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If "gentrification is driving poverty," are hipster consumers pushing the gas pedal?

Class War has a message but perhaps their example is flawed

Class War
Class War

Dear Hipster:

Sorry in advance for getting all serious here, but I read the news and the news is dark. It may have happened on the other side of the world, but the recent attack on the Cereal Killer Cafe has me worried, albeit somewhat ironically, for the fate of hipsters worldwide (and by worldwide, I of course mean “fairly affluent urban centers of the world-wide”). Is this the beginning of the end for one of the 21st century’s most influential, and most widely despised, social groups?

— Mary, La Mesa

Hardly. For those who don’t read British news, self-styled anarchist group Class War has launched a clever campaign, cutely nicknamed the “Fuck Parade,” to combat London’s urban gentrification. They dressed in pig masks and “Hipster Police” uniforms, and paint-bombed a popular café where known hipsters pay up to £5 (roughly $10,000 U.S.) for individual servings of Boo Berry.

And yet I don’t foresee a coming storm of angrified San Diegans flinging chicken guts across the threshold at StreetCar, or hurling craft molotov cocktails through Polite Provisions’ pseudo vintage plate-glass windows. Heck, I don’t even feel the need to defend the hipsters under fire.

“Gentrification is driving poverty,” claims Class War, and the Fuck Parade constitutes their proposed solution to that problem, but in the end I see only a Python-esque witch trial fit for the Holy Grail. The comical locals, justifiably angered by the difficulties of living in a plague-stricken society, point the easy finger at someone who had nothing to do with causing the problems, yet who makes an easy victim.

Modern urban society has its own, less literal, plagues. Is there something ugly about our world that thousands of San Diegans live in riverbeds and highway medians while an equal number have so much to spend that a $4 cup of coffee isn’t even a luxury?

Some say so.

The Donald or the $750 Daraprim guy (who srsly quoted Eminem on his Twitter as a way of telling off the media!!!) would probably call it just the cost of doing business.

And the vast majority might throw an angry smiley up on Facebook, just as soon as they finish Instagramming that frosty $7 IPA from their favorite craft brewer of the moment. For most people, hipster hating runs only skin deep, because, even if they find social inequality repugnant, they’re smart enough to know that they can’t blame a tiny fraction of lower-middle-class entrepreneurs for a national — strike that, global class structure.

People also know that in their hearts they love single-origin lattes, boutique thrift shopping, and bars that aren’t charmless hellholes with less soul than a warm Busch Light sipped furtively in an alleyway. Though they may protest hipster smugness, mocking our skinny jeans and finely coiffed beards, most people understand that hipsters have packaged and sold moderate indulgences that are both more wholesome and more life-enriching than many of the alternatives.

I don’t need to defend hipster futures here, because I still see triumph writ large in sepia-toned faux–Jazz Age type. I see it in the waitlists for cereal bars, urban breweries, and retro barbershops. Every day, I see how people put their money where their mouths aren’t, and I know that hipster stuff — no matter how tied to gentrification — will be around for a while yet.

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Class War
Class War

Dear Hipster:

Sorry in advance for getting all serious here, but I read the news and the news is dark. It may have happened on the other side of the world, but the recent attack on the Cereal Killer Cafe has me worried, albeit somewhat ironically, for the fate of hipsters worldwide (and by worldwide, I of course mean “fairly affluent urban centers of the world-wide”). Is this the beginning of the end for one of the 21st century’s most influential, and most widely despised, social groups?

— Mary, La Mesa

Hardly. For those who don’t read British news, self-styled anarchist group Class War has launched a clever campaign, cutely nicknamed the “Fuck Parade,” to combat London’s urban gentrification. They dressed in pig masks and “Hipster Police” uniforms, and paint-bombed a popular café where known hipsters pay up to £5 (roughly $10,000 U.S.) for individual servings of Boo Berry.

And yet I don’t foresee a coming storm of angrified San Diegans flinging chicken guts across the threshold at StreetCar, or hurling craft molotov cocktails through Polite Provisions’ pseudo vintage plate-glass windows. Heck, I don’t even feel the need to defend the hipsters under fire.

“Gentrification is driving poverty,” claims Class War, and the Fuck Parade constitutes their proposed solution to that problem, but in the end I see only a Python-esque witch trial fit for the Holy Grail. The comical locals, justifiably angered by the difficulties of living in a plague-stricken society, point the easy finger at someone who had nothing to do with causing the problems, yet who makes an easy victim.

Modern urban society has its own, less literal, plagues. Is there something ugly about our world that thousands of San Diegans live in riverbeds and highway medians while an equal number have so much to spend that a $4 cup of coffee isn’t even a luxury?

Some say so.

The Donald or the $750 Daraprim guy (who srsly quoted Eminem on his Twitter as a way of telling off the media!!!) would probably call it just the cost of doing business.

And the vast majority might throw an angry smiley up on Facebook, just as soon as they finish Instagramming that frosty $7 IPA from their favorite craft brewer of the moment. For most people, hipster hating runs only skin deep, because, even if they find social inequality repugnant, they’re smart enough to know that they can’t blame a tiny fraction of lower-middle-class entrepreneurs for a national — strike that, global class structure.

People also know that in their hearts they love single-origin lattes, boutique thrift shopping, and bars that aren’t charmless hellholes with less soul than a warm Busch Light sipped furtively in an alleyway. Though they may protest hipster smugness, mocking our skinny jeans and finely coiffed beards, most people understand that hipsters have packaged and sold moderate indulgences that are both more wholesome and more life-enriching than many of the alternatives.

I don’t need to defend hipster futures here, because I still see triumph writ large in sepia-toned faux–Jazz Age type. I see it in the waitlists for cereal bars, urban breweries, and retro barbershops. Every day, I see how people put their money where their mouths aren’t, and I know that hipster stuff — no matter how tied to gentrification — will be around for a while yet.

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