The New York Times--dean of American newspapers, arbiter of cultural worth--has a problem. They say "hipster." A lot. Over 250 times in the past year, according to Times Topics blogger Philip Corbett. But they're going to try and cut back. Writes Corbett:
Our latest infatuation with “hipster” seems to go back several years, perhaps coinciding in part with the flourishing of more colloquial (and hipper) blogs on our Web site. In 1990 we used the word just 19 times. That number rose gradually to about 100 by 2000, then exploded to 250 or so uses a year from 2005 on.
Then there’s the Brooklyn connection: our archive confirms that Kings County is the very center of hipsterdom. Ninety-six Times pieces in the past year that included the word “hipster” also mentioned Brooklyn, edging out even once-hip Manhattan, which had 87 overlapping mentions. Queens trailed badly with 33, while the Bronx merited only a handful and Staten Island just two.
In any case, hipster’s second life as hip slang seems to have lost its freshness. And with so many appearances, I’m not sure how precise a meaning it conveys. It may still be useful occasionally, but let’s look for alternatives and try to give it some rest.
Poynter Online commenter Trevor Butterworth points out the Times is hardly the first publication to try to banish hipster from its copy. Gawker tried replacing hipster with fauxhemian, which "despite its high profile roll out, has been used but 33 times." In other words, don't expect a miracle.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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