Cat and Girl meet 347 Local
  • Dorothy
    June 16, 2009

    Let’s call the beginning of America’s Hipster awareness the publication of The Hipster Handbook in 2002. (A search for “hipster” “2001” on finds, among articles published in 2001, mostly references to beatniks and Chet Baker.)

    The Hipster Handbook grew in a petri dish called, established in late 1999, so let’s call Williamsburg our Ground Zero.

    Clearly some idea of hipsterdom was circulating in 1999-2000, before turning red hot two or three years later. So what was that idea, and what transformed the idea of the hipster in 2000 into the idea of the hipster in 2002? (Let’s leave aside how far the idea of the hipster in 2002 is from the idea of the hipster in 2009.)

    I can’t pretend to remember what I meant by hipster at the time I drew this cartoon, but judging from the text (The Shaggs and a rotary phone vs. lava lamps, blue hair and an imac) the definition seems to have one foot in the Buddy Bradley-esque late 90s world of zines, old technology and obscure knowledge, while the other foot is in the world of the dot-com boom. Wikipedia places the start of the dotcom bust on March 10, 2000 – and I’d say it’s the destruction of this boom world, felt especially hard in stock market enmeshed New York, that creates enough break with the past to necessitate a new name for what was at the time the regional, Brooklyn-based hipster subculture. (Not that this culture was created then, but that this small pre-existing subculture suddenly held appeal for a much larger group of people who were no longer tempted by dot-com style job offers or the nice things a good job allows you to afford.)

    A year and a half later some buildings fall over, the New York economy gets much much worse, and someone gets a book deal to write an handbook about hipsters.

  • Dorothy
    June 16, 2009

    What happened between 2002 and 2009?

    A geographical dispersal (From Brooklyn to your small city to your suburban mall), but also the mutual Globalism that has been happening in most subcultures during this time period.

    A generational dispersal – from those in their twenties in 2002 to those in their teens today – and the meeting of the mass-culture face of hipster culture (American Apparel) with the more traditional mall-based teen subcultures (Hot Topic).

    And the money – as a new era of creative professionals blossomed, the new culture of the urban underemployed became the new culture of what we used to call young urban professionals. Enter the ipod.

  • Jake
    June 19, 2009

    The problem now is that far too many people are being labeled hipsters not for their actual behavior or interests but simply the clothes they wear. It’s like calling a man dressed in a uniform a policeman when he is clearly not aware of the ideals of or behaving in the manner of a policeman. These uninformed hipster wannabes have sufficiently saturated the pretension market to the point of incoherence, where simply attaching your keys to some tight jeans with a carabiner and refusing to shave somehow anoints you with obscure musical or literary knowledge.

    So the hipster is no longer a hipster, but has yet to receive a new name. “fashion conscious?” Twixters? What should it be?

  • Alex
    June 23, 2009

    So… basically the same as the hippies, punks, or any other alternative sub-culture for that matter?

  • Aly
    June 23, 2009

    Yes, isn’t this always the case with subcultures? They grow slowly but surely, until they reach their tipping point, and are plastered on magazines, TV screens, shopping malls, they lose their sense of authenticity, and they crumble. I’m mostly surprised that hipsters have enjoyed the mainstream attention for as long as they have.

  • diego
    June 29, 2009

    yet it seems like the hipster, in hir ironic appropriation of all that is hipster lacks any authenticity to begin with. if the whole point is decorating the post modern void, is being a poser hipster even a metaphysical possibility?

  • Meredith
    June 30, 2009

    Well, with the teens of today doing what the 20s of then were doing, that’s an easy explanation. We idolize our older siblings or just the older ‘cool’ kids in our town and some are foolish enough to emulate them completely.

    When my dad was in middle school in the late 50s there were greasers that were in high school. Leather jackets and tight cuffed jeans and all. He thought they were the coolest thing on earth and was quite disappointed when that was no longer the fashion when he was in high school, but he wasn’t enamored (or wealthy) enough to go ahead and emulate them anyway.

    When I was in 6th grade and wearing my mom’s old bellbottoms and wingtip shoes I got made fun of. There were a few other kids dressing similarly, who also had super cool parents and older siblings as I did. So by virtue of handmedowns we looked like them and the in 8th grade everyone was wearing bellbottoms. The few almost always become the many after a few years, and there were undoubtedly a few kids like us in every school across the country again by virture of handmedowns and siblings the same age, so it doesn’t even matter where the trend starts since it’s based on the fashion of older siblings or older friends who have moved on to different styles.

  • Jimmy
    January 12, 2010

    You know, never ever google “cat and girl shaggs”


  • BradyDale
    September 9, 2010

    Union: yes! Solidarity forever!

  • Tamfang
    August 4, 2012

    I first heard the word ‘hipster’ from Daria (1997–2001), but I don’t know what she meant by it.

  • Full Metal Lion
    October 20, 2012

    I’m just confused by the e.

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