I've been told in the past week, both directly and indirectly, that I come across as a blunt person by at least five people. Apparently, this makes me seem intimidating.
Now, I'm normally a nice, kind and caring person. However... I don't think this will come across in this post. D:
HIPSTERS. Drop the artist bullcrap, you don't own it.
I encountered this with a friend. He was informed ahead of time that I edged to the more art-based end of thinking in general, this meaning that I like discussing things like artist thoughts and concepts. I also can wax long about the creation of art. And no, I don't mean "We're capturing raw emotion and mastering the soul!". What I mean is closer to "Isn't it neat that our main forms of artistic expression involve rubbing pigment against a piece of pulped tree and yet we can use this to create an image of the real world, often enough of the real world that the viewer can get lost in it? And in the digital realm, we're creating with light! LIGHT! ISN'T THAT AWESOME?!"
I think the most interesting response I had to a moment of artist dorkdom came back in high school. I was drawing and making the comment about how we have emotional attachments to pencils when all they are is a vector for applying carbon to a piece of paper. A classmate of mine said in reply "Well, how else would you do it? And, would you enjoy it as much?"
I didn't really have an answer to it. Neither did she. I think that we could propose a question like that is tied to the creative process.
It's easy to toss around the term "artist". One of my profs in college would go on these rants all the time about how very few people were actually artists and that people would steal the term as a means to glorify themselves, thus insulting actual artists.
I think he was off the mark too.
For me, the term "artist" applies to someone doing something in the creative realm who is actively attacking and trying to understand their creative process. Coming up to what they know and challenging it. If what someone else gets in the end is "art" to you doesn't matter any, because this process wasn't intended for you. You're just there to look at the end result. However, at the same time, I'm not saying that every act of creation is gold. What I'm trying to say is that "art" isn't not limited to an elite little club or to that whole mass produced "SHINY DESU" nonsense that you see in fandom.
If this idea of art scares you, be assured that most people do this on a subconscious level already. That guilt and worry, also known as being your own worst critic, is tied to all this. Most of my close friends who deal with the creative realm know this feeling far too well and try to overcome it. This is a good thing and is a key part of personal growth.
So, at this point, you're probably wondering what this has to do with Hipsters. In short, everything!
For those not familiar with the Hipster "scene" (consider yourself lucky), Hipsters are well-to-do young adults who have an interest in alternative culture. In short, the rebellious offspring of Yuppies. They're like a cultural sponge, sucking in parts of past and current cultural trends.
To a point, I can understand this. My perfect world would be a cross between Hippies, Beatniks and Golden Age Science Fiction Fandom, where weekends would be spent sitting around barefoot in coffee shops as we zone out to Isaac Asimov reading his latest short story. Thankfully for the sanity of many people, I don't have the power to wish this into existence.
But the difference here is that I'm seeking some spiritual context and guidance from past cultural groups. I want a better sense of how they viewed the world and lived with it, so I better apply it to my own life. I'm a cultural nerd and feel that we can learn a lot from past counter-culture groups. They might have been onto something.
With Hipsters, on the other hand, the standard focus is on the materialistic end. It's about taking on the past's aesthetics and nothing more. Any enjoyment taken away from it is considered to be enjoyed in only an "ironic" sense. In the end, I can't see it being very fulfilling and it comes across as painfully pretentious.
The problem lies in that on the outside, your average Hipster looks like someone who is playing a role in an cultural movement of some sort, as they take on the appearence of it. They are, but it's much more vapid than what a passerby assumes. The movement lacks the creative process that I discussed above, the one that sets apart an "artist" from someone who is just pumping out garbage.
However, for someone on the outside, those pretentious little pricks MUST be a part of the culture! They look the part! Often, they'll claim the part as well.
Claiming your making an artist statement of some kind by usurping the fashions and mannerisms of others is pretty hollow. It starts getting offensive when that reaches into religious cultures as well. If you feel the spiritual drive to seek out a new faith, go at it whole hog! Don't just pick out the parts that look cool on the outside. This sums it up better than I can
, but nobody ever takes on the fun parts of the Mormon faith and tries to make it cool unless they're a Battlestar fan, so I never get to write about it.
It's really, really frustrating that our happy little Hipster friends are attempting to move in on our arty turf. Scratch that. No, it's annoying to be assumed to be a Hipster, because Hipsters suck. I'd enjoy it if the whole movement died in a fire. I'm starting to wonder if it's leaking into fandom as well, with the fixation on "PRETTY!" people in media that is otherwise very dorky and the painfully overdressed people attempting to play their Nintendo DSs in the subway. Thank you, it never occurred to me that Mario could be enjoyed ironically.
Admittedly, the assumption that I was ONE OF THEM didn't last long in my case. It only took a few seconds for my geekiness to be understood as geekiness and not me ironically enjoying geeky material. Rather, I love it, from the bottom of my soul. That's why I'm here, after all.