Consider the following a sort of follow-up to your recent missive about weather and seasons. Which is the more hipster destination, the desert or the beach?
— Dale J.
"I don't like sand"
Hmmm, both certainly have their hipster advantages and failings, with more of the latter coming to mind. The desert is best known for deadly snakes, deadlier heat, and high strung types with more dirtbikes than teeth. The beach has tourists, tourists, tourists, more tourists, some mean locals, and meaner stingrays. Note the absence of typically hipster attractions in those lists. Before you jump to concluding all hipsters hate the beach and desert the way Anakin Skywalker hates sand and sandy places, let’s keep two things in mind. First, although hipsters stand accused of ruining many things, they have never ruined anything so badly as Hayden Christensen ruined Star Wars. Second, hipsters actually like certain things about both the beach and desert, and they have successfully combined those partial favoritisms into a uniquely hipster love of Palm Springs. The stark beauty (such as it is) of the desert, tempered by the soothing influence of kidney shaped pools and fresh martinis, relieves world-weary hipsters of their 21st-century burdens much better than either the too-crowded beach or the too-inhospitable desert can do alone.
I know you always say contemporary hipsters are at heart creative types, coloring even simple service jobs with their personal styles and flairs, you might call it, finding the artistic expression locked away in a martini, a latte, or a straight razor shave. That’s all well and good, and I support this in theory, but I think there’s an inherent conflict with another hipster strategy, namely, being super retro and borrowing heavily from the past for everything from fashion to music. How can you be creative if you’re just rehashing somebody else’s material (usually from the eighties, or so it seems)?
— Phillip C.
Peter Schilling's "Major Tom"
Well, you’re certainly right about how much we hipster types like to reinterpret the past. It’s kind of our thing. But I’m not so sure loving retro stuff actually undercuts creativity, because it comes from a place of love and admiration. Think of it like a really good cover song, which everybody loves, hipster or otherwise.
E.g., Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home),” a seminal 1980s pop tune, and a fantastic song; but that old Shiny Toy Guns’ cover (made for a Lincoln commercial, of all ridiculous reasons) is unquestionably superior in every way, and I don’t even like Shiny Toy Guns. Part of the reason it’s so good is the way the chorus hits and then peaks, and peaks, and peaks again till you’re straight up ready to blast into space and float weightless through the endless black nothing. But the best part is that it’s a tender loving valentine to 1980s pop, free of vindictiveness towards a dubious decade of bad economic policy, questionable synth tunes, and so much damn hairspray.
Shiny Toy Guns covers "Major Tom"
For the many readers with no idea what specifically obscure nonsense I’m talking about, let me put it this way. Someday, future hipsters will grab something from right now, maybe a song, maybe a haircut, or maybe just a dank meme about Spongebob Squarepants. Whatever it is, they will pick it up and they will run with it as something amazing and beautiful grabbed out of time and unfettered by context, and I promise you and I will love it.