What’s new about Hipsters? It’s not that they're the first co-opted counter-culture, far from it. The Beats were co-opted. The Sentimentalists, over 200 years ago, were co-opted before capitalism was so industrious. It’s not even new that calling a spade a spade is offensive. “Hippies,” “Beatniks,” “Emos;” all insulting labels for youth that thought they were much more.
There it is, or some of it, perhaps. Does the current so-called counter-culture feel like they’re part of something much more? Even without labels, I don’t think they think of themselves as a counter-culture at all. The worst part about it is the Hipsters and non-Hipsters are really much the same. Falling for a similar niche, but feeling like they ain’t.
We all like flannel, thick glasses, and good beers. We’re all killing Applebee’s. We’re the waitstaff there who laughs at ourselves, cause we’re just so low-down. Not the last, but toward the bottom rung of a ladder that once meant progress beyond our parents’ lives. We stand for nothing and everything, because a secure tomorrow seems unlikely and unwanted. Beget suburban kids like our parents did? Could I buy them as much as I had? A student loan on top of a mortgage, I think I’m better off paying exorbitant rent. Plus, it just feels more temporary, like everything else.
Late twenties, long passed the age my parents conceived, I’m getting old. Lack of full adult independence, still feel floated in embryonic fluid, trying not to give juvenile hopes up. Qualified for that secure job, but is it open? Maybe I’ll have to move down South. Just like everyone else.
At least there’s always music. Nearly a century of recorded songs. Indie, Scene, and Emo; the last real counter-cultures associated with rock genres, and most practitioners scoffed at these labels. Why didn’t Punks or Metal Heads care?
More pressing, what is the newest rock genre? Emo faded nearly 10 years ago. Some formation of Americana seems sorta fitting now. Not far from that “Indie” umbrella, it’s what Hipsters seem to like most, at least in the TV commercials. These more choral, sometimes bluesy bands. Some are good, but it’s nothing new.
Now, the algorithms anticipate evolution years in advance. All tastes like Styrofoam, so we spit it out fast. We keep skipping tracks to futility escape the same persistent hum. All the price for our growing clairvoyance. Telescopically, we are flying fast into a wall that ends originality. Too many citations needed. We enter them into software to manage. Our fear of plagiarism makes one uninfluenced instead of inspired. We just make homages. Turn anything creative into a list of allusions.
We forgot to forget
Suspend St. Anselm
patron of using rationality
to explain away one’s faith
in magic and mystery
God exists because
all we can imagine must exist
Your unicorns are but
a mind’s fusion of
horse and narwhal
and your culture is but
a culmination of has-been trends
So it’s all been done
Why try to change a thing?
Why try to be new?
This is the end. Not reflecting and absorbing past cultures with an eye to the future. But judging and consuming past cultures with with a carnal now. There are some niceties to be gained in solely present preoccupations. Yet, no Buddha abounds in these selfish meditations. We are no longer the bodhisattvas, suspending enlightenment to save all beings. “We’re woke, because we know we’re fucked” Then we type a symbol for “laugh out loud,” while our mouths stayed closed. We take a morning slug and drive off to work. The complexity of our controllers v. the simple fleeting pleasures. What can I do? Why should I bat an eye at the way the world works?