Through the 'Hipster Runoff' Looking-Glass

Why serious debate about a hipster humor site tends to look silly

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For a while this weekend, it looked like Hipster Runoff, the hipster-approved humor blog about how lame it is to be a hipster, was no more. Blogger Carles even wrote a quotation-mark-free farewell post to mark the occasion Friday afternoon. 50 hours later, the blog announced its return from the the digital dead. The result was the rare digital hoax where believers, doubters, and anyone else who attempted to take the the news seriously were all burned equally by the news.


Taking people at their word is an admirable trait, but that trust probably shouldn't be extended to Hipster Runoff, particularly when the post includes the phrase "after much soul-searching." Gawker's Adrian Chen and New York magazine's Mike Vilensky were among those who gave the blog the benefit of the doubt. Chen speculated that Carles, who was named Gawker's hipster of the decade in 2009,  "just got tired" of fake music blogging, while Vilensky quipped that the news "[f]eels the 'end' of an 'era'" The site's return dated both comments.


The Village Voice's Rosie Gray was right to greet the news of the site's demise with a skeptical "Hm." Still, the timing of the comeback made crowing about it difficult. Skepticism, after all, is the appropriate attitude towards the site. If you really get the joke, why point it out?

Anyone else who took it seriously

The moral of the story is, never take patently unserious things seriously online, even after the fact. Eye Weekly's Kate Carraway isn't wrong to suggest the weekend-long retirement was "either a totally pointless fake-out of the Who Cares variety" or "some kind of slick leveraging strategy to take HRO or Carles mainstream." As with the rest, the problem isn't the specific opinion, but the appearance of giving it serious thought.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.