Kamala Harris
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Dear Hipster:

Do we put 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and current California Senator Kamala Harris in the hipster hall of fame for apparently having been into both Snoop Dogg and Tupac before either rapper had released any music, let alone before either one was cool?

— Prince

I think this is actually an important hipster cultural moment; one worth dwelling on at great length and with as much snark as I can muster, but let’s get one thing straight first: any purported “scandal” here is basically fake news. “Ask a Hipster” may not be a bastion of investigative journalism (it never claimed to be), but my colleagues here care about the facts, so I’ll do my best to avoid throwing gas on a particularly ridiculous fire.

OK. Having dispensed with disclaimers and diatribes, let me double down on that. This is ridiculous. Yeah. That’s right. This whole thing is ridiculous... and yet I cannot help but feel strongly proudshamed over it.

The ridiculousness here requires very little explanation. The most influential cable news network in the country somehow feels compelled to fabricate a story about how it caught a politician fibbing about hip hop, because, you know, that’s somehow important. This absolutely captivates people, and, next thing you know, every media outlet in the nation seems compelled to pile on. AYFKM? This is embarrassing for even the most ironically detached hipster because, if this were a joke, it would not be irony, it would be a farce.

Do we care about, say, Candidate Harris’s spotty record on potential constitutional civil rights violations as the San Francisco County District Attorney, and, later, Attorney General of California? Do we question her tendency to deliver moving speeches in lieu of policy proposals? Are we Californians bothered by Ms. Harris’s abandoning California’s Congressional prerogatives to campaign full time — do you even Senate, bro?

Naaaah. Checkmate, meaningful discourse.

And yet, in some small way, this is a big moment for hipsters everywhere. You’ve got a person whose viability as a presidential candidate may well hinge on her credibility as a connoisseur of both primo ganja and vintage hip hop. Fox basically called Kamala Harris a poser. At this point, she’s a pair of skinny jeans and a vehement stance on pour over vs. aeropress coffee preparation away from shamelessly pandering to the hipster demographic. Will there be campaign rallies at dive bars? Will Fox News’s next bombshell be — gasp! — she once spoiled the aesthetic of a fixed-gear bicycle by putting a brake on it? Will the Arcade Fire perform at her inauguration?

I can’t deny I’m chuffed as nuts to see the country scrutinizing the issues that have been so important to hipsters since at least, say, 2007 or so. If we’re living in a world where presidential bonafides include being legit A.F. and not a poser, then I’m declaring my 2020 candidacy, effective immediately. There must be an obscure running mate out there for me of whom nobody has ever heard. (I’m open to your suggestions.)

In the end, however, it’s a bittersweet victory. Treating the world like one, big joke is all well and good till the joke’s on you. My pride in having the fate of the free world potentially rest on a piece of music trivia is harshly tempered by a nagging doubt that history will, rightly or wrongly, blame me and my millennial kind of all of this. Hence, proudshamed.

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