The Relentless Pace of Hipsterdom: A Day at Pitchfork Music Festival Paris

[Editor's note: Please welcome Greg Spivak to ToM.  All photos appearing here were taken by Mr. Spivak, we encourage you to click on them to see them at full size and resolution.] In French there is no equivalent for “hipster.” Recently the term has been adopted by the French press, with articles describing this American idea of “le hipster”; slowly, the word is starting to lose its italicized status as a new loan word along with les has-been, les best-of and les lifting (fine, the last is a strange Gallic deformation of "face-lift"). The closest the French come is the bobo, which, although coined by David Brooks, moved to, settled, and thrived in France -- talk shows speak endlessly of … [Read more...]

A Taxonomy of Forest Rock

We are neither the first nor the last to notice that indie rockers of the early 21st century have a fondness for fauna -- you have Le Tigre, Wolfmother, and Grizzly Bear, and Tiger Bear Wolf for those who can't make up their minds.  Of course, from the Turtles to the Flys, bands have always favored animal names, but recent trends in indie rock have led some to suggest that a new fascination for the rural, pastoral, earthy, natural and animalistic has taken hold.  (Generally speaking, punk and grunge as genres seemed to eschew the animal band name -- Dictators, Voidoids, Sex Pistols, Nuns, Buzzcocks on one hand; Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, Melvins on the other.  No frolic in the countryside … [Read more...]

Behind the Mustache: The Cultural, Racial, and Class Implications of the Hipster Identity

The hipster has been an easy target in pop culture for much of the last decade. Like any social stereotype or fad, it can be identified by the shorthand of material culture: skinny jeans, aviator glasses, American Apparel. A widely discussed article in New York magazine recently did just that, placing PBR cans and vinyl records in display cases above its discussion of the death of the archetype. For hipsters, perhaps, such allusions amount to ad hominem attacks. But there must be a better way to get at who the hipster was sociologically, culturally, economically -- this weird social type who was always someone else, never the person speaking. Everyone always claimed to be not cool enough … [Read more...]