Friday, October 21, 2011

Am I Hipster?

The first real, official copies of Sparks arrived at Smart Aleck HQ.  One of the interns flipped through and said "man, you listed the bands you had on your playlist in the acknowledgements? You're a hipster."

I got indignant. "No I'm not!"

I looked around the room. "Oh, you're definitely a hipster," said Adam Selzer, the boss. "I'm sure glad I'm not you!"

"Like you're not a hipster," I said. "Didn't one of your blog posts get tagged as 'hipster' on Reddit a few weeks ago?"

He gulped.

We make fun of hipsters around here a lot. Adam's movie, At Last, Okemah! made fun of them a lot (though it played primarily TO hipsters). In fact, you're hard pressed to find anyone in town who will claim to be able to stand hipsters.  But the truth is, whether we like it or not, we're hipsters here at Smart Aleck HQ - or, anyway, we'd qualify as them in most cities. We're still listening to indie rock in our early 30s, at an age when most of our old friends don't like "that awful new stuff." We live in a big city, use MacBooks, and have a record player.  We take the train. We hang out in coffee shops.

But by Chicago standards, we probably don't. There's not a single mustache in evidence at HQ, nor a trucker hat. We don't go to parties or clubs, and have seldom been seen in a hot new restaurant (even though they pop up on block now and then). We watch sitcoms. None of us precede our name with "DJ." We are not under any illusion that we have any notion of what's cool and what's not these days. In fact, I'd say that most people around here think of us as hopelessly dorky.

I like to think that we're hipsters in the classical, 1950s sense around here. We're more "bohemian" than "hipster," really. Granted, most of the bands on the "Ragged Glory: Debbie Does Detention" playlist were popular indie bands once (Moldy Peaches, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Mountain Goats) but they've probably been absorbed into the mainstream enough now that I'm actually losing hipster cred by mentioning them.

But then again, we live in downtown Chicago, a pleasant walk from the "hipster corridor" of Milwaukee Avenue. We have a skewed sense of what makes one a hipster and what doesn't.

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