Sam Kriss claims that we killed the hipster. He writes: There are mass graves, still, just outside the major cities, places we don’t really want to think about: heaped thousands of hipster skeletons, each still wearing the tufts of its big lumberjack beard, sealed forever in artisanal wax. We lashed the hipsters to their fixies and herded them off a cliff.
contra kriss; so hot right now
As someone acutely aware of and often disgusted by human status signaling, I confirm that the hipster never went away. They just mutated into other forms of taste-based social signalling.
Proust shows that taste-based signalling existed in early-20th century France: to be a true sophisticated you couldn't 'like' the common, repertoire pieces of Beethoven or Brahms. You had to rave about one of their obscure sonatas or concerts, which was even more a signal of distinction back then, before widely available recorded music, because it meant you either played music yourself or had the wealth to have musicians play in your house. It became more important as rising wealth reduced the material disparities between the aristocratic and merchant classes. When (not really but to you it seems like) everyone can attend the opera, or go see the paintings in the Louvre, or vacation in Marseilles, you have to use your residual social capital to move the goalposts for sophistication.
I hate to propose an angle that just asserts “it’s wokeness” but it feels almost like a null hypothesis that ought to be entertained by default. In this account, it’s a simple as: taste, as an object of social signaling, got supplanted by politics/morality. The same people going to cobrasnake parties and archly mocking cobrasnake parties in 2010 were performing antiracism by 2013.
From Cat & Girl: https://catandgirl.com/tall-tales/
Hipsters and emo were the last music subcultures to appear. The last decade spawn no new ones. Of course the older ones still exist but I find it interesting that no new youth subcultures were born in at least a decade.
I wonder if it has more to do with other trends impacting teenagers in the last decade like helicopter parenting, wokeness, social media addiction and poorer self-reported mental health.
I feel like there was a real 'the hipster died' moment in the last decade, though, in the rise of p4k-adjacent poptimists whose signalling involved, approximately, showing off how popular and mainstream their taste was while still being sophisticated. And I mean, they were right on a lot - CRJ is fantastic! But it was still signalling, just a strange kind of counter-signal. I think their effect was that the decline of 2000s hipsterism came to seem much more sudden than it would have if it were merely slow cultural shift; the poptimists just seemed so radically different that it was difficult to see how they filled the same cultural niche as hipsters. It's only now that poptimism has itself been thoroughly incorporated into the mainstream that we can see it clearly as a phenomenon.
Anyway I spent this period of time on /mu/ so I can't fucking talk