Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

What does it mean to be a Hipster?

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There is a creative revolution happening here. More and more people I meet are leaving stable, traditional, 9-5 jobs to pursue study or work in fields they feel passionate about. Or they are taking risks to try to determine what they feel passionate about. Here’s my question – is it just that time when peers from my generation are supposed to be hopping from job to job or is this an indication of some sort of movement on a larger scale?

Aaron first told me about the latest “Be Stupid” Diesel ads when I got back into town. Being an advertising student, it’s his prerogative to analyze, dissect, and learn from ads in all industries. Without having visualized what he was describing, I initially thought Diesel’s campaign sounded weak. This morning, as I walked along California St. going back up to my apartment, I noticed Diesel posters hanging on a wall before reaching Fillmore (pictured below). One declared “Smart may have the brains, but Stupid has the balls,” and another “Smart Critiques. Stupid Creates.” It’s obvious that being “Smart” is associated with staying within boundaries, not breaking any rules, thus not stepping outside of the box. “Stupid” is being glamorized with the notion that your heart is making your decisions, not your head.

Here is Diesel’s Stupid Philosophy:

Like balloons, we are filled with hopes and dreams. But. Over time a single sentence creeps into our lives. Don’t be stupid. It’s the crusher of possibility. It’s the worlds greatest deflator. The world is full of smart people. Doing all kind of smart things… That’s smart. Well, we’re with stupid. Stupid is the relentless pursuit of a regret free life. Smart may have the brains…
but stupid has the balls. The smart might recognize things for how they are. The stupid see things for how they could be. Smart critiques. Stupid creates. The fact is if we didn’t have stupid thoughts wed have no interesting thoughts at all. Smart may have the plans… but stupid has the stories. Smart may have the authority but stupid has one hell of a hangover. Its not smart to take risks… Its stupid. To be stupid is to be brave. The stupid aren’t afraid to fail. The stupid know there are worse things than failure… like not even trying. Smart had one good idea, and that idea was stupid. You can’t outsmart stupid. So don’t even try. Remember only stupid can be truly brilliant. (Source: Creative Ad Awards)

I find this interesting at a time when it seems as if interest in the arts is being revived. Not that interest was dead, but lately everywhere I turn, I see posters for improv and performance art shows, multimedia workshops, endless discussions regarding how people are getting their news. The list goes on. I find myself signing up to attend lectures, exhibits, and shows for topics spread across the full spectrum. I’m paying to see bands that I’ve never heard of. It’s becoming more and more important to be well-rounded in a culturally aware, technologically capable, and idea-driven society.

So, why am I asking what it means to be a hipster? When I think of the Diesel ads, I think of how the campaign most likely reached out to the hipster audience. According to the online Princeton dictionary, a hipster is someone who rejects the established culture and advocates extreme liberalism in politics and lifestyle. According to Urban Dictionary: Listens to bands that you have never heard of. Has hairstyle that can only be described as “complicated.” (Most likely achieved by a minimum of one week not washing it.) Probably tattooed. Maybe gay. Definitely cooler than you. Reads Black Book, Nylon, and the Styles section of the New York Times. Drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon. Often. Complains. Always denies being a hipster. Hates the word. Probably living off parents money – and spends a great deal of it to look like they don’t have any. Has friends and/or self cut hair. Dyes it frequently (black, white-blonde, etc. and until scalp bleeds). Has a closet full of clothing but usually wears same three things OVER AND OVER (most likely very tight black pants, scarf, and ironic tee-shirt). Chips off nail polish artfully after $50 manicure. Sleeps with everyone and talks about it at great volume in crowded coffee shops. Addicted to coffee, cigarettes (Parliaments, Camel Reds, Lucky Strikes, etc.), and possibly cocaine. Claims to be in a band. Rehearsals consist of choosing outfits for next show and drinking PBR. Always on the list. Majors or majored in art, writing, or queer studies. Name-drops. May go by “Penny Lane,” “Eleanor Rigby,” etc. when drunk. On PBR. Which is usually.

Is it possible that we all have a little bit of hipster in us? Yet, we more often than not make fun of them. I think it may have something to do with envy. Maybe they know something we don’t. Maybe all that angst and counterculture is present for a reason. Everyone wants to be different. But then again, being a hipster doesn’t make you all that different, these days.

My point is, the rise of this most recent population coined as hipsters is in parallel to the rise of investment in creativity. It’s exciting to be witness to the upcoming changes taking place in the arts and cultural world. Not only am I more aware of this revolutionary place in time, I am looking forward to being part of it.


Written by winniewongsf

February 9, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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