Is Hipster a Bad Word?

February 1st, 2012 at 11:59 am

I couldn’t help but notice that our culture decided to slander Hipster with negativity. We’ve been stereotyped with skinny jeans, snobbishness, obsession with music, and a general malaise between goth and emo.

Hipster with Dog

Hipsters are the new Hippies. We’re dirty in a clean way. And friendly. Go ahead, don’t like us. We don’t mind. Our elitist isolation is part of our charm.

You start out innocently enough: peaceful, small, idealistic. But once your self-identifying clan has grown into a position of power, affluence, and elitism, the show is over.

I, for one, am proud of the moniker Hipster. It’s one I embrace. Since when is hip uncool? And why have we been ghettoized, marginalized, and relegated to neighborhoods such as Brooklyn, Portland, Echo Park in Los Angeles, East Austin, and The Mission District in San Francisco? (Because the suburbs want to make us vomit and are what caused our existence in the first place.)

In light of all this, it was with a very mainstream glee and populist satisfaction that I stumbled upon Z.Z. Packer’s definition of Hipster in her “Keeping it Weird” article in January’s Smithsonian. It’s an article subtitled, “Even though it’s the state capital, the city still works hard to be quirky.”

Packer begins her contemplation of Austin, TX with, “Hipsters of all stripes trek to Austin, Texas. By hipsters, I mean people who love irony but are suspicious of symbolism, who are laid-back without being lazy, who groom their music collections the way Wall Streeters monitor their stock portfolios, people whose relentlessly casual dress is constructed as painstakingly as stanzas in a pantoum.”

That. I like that.

And I know I’m a Hipster because I love that and identify with it but am outraged that Z.Z. Packer did not capitalize Hipster. Especially when appearing in a sentence with “Wall Streeters.” Occupy!

And I know that I’m a Hipster because I love the fact that I don’t know what a pantoum is. Sure, it’s probably some kind of poem with strict rules like a Haiku, but no, I’ve never heard of it. But I love it.

Upcoming Events

December 20th, 2011 at 11:21 am

I hope it isn’t sold out.

Ticks Found in Area

Paraprosdokian Sentences

September 20th, 2010 at 1:53 pm

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.

For example:

“I want to die like my father, quietly, in his sleep—not screaming and
terrified like his passengers.”

Or anything ever uttered by former President George W. Bush.

Thwart Apostrophe Catastrophe

September 4th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

All proper grammar consists of Cool Rules.

Fresh Herpes

September 3rd, 2010 at 8:00 am

Fresh Herpes

This is not merely humor derived from words lost in translation.

We are in a recession and this symbolizes the thousands of English majors who are out of work and  could be using their degrees and areas of expertise working as translators.

Palin Pidgin

September 1st, 2010 at 12:00 pm

“One ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy.” – George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946

Our dear Sarah Palin has recently committed some amusing linguistic gaffes via Twitter. I only know about it because even a big, stinky Palin bowel movement is newsworthy these days. But also because I agree with Mr. Orwell and pay attention to how my nation’s (supposed (elected)) leaders (and popular figures) use language.

(Their words tend to be indicative of their thoughts.)

Sarah Palin and a book

First, Palin used refudiate instead of repudiate. Then had the gall, not to simply giggle, apologize, and correct herself, but to compare herself to Shakespeare and remind all of us simpletons that English is a living language.

Golly gee.

Then she used cackle instead of gaggle.

These are all understandable blunders. Just the other day I conflated “goodbye” with “later” and ended up telling a friend, “Glater!”

These things happen.

But with Sarah Palin they happen frequently and with a disappointing focus on being clear, concise, and correct. But most of all honest. And sincere.

This poor command of diction is no surprise however to those close to her who fear she may be suffering from a debilitating relapse into the confusing and tormenting world of a Salvia addiction.


August 13th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

There is a bevy of sources for third rate SAT words-of-the-day, but if you really want to improve your vocabulary you should just read books. Certainly not third-rate book blogs.

But do you know what ratiocination means? I did not upon encountering it in a collection of short stories by O. Henry. (There were many, many words I did not know while plowing through the delights that is a collection of stories by William Sydney Porter ((but more on that later)).

But ratiocination. That’s a word. Don’t let it scare you. It’s pronounced rash-ee-os-uh-ney-shuhn.

And given its meaning, it deserves special attention in light of the obtuse, frenzied world we live.

Ratiocination is the process of logical reasoning.