Category: Culture & Humanities

American Hipster ******…

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I recently dove into the world and works of Mark Fisher, a culture and music theorist from the UK. I have not been so intrigued by someone’s ideas since I began reading Nietzsche a few years ago. I’d like to hear people’s thoughts on the “hipster” movement of the recent decade, and how to fix the issues I see with it.

I suppose the initial question should be do people make conscious fashion and lifestyle decisions, or is it largely based on one’s decision to fit in with the group; I’d guess the latter to be true. I myself have only recently paid attention to these choices in a cultural context; while I enjoy fashion and appreciate aesthetics, my choices have always largely been utilitarian. The film American ****** is probably the best representation of the subconscious influences of fashion and lifestyle, and I’ve recently rewatched it in that context. Up until modern times, it seems as though fashion choices were largely progressive and original; obviously now there has been a clear return to what was before. It began in the late 00’s with an early 1900s aesthetic, such as flannel shirts, leather boots, brimmed hats, and handlebar mustaches, and is currently focused on the 1990s. Of course, Fisher’s ideas are that we have lost an ability to conceptualize the future, backed up by Peter Thiel’s phrase “we were promised flying cars, but instead got 140 characters”.

So how do we move forward from this, and for anyone who lived in the 60s/70s, did you recognize what was going on when you were in the moment? I was raised Amish-esque, in a rural environment, and having that perspective always allowed me a meta-perspective on culture. I’ve never been one to really give much credence to “cultural appropriation” and am not the most politically correct. That said, in recent years I have begun to understand in some respects why certain cultures don’t love it. My personal experiences have been with a trend towards the “outdoorsy” or rural looks in fashion, the most recent example being the strange and sudden rise of Carhartt, a old outdoor brand. Daniel Day-Lewis, Brooklyn Beckham, and a few others have been celebrity examples of this fashion trend. I feel annoyed at their wearing the brand simply because having been raised on a farm, Carhartt was a must-have when working. It’s material is warm and tough, especially useful while working with trees, barbed wire, animals, or in the cold. As a fashion trend, I feel as though there is something wrong with very urban individuals wearing these brands, as it is a representation of a meaningful, sometimes miserable, tough life, but in aesthetic only. Without the experience of wearing the brand out of necessity (and relatively low cost), is this a net positive move for the fashion industry and our culture. The recent and controversial Esquire article about white males in the midwest seemed like a cultural moment only in that it appeared to be an attempt to reconcile with the fashion, in some sense.

My theory is that since our culture has seemingly lost an ability to be original, we either return to what was before, as Fisher suggests, or specialize in a myriad of subcultures in search of an identity. Perhaps AI will eventually allow us to be more original, with a UBI may come a more concentrated focus on “inventing the future”.

I’m not looking to make any strong points here, or sway anyone’s opinions, but would like to just hear what people think about this. I’m open to critique or new ideas, but if your first instinct is to just say “bro, you are over analyzing this”, please don’t. These things matter, as can be seen in both deep theory and in our culture…I’d suggest reading about some of Steve Bannon’s thoughts, especially on accelerationism. Thanks!

submitted by /u/alexandersuper666
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