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OPINION

Hipsterism is not a choice. It is a birthright. Ask any hipster lounging ironically in Starbucks—or better still, the locavore coffee house down the street—and they’ll tell you as much. Indeed, it’s easy to believe that some of them were born with fully grown beards and plaid swaddling. It’s not just genetics, either: as a culture, we have been striving towards this peak of humanity for the past few millennia. The predominant fabric pattern of hipsterism, plaid, has had a long and rich history. First produced by the Hallstatt Culture in central Europe, back in the crazy experimental days between the 6th and 8th centuries, BCE. Though hampered somewhat by the Dress Act of 1746—which aimed to curtail the warlike proto-hipsters, or “Scotsmen”—tartan quickly spread throughout world cultures. Soon it would lose the association with particular tribes or regions, and become true plaid. Indeed, were it not for the distinct lack of thick Buddy Holly glasses and indie coffee shops, the Hallstatt Culture could almost have been the cultural pinnacle we see today. While Hipster culture celebrates coffee—the more eco-friendly, the better—there is another libation they favor: Pabst Blue Ribbon. PBR beer was first introduced in 1844. Ironically, PBR never actually won a blue ribbon. It was, however, selected as “America’s

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Best” at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Ever since, mustachioed fashion-forward gents (and ladies, sans mustaches) have been enjoying a cool glass of liquid hip. While hipster females cannot usually “rock” the same beards as their male counterparts, they are often better able to wear the skinny jeans so popular with their ilk. Louis XIII and his court were the first to make form-fitting trousers a couture requirement, but it wasn’t until the 50s (the pre-hipster era) that it was commonplace to see young ladies swiveling their tightdenim-clad hips to Elvis (the original, as opposed to the later Elvis Costello). Nowadays such garments are costume de rigueur, but one must remember that times weren’t always so enlightened. The most visible aspect of hipsterishness (once you get past the plaid) is irony. Sounding something like a Zen koan, hipster legends say that if you call yourself a hipster, you aren’t one. Irony—though first pioneered by the ancient Greeks—was really brought to its acme by the preeminent literary genius of the French Enlightenment, Voltaire. He wore skinny jeans too, though his were made of satin. Some muse that hipsters use irony as a shield against serious emotional confrontations, while others state that it is simply a state of being—though they usually state that statement with a slight ironic smile. Continued on p.283

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Hipsters