Hipsters: An encroaching menace

Dunedin high school student Gareth McMullen is no fan of hipsters.

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 imagination. 

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 nineteen-eighties.

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 mainstream success.

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 practical purpose.

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 painful cliché.

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 tell.

- Gareth McMullen, Year 13, Logan Park High School 

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