The Rise and Fall of Hipster Criticism

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Animal Collective is The Dave Matthews Band. PBR is Natty Light. Pointed leather booties are Birkenstocks. The frat-housing, all-American bro is the true foil of the back-alley Brooklyn hipster. Both are aligned with easily caricatured subcultures, one based on “broing out” with a brew and the boys, the other on “looking like a fucking hipster” with a brew and the boys.

The main difference between these two sects, however, is that the bro is a dying breed. The hipster is a once-minority that, in the last several years, has etched itself into the public conscious. Critics of the hipster wallow gleefully in their ability to “take an outside look” on culture that is “built on vanity and irony.” What these critics don’t realize, however, is that this very argument is a dated, pseudo-intellectual trend.

Ever since “that Adbusters article,” the one in which a random dude showed up at a party for research to prove that hipsters are, indeed, “the end of Western civilization,” the hipster has grown into a neon-colored target for criticism. Meanwhile, the Abercrombied bro was given time to fade gracefully into cultural irrelevance. His Hollister hemp bracelet became an object so blatantly lame that it is now too obvious to mock. These days, the bro currently resides peacefully in nationwide frat houses, performing keg-stands and sing-a-longs of “Wonderwall” at leisure.

Replacing a few clothes and band names, are hipsters the next group in line to be shelved in the cupboard of cultural memes?

It was announced yesterday that “Look at this Fucking Hipster,” a Tumblr devoted to posting pictures of people with oblivious self-obsession and an unconditional love for flannel is getting a book deal. (Note: The Hipster Handbook hit the shelves in 2003.) “Look at this Fucking Hipster” once and you’ve looked at them all — the social commentary ends right about there. We already know that the bearded guy with the geek glasses and Furby costume is ridiculous.

When a blog launched to chronicle the silly happenings of semi-obscure people has the potential to be a profitable and marketable good, you know hipsters are on their way out. Bound into a pretty book on your mother’s coffee table, “Look at this Fucking Hipster” will be remembered not as a biting satire of hipsterism, but rather, a memory of a peculiarly inbred group who took pride in independent music and the most identifiable style since large shoulder-pads in the 80’s. In short, an old photo album of a time before the media killed the hipster star.

Once this trend of hipster criticism subsides, only the purists will remain. (We’re looking at you, Carles.) Remember, the bro-backlash did not wipe the planet clean of those with a burning desire to “chill out” and “kick back with the Wii,” it merely highlighted those who stuck around in the aftermath, true-believers in broism. Rest assured, my flanneled friends, by the time this book hits the shelves, the calm after the storm will be near. You can finally say, “If I didn’t already know I was listening to Animal Collective on these headphones, I would bet myself $100 that I was listening to Animal Collective on these headphones.”

And you will say it with pride.