The Secret Origin of the Hipster

And you thought it was a 21st century thing...

Sax Carrby Sax Carr

Many people believe that hipsters are a relatively recent scourge upon humanity. The skinny jeans with a white belt wearing, bicycle riding, music no one else likes for good reason listening trend we're seeing here is just a modern breed of something much older. Hipsters, as a concept, have been around as long as conscious thought. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. I got a B+ in my Anthropology of Douchebag Subcultures elective.

The story of hipsters begins in the paleolithic era, when early man first drew on the walls of caves. That man was not a hipster. His friend Chad, who said it was mainstream garbage, was. Fortunately, this was a time in the evolution of man where we could solve our problems with rock-based violence. Chad hemorrhaged head blood all over his messy caveman quaff and skinny skins, and the first artist left proud, knowing he had accomplished two great feats that day.

Art and Murder: the first two great pursuits of man.

But time marches on, and the darkness always finds a way. By the time humanity had developed into a full blown civilization, the hipsters were back. In Sumer (the first civilization ever), they actually managed to slither their way into politics. Utilizing their wicked powers of whinyness and bitchyness, they became priest-kings known as Ensi. These Ensi saw the natural tides of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers destroy the farms, homes and livestock of their people. Rather than coming up with a proper solution, they made up a bunch of mean imaginary deities. These gods decided whether people were cool enough to have food, or not drown. So they told their people to be cool, and not invent irrigation, because irrigation takes work, and we just want to talk about jerks in the sky with superpowers. Thus spawned the first organized religion.

 

That's right, and hipster's contributions to the downfall of our society don't end there. Fast forward to to ancient Greece, and the first major western philosophers. If you think I'm talking about Socrates and his pupils, you're wrong. I'm talking about inventors of the cold shoulder, the blank stare, and the 'I'm so much better than you it's nauseating' face. At the time, the Stoics were a group of uptight 'philosophers' who believed that enjoying life was a disease. They rained on everyone's parade. And, a modern translation of their beliefs basically boils down to 'uncool is the new cool'. Cynical, abrasive and deliberately obtuse. Sound like anyone we know?

They keep popping up throughout history. Think about the history of European royalty- a bunch of obnoxious layabouts with entitlement issues and no sense of fashion. Or Hulagu Khan's Mongolian Hordes, who were totally into invading Iraq way before it was cool. How about the ascetic monks in the dark ages who were just so much better than you because they didn't talk for five years and only eat mushrooms.

I wish the vow of silence thing stuck…

Finally, we arrive in 1888, with the first Modern American Hipster: Evander Berry Wall, also known as the King of the Dudes. If you paid attention in American History, you should know that this is during America's Gilded Age, a period of time characterized by tasteless extravagance disguising a vacuous and depressing reality. Yes, I am comparing hipsters to an age of American history. And yes, the analogy landed perfectly.

But back to Evander Berry Wall, the man with a name Monty Python themselves would have a hard time topping. This alleged King of the Dudes was named such because he was the greatest of all dudes. And, in the late 19th century, the term dude was defined as a delicate, wealthy urbaner with soft hands and extravagant clothes.

That scene would not have worked if they were saying "hipster".

He was named the King of the Dudes by Blakely Hall, a journalist and also a suspected hipster, when he strode into a bar during the blizzard of 1888 wearing resplendent leather boots that went up to his hips. Come to think of it, that must be where the term hipster originated. Not literally, but somehow, in the collective subconscious, there was that image, and it stuck. According to Wikipedia, which never tells a lie, he also made a bet that required him to change into forty of his ridiculous ensembles in one day. Some of his clothes are so ridiculous I'm surprised a tailor was willing to make them. His tailors must have made a secret pact never to laugh directly in his mustachioed face.

And even if they had, it must have been tough to keep.

Finally, we arrive at the Scenesters. A generation of youths, with nothing to fight for, grow up with daddy's money in this world. A world where the word irony has already been destroyed by the ignorant. A world where people are famous for being louder and more obnoxious. Are we really surprised? This is the logical counterculture. The British punk movement rebelled against the uptight British social morays. The hippies formed as a reaction to an unjust war. But how do you rebel against a culture that, ignoring the vocal minority, is pretty okay about most things? I'll tell you. By being not okay at all. Hipsters are not okay. That is their only reason for being. They are the worst that they can be. Deliberately. And that should not be tolerated.