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The Dale Earnhardt on a Kia “upgrade”

I mean, if it’s more expensive, it has to be an upgrade, right?

Unupgradable coffee?
Unupgradable coffee?

Dear Hipster:

I was looking at some handmade furniture the other day from a self-described “artisan” who doesn’t have a website or a storefront, only an Instagram presence, and I was like, “Oh, that’s really just a hipster version of a carpenter.” It’s the same as how a “mixologist” is the hipster version of a “bartender.” That got me wondering if the “hipster version” of something is basically an upgrade package for humans. If you think about it, a rum and coke from a bartender might run you like $7, but it’s somehow $13.50 when a mixologist makes it. I mean, if it’s more expensive, it has to be an upgrade, right? It would be sort of like how you can go to the Kia dealer and buy the base model, but if you really want to get spendy you can upgrade to the Racecar package, or whatever, that has the cool paint job with racing stripes and maybe a picture of Dale Earnhardt on it somewhere. If that’s true, what would be the hipster version of a janitor, accountant, or kindergarten teacher? And if there is a hipster version of all that, is there anything for which there isn’t a hipster version?

— Pondering in Pacific Beach

Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s get one thing straight: Dale Earnhardt... on a Kia? C’mon now. You and I both know that’s not happening anytime soon.

There might be some people who disagree with me, and who consider the hipster version of anything to be an upgrade they neither asked for nor wanted in the first place, but which may have become the de facto standard and only option available. You know the kind of people I mean. I may be a little biased on this one, but of course the hipster version of anything counts as an upgrade over “stock,” although I confess I’m a little more comfortable thinking of “upgrades” in terms of places and things as opposed to people. For example, any hipster coffee is an upgrade over that lukewarm stuff they have at the corner store. That is to say, unless the corner store in question is a 7/11 and you’re talking about that blueberry coffee they have in the morning. That stuff is a miracle.

I don’t know if the same concept works so well with people. For example, you may want your hipster artisan when you’re buying a wedding gift for the couple who has everything (except a TV or anything too “materialistic”) in their house, but when your deck falls down and you’ve got a big party planned in a couple weeks, you need a standard-issue carpenter who can show up with four guys and get shit done over a weekend.

This is probably more of a “difference of degree” question, and you want to look at the person doing the things (because hipsters can do anything) rather than the things being done. I can’t say an accountant who specializes in keeping the books for Etsy entrepreneurs is an upgrade over some bigshot from PricewaterhouseCoopers, and I can certainly see a typical hipster being stoked about working custodial services at a cool location (maybe a music venue) that comes with benefits like admission discounts. If you can think it, there’s probably a hipster getting paid to do it somewhere. However, if I’m being fair, I think all kindergarten teachers are a little bit hipster at heart. You have to be pretty hipster to list expertise in finger painting and macaroni crafting on your resume.

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Unupgradable coffee?
Unupgradable coffee?

Dear Hipster:

I was looking at some handmade furniture the other day from a self-described “artisan” who doesn’t have a website or a storefront, only an Instagram presence, and I was like, “Oh, that’s really just a hipster version of a carpenter.” It’s the same as how a “mixologist” is the hipster version of a “bartender.” That got me wondering if the “hipster version” of something is basically an upgrade package for humans. If you think about it, a rum and coke from a bartender might run you like $7, but it’s somehow $13.50 when a mixologist makes it. I mean, if it’s more expensive, it has to be an upgrade, right? It would be sort of like how you can go to the Kia dealer and buy the base model, but if you really want to get spendy you can upgrade to the Racecar package, or whatever, that has the cool paint job with racing stripes and maybe a picture of Dale Earnhardt on it somewhere. If that’s true, what would be the hipster version of a janitor, accountant, or kindergarten teacher? And if there is a hipster version of all that, is there anything for which there isn’t a hipster version?

— Pondering in Pacific Beach

Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s get one thing straight: Dale Earnhardt... on a Kia? C’mon now. You and I both know that’s not happening anytime soon.

There might be some people who disagree with me, and who consider the hipster version of anything to be an upgrade they neither asked for nor wanted in the first place, but which may have become the de facto standard and only option available. You know the kind of people I mean. I may be a little biased on this one, but of course the hipster version of anything counts as an upgrade over “stock,” although I confess I’m a little more comfortable thinking of “upgrades” in terms of places and things as opposed to people. For example, any hipster coffee is an upgrade over that lukewarm stuff they have at the corner store. That is to say, unless the corner store in question is a 7/11 and you’re talking about that blueberry coffee they have in the morning. That stuff is a miracle.

I don’t know if the same concept works so well with people. For example, you may want your hipster artisan when you’re buying a wedding gift for the couple who has everything (except a TV or anything too “materialistic”) in their house, but when your deck falls down and you’ve got a big party planned in a couple weeks, you need a standard-issue carpenter who can show up with four guys and get shit done over a weekend.

This is probably more of a “difference of degree” question, and you want to look at the person doing the things (because hipsters can do anything) rather than the things being done. I can’t say an accountant who specializes in keeping the books for Etsy entrepreneurs is an upgrade over some bigshot from PricewaterhouseCoopers, and I can certainly see a typical hipster being stoked about working custodial services at a cool location (maybe a music venue) that comes with benefits like admission discounts. If you can think it, there’s probably a hipster getting paid to do it somewhere. However, if I’m being fair, I think all kindergarten teachers are a little bit hipster at heart. You have to be pretty hipster to list expertise in finger painting and macaroni crafting on your resume.

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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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