A New Sincerity

Hipsters are apparently tiring of pop-culture references, ironic distance, and a studied avoidance of anything real. So says this post from an L.A. web site. Well, no shit! Most people I know gave that stuff up when they graduated from high school.

The thirty- or forty-somethings interviewed for this piece see their awakening to the idea that life isn’t a high school as a revelation. Good for them, but if we are to judge this trend based on the samples given here, people are just trading one style for another. Take this woman who moved out of L.A. and into the woods:

Fontana, 42, says that leaving L.A. has brought her peace of mind, boosted her creativity and helped her live more authentically. She recently threw a party at her cabin, where the appeal of getting back to nature — and away from Hollywood — was not lost on the hipster guests. The writers, artists and filmmakers in attendance checked their networking compulsion at the door and engaged in genuine conversation, Fontana says. “They felt like they’d gotten away from what they have to be and could be what they are.”

Genuine conversation! So now she has a new identity. I’m glad that the elites of New York and Los Angeles are learning to act like human beings again, but that last line–“They felt like they’d gotten away from what they have to be and could be what they are.” I hope someday to dispense this sort of advice to my future teenage daughter, because it’s good and meaningful for developing personalities. But this is coming from a 42-year-old woman.

Hipsterdom (whatever it actually is) seems to be something like a suspended state of adolescence, in which questions about how you are perceived, and worrying about what group you belong to, take preeminence over more developed ideas of our role as individual agents in the world.

I’m totally all for the constant development of your self identity, and for giving yourself the freedom to change it when necessary. So I’m glad these post-hipsters are exploring new modes of being. But what about a greater analysis of who they are–as members of a larger group, as Americans, as people? We are all living in a country that two years ago invaded another country only to kill its citizens and have our soldiers killed and raise the bar for terrorists everywhere; and we are living in a country that encourages, through attitudes like the above who-am-I-at-40 confusion, the ignorance to the lives of less fortunate people at home and abroad.

There are a million things happening of significance right outside every Americans’ door, and they don’t have to do with filing that Franz Ferdinand CD under “not cool anymore.”

Part of the rationale of this site is to point out this obvious fact, that despite our inevitable distractions, life-and-death things are happening to people all over the world, and we could do well to put our notions of what is hip aside and pay a bit more attention to them.

Technorati Tags: | | |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s