Geeks vs. Hipsters: An Earnest Meditation

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Nerds and hipsters have hated each other, roughly speaking, since the dawn of time. And while there have been brief, tenuous moments of peace (like the 2007 Flight of the Conchords Armistice), tensions have largely been allowed to escalate unchecked. Who is the skilled political hand capable of defusing this situation: Brent Scowcroft? Warren Christopher? Try Gizmodo editor-at-large Joel Johnson. He outlines his plan in a new column today, drawing on his unique position as "both a geek and a hipster" (like John Connor!). Like previous nerd-hipster accords, it is largely contingent on sacrifices from the geeks. Explains Johnson:

Geeks should be among the most accepting of others, I'd think, because so many of us know what it was like not to be accepted. (And yes, I'm painting geekdom with a broad brush while making the same point about not doing that of others. If you were a socially-adroit geek when you were growing up, you're exactly the sort of stereotype-spanning person who evinces the fragility of stereotypes in the first place.)

I think the most damning thing about using "hipster" as an epithet is that it doesn't really mean anything. It's just bad rhetoric. At most, calling someone a hipster means that the target of your ire does something you don't prefer. More often than not it's simply picking on someone for their choice of clothing. Can it get more childish than that?

There's nothing wrong with trying to be cool or trying to dress fashionably, provided it doesn't define you. Or hell, maybe that's okay, too. It's certainly no more self-obsessive than building starships in Minecraft or spending hours making a costume of a videogame character. It may not be your poison, but it's pretty awful to presume that your particular fetishized hobby is superior to someone else's—especially if you first dove into that hobby as a reprieve from feeling like you had to live the same life as everyone else.

Top that, James Baker.

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