Definition of Hipster Has Been Reduced to Music and Pants

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It's doubtful that "being a hipster" ever meant anything, but the ever-lowering standards have made it really easy for hipster to pop up everywhere these days and today's unlikely breed are Hipster Presbyterians, just a week after last week's Hipster Mormons, also from The New York Times. These unlikely hipster groups have three things in common: clothing, music and lameness. From the cops to Christians, everyone gets to join in. The Presbyterians wear "high-waisted skinny jeans," the Mormons "black skinny jeans," and Hipster Cop, detective Rick Lee, revealed he wears skinny jeans off duty. They also like music, but not the same kind. The Hipster Presbyterians rock out to Christian artist Sufjan Stevens. Or, at least they did a year ago, when The New York Post first discovered these "engimas." The Mormons and Hipster Cop are of course into music, too, but instead go for The Killers (a Mormon fronted band) and Radiohead, respectively. Sure, those are all bands. But, that's about where the similarities end. 

So the right music and pants, that's all it takes. Never mind that the Hipster Cop rains on fun parades for a living and there's nothing ironic about Mormons choosing not to drink. Politics, morals, principles, philosophy, group identity: none of that is key to hipsterism. It's fashion. Of course there's also a certain attitude that generally accompanies the hip lifestyle. But that is what actually makes it even easier for unlikely characters to join the fun. Hipsterism is about contradictions. That Hipster Cop would prefer not to be called a hipster is actually the most hipster thing he could've said. The same goes for the hipster Mormons who don't drink and the hipster Presbyterians that don't do drugs. To keep the contradictions going, soon we'll see the rise of a neo-hipster, where you "dress and act like a regular person, ironically," joked Jacob Lacey on McSweeney's. But the way things are going, that doesn't seem too far-fetched. 

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