Hipster History

More

Brian Frank writes:

 
Richard Florida points to a familiar article about "blipsters" - "black hipsters." Which is funny, now that I think of it, because the original hipsters were known as "white negroes".

Well, almost. Norman Mailer's infamous "The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster" was originally published in 1957 in Dissent. 

Nearly a decade earlier, in 1948, Anatole Broyard published "A Portrait of the Hipster" in Partisan Review. I can't find an online version, but here's how one writer describes it:

Broyard attempted an analysis and a definition of a new type then appearing around Greenwich Village who had, in his view, been welcomed by intellectuals who "ransacking everything for meaning, admiring insurgence... .attributed every heroism to the hipster.,,."

But Broyard was less enthusiastic about these supposed new rebels ... In Broyard's words: "The hipster promptly became in his own eyes, a poet, a seer, a hero." And he added that the hipster life-style "grew more rigid than the Institutions it had set out to defy. It became a boring routine. The hipster - once an unregenerate Individualist, an underground poet, a guerrilla - had become a pretentious poet laureate."

Of course, what Broyard was doing, as well as attacking the hipsters, was criticising his fellow-intellectuals for failing to accept that the hipster rebellion was a sham.

Hmmmmmm ...

Jump to comments
Presented by

Richard Florida is Senior Editor at The Atlantic and Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto. See his most recent writing at The Atlantic Cities. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative Class, Who's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He is founder of the Creative Class Group.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

'Stop Telling Women to Smile'

An artist's campaign to end sexual harassment on the streets of NYC.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In