Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Hep to the jive

How “hep” and “hepster” worked their way into the American lexicon courtesy of jazz and swing culture

Billie Holiday was a hepster with a dog named Mister
Billie Holiday was a hepster with a dog named Mister

Dear Hipster:

Growing up we used the term hep instead of hip, as in I’m hep, a real hep cat, or hep to the jive. So, shouldn’t it be Hepster? Asking for a very hep friend.

— DG in OB

Maybe once, but no longer. Although I feel I may have gone into this a time or two, it’s always worth circling back to the beginning. Time was, the word was hep, and hep was the word. “Hep” and “hepster” worked their way into the American lexicon courtesy of jazz and swing culture, and the insider’s cant of luminaries such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday, who would have bestowed this moniker only upon cool proto-hipsters making their various ways about the scene of the era.

Over the years, “hep” became “hip.” We’re not sure exactly how or when, but by 1948, Anatole Broyard had published “Portrait of a Hipster” in Partisan Review, his attempt at understanding what he called “the illegitimate son of the Lost Generation,” and the rest was hipstory. I think if you go around saying, “I wish all these hepsters would stop ‘discovering’ my favorite neighborhood bars,” people might get confused. Then again, maybe you could bring it back. That would be pretty hipster of you.

Dear Hipster:

I, along with everyone else, or so it seems, have been sucked headlong into the world of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. It’s a little weird that I like watching the show as much as I do, because I already live a very clean, minimally cluttered life. In fact, most of my friends who also watch the show are notoriously clean and tidy already, so I know I’m not the only one. Now, I feel a little guilty, because it’s like I’m experiencing some kind of schadenfreude at watching messy people clean up their lives. Is this some kind of hipster humblebragging on my part, or merely garden variety rubbernecking at someone else’s calamity?

— Jane, Hillcrest

You go right ahead and enjoy. For me, this mainstream popularity in getting rid of all your extra stuff has been a long time coming. Take a look at basically every hipster design aesthetic since ever (and by “ever” I mean roughly “2006”) and you see the same unifying theme: minimize, minimize, minimize. Hipster coffee shops rejected the cluttered, bohemian aesthetic of the 1990s for the now-familiar look of open spaces, blonde wood, and edison bulbs in bare sockets. Apple won hipster loyalties by uncluttering their devices of basically everything, including buttons. And can you think of a simpler, more minimal way to get around than a fixed-gear bicycle?

I suspect you feel much the same as I do, and you get a kind of validation from seeing this minimalist aesthetic reach into the mainstream heart of American life, where people have so much stuff they can’t park in their garages, and often need to rent off-site storage units so they can give the stuff they don’t use a house of its own. If more people want to wake up and realize that — here’s a shocker — they aren’t actually defined by the things they own, well, that sparks joy in our collective hipster hearts. It’s kind of a bummer that everybody was making fun of minimalist hipster stuff for the past decade, but all’s well that ends well.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Covid-19 casts a pall over San Diego political money

Barbara Bry's daughter lends $5000
Next Article

Pandemic dating smalltalk

Stop talking about current events to the extent they concern public health in any way shape or form whatsoever
Billie Holiday was a hepster with a dog named Mister
Billie Holiday was a hepster with a dog named Mister

Dear Hipster:

Growing up we used the term hep instead of hip, as in I’m hep, a real hep cat, or hep to the jive. So, shouldn’t it be Hepster? Asking for a very hep friend.

— DG in OB

Maybe once, but no longer. Although I feel I may have gone into this a time or two, it’s always worth circling back to the beginning. Time was, the word was hep, and hep was the word. “Hep” and “hepster” worked their way into the American lexicon courtesy of jazz and swing culture, and the insider’s cant of luminaries such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday, who would have bestowed this moniker only upon cool proto-hipsters making their various ways about the scene of the era.

Over the years, “hep” became “hip.” We’re not sure exactly how or when, but by 1948, Anatole Broyard had published “Portrait of a Hipster” in Partisan Review, his attempt at understanding what he called “the illegitimate son of the Lost Generation,” and the rest was hipstory. I think if you go around saying, “I wish all these hepsters would stop ‘discovering’ my favorite neighborhood bars,” people might get confused. Then again, maybe you could bring it back. That would be pretty hipster of you.

Dear Hipster:

I, along with everyone else, or so it seems, have been sucked headlong into the world of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. It’s a little weird that I like watching the show as much as I do, because I already live a very clean, minimally cluttered life. In fact, most of my friends who also watch the show are notoriously clean and tidy already, so I know I’m not the only one. Now, I feel a little guilty, because it’s like I’m experiencing some kind of schadenfreude at watching messy people clean up their lives. Is this some kind of hipster humblebragging on my part, or merely garden variety rubbernecking at someone else’s calamity?

— Jane, Hillcrest

You go right ahead and enjoy. For me, this mainstream popularity in getting rid of all your extra stuff has been a long time coming. Take a look at basically every hipster design aesthetic since ever (and by “ever” I mean roughly “2006”) and you see the same unifying theme: minimize, minimize, minimize. Hipster coffee shops rejected the cluttered, bohemian aesthetic of the 1990s for the now-familiar look of open spaces, blonde wood, and edison bulbs in bare sockets. Apple won hipster loyalties by uncluttering their devices of basically everything, including buttons. And can you think of a simpler, more minimal way to get around than a fixed-gear bicycle?

I suspect you feel much the same as I do, and you get a kind of validation from seeing this minimalist aesthetic reach into the mainstream heart of American life, where people have so much stuff they can’t park in their garages, and often need to rent off-site storage units so they can give the stuff they don’t use a house of its own. If more people want to wake up and realize that — here’s a shocker — they aren’t actually defined by the things they own, well, that sparks joy in our collective hipster hearts. It’s kind of a bummer that everybody was making fun of minimalist hipster stuff for the past decade, but all’s well that ends well.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Alison Tummond: preventing summer’s silent killer

“Anytime you have a pool, or a bathtub, or a toilet, or a bucket, a child can drown.”
Next Article

Pandemic dating smalltalk

Stop talking about current events to the extent they concern public health in any way shape or form whatsoever
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close