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The United States Department of Agriculture’s 160-degree pork guideline

Or when mainstream society started catching up with what hip, in-the-know people had known for years

Keep it cool, people.
Keep it cool, people.

Dear Hipster:

Is there a moment that you can identify as the birth of the modern hipster?

— Dick, Bankers Hill

Well, as I have said before, the hipster is eternal. There have always been hipsters, and there always shall be. However, in an effort to answer your question rather than dodge the inquiry entirely, with the benefit of hindsight, we can place an exact date on the watershed moment for contemporary hipsterism: May 24, 2011, when the United States Department of Agriculture revised its recommendation for cooking pork.

Prior to that date, the federal agency vaguely in charge of American food safety had recommended cooking all pork products to a blistering internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. For much of the 20th century, perhaps no single food better represented the bland, suburban drudgery of American cooking at its worst than the dry pork chop, Shake ‘n’ Baked into oblivion with an internal temperature often far exceeding the 160-degree guideline “to be on the safe side” of foodborne illness. If you were lucky, maybe you got some applesauce to moisten an otherwise unpalatably dry cut of “the other white meat.” The government’s blessing of criminally overcooked pork lent credibility and legitimacy to the practice of being boring and living a boring life where you ate boring things.

The USDA’s 2011 rejection of the 160-degree guideline was a sign of mainstream society catching up with what hip, in-the-know people had known for years, and, since that date, the hipsterfication of American society has done nothing but pick up momentum. Prior to May 24, 2011, mainstream Americans regarded hipsters with skepticism. They were essentially waiting for all the hipsters to suffer some fatal and unforeseen consequence of drinking kombucha, eating various forms of undercooked meat, and smoking artisanal strains of marijuana with idiotic names. None of these things proved deadly. Quite the opposite, in fact. After Uncle Sam bestowed his patriarchal blessing on hipster lifestyle choices like eating medium rare pork chops, even the most skeptical hipster-haters in places like Iowa could get on board. The rest, as they say, is history — history we are in the process of writing.

Dear Hipster:

Why is it cute when hipster girls wear cowboy boots (cowgirl boots?), but it would be totally weird for a hipster guy to wear cowboy boots without being an actual cowboy?

— Tess

I think it’s because there is virtually zero chance the young hipster girl attending Coachella in her sundress and cowgirl boots will be mistaken for an actual cowboy. On the other hand, your average hipster dude might need to be careful about adding a set of Tony Lamas to the wardrobe because, after you factor in the flannel shirt and the tendency to admire Sturgill Simpson, the aesthetic divide between hipster and cowboy starts looking pretty narrow. It simply would not do, as the cheeky Brits say, for a hipster to be mistaken for a cowboy. Cowboys are, after all, what hipster guru Tom Robbins called “dour-faced, stiff-minded, suck-butt, kick-butt, buzz-cut, macho dickheads” in Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates. I rather doubt this description impugns the people who actually herd cattle for a living and ride horses. It is more a dig at the wannabes who, as Robbins says, “mostly just get in the way” of hipsters going about their business of making the world a better place.

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Keep it cool, people.
Keep it cool, people.

Dear Hipster:

Is there a moment that you can identify as the birth of the modern hipster?

— Dick, Bankers Hill

Well, as I have said before, the hipster is eternal. There have always been hipsters, and there always shall be. However, in an effort to answer your question rather than dodge the inquiry entirely, with the benefit of hindsight, we can place an exact date on the watershed moment for contemporary hipsterism: May 24, 2011, when the United States Department of Agriculture revised its recommendation for cooking pork.

Prior to that date, the federal agency vaguely in charge of American food safety had recommended cooking all pork products to a blistering internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. For much of the 20th century, perhaps no single food better represented the bland, suburban drudgery of American cooking at its worst than the dry pork chop, Shake ‘n’ Baked into oblivion with an internal temperature often far exceeding the 160-degree guideline “to be on the safe side” of foodborne illness. If you were lucky, maybe you got some applesauce to moisten an otherwise unpalatably dry cut of “the other white meat.” The government’s blessing of criminally overcooked pork lent credibility and legitimacy to the practice of being boring and living a boring life where you ate boring things.

The USDA’s 2011 rejection of the 160-degree guideline was a sign of mainstream society catching up with what hip, in-the-know people had known for years, and, since that date, the hipsterfication of American society has done nothing but pick up momentum. Prior to May 24, 2011, mainstream Americans regarded hipsters with skepticism. They were essentially waiting for all the hipsters to suffer some fatal and unforeseen consequence of drinking kombucha, eating various forms of undercooked meat, and smoking artisanal strains of marijuana with idiotic names. None of these things proved deadly. Quite the opposite, in fact. After Uncle Sam bestowed his patriarchal blessing on hipster lifestyle choices like eating medium rare pork chops, even the most skeptical hipster-haters in places like Iowa could get on board. The rest, as they say, is history — history we are in the process of writing.

Dear Hipster:

Why is it cute when hipster girls wear cowboy boots (cowgirl boots?), but it would be totally weird for a hipster guy to wear cowboy boots without being an actual cowboy?

— Tess

I think it’s because there is virtually zero chance the young hipster girl attending Coachella in her sundress and cowgirl boots will be mistaken for an actual cowboy. On the other hand, your average hipster dude might need to be careful about adding a set of Tony Lamas to the wardrobe because, after you factor in the flannel shirt and the tendency to admire Sturgill Simpson, the aesthetic divide between hipster and cowboy starts looking pretty narrow. It simply would not do, as the cheeky Brits say, for a hipster to be mistaken for a cowboy. Cowboys are, after all, what hipster guru Tom Robbins called “dour-faced, stiff-minded, suck-butt, kick-butt, buzz-cut, macho dickheads” in Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates. I rather doubt this description impugns the people who actually herd cattle for a living and ride horses. It is more a dig at the wannabes who, as Robbins says, “mostly just get in the way” of hipsters going about their business of making the world a better place.

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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
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