Pondering "unslumming"
  • Pondering "unslumming"
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Hey Hipster:

The dictionary defines “slumming” as, “to visit slums, especially from curiosity...to visit or frequent a place, group, or amusement spot considered to be low in social status.” Technically, this is what moving to someplace uncool would be already. But, you know, that won’t do. So how about “unslumming” as the new term for moving someplace formerly seen as uncool? Also, makes it seem like hipsters are doing the place a favor, which admittedly may depend.

— Mat Wahlstrom, from a very hip ZIP code

Among the suggestions coming in from readers, “unslumming” will work best if the destination city is one that the average, non-hipster citizen wouldn’t consider “edgy,” by which most people mean “dangerous.” As everyone knows, inhabiting urban centers formerly considered too rough-and-tumble for the nuclear family is a young hipster’s rite of passage. Appearances can be deceiving, however, since the unslummed Ohio burgs of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo all report higher rates of violent crime than NYC, at least according to the FBI.

“Hipstopher Columbus” (thanks, Grant) would be the prototypical hipster pioneer, but Columbusing is already somewhat popular as a way to castigate the so-called “discovery” by white people of things that non-white people enjoyed perfectly well and of their own accord — such as blues music, the word “bae,” and the vast majority of the Western Hemisphere. While they don’t tend toward political correctitude, few hipsters are likely to find the 15th-century mariner a brother-in-arms.

David suggests “flannel grafting” as the process by which hipsters insert themselves as cultural scions onto the mature rootstock of sleepier cities, bringing with them the desirable traits of craft-beer appreciation and ironic barbering.

Crafty reader John thinks that “retrocation” fits the bill. His clever portmanteau of “retro” and “location” just about perfectly captures it. Enjoy your hipster swag, John.

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