At Last: American Hipster Kills Hipsterism Dead
We didn't need any more evidence that the hipster aesthetic and lifestyle were firmly implanted in the U.S. mainstream. We've known for a while that the whole package -- the fixie bike, the skinny jean, the knit cap or cheap-ass short-brim, the "ironic" facial hair, the black-frame glasses, the PBR -- make about as much of a statement as a set of new tires from Costco.
quattrostagioni / Flickr John Q. Hipster models "the new normal."
But today we got more evidence. It came in the form of
an obituary a press release about three shows to be released later this month on a YouTube channel called American Hipster. About the only thing that could scream "OVER!" louder than this is a Martha Stewart special on hipster cuisine or a line of plaid shirts from Mel Gibson.
"American Hipster explores what it really means to be cool," says the
obituary press release.
We'll just let that one hang there for a minute. Go ahead, read it a second time. It's worth it.
obituary press release continues: "'Hipsterism' is a growing trend in the U.S. that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon."
We agree. It isn't going anywhere. Except to Target.
Speaking of targets, American Hipster (based on its trailers, embedded below) can't tell quite where it's aiming. First, this stuff has high production value. Really. These look like trailers for shows you'd see on the Travel Channel or Comedy Central -- or maybe even PBS, in one case. But the whole hipster thing is about low production value -- like something put together with a bicycle pump and a GAF View-Master between nine people sharing a two-bedroom Potrero Hill flat. So who are these shows are aimed at? Middle-class Oklahoma Colorado Wyoming Dakota? In other words, the only people left who've never seen a hipster in real life and have never traveled farther than the Best Buy out on I-10? That's our guess. Which means the skinny jean is attempting to muscle its way into the Mount Rushmore of American culture that includes baseball, hot dogs, mom, and apple pie. Which means looking like a hipster is about the safest thing on the planet.
The first show, American Hipster Presents, is a documentary series that's very serious about hipster-influenced art, fashion, food, and music. The series profiles cities including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Austin, and New Orleans. (Brooklyn! Where's Brooklyn?) The series "explores the passions of American tastemakers." If by "American tastemakers" they mean "trust-fund babies," then they're on track.
From there it gets confusing. The second show, Hipster Grandmas, contains two faux-old ladies (one who is a young woman, the other "her gay BFF") bitching about how "old" hipsterism is, and how they were doing it before anyone. This seems like a straight-up parody. But go back to that American Hipster Presents trailer. It seems as serious as any documentary Ken Burns ever made. If the hipster grandmas are, in fact, a parody act, and the real act of hipsterism is based largely on parodying the real world through so many ironic acts, then this is a double negative and should have already thrown itself -- and all hipsters -- into another dimension. No such luck.
The third show leaves orbit and heads for deep space. It's called Max Movie Reviews. It has a "talking hipster baby" named "Maximus" who (it says here) will review movies. It's some guy's (non-ironic) mustache and mouth superimposed on the face of a kid who's probably not old enough to speak. That joke goes from "not really that amusing in the first place" to "turn it off!" within the 17-second duration of the trailer. To expect someone to watch more -- and on a weekly basis -- sounds less like entertainment (or even parody) and more like a sentence imposed by a particularly cruel judge.
"He'll change you ... after we change him," says the
obituary press release.
Not if we change the channel first.
[disclaimer: If the whole thing is a joke, we don't get it.]