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November 12, 2010 / GO Brooklyn / Fort Greene / Books / Checkin’ in with...

Keeping up with the stuff hipsters hate

The Brooklyn Paper
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Some media publications have prematurely declared them dead.

Other outlets have rued the day they ever lived.

But Brooklyn bloggers Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich, who have meticulously tracked the vicissitudes of hipsters on Stuff Hipsters Hate for nearly two years, celebrate the subspecies’ eccentricities with an anthropolo­gist’s intensity.

The women — who claim not to be hipsters themselves — have released a chatty new book out breaking down the different aspects of what it means to be a hipster, particularly one that happens to live in Williamsburg. Naturally, we had a few questions, so we sent our least-hip reporter, Aaron Short, to grill these two like a piece of farm-raised salmon.

Aaron Short: Why are hipsters so fascinating?

Andrea Bartz: We’re mocking both cultures, depending on how you read it. From the hipster perspective, we’re tearing apart bros, but from a meta perspective, we’re poking fun at hipsters. Our goal is to not come off as pro- or anti-hipsters. Oddly, some have thought we hate hipsters based on the book, while you seem to think we side with them. Mission accomplished.

Hipsters are fascinating because they live in a manner most people wouldn’t dare to embrace. They’re anti-consumerism, commercialism, buying a condo and having a 401K. Hence, the moniker “counter culture” — they’re counter to the culture at large. The casual observer would likely find that kind of anti-establishment ethos interesting.

There has always been one counter culture, which has caught the attention of the public, usually one that dresses strangely or acts wildly, such as punks, hippies, and beats. Hipsters are the latest iteration of that stream of cultures.

AS: Will hipster culture change going forward now that we’re in an extended economic slump?

Brenna Ehrlich: Hipster culture will change no matter what. That’s the nature of it. Hipsters are always looking for the newest patterns or trends. Luckily, there are a ton of vintage shops and whatnot at which they can indulge those desires. Yes, recycling trends of yore is the forefront of novelty.

As for the economic slump aspect, again, counter cultures tend to emerge in time of hardship, when young people feel dissatisfied with the status quo. Some people claim that hipsterdom flared up again after 9-11. An economic depression is sure to feed the fires of creativity. If you can’t get a full-time job, why not bartend and pursue those floss-and-traffic-light-glass installations?

AS: Which was the part of the book that was the most fun the write? The easiest? The hardest?

Ehrlich: I liked the essays, myself. For me, the charts were the hardest, because I don’t think in that visual a fashion.

Bartz: In turn, I liked sketching out the charts, presenting information in visual ways. I tend to think that way so it was fun taking an abstract idea we found funny and literally drawing it on paper. We did a lot of back-and-forth with drafts, adding different elements, and it was always amusing to read with ridiculous detail or new post the other had added to the menu.

AS: Where do you get some of your ideas and inspiration? Friends? Enemies? My colleague Stephen Brown, who was mercilessly eviscerated in diehipster.com?

Bartz: Everywhere! A walk down the street can yield a bookshelf worth of ideas. Our lives, our friends’ lives, our weekend nights out, our romantic interests’ lives are all fair game. We try not to pointedly attack anyone, though.

AS: Will hipsters ever move from Williamsburg and Bushwick? Where are the next neighborhoods?

Ehrlich: Of course. That’s how gentrification works. Bushwick is probably going to blow up pretty soon. Maybe Bedford-Stuyvesant next? There are plenty of less-fished areas of the ’burg and Greenpoint, too, just asking to be overrun.

AS: When did the backlash against hipsters among Brooklynites, starting with sites such as diehipster and sometimes your site, begin and where is it coming from?

Bartz: We’re not anti-hipster, number one. Number two, there’s always a backlash against the reigning culture. Hipsters have dominated Brooklyn, just ask the old Polish ladies in my hood, and people resent them for that. It started full force around this year, not just in Brooklyn, but countrywide, but I imagine as soon as trendy bars started to outnumber neighborhood joints.

Ehrlich: In general, as we’ve alluded to before, hipsters are not only the current “cool kids,” which sets ’em up for derision from the get-go, they’re also a group often defined by their sighing superiority over everything else, other neighborhoods, works of art, other people’s life choices, and you. One solution is to put down the put-down-ers.

Stuff Hipsters Hate at Greenlight Bookshop [686 Fulton St. at S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200], Nov. 18, 7:30 pm.

Updated 5:21 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Sam from Greenpoint says:
"They’re anti-consumerism, commercialism, buying a condo and having a 401K. Hence, the moniker “counter culture” — they’re counter to the culture at large."

False! Check out the n 1 "What Was the Hipster" pamphlet, it makes a pretty compelling case for how Hipsterdom is precisely the opposite, an ideologically empty, commodified "counter-culture" that lets its participants feel cool for being slightly different consumers while fully participating in the mainstream culture of money and power. There are no hipster artists, only graphic designers.
Nov. 12, 2010, 10:35 am
Hopper from Los S-S says:
The annoying do not produce, they consume. Or should I say, "curate"
Nov. 12, 2010, 10:59 am
kay from brooklyn says:
i see two hipsters.

also, hipsters anti-consumerist and anti-commercialism? anti-condo? who's been keeping the trucker hat and pseudo-green condo markets afloat?
Nov. 12, 2010, 1:12 pm
Maria from Clinton Hill says:
These 2 honestly think they aren't hipsters? This is a clear case of takes one to know one. By the way, Sam you're right on with your comment.
Nov. 14, 2010, 2:42 pm
kd from bed stuy says:
Maria: ditto.
Nov. 15, 2010, 12:30 pm
Fish from The river says:
You'll never meet a hipster. The most ironic thing about hipsters is finding out just how much they despise themselves.
Nov. 15, 2010, 11:08 pm
daretoeatapeach from Temescal says:
I know these two gals. They don't claim not to be hipsters, rather they maintain that no one would actually label themselves a hipster, hipsters included. The cover of the book has a photo of item #319: "Other hipsters." One of the authors is in that photo. Which I think is pretty spot on.

But leave it to the residents of Brooklyn to heap on the hate. Every single one of these comments thus far consists of petty name calling. "There are no hipster artists, only graphic designers." Regardless of the number of "real artists" to fake ones, you're still making assumptions about who people are by the way they dress, the beer they drink, etc. You should read this: bit.ly/aYDl5y and this: bit.ly/8HK8hi.

Everyone seems to want hipsters to go away, but since it is other angry folks applying these labels in the first place, the label will persist.
Nov. 18, 2010, 1:31 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
Hipsters are not "anti-consumer/anti-commercial". Their demographic group is the largest consumer base for expensive electronic toys like IPads, cell phones, etc. Fruit Loops, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Ramen noodles have been replaced obscure and expensive designer beverages and artisanal fusion dishes, belying their faux bohemian/counter-culture/pseudo-intellectual (as intimated by wearing lensless eyeglass frames) pretensions. This is why hipsters are considered inauthentic poseurs. Maynard G. Krebs is rolling over in his grave.
Nov. 28, 2010, 12:25 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
"I know these two gals. They don't claim not to be hipsters, rather they maintain that no one would actually label themselves a hipster, hipsters included. The cover of the book has a photo of item #319: "Other hipsters." One of the authors is in that photo. Which I think is pretty spot on.

But leave it to the residents of Brooklyn to heap on the hate. Every single one of these comments thus far consists of petty name calling. "There are no hipster artists, only graphic designers." Regardless of the number of "real artists" to fake ones, you're still making assumptions about who people are by the way they dress, the beer they drink, etc. You should read this: bit.ly/aYDl5y and this: bit.ly/8HK8hi.

Everyone seems to want hipsters to go away, but since it is other angry folks applying these labels in the first place, the label will persist."

What? You actually refrained from using the infantile term "haters"?

"There are no hipster artists, only graphic designers." doesn't constitute petty name calling, no matter how you care to parse it. It's a statement of fact.

There are no assumptions being made. To paraphrase Bill Parcells, "You are what your record says you are." These are facts based on observations of their behavior. They try so hard at being nonconformists that they actually conform to type. Throwing up in front, or on, somebody's stoop after ingesting too many obscure fermented beverages; chaining their decrepit bicycles to anything, to the inconvenience of homeowners, businesses, pedestrians and auto owners alike; defacing every vertical surface with their spray paint art and oh-so-witty and politically irrelevant posters; force feeding their nihilistic, dystopian weltanschauung on everyone and acting as if those who disagree with their slant on things are lacking reason and intelligence. As the song goes, "These are just a few of my favorite things....". Just the facts, man.
Nov. 28, 2010, 1:13 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
To paraphrase Bill Parcells, "You are what your record says you are."
Nov. 28, 2010, 1:13 pm

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