Writer Luke O'Neill has authored a thoroughly pointless patch of self-regard for Slate declaring himself a hipster and defending the word and the stance against the general derision it gets from a mass-culture that has reached the saturation point with all things hip, whether people, places or things. Norman Mailer's essay on Hip. "The White Negro", had the benefit of being stylishly lugubrious ; it was an essay written enough that intellectuals and pop-culture junkies are still debating , in some fashion, ideas that would have been dismissed in heartbeat had they been presented by a lesser talent.
Mailer brought gravitas to the concept of hip, linked it to existentialism and zen, defined the zeitgeist which gave birth to it, started a conversation that remains vital. Mailer might have been a jerk and wrong headed, but he could argue his foolishness brilliantly. O'Neill , in effect, is defending his right to be a consumer, a customer at what is left of the Counter Culture, and he defends his right to take on the attitude his material preferences suggest they have. While I do believe there are genuinely hip folks in the world--the reader is left to define what they're idea of Hip needs to be, and what set of habits are required to be a hipster--those I regard in that vague category seem unaware that they , in fact, the embodiment of something genuine , whether it's talent or personality. O'Neill's selling point attempts to make an irritating manner into a presence that suggests authority, a perverse sense of being superior:
" The single most defining trait of hipsters is our allegiance to irony, we're told. And it's true, because I don't even know if I believe any of the stuff I just wrote. It seemed like it might sound cool at the time and I thought by sharing it people would notice me and I'd end up feeling, albeit briefly, less lonely. If that's not hipster, then I don't know what is."
This underscores my contempt for the faux-hip running amuck and aimless , without purpose or intent in the culture, no intent other than to consume and indulge. The "allegiance to irony" is a further debasement of a venerable modernist literary device and is usurped to justify a generation's inability to commit to solid principles and ethical conduct, or even create coherent values by which their doings do more for the community than earn a profit for the corporations and they banks earning interest plus on purchases consumer hipsters make so they may decorate their flimsy, contrived alternative. O'Neill is not yet aware of the chain that shackles to the wall of the cave he lives in.