Photograph by Ryan Lackey/Flickr
Sealand: worth the effort?
You’re probably too young to remember Sealand. Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies, these kooks had seized an old oil rig (or something to that effect) off the coast of England, and declared it a sovereign nation populated by a single family. Anyways, it was on the news for a good week or so because, at one point, some ne’er-do-wells actually kidnapped one of the “royal family” and tried to take over the “island.” The Sealanders staged a one-man “war” to wrest control of the island away from the usurpers, and all of us watching at home had a good chuckle over the whole thing, although I suppose the kidnapped member of the royal family didn’t find it very funny. Anyways, I’ve always thought it would be pretty cool to establish a private nation, where the rules could be whatever I, in my role as supreme potentate, decreed them to be. Of course, I would never actually go to all the trouble of hunting down some unclaimed landmass (do those even exist anymore?) and founding a new nation. The work is probably disproportionate to the reward, and there’s always the risk of being invaded by a country with a standing army. But, hey, if I’ve learned one thing from Ask a Hipster, it’s that sometimes things are worth doing expressly because they require extraordinary labor. So, if you were hipster enough to take the trouble to start a sovereign hipster nation (a Hipsteropolis?) what would it look like?
I agree that doing things the needlessly difficult way is part of the hipster stock and trade. Why buy a pint of Guinness when you can spend $78 at the homebrew shop to ferment your own stout that ends up tasting exactly like you’d expect it to taste when you “experiment” by adding wasabi and soy sauce in the hopes of creating a “sushi stout”? Maybe because life is all about the journey, not the destination. Maybe because store-bought beer is poor bait when you’re fishing for compliments from your friends. Maybe both. That being the case, I must admit the more appropriately hipster approach to creating a hipster micronation stops short of seizing contested lands. I, for one, would be much more likely to team up with a select group of friends at an extended midweek happy hour, draft a constitution, have the most artistic person in the group sketch a coat of arms on the back of the beer-stained receipt, commit the common hipster tort of drunkenly and inadvertently appropriating the server’s favorite ballpoint pen, and then realize it’s a work night and tomorrow is going to be a long day.
One thing is for sure, though. There’s really only a single, non-negotiable, two-pronged requirement for a sovereign hipster paradise: (1) legalizing pot; and (2) strictly prosecuting and vigorously punishing the crime of littering. This symbolically encapsulates the philosophical principle that society ought to focus on making the world better for all of us, and expend infinitely less effort preventing people from living their lives the way they want to when it isn’t really hurting anyone. So long as Hipsteropolis reflects this basic maxim, hipster society shall flourish.