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What is a hipster? Key hipster words?

Posted on by Kieran McGovern

According to the Urban Dictionary, hipsters are:  

men and women typically in their 20's and 30's {who} value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.
Sounds flattering - what's not to like about  'creativity, intelligence, and witty banter'? And yet 'hipster' is a label nobody wants to claim



Associations with the word hipster have subtly changed in recent years. Originally the term was relatively neutral and descriptive. By the 1990s it had become pejorative: being a hipster indicated pretentiousness and self obsession. The satirical magazine The Onion drew on this feeling for their brilliant headline
 'Two Hipsters Angrily Call Each Other 'Hipster!'

Why the change? Perhaps a clue lies in the nearest British equivalent: 'poseur'. In the English-speaking world there is a deeply ingrained cultural suspicion of those who affect 'continental' intellectual airs - see the fun Kingsley Amis has with Bernard in Lucky Jim (1954), for example


There's an interesting discussion of the use of hipster in this Way With Words podcast. And a description of the ultimate hipster cult, Dudeism, here.


Essential hipster words: metanarrative, meme, paradigm, discourse


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