The final installment (for now…) of my dirty hipster dozen. Thanks for indulging my recently re-awakened fascination with all things hipster (and excuse the momentary breach of my antiblog’s “no irony” policy… I promise that my interest in this stuff is as earnest as hipster scholarship can possibly be!).
9) The Ex-pat
Otherwise known as the jet-setting international kid or the hostel-hopping backpacker, the Ex-pat hipsters are those who can’t stay in one place for more than a year. They spend summers in Australia, winters in Chile, and spring breaks in Spain. Their passports are prized possessions, and full or exotic stamps. These hipsters are typically multi-lingual and well versed in international relations. They work hard and spend almost all of their money on traveling, though often they combine work and travel by getting jobs or internships abroad. They are frequently big on humanitarian causes, and often do stints in Africa or other Third World countries. They are wayfaring, Lost in Translation-type existentialists who lack any sense of “home.” Sidenote: this particular brand of hipster is disproportionately high in Christendom, what with the globetrotting, YWAM-esque missions sensibilities and all…
- Fashion: Backpacker/safari/European. Jeans, hiking boots, all-weather outerwear. L.L. Bean for the preppies in the lot. Thrifty cheapness (H&M) for the others.
- Music: All about transition and changing moods, and typically more international in scope than other hipsters. European folk, French ambient, etc… Air, Blur, Ray Lamontagne, The Frames, The Jesus and Mary Chain, M83.
- Movies: Never really in one place long enough to see a lot of movies—more about DVDs-on-laptop-while-riding-trains. Even so, they do have a soft spot for road movies and cinema that ponders things like time and impermanence. Favorite directors; Richard Linklater, Yasujiro Ozu, Sofia Coppola.
- Celebs of this kind; Ethan Hawke, Ewan McGregor, Chelsea Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Prince William.
10) The Activist
Hipsterdom has long been tied to that most expressive rite of democratic passage: protest. In the 60s the cause was clear: the Vietnam War. In the 80s and especially the 90s, the causes became much more diverse and decentralized amid the explosive information age. Today, hipster activism is usually anti-war or anti-globalization, or otherwise economic in nature (fair trade, third-world debt, etc). Activist hipsters make their voice heard in many other social causes as well: urban poverty, education, civil rights, etc. They take pride in being “in solidarity” with the trampled-on and disadvantaged in life, and often live in the midst of them. Though not nearly as violent or lawless as their Vietnam-era forbears, these activists are certainly passionate and feisty, especially during elections, summits, or large political gatherings.
- Fashion: Che Guevera chic (formerly turtleneck-and-beret mod chic). Sometimes militaristic, lots of army-surplus, t-shirts with hand-written messages or pictures, etc… Varies a lot though, as Activist hipsters come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds.
- Music: Political-minded rock vis-à-vis Rage Against the Machine, or some of the more retro, Vietnam-era protest acts. Any music remotely resembling subversive political messaging is welcome. Radiohead, Gorillaz, Bob Dylan, Nirvana.
- Movies: Pop-expose documentaries are big, as in Michael Moore or anything from Participant Productions. Movies with messages of something to say politically are preferred over neutral entertainment. Favorite directors: Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, Walter Salles, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach.
- Celebs of this kind: Leonardo DiCaprio, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Rosario Dawson, Alec Baldwin, Green Day.
11) The Health Nut
This type of hipster might trace its origins to the hippie communes that dotted the countryside during the 60s rebellion against McDonalds consumerism. The organic, “live off the land,” “we hate preservatives” attitude of these hippies is alive and well in today’s assortment of “tight-abs and Power Bar” health junkies. These are the hipsters who run a lot, frequent stores like GNC and Wild Oats, and participate in the aerobic fitness craze du jour (pilates, yoga, tai-chi, etc). They enjoy the outdoors and shun most television or “couch-potato” behavior. Mostly they just look really tanned and toned all the time, and pair off among themselves when it comes to dating (because who else can live up to those standards?) Places like Boulder (Colorado) and the Pacific Northwest are the breeding grounds for this hip phenom.
- Fashion: The latest in sportswear and comfortable running/cross-training shoes. Eddie Bauer, North Face, Nike, etc. Lots of fleece and outdoorsy-fabrics. Sunglasses tend toward the wrap-around, ski styles. Beanies and visors are the headgear of choice.
- Music: Hodge-podge. Tends towards mid-level, harmless alt-pop like Keane, Coldplay, The Shins, with occasional interest in shimmering psychedelia to the tune of The Flaming Lips or Polyphonic Spree. For workout-inspiration, however, lively rap and hard-rock are allowed: Jurassic Five, Linkin Park, Jay-Z, etc.
- Movies: See Yuppie, with a bit more of a classy sports-movie/inspirational twist. Obscure sports documentaries like Into the Void, Murderball, Spellbound, etc are favorites. Foreign and specialty films are preferred over mindless couch-potato fodder.
- Celebs of this kind: David Beckham, most young Olympic stars, Lance Armstrong, Matthew McConaughey, Madonna, Neve Campbell.
12) The Emo-Goth
Goths, as we know them today (not as in medieval Eastern European vampires), seem to have emerged sometime in the 70s or 80s. Since then they’ve been a mainstay of “alternative” lifestyle, and have scared scores of parents and church ladies over the years. Goths are pretty easy to pinpoint (their appearance is among the most predictable in hipsterdom), but vary widely in demeanor and background. A lot of the slightly overweight kids from junior high with the “Mean People Suck” buttons become Goths in their later years. Usually indoors types (white skin is a badge of honor) big into computer culture and gaming, they don’t get out much except to nighttime concerts or to another Goth’s dwelling place. The Emo-Goth is easily the most threatening young person to the establishment—and in his/her cigarette-puffing, dramatic-bangs-in-my-eyes swagger, The Emo-Goth is proud of such an abrasive position.
- Fashion: Obviously, lots of black. Black clothes, black fish-net stockings, black hair (most likely died, with streaks of various sorts), black nails, black eye-liner, etc. Tends toward the freakish, with dungeon/S&M touches here and there (spike bracelets, leather, you know…). Suits and dresses are welcome, though they must be sleek, dark and mysterious. Proper hairdos include the “one eye shrouded” look, which says “the world is too dark and painful to look at with both eyes.”
- Music: Music is huge for these hipsters. 80s noise bands and goth pioneers are big heroes. Current new-wave throwbacks are goth-friendly as well. All things twisted, urbane, industrial, and “dark eye-shadow”… The Cure, Depeche Mode, NIN, Interpol, David Bowie, Fiona Apple, The Knife.
- Movies: Hard to pin down. Goths are sometimes science-fiction and fantasy fans, with a penchant for comic-book adaptations, anime, and/or “Matrix-esque” fare. Others prefer concert films or drug fodder (i.e. kids movies and/or 50s sci-fi) Favorite directors: Peter Jackson, Wachowski Brothers, Hayao Miyazaki, Ridley Scott (older stuff), Richard Kelly (the guy who did Donnie Darko).
- Celebs of this kind: Edward Furlong, Juliette Lewis, Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Manson, Rose McGowan.