Hipsters – the end of Western Civilization? Not bloody likely…

Adbusters has as its cover story this polemic against all-things-currently-hip.  A quote:

“The American Apparel V-neck shirt, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and Parliament cigarettes are symbols and icons of working or revolutionary classes that have been appropriated by hipsterdom and drained of meaning. Ten years ago, a man wearing a plain V-neck tee and drinking a Pabst would never be accused of being a trend-follower. But in 2008, such things have become shameless clichés of a class of individuals that seek to escape their own wealth and privilege by immersing themselves in the aesthetic of the working class.”

Yawn.  Adbusters, it should be noted, has been floundering for these past few years, mostly because of the internet.  Ironic that a magazine whose ostensible motto, “Power to the people”, ought to see its own downfall brought about by the most democratizing technology of the modern era?  Nevermind the actual content of the article: One can easily see that Adbusters probably has a particularly large axe to grind with the current batch of fashionistas and political activists.  Generation X had to devote a certain small portion of its meager disposable income in order to buy vaguely-articulate critiques of modern consumer culture.  Now, it’s simply par for the course on the internet (what are you reading right now?  I’m not about to charge you.)

A Waste of Flesh?  Maybe.

A Waste of Flesh? Maybe. The downfall of western civilization? Probably not.

Now, as to the content of the actual article: this is exactly the same thing that each generation says about its successor.  This has been going on for time immemorial.  How exactly is my generation any different?  Sure, we may not be want for lack of idiosyncracies and inane fashions, but I don’t think my generation is ‘the end of the line.’  Even taking as true that my generation holds no ideology, and that its antipathy towards political or social issues is unrivalled, I simply do not see how this makes us any worse than the previous generations.  If anything, it shows that we’re smart enough to realize that the nation-state (in its current instantiation) is meant to be run on auto-pilot.  No amount of molotov cocktails will change that.  Even if you did have enough weaponry to affect that change, the US Military has a laser-guided missile with your name already written on it, and a satellite already examining those rag-bedecked bottles in your greenhouse.

The fact is that the only enemy of the nation-states progression is economic stagnation.  Until that comes around (and it looks like it will, soon enough), why waste the effort?  I’m not offering a defense of my brothers who are so vain as to somnambulate through life without a single thought about his fellow-man.  I simply profess towards being a thinking man; and a thinking man does not act unless he must.


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