanas. Common hipster knowledge tells us that hipsters appropriate elements of poverty into their lives- so does stink make you think “hipster?”
Let us pretend for a moment that showering is totally mainstream (only). Hipsters know that green is the new black- so maybe showering little shows of their hip-ness and shows that they are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. But is it the stench of hipster that stinks? I believe that it is merely the hipsters that blindly conform to what is hip that are the only stinking ones. Then there are other classifications of -ster that do not fit within the confines of “hipster”. Perhaps coining terms like avantgardster and newster is the way to go. We must open our vocabulary for ways to describe those that are hip without stinking.
Perhaps you get up in the morning, take a shower, and dress to impress with your quirky style. You’re definitely hip… but does it mean you’re not a hipster? Indeed- it does. A person with quirky style that is following the beat of their own drum is a quirkster, not some stenchy hipster. There can perhaps be infinite amounts of -sters, can you “dig it?”