Dunedin high school student Gareth McMullen is no fan of
Chances are that you have seen them. Perhaps you have spotted
them in the mall, wearing headphones around their necks,
shiny pastel coloured shoes, and absurd skinny jeans that, to
the disgust of the unfortunate witness, leave little to the
In case you aren't familiar with this trend, these people, if
one can even refer to them as such, are known as "hipsters."
In earlier days, the people we call hipsters were known as
"yuppies" or "bohemians." This subculture has attempted to
amalgamate many countercultural trends of the twentieth
century. It contains some elements of the swing movement of
the nineteen-forties, the hippie movement of the
nineteen-sixties, and the punk movement of the
However, the extent to which they have succeeded in fusing
these cliques is highly debateable, to say the least.
In the opinion of high school student Nada Crofskey-Rayner,
"They don't do any of them that well. Punk's supposed to be
standoffish, but hipsters aren't."
It's not hard to notice the failure of hipsters to amalgamate
formerly countercultural trends. The final product of their
collective endeavour has been a sad, forced mix-up of the
more superficial aspects of subcultures which they only
emulate in an attempt to alienate themselves from the people
in their environment.
The retro failure of the hipster is not the only commonly
perceived problem with this faux counterculture. Many
criticise their musical tastes for attempting to create a
false sense of exclusivity. They listen primarily to music
that is either unpopular or has passed its period of
Bands that fit the average hipster's criteria can range from
genre to genre, including techno, punk, rap, and countless
obscure subgenres to which they only listen for a twisted
feeling of superiority.
As high school student Harriet Love explains, "Hipster music
stems from bands that have ridiculous names, ridiculous
sounds, and require no talent whatsoever. It's just sounds.
Ominous tones." Harriet is by no means alone in her disgust
with the music hipsters claim to enjoy. This is one of the
primary grievances held against hipsters by their critics.
Another issue many hold with hipsters is their dress. One of
the easiest ways to distinguish hipsters from the rest of
society is their choice of clothing. Skinny jeans,
pretentious button-downs, and the classic style of glasses
that Buddy Holly started and the hipsters ruined. Often, the
glasses worn by hipsters are but empty frames and not for any
As Harriet goes on to say about hipsters' idiotic obsession
with this particular style of eyewear, "They are ruining the
lives of people with prescription glasses." Hipsters have
turned this style of imitation eyewear into a trend, and in
doing so turn those who wear prescription glasses that don't
fit this model into pariahs. Will the hipsters' corruption of
society never end?
The highly hypocritical subculture of hipsters can only be
interpreted as a blight on the face of society. They have
spread throughout the world, plaguing their environment with
their idiotic music, pretentious clothing, and narcissistic
lust for that which no one else appreciates, ironically
turning the idea of an alternative lifestyle into its own
Will they remain a perpetual nuisance, forever harassing
those who do not have the same compulsive fixation with that
which is retro and underground? Or perhaps they will
disintegrate as a clique as soon as they realise the
contradictory nature of their very existence? Only time will
- Gareth McMullen, Year 13, Logan Park High