Monday, February 16, 2015

Basically Hipster

Basic and Hipster, we've all heard the terms. And I feel that we are all caught in the middle of this weird cultural civil war. So what do these labels even mean? And where did they come from? Call me old but I don't remember either of them from when I was in high school. Beards, skinny jeans, Ugg boots, Flannel, and Northface jackets all still existed. So when did this all become a thing?

Back in the day there were still groups & clicks that people gravitated towards. That part at least is human nature. We label everything and gravitate towards the things that are most similar to our own beliefs. It helps us understand and cope with the world and it's stress. So in the four years I navigated high school there were popular/preppy kids, nerds, emo kids, goths, skate boarders, and druggies (which were also sometimes the skateboarders), jocks, the supremely religious kids, band geeks, musical theater kids, and the loner kids that never went with any group really. We never had Basic or Hipster even though members of various groups certainly took part in traits of the two groups in question. 

Hipsters originate from Portland, OR as far as I can tell and were heavily focused on the arts. But at some point it became more than that to the point where I have trouble identifying what is and is not a Hipster. It used to be beards, skinny jeans, and flannel. But now now those things are every where and are considered mainstream not Hipster. At some point it started including things like Dr. Who, elbow patches, and Star Wars. So now Hipsters include nerd things as well. Does this make nerds Hipsters? What if you were into those things before? You end up saying the quintessential Hipster phrase, "I liked that before it was cool." So here's where I see the difference, no matter what cultural thing the Hipsters start taking over the biggest difference is this: when it becomes mainstream and cool a true Hipster will disregard their affinity for the trend. One thing is certain never try to be more unique then a Hipster they are always more unique and deep than you.

Basics, now here's a new idea for me mostly because they over lap so much with what used to be identified as the, "popular kids". But it's more than fashion trends and socio-economic status. You can be living on a budget and still be basic. Just look for the girl with leggings, Uggs, a scarf, bedazzled iPhone case and a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks and you've found her. I would love to hear the description of a Bsic boy/man, but I assume they exist. It's more than just a "look" though, it's a way of speech, and an attitude of general superiority. If I understand correctly the point of animosity here is that if you don't look the part and can't keep up the image then you are NOT in the club or worth their time. It's like the middle to upper middle class version of aristocracy. If the Hipsters are the best at being unique and standing out then the Basics are certainly the best at fitting and creating social standards.

The way I see it you have two groups of people that are using opposite means to achieve the same thing. Superiority. Both Basics and Hipsters strive to be better than the rest of the population and are not shy about letting you know. Where one group uses their "deep thinking" and uniqueness against you as a weapon the other group uses their conformity as a weapon to make you feel inferior. This is where all the angst and hatred of these two groups comes in but I have found in conversing with others there is always one of the two groups you bothers you more than the other. It is my opinion that the group that bothers you less is the group that you fit in to some degree. To be clear I do not think that the whole world fits into two nice neat categories but I do find that most people are more comfortable either fitting in or standing out but not both. It only crosses into Basic or Hipster when a person starts to act like their ability to fit in or stand out makes them better than others.

It's not the specific trends or identifiers that people don't like about Hipsters and Basics, it's that people don't like to be made to feel small by others. Especially when the superiority is perceived and not actual. I believe that Basics and Hipsters would start to disappear if people did, wore, and were into all the things that they like because they like them. Don't give them up because they are main stream for 15 minutes and don't cling to something you don't enjoy because everyone around does. You do not have to try to be unique, you just are because you're you. And at some point everyone feels like they don't fit in or there is no group for them but there is always a place for you to fit in, just keep looking. The problem with this cultural civil war we are having is people are afraid that if they follow their instincts they will be judged for it. It's Basically Hipster

When Its Time To Let Go

Over the holidays I ran into a bit of a dilemma. I had received several books as gifts and needed a place to shelve them. If you have read some of my previous blogs you will know my obsession with stories which is part of the problem. The books pile up.

As I tried desperately to reorganize my books the thought that started this bit of deep thinking was, "I need to move out so I have more room to put books!" Now I should probably move anyway but that's a whole separate topic for another day. What struck me about this thought was the fact that plethora of other reasons I should move out seemed so unimportant compared to the fact that I needed more shelf space.

Moving from college dorms to home, and back, and home, and into apartments, and new apartments and back home has taught me to cleanse my life of unnecessary belongings. I've become quite good at it. Clothes, mementos, souvenirs hair & beauty products it doesn't matter. If I don't use it for long enough it goes. Books are different, I can't seem to get rid of them. I think it's because I grow attached to the way they make me feel. Each time I start a book I'm going on a new adventure and I get to make new friends. Of course I know they are not real but for an hour at a time it feels that way. Each book makes me think about myself, the world, and pushes my imagination to go a little bit further. How do you let go of that? How do you hold that physical representation of your adventure in your hands and say "I'm getting rid of this."? Each book holds with it a memory of the time in your life which read it so how do you say, "I don't need this anymore."?

I have this problem with books, for you it might be clothes, or coffee mugs, or ticket stubs. It doesn't matter what it is I think most people experience this feeling. So how do you know when it's time to let go? When this gets hard for me I try to turn my thoughts around and stop looking at it like I am giving something up and realize that the memory, or the adventure, or the growth that each book represents to me has become so much a part of who I am that I don't need the physical book to remember it anymore. I live it instead. If I can do this, it's not so hard to look at giving my books away as giving the gift of a new adventure to someone else. Wouldn't it be selfish to deprive them of the thing I treasure so much?