I heard once, and now I forgot where, that hipsterism is officially dead: All hipsters have just become foodies.
That’s the kind of sweeping statement that begs to be analyzed (see: The Atlantic article on such things). It’s the kind of hyperbole you just have to sink your teeth into. Anyway, after thinking hard about it for maybe two minutes, I have to disagree.
I can say, with all confidence, that food is not the next bastion of hipsterdom — it is, quite obviously, sports. Think about it — if you were to to unfairly generalize hipster character traits the top of the list would have to be a love of irony, unapologetic geekiness, a carefully cultivated appreciation of pop culture, and a finely-tuned sense nostalgia. All of these things, to me, point directly to sports.
Here is a group of three names: Malcolm Gladwell, Dave Eggers, and Chuck Klosterman. If someone told you they were collaborating on a project together, what would you think it would be? A youth literary fundraiser? A roundtable on the plight of self-awareness in literature? A celebrity somolier app for your iPad? All these things seem more likely than the truth, which is that they are all editors at Bill Simmons’ ESPN-backed sports blog Grantland. Gladwell, Eggers and Klosterman — THE TRIUMVIRATE OF COFFEESHOP NAMECHECKING — all with a profound passion for sport. Also, check out Simmons’ recent podcast with John Walsh that focused solely on another hipster idol /sports fiend, Hunter Thompson.
Hipsters strive to let you know that they appreciate something you love on a much deeper level than you do — doing so validates that their passion is more authentic than yours. They also like to geek out. This is why hipsters love sabermetrics — it’s an way to say, “Yes, I enjoy this too, but my enjoyment of this is considerably deeper and more rewarding than yours.” This same argument has been made about everything from The Velvet Underground to The Muppets. And don’t get me going about Moneyball, or the fact that Moneyball was adapted by Aaron Sorkin. Everybody was jazzed about that one. The only bigger announcement for the hipster world would’ve been if Noah Baumbach directed a rotoscoped version of Kafka on the Shore.
Nostalgia is the lifeblood of the hipster. Everything you find in the attic that was packed up as a kid — it is now gold. Because the past = youth = innocence = authenticity. Sun-faded photos of kids on big wheels are the stuff of indie EPs! Parent’s gigantic plastic reading glasses are urban fashion de rigueur. That old replica jersey of Will Clark?! YES! Do you have that Dream Team T-shirt? That shit is TIGHT. It is FOR REAL! Wear it to LOLLA!
Okay. I doth protest too much. I like sports. I like Moneyball. I listen to Bill Simmons all the time. I may talk about football on this blog more than anything else. That said, I welcome the emergence of sports fanaticism as something that both jocks and art kids can love. Could I just throw out there that I even tried to start an Indie Rock fantasy league? True Story.