The look of universal equivocation
  • The look of universal equivocation
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Dear Hipster:

Sadly, I must inform you that shrimp are crustaceans, not molluscs as you stated. I’m certain I’m not the only amateur marine biologist giving you crap about this. I enjoy your column, though. How old is “too old” to be a hipster? Is it just a state of mind or do you have to wear trendy plaid shirts and skinny jeans with chukka boots? I ride my bicycle, have a goatee, and enjoy local beers. Is that enough?

— Honzo

Given that you actually were the only person who wrote in, I wonder: does that make you feel better, or worse? Was it a joke you didn’t get or an oversight so slight that it escaped notice by all but the most observant?

Could honestly be either way. I’m not 100 percent sure myself.

I think you technically asked three questions, to which I answer: Never. Yes to both...and...maybe? While I answer your last question, try to picture me shrugging my shoulders and doing that thing with my eyebrows that people do when they equivocate; you know, kind of scrunching up my face like someone handed me a scrumptious bon-bon but it was actually a chocolate-covered brussels sprout.

Maybe it will be helpful to imagine a sliding scale of hipsterness. At one extreme, you have the undeniable hipster: the kale-munching, pour-over-coffee-slurping, obscure-music-listening freelance writer wearing skinny jeans and a vintage tweed jacket with sweet elbow patches. You know, me, more or less.

At the other extreme you have, like, the least hipster person imaginable; maybe an IRS tax auditor who drives one of those baby Hummers, lives for the weekend, and unironically listens to Nickelback.

Video:

Louis CK on racism and forklifts

Somewhere along the spectrum of hipsterness, nestled smugly between those two extremes, rests the threshold beyond which one is certifiably hipster. Unfortunately — much like the line separating that Louis C.K. joke about the forklift and that one white girl who wore Halloween blackface again this year — nobody knows where it is till it’s been crossed.

You know hipster when you see it.

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