Out with Hipster Food, In with Hipster… Balls

November 3, 2011

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.

Example #1

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 NAMECHECKINGall 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.

Example #2

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.

Example #3

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.

Advertisements

Style Points

March 9, 2010

It’s dated now, but I felt like posting it here.  Originally on Third Coast Digest…  (alternate headlines were going to be either “Rocky: On Ice”, or “Subject to Style”)

American League versus National League. Lakers versus Celtics. The Greatest Show on Turf versus the 4-3. As all sports fans will ponder at some point, “Am I a purist, or am I a spectator?” Do you live to watch practice pay off in victory, or crave the unpredictability that raw athleticism can bring to sport? While who wins and who loses is recorded forever in the box score, a sports fan lives to discuss the game well past when it’s recorded in an almanac.

In an argument that will eternally rage, I now add figure skaters Russian Evgeni Plushenko and American Evan Lysacek into this list of diametrical opposition. At first glance, they have all the great traits of classic rivals — Johnson/Bird, Bjorn/McEnroe, Balboa/Drago — but has there ever been a stranger pair of rivals than at last night’s Olympic skate-off?

This is what was so intriguing: Skating scores are weighted based not only on what is achieved, but on how it is achieved. What we saw last night is two athletes performing the same required feats, but receiving a different score — as a rule. In the weird world of professional skating, this is how it works. Plushenko, the mulleted graceless athlete versus Lysacek, a slick-coiffed ice-dramatist are on equal footing. It’s such a strange, unique situation.

Imagine footballer Chad Ochocinco’s post-TD antics yielding him a favorable .3 point edge to sneak in front of a mundane Dallas Clark hand-the-football-to-the-ref celebration. Or Curt Schilling’s edgy sock decoration eeking out a nail-biting World Series game.

The question remains: Is it a “sport” if a game is subjectively scored, or worse yet, scored only by the well-informed elite? One would argue “no” if a golfer’s exaggerated fist-pump would take a stroke off their total. Meanwhile, mogul skiiers, gymnasts, all X-sporters and perhaps even the BCS would have to emphatically disagree.

The arguments will continue to rage, but as Plushenko’s mullet whirls as he lands his patented quadruple axle, and Lysacek glides by be-feathered in a Vera Wang onesie, ask yourself: Does rewarding dramatics devalue sports, or is it just the honest admission that we watch sports for the entertainment, not just the final score?


Worst. Coup. Ever.

August 8, 2008

Man walking in Nouakchott

Well, if you check back a few blog entries, you’ll note that my pal Adam “Fiebs” is currently serving as a Peace Corp doctor in Mauritania.  Also, if you’ve checked the news recently, you’ll note that Mauritania is currently under a military coup.  This is scary, but as history (and Adam) will inform us, this is a very common occurance here, and he’s pretty well insulated from the stuff that going on in Nouakchott — closer to the coast.  Adam writes:

yes. all is well here. you just  cant get in or out of Nouakchott. but being in Rosso, thus far, i have been unaffected. if it turns violent, which by Mauritanias past history of coups shows it wont be, peace corps is pretty good about pulling us right away. but the saying here goes, 
 
Mauritania…worst…coup….ever.

they tried this in 99 and nothing changed and i suspect this will be similar but i guess only time can tell…we will have to see about the aid.

anyways hope all is well. heading to senegal in two weeks for a couple days and to have my first beer since ive been here. damn these dry islamic countries. hope all is well in chicago. the alumni reunion looked like a blast! wish i couldve been there.
fiebs
ps farve is a jet…wtf!

Indeed, Fiebs, indeed.  Obviously the coup isn’t that bad (and the internet must be better than I thought) for a Wisconsinite in 3rd-world Africa to be more concerned about a Packers trade than a Military Coup.


Take Heart Brett…

August 7, 2008

you could’ve wound up in Minnesota.