Blogging over at Examiner.com, which I use to introduce metal to the “new media” through a popular site that wouldn’t normally care about metal at all, I review the literature about hipster metal and get us a working definition of hipsters and hipster metal:
A hipster is someone entirely dominated by society. Trends, how they look to other people, what they’re eating and how they’re entertaining themselves — these are what a hipster thinks about. They are the ultimate surface people, never seeking a greater meaning in life but only the appearance of it. They are also the ultimate consumers, because they’re always chasing the latest trend (and buying lots of stuff to that end) hoping that it will keep them “hip,” or current, young, savvy and exciting.
Hipster metal is just as shallow. Hipster metal is metal that has been assimilated by the mainstream. Hipsters like trendy new surfaces on the same old stuff. So they make metal-flavored indie rock, and in doing so, hope to make mainstream indie rock assimilate or swallow up metal. That also makes it easier for them because that way, they don’t need to feel bad about us being different. They want us to join the Crowd, to be just like them. – “Hipster Metal,” Examiner.com, July 12, 2010
A hipster is just a trendy version of the average modern citizen. These people are disconnected from any sense of hierarchy or values except an ethic of convenience toward personal comfort. When one of these boring ordinary soulless drones feels that he or she is completely forgotten by the world, they dress themselves up funny, talk funny, and start being “artistic” to show us they’re more important than us. That’s the hipster in a nutshell: a status climber by pretense, especially that what’s “new” is more important than what’s realistic, correct or sane.
In the article “Hipsters:The Dead End of Western Civilization”, adbusters describes the hipster: an ordinary person, a little nerdy, who decides to become a Big Deal drama llama egomaniac and so becomes even less useful than you average modern person and starts pretending to be the undiscovered artistic genius of the millennium.
These people are death for real art. They hate the real; they like the shallow that appears to be deep, and appears to be new, because their goal is to use that art to make other people feel small. When others feel small, and un-hip, the hipster triumphs through self-importance. All of the rest of you who work jobs and take care of your families are idiots, the hipster says. I’m the real deal.
And of course they’re not, and in metal, their hipster moron bands (The Sword, Boris, Mastodon, Isis) are insipid crap you’re supposed to swallow or be considered ignorant. Of course, that’s laughable. They’re trying to take the one thing that took a different path — metal — and convert it to the norm, and they accuse us of being normative if we don’t go along with the great crusade to be average in an ironic shirt with “unique” tattoos.