hipster 1My fascination with Hipsters has resulted in a stunning tour de force of binge-watching Hipster movies (you can read about it here) and I ended up with a Pepsi hangover and an amazing conclusion.  Unlike every other social trend in human history, the Hipster phenom is driven, almost exclusively, by women.

First, some background.

Every era has had its own fiction.  Contemporary fiction (of whatever age) is always that exaggerated funhouse mirror the reflects the time in which it was written.  For example, Shakespeare can’t escape Elizabethan England, and it appears in every one of his plays.  F. Scott Fitzgerald showed us The Jazz Age; Ginsburg and Kerouac, The Beats; and Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson took so many liberties with nonfiction that people still don’t know where the truth of the 60s ends and the fiction begins.  Our contemporary society, however, is rapidly moving beyond the book and becoming Post Literate.  Therefore. to understand GenerationText, we must look at its visual literature — the movies.

Like any archetypical fiction, Hipster movies are basically all the same.  (Believe me, after 48 hours, I was accurately writing the dialogue for some scenes as they were happening.)

Anyway, all Hipster movies are based on The Useless Boob.  This boob is always male.  He’s always drowning in his own sensitivity.  He’s normally consumed by angst and he’s always awkward and ineffectual.  This is supposed to indicate there’s a deep ennui-ed soul down there somewhere.  Unfortunately, it just comes off as too many emotional steroids.  The unique thing about the useless boob, though, is that, unlike every other stereotype in literature (hero, lover, rebel, villain, etc.) the useless boob is actually useless.  His function is to provide an empty venue for the female to fill.  That’s it!  Harry the Penguin could do it if a director could teach him how to talk and look constipated.

The real story in any Hipster movie is always about The Quirky Female.

Juno – Juno (Ellen Page) is a quirky, intelligent, uncertain female, trying to find her adolescent place in an adult world.  Paulie (Michael Cera) is the sperm donor.

Garden State – Maybe it’s the meds, but Andrew (Zach Braff) spends 99% of the movie swimming in emotional treacle.  On the other hand, Sam (Natalie Portman) and her attempts to redefine herself are way more interesting.

Her – Does Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) do anything in this movie?  No.  The guy’s so emotionally stagnant even his computer leaves him.  It’s Sam (Scarlett Johansson) the quirkiest of all female Hipsters, who’s searching for emotional and intellectual growth.

Francis Ha – Some would say the quintessential Hipster movie and the main character Francis (Greta Gerwig) doesn’t even have a male counterpart — unless you count Benji (Michael Zegen) who’s inconsequential even at the very end.

500 Days of Summer – Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is depressed — big surprise.  He’s emotionally and physically stuck with a life he doesn’t like — another big surprise.  He decides that Summer (Zooey Deschanel) can fix it for him but doesn’t lift an emotional finger to help himself.  Summer leaves his sorry ass and gets on with her life.

And it goes on and on.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

So, what have we learned — two things.  Even though a person can actually live on Doritos and Pepsi it’s not healthy to go nuts with Netflix.  And, hipsters are indeed just pompous asses in plaid shirts, but the girls are fascinating.

Why Are There Hipsters? — Part 1

hipsterI’m fascinated by Hipsters.  Like Flappers, Beatniks and the more recent BoBos, these folks are the cultural definition of our age.  If that brings a tear to your eye, you’re not alone.  However, the fact remains: ever since Sean Combs (Diddy Whoever?) and Kanye Kardashian turned “Straight Outta Compton” into “Sub-Urban Acceptable,” no other contemporary group packs the kind of street cred that Hipsters do.  They are the biggest sidewalk society we’ve seen since the Hippies stormed out of Haight-Ashbury to conquer the 60s.  So, when history judges us (and it will) Hipsters are going to be front and centre.  Not bad for a cultural subset that spends its days denies its own existence!

So what makes Hipsters more than just a bunch of pompous asses in plaid shirts?

I’ve done some massive research.  Last weekend, I laid in a load of Doritos™ and Pepsi™, smoothed my ass groove out of the sofa, and settled in to watch every Hipster movie I could get my mitts on.  (Serious social commentators have to take these kinds of risks.)  I watched everything from Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and High Fidelity to Frank, Her and Inside Llewyn Davis.  By the time I was done, I had a junk-food food baby and was speaking in tongues.  However, after 48 eye-bleeding hours of intensive study, I did discover the roots of Hipsterism in these movies, the visual literature of their culture.

I was, like Custer meeting the Sioux, shocked and amazed.

First of all, despite the mythology, Hipster culture is not actually centred on incomprehensible Film Festival movies and Indie music.  These are just the vehicles that give Hipsters their style, and like every other social phenomenon in history, it’s the Hipster style that defines it.  Secondly — and this is where the bike helmet hits the pavement — unlike every other measurable trend in social history, the Hipster phenom is the first one driven by women.

And on Friday,  I’ll prove it.