Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why hipsters are important for democracy

How can you not love that video. I have shown it to friends from Hackney to Kreuzberg to Williamsburg and everyone gets a chuckle. Everyone loves to laugh at the hipsters but I think we need to look past what they wear, their attitude and their constant screaming for attention and think about why its important for democracy.

Its important because hipsters in their truest sense stand for the counter culture. A culture that stands up and says no I will not stay in on sunday night and watch a bunch of untalented opportunists sing to a crowd of people on their phones wasting money texting through votes. No I will not spend my life following whoever the next ridiculous reality TV star is, their clothing line, books and exercise DVDs (other than themselves on youtube obviously).

This is important for democracy as their drive is to always go against the mainstream. In whatever dramatic fashion they do it at least they provide a counter voice.  Hipsters that are worth their weight in gold are the designers, musicians, directors, artists and writers that actively engage in culture, constantly questioning it and using their talent to create alternative views to the mainstream. They have created their own media to express their point of view being fed by their creativity from events to walls to social media to alternative publishing.They arent sitting at home like the majority of the country  amusing themselves to death as Neil Postman media critic and cultural theorist wrote about in the 80s'. He believed the move to television as a medium would cut off a major part of knowledge creation that the reading of text was vital for and would lead more intelligent debate. He believed that television's strive to amuse its audiences was in fact an amazing stroke of oppression. I guess that is why the Daily Show has hours upon hours of material from their friends at FOX 'the home of amusement'.

Any group that gains popularity will create an entourage of hangers on, which ruin it for everyone. The ones that can grow an awesome moustache, wear skinny jeans, have an amazing quiff and critic everything about life with no skill to share. (Im a bit of a hanger on... dont do the moustache, dont fit into skinny anything but I do have the skill of analysing them and writing about it ..ahah) But look past those hangers on to the culture that is created. The culture that is created around the east of London is something else with examples like the amusing food and bar scene continues to be driven by this counter culture.  No you dont need a huge restaurant space on the strand. We just need a food truck thanks or a hole in the wall. No I dont need to dress like a page 3 girl, pay £30 pounds to get in and flirt with some rich out of towner  to buy me a bottle of vodka. Id prefer to here some music in the basement of a pub. No I dont need to get my beer from some far off place I can brew it around the corner thanks. No I dont need to pay some exuberant amount to see art in Regents Park. Id prefer to go an old building thats has free beer on a thursday.

With every culture there should be a counter or in fact I dont believe you can say you have a democracy. If we are supposed to be practicing the free and equal practice of political self determination then I want someone to throw in an alternative view to the blatantly obvious occasionally. Surely only one point of view (or two between the leading two parties) is not enough to open up a legitimate debate about how a nation should facilitate the appropriate ways to maximise the lifestyle's of their citizens.

So next time you see a hipster dont just laugh and walk away. Smile ask them about a social issue you find interesting. Even if they are a hanger on they will probably have an alternative view they copied from their real hipster friends and if that doesnt work.

Then its not all bad if 'we all make synth'

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