Invasion of the Hip$ters

How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb? Some obscure number you've never heard of.

You see them everywhere. These warm-blooded mammals dwell in both urban and rural areas. They reside in regions of New York, Los Angeles, and Oregon, and they evolve into different species as they migrate from these areas.  They are easy to spot since they do not camouflage into their surroundings. Their mating behavior? Unpredictable.

Surprisingly, they are not as rare a breed as you’d expect.  Extinction is not imminent, for the population is rapidly increasing. They are usually quiet animals and their life span is usually shortened as their diet mostly consists of cigarettes. These hipsters, scientifically known as Hipsteria Catus, suffer from a natural predator: mainstream society.

What defines a hipster? I use the term "hipster" loosely; I know true hipsters are 30 and unemployed, continuously taking years off before college "to travel around the world" and "discover themselves" (essentially, doing nothing). I am not referring to the chain-smokers that attend anarchy meetings in the backs of run-down Chinese restaurants. Rather, I am addressing the young hipster population that often breeds in liberal arts colleges and is devoted to criticizing every aspect of mainstream culture for the sake of being hip.

Some key words of being a college hipster are old and poor. They love everything vintage—old cars, old bikes, old clothes. The more damaged, the better. Their desire to look poor is apparent through their clothes and scent. They prefer the homeless-man-that-can’t-afford-showers-or-razors look.

Hipsters can be seen with leather messenger bags, large glasses that belong on the stereotypical pedophile, and ugly oversized sweaters. But those patterned knits are hideous and impossible to pull off unless you’re a Weasley.

“Hipsters used to actually do something," says Pitzer freshman Darby Barton. "Formerly known as hepcats, hipsters were musicians and artists primarily concerned with exploring the self and using art as a tool to do so. I see the new hipsters as just groups linked by eclectic assortments of vintage styles, often paired with marijuana.”

Sylvie Froncek, PZ ’11, states that “hipsters don’t need to talk because their laissez-faire attitude speaks for itself. They are usually happy to spend money on overpriced coffee, and they are very fond of stimulants.”

Hipsters are truly devoted to their drug habits - because of their passionate belief that substance abuse inspires intelligence and true art. If Coleridge did it, why can’t they?

They feed on irony. Deadpan? They eat it up. But not The Office, that’s on the air. They reminisce about the canceled show Arrested Development and bitterly update their Facebook statuses on how Ron Howard's 3-season success is so sadly under-appreciated.

Music is another defining feature of hipsters. Experimental art that sounds like a pencil hitting a tin can is music to their ears. They attend concerts but fold their arms and refuse to sing along, making you want to yell at them - “Being quiet doesn't make you deep. It makes you quiet!” They have a love-hate relationship with their indie music.  They blast the music of their favorite bands, but they don’t want them to do well, because that would mean the bands have become sell-outs. All they want is for their favorite bands to avoid success and the radio. Is that so much to ask?

Regina Spektor, who fills her songs with moans and sporadic “UHN!”s, has become a household name to the dismay of many hipsters. The fact that Vampire Weekend songs are now played in films has thrown the hipsters into a deeper depression. They claim to not know the Top 40 songs, but if you play Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” you can probably catch them mouthing the words.

But as pretentious as these hipsters may be, we might need to ask ourselves: who isn’t a hipster nowadays? Despite society’s constant disgust with hipsters, we all secretly crave to be showered with compliments on our own fashion or taste in music. “Hipster culture is like racism. There’s a little bit of it in everyone,” Kymberli Corprue PZ ’13 muses. “Our hatred towards them spans from an imbedded jealousy and desire to be a hipster. Pitzer kids should look around,” Sarah Schuster-Johnson PZ ’14 states.

Pitzer undoubtedly contains the largest percentage of the hipsters out of the five Claremont Colleges. When I emailed Pitzer student-talk trying to sell an LMFAO ticket, I received no responses. My email asking for opinions about hipsters, however, was a hit. That surely says something about the Pitzer population. But the Pitzer hipsters tend to blend in with the hippies that don’t shave their armPitzers. The overlap can be confusing to the untrained eye. At Pitzer, the freshman class is usually pretty diverse. But by their senior year, many of the guys look like identical clones with their unwashed flannel and Evan Almighty beards.

Let’s call these the hypocritical hipster-haters, or HHH, for short. Here are some signs that you’re an HHH:

1. You got a ukulele for Christmas. And you pronounce it “oo-koo-lay-lay.”

2. You own more than two flannel shirts.

3. You have at least one artsy Facebook profile picture that’s set in a field of flowers and is heavily Photoshopped.

4. You use the Polaroid app on your iPhone to give off the impression that you own a Polaroid camera.

5. You wear more than one scarf at the same time.

6. You're infuriated at the Motley for eliminating its $1 to-go-cup fine.  Now the Earth will suffer.

7. You’ve bragged about an indie French film that you just saw but didn’t actually understand.

8. You replace ! marks with 1s and s’s with $ signs. But you do it ironically, of course. (Sadly, the hipsters had to let go of their $ copyright after Ke$ha claimed it. And she’s too mainstream to share).

9. You have a “Support local businesses!” sticker on your Mac laptop.

10. You wear glasses with clear/no lenses (free 3D movie theater glasses, anyone?).

“They are conforming to the hipster culture, which is becoming more mainstream everyday,” Megan Hazen PZ ’14 says. In fact, the typical hipster actually shares a lot of similarities with the stereotypical high-profile celebrity.  Both are anorexic and frighteningly skinny, and have drug issues that probably stem from daddy issues.  The only prominent difference is that paparazzi snap a million pictures of celebrities, and hipsters take a million pictures of themselves.

These hipsters are undeniably amusing. If you ever want to study the species, just stop by any Urban Outfitters and you’ll see one scavenging for clothing made to look vintage and books that shout, “Kill the corporations!” How ironic.