Gone Fishing to Escape Gentrification
Moving to New Orleans from Florida in 2000 seemed a really sketchy thing to do at the time. Plenty of my old friends had gotten the hell out of the Sunshine State, but none of them had moved to the South’s murder capital. I figured the city’s vibrant music culture and cheap rents (the key to personal freedom) made it a risk worth taking, and New Orleans looked like the perfect place to hide out as the rest of America marched forward into the corporate maw.
Alas, in the last few years New Orleans has fallen victim to the same kind of gentrification afflicting every other “cool” city. Waves of relatively well-off, seemingly rootless young people have flooded in and co-opted and perverted and “improved” everything from the rents to the cuisine. The trendier parts of New Orleans now feel like Austin, which is to say a bit like Brooklyn, or Portland or… you get the idea. Invited here by politicians and other opportunistic natives, money and its attendant cultural trappings have more or less killed our blessed isolation and, in turn, a bit of the romance of living here. Where New Orleans’s landscape was not long ago dotted with beautiful, naturally occurring acts of originality by many different races, nowadays you can’t throw a gluten-free small-plate entrée without hitting a young, healthy, upwardly mobile person intent on creating something “cool.”
In times like these I’m thankful that fishing will never be cool.
Talking to Berlin’s Hipster Defense Squad
Berlin is often hailed as a mecca for ex-pats and creative types fed up with New York and its stratospheric cost of living. Now, as hordes of graphic designers and writers have begun gentrifying the city, locals have started a concerted attack on members of the German capital’s young “creative class,” who are being blamed by natives for the rising property prices. Bar owners have started anti-hipster viral campaigns, and some locals have begunopenly calling for physical violence to be visited upon the invading hordes.
A group called Hipster Antifa Neukölln have formed to counter this rhetoric, using slogans such as “Tourists, hipsters, everybody is welcome—party like it’s 1945.” Speaking from Berlin, Hipster Antifa’s spokesperson Jannek, explained why his group is doing what they’re doing and why gentrification is a global phenomenon that needs to be seen in a new context.
VICE: When did Hipster Antifa Neukölln start?
Jannek: I guess it began about two years ago when anti-hipster and anti-tourist graffiti started appearing around the city. What was being written just seemed too serious to be a joke, so we decided to make a Facebook page and start a counter-offensive. We had a good idea of who was behind this, and we wanted to criticize them and make people aware of what’s going on.
What sort of graffiti?
Stuff like, “Tourists go home!” and “Kill all the hipsters!”… that sort of thing. There was so much of it. A lot of people thought it was just a joke, but then in the summer of 2011, there were a lot of anti-hipster attacks and there were more and more incidents of people getting thrown out of bars for dressing like a hipster. Some bar owners even started putting signs up in their windows saying “No Hipsters, No Tourists”, stuff like that. Things started to boil over, to get really nasty. That’s when we decided to do something about it. We just thought, ‘Berlin should not be this way.’ And we wanted to know why people were doing this. My friends all had a background in left-wing activism and anti-fascist movements, and we kind of knew that the people writing this anti-hipster graffiti were also from a leftist background. Their idea about gentrification is that it’s the fault of tourists, which is a very simple-minded explanation. So we decided to found a group to defend ourselves.
Your Baby Is Worthless if It Isn’t a DJ
Hey, how’s your baby doin’? What kind of music is it listening to? Kidz Bop? The Wiggles? Fuckin’ Raffi and shit? Well, that might be fine for some people’s kids—if they want them to crawl through life without taste or musical development. If you really loved your baby, you’d be dropping $200 to send it to Baby DJ School.
The school was started up in September by Natalie Elizabeth Weiss, a composer and DJ from Brooklyn who has shared the stage with LCD Soundsystem and the Dirty Projectors and was recently a fellow with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. She’s willing to teach tykes as young as three months old about “the wonderful worlds of electro, hip-hop, and house,” according to her press release, which also promises that “little ones will be introduced to playing and handling records, mixing and matching beats, and creating fun and funky samples using modern DJ equipment.”
Parisians’ Love Affair with Hipster Brooklyn
Before I moved to Paris three years ago, although I’d already been to the city and was lucky enough to call French my second language, I still held more than a few romantic preconceived notions. Every metropolis has a set of stereotypes linked to it, and Paris exists in many people’s minds as a charming, luxurious, timeless hub of style and sophistication—in fact, so many people expect the City of Light to be what they want it to be that the reality has rendered some tourists physically sick with disappointment. But just as Paris is idealized by foreigners, Parisians hold oversimplified version of American cities in their heads as well. While we may look at Paris as a sparkling labyrinth of cigarettes and pastel macarons, Parisians look at us with the same Vaseline on the lens—especially when it comes to New York.
Manhattan has always been an object of desire and intimidation for the French, but more recently Brooklyn has been added to the list of boroughs worth idolizing. While what it “means” to be a young Brooklynite may have been discussed and re-discussed in the States until it has lost all meaning (at this point, if you live in north Brooklyn you’re lucky if the New York Times hasn’t done a trend piece focused on your block) it’s easy to forget that are many places where this kudzu of nebulous social indicators has only just begun to lay its delicate roots.
A Self-Proclaimed “Black Hipster Juggalo” Explains Himself
I saw Insane Clown Posse perform at the Oakland Metro Opera House recently and believe it or not, I had a good fucking time. It was nice to be around people going crazy and having fun without preening or being concerned with worrying about whether they were having the right kind of fun or if they were being judged. Everyone was getting wasted, dancing, and socializing. It was a refreshing change compared to the shows I usually go to, where apathetic people trying their best to avoid talking to one another.
Holy shit, I thought to myself, maybe I can be a Juggalo. Then Violent J announced to his minions, “Last night there was way more titties in the crowd. You ladies got to step it up. Show some titties.” Well, let me think this over some more.
Old People Hate Hipsters, Kurt Cobain, and Justin Bieber, According to New Poll
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm that’s normally one of the most accurate political pollsters around, sometimes has too much time on its hands. When it does, it takes national nonpolitical surveys of basically whatever the people running PPP think would be funny. In the past they’ve discovered that 62 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Halloween, 47 percent think there’s a “war on Christmas,”and a surprising amount believe in all kinds of conspiracy theories.
This month, they polled over 500 Americans about music, famous musicians, and “hipsters.” Some resultswent up yesterday, and it turns out that voters like classical music and jazz more than other genres by a fairly large margin, are into Adele and Taylor Swift, dislike Justin Beiber and Chris Brown, and like Beyonce better than Jay-Z. Oh yeah, and they hate rap—50 percent of the voters polled said that it’s their least favorite genre of music, and 68 percent of them had an unfavorable view of it. Dubstep and Skrillex had bad numbers as well, but 47 percent and 54 percent, respectively, were “not sure” what their opinions of those entities were, which makes it pretty clear that a lot of the folks taking this phone poll had never heard of them.
Fresh off the Boat with Eddie Huang - Bay Area, Part 1
Eddie’s first stop in the Bay Area is Oakland, where he hangs with a local biker gang that shows hipsters how to shoot guns and hunt for rabbit. After a few gruesome hours in the Oakland outback, they head back to the clubhouse to shoot the shit, throw back a few cold ones, and talk about the disconnect between people and the process it takes to put meat on their plates. Then they cook up a delicious meal of southern-style deep-fried rabbit.
It’s Time for a Hipster Joke Moratorium
So someone just showed me this video on YouTube, and as you can probably tell from the title, it’s basically one, big parody of the global hipster scene, full of jokes about bikes with no brakes, moustaches, and bands with obscure names. And just before I was about to reply with, “Hah, yeah, I think I saw this in 2008, dude,” I checked its publish date: June 10th, 2012.
Which means that, amazingly, this vein of humor is still a going concern, which is funny because I thought it stopped being a relevant cultural observation around the same time making jokes about rappers’ pants falling down did. But no, there are still people out there, toiling day and night, to tell the world gags it’s already heard a zillion times before.
So, I hereby propose a Hipster Joke Moratorium, in which the following “zingers” should be incinerated.
"Ironic" Facial Hair
If there’s one thing hipster haters find hysterical, it’s the concept of young people cultivating facial hair, of any kind. Under 25, live in a major city and fancy trying out a ‘tache for a while? You must be a hollow, human-shaped mollusk living your life under a heavy veil of irony, my friend. All those headmasters, Soviet politicians, and RAF pilots with moustaches? They were all bloody hipsters! Andy Murray? Hipster. Josef Fritzl? Hipster. Craig David? King of the hipsters. I don’t think it’s even possible to have “ironic” facial hair, is it? It’s just a natural bodily process. No one’s ever had ironic BO. Or an ironic orgasm.
Funny Band Names
All band names are funny, idiots. Even the most uncool, mega-selling acts like The Beatles and the Bee Gees have stupid names, it’s just that no one realizes because those acts are so culturally ubiquitous that they primarily exist to the masses on a subconscious level, like Scrubs or spaghetti. And “Dynamite Fuckstick” doesn’t sound anything like the name of a hipster band, anyway. They tend to have concise, conceptual names, like HEALTH or Girls. “Dynamite Fuckstick” sounds more like a Primus side-project.
As anybody whose girlfriend uploads Instagram photos of trendy restaurant food knows, the favored cuisine of the hipster right now is not organic vegan food (as this video seems to believe), but expensive versions of classic American junk food. Go to Meat Liquor or Lucky Chip and you won’t be able to see your burger for iPhone flashes. The vegetarian fad, on the other hand, died out around the same time Moby hit the big time. If being a vegan makes you a hipster in 2012, then Woody Harrelson must be the new A$AP Rocky.