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Curling sport fandom: Ironic or genuine appreciation?

The rules for when people just throw the term out arbitrarily

Hipsterlypmic athlete in action
Hipsterlypmic athlete in action

Hipster:

My daughter laughed at me when I said I didn’t like to watch curling because everyone else seemed to be into it. Whenever it’s on TV, the announcers always have to explain the rules and strategy to newcomers who don’t actually know how curling works. My daughter said I was a hipster. I had never heard this term before, so that doesn’t make me a hipster, right? P.S. she hangs out at Target, and I’ve heard this qualifies as well. What are the rules for when people just throw the term out arbitrarily?

— M.

I discern two distinct inquiries. One, is it hipster to not watch curling because of the tendency for non-Canadians to jump onto the curling bandwagon every winter? Two, are there any consequences for misusing the term hipster?

In order to respond to the first point, stay with me for a bit while I sketch out a rough timeline of modern curling from the hipster perspective:

1998: Curling returns to Winter Olympics after long hiatus. Hipsters pay no heed, focusing instead on hating popular Olympians in mainstream sports, particularly figure skating and snowboarding.

1999–2009: Canadians enjoy curling in relative peace. For unknown reasons, hipster awareness quietly builds in anticipation of 2010 Olympics. First recorded instances of drunken hipster “curling” contests staged in frozen alleyways across the country. Hipsters enjoy opportunity to claim solidarity with “gentle northern neighbors,” i.e. Canadians. Canadians remain ambivalent about American hipsters.

2010: First Olympics where hipsters take serious notice of curling. Hipsters declare allegiance to team Canada, often stretching the truth with claims of having been into curling “since the 90s.” First semi-official hipster curling leagues appear in midwestern hipster hubs (Madison, WI; Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN; etc.). Within six weeks, hipster curling leagues sprout up in snowless localities where inventive hipsters bend the rules

2013: Peak hipster curling fandom.

2014: Ironic hipster curling fandom spills over into genuine appreciation of the sport. Hipsters speak knowledgeably about curling during 2014 Winter Olympics. Impressed by savvy hipsters, mainstream everyone else starts piling on. Suburban moms post avidly on Facebook about favorite curlers. Too many dank curling memes to count.

2018: Hipsters mostly over it. Too many people annoyingly obsessed with serious-faced Korean curler Kim Eun-jung and her Pokemon socks.

As you can see, the hipster-curling relationship has come full circle in the past decade. Your current stance on curling is very hipster provided you used to be into it, but now you’re not. If you’re not feeling the curl on account of pure contrarianism, that might even be more hipster, but I’m honestly not sure.

Fortunately, arbitrary use of the term hipster is not punishable under either the California Unwritten Hipster Code or the federal Hipness in Trending Act — two laws you’ve probably never heard of before. If someone misuses the term, real hipsters take no offense because they know better, and non-hipsters don’t know anything is wrong because they don’t know better. In either case, nobody’s harmed, and no harm, no foul.

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Hipsterlypmic athlete in action
Hipsterlypmic athlete in action

Hipster:

My daughter laughed at me when I said I didn’t like to watch curling because everyone else seemed to be into it. Whenever it’s on TV, the announcers always have to explain the rules and strategy to newcomers who don’t actually know how curling works. My daughter said I was a hipster. I had never heard this term before, so that doesn’t make me a hipster, right? P.S. she hangs out at Target, and I’ve heard this qualifies as well. What are the rules for when people just throw the term out arbitrarily?

— M.

I discern two distinct inquiries. One, is it hipster to not watch curling because of the tendency for non-Canadians to jump onto the curling bandwagon every winter? Two, are there any consequences for misusing the term hipster?

In order to respond to the first point, stay with me for a bit while I sketch out a rough timeline of modern curling from the hipster perspective:

1998: Curling returns to Winter Olympics after long hiatus. Hipsters pay no heed, focusing instead on hating popular Olympians in mainstream sports, particularly figure skating and snowboarding.

1999–2009: Canadians enjoy curling in relative peace. For unknown reasons, hipster awareness quietly builds in anticipation of 2010 Olympics. First recorded instances of drunken hipster “curling” contests staged in frozen alleyways across the country. Hipsters enjoy opportunity to claim solidarity with “gentle northern neighbors,” i.e. Canadians. Canadians remain ambivalent about American hipsters.

2010: First Olympics where hipsters take serious notice of curling. Hipsters declare allegiance to team Canada, often stretching the truth with claims of having been into curling “since the 90s.” First semi-official hipster curling leagues appear in midwestern hipster hubs (Madison, WI; Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN; etc.). Within six weeks, hipster curling leagues sprout up in snowless localities where inventive hipsters bend the rules

2013: Peak hipster curling fandom.

2014: Ironic hipster curling fandom spills over into genuine appreciation of the sport. Hipsters speak knowledgeably about curling during 2014 Winter Olympics. Impressed by savvy hipsters, mainstream everyone else starts piling on. Suburban moms post avidly on Facebook about favorite curlers. Too many dank curling memes to count.

2018: Hipsters mostly over it. Too many people annoyingly obsessed with serious-faced Korean curler Kim Eun-jung and her Pokemon socks.

As you can see, the hipster-curling relationship has come full circle in the past decade. Your current stance on curling is very hipster provided you used to be into it, but now you’re not. If you’re not feeling the curl on account of pure contrarianism, that might even be more hipster, but I’m honestly not sure.

Fortunately, arbitrary use of the term hipster is not punishable under either the California Unwritten Hipster Code or the federal Hipness in Trending Act — two laws you’ve probably never heard of before. If someone misuses the term, real hipsters take no offense because they know better, and non-hipsters don’t know anything is wrong because they don’t know better. In either case, nobody’s harmed, and no harm, no foul.

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