There are a lot of people, mainly on social media, who say they hate hipsters. Yesterday, Padraig Reidy and Alex Rayner of the Guardian posed the question, “Is it OK to hate hispters?”
Plenty of people use social media to spit bile against hipsters, but people seem to have quite different definitions of what a hipster is.
Furthermore I have yet to meet anyone in London who has ever said that they are a hipster. No-one identifies themselves as a hipster.
So what is going on?
Hipstersism, the assigning of the identify of hipster to a person, is am imprecise categorisation of a group of people, developed precisely to allow a cover for homophobia, anti-intellectualism, xenophobia, hatred of effeminate or pacific men, and hatred for a new breed of wealthy creative type that is beginning to burgeon in London, whatever people’s want.
I’ll tell you whose demons this hipster-hate does most for, ageing intellectuals and faux socialists who always wanted to make it big in the art scene or politics, but who never had the talent or determination to make it in either. They hate hipsters, partly because hipsters are succeeding where they did not, and not only that, they are usually making piles of money too. It’s a narcissism of small differences, hipsters are often the successful version of would be intellectual, artists, directors, designers, the IT crowd, artisans and musicians. I think alot of people envy the young creative types in London. They tend to be good looking, stylish, stand out in a crowd, clever, well-off and enjoying life, and have lots of friends like them.
Gentrification is also blamed on hipsters. The process of gentrification has got nothing to do with artists or hipsters. Its got to do with successive governments creating laws which allow anyone from around the world with money to come into the country so long as they invest their money in the financial services. Its part of a strategy started by Thatcher and lead on by the Corporation to create a global financial hub for the world’s rich, the Corporation and its constituent financiers and bankers, enabling people from around the world from Chinese Communist Party officials to Russian oligarchs and British pop stars to channel their money into the hundreds of off-shore tax havens that enjoy British protection. The consequences of all this is that rich people have been pouring into London since the 1980s, a process which accelerated when since 9/11 when the American started to clean up who they were willing to do business with and with the recent financial crises all around the westerns world. All the corrupt and money laundering types from around the word, have chosen London’s financial services as their couriers and accordingly bought property in the city. The phenomenon of Shoreditch together with Canary Wharf and the growth of the City are all symptoms of this. Arguably artists, including Damion Hirst and Tracy Emin when they started doing stuff in the 90s in Hoxton, and Banksy when he did his thing at the beginning of the century, were attracted to the place because of its proximity to money. The artists are, for want of a better metaphor, mould on the bread, and the bread basket in the City has just kept growing and growing. There’s nothing inherently wrong with artists and creative types, they just want to create, do things differently, and frankly, they make the world a more interesting place to be. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you’re born into a community or whatever, you’re not interested in ‘expressing yourself’ more in just ‘being together with kith and kin’. But whatever frustrations so called working class people in London have with changing times, its got nothing to do with the artists and so-called hipsters who have moved in to take the spaces that their ‘kith and kin’ abandoned.
By creating a new categorization of people, one whose definition is imprecise, and one for whom none of those who might be identifiable, would openly stand up and embrace let alone defend the identity, people can create a kind of social spittoon into which they spit all their bile and hatred. Even the Guardian, supposed bastion of decency and tolerance think its OK to ask the question, “Is it OK to hate hipsters?” The comments made in the discussion that followed the article, was peppered with people slagging off hipsters, and claiming that anyone who felt the hatred or banter was wrong, were hispters too. If you are not for us you are against us.
This is identical to the way that the term chav was coined to allow cover for the expression of hatred for young people from sink estates.
The point is, the development and evocation of the concept hipster provokes hatred, the question as to “whether it is OK to hate hispters” doesn’t even have to be asked, let alone answered.