The generations of people who generally fall in the age brackets affording hipsterdom all came of age at what some have called "the end of history" - things had perfected themselves, all artistic expressions had been achieved (i.e. 'been done before'), all the criticisms had been voiced, judged and either rejected or accepted.
the earliest manifestations of the "hipster" culture began as what others have called "temporary autonomous zones," brief and joyous respites from the dominating culture of the masses . these moments sometimes developed into more lasting collectives or 'scenes' - but by this time, Big Culture was always watching for the next thing and Big Culture always catches on sooner or later - - thats when the freshness fades, it becomes a part of that same stream of dead, self-replicating culture and we get bored.
really it was the apathy. why bother? the boredom lead us to other things, or maybe to despair. then this despair fueled its own culture, its own message and we felt something again but that too, co-opted. 'commercialized' as we became so keen to say.
and it happened/happens again and again
and so from out of this endless re-definition of finding those things that one can relate to, feel connected with, things that make you feel good or expressive in some other way, things that you deem worthwhile (or more simply put, things that are cool) -- out of this impossible fight against the great commercialization of all cultures and subcultures (the assumption here being that when Big Culture takes, it replicates in a more or less soulless fashion) comes the hipster.
the tastes of the hipster can encompass a wide variety of disparate elements and are never fully defined. they are always subject to change without warning. maybe its a defense mechanism. criticisms will abound of course, but their is an underlying desire to have a malleable culture that is resistant (not fully) to the grubby hands of the mass culture. this is also where some of the defensive elements often attributed to hipsters come from.
the hipster comes out of a wider popular culture that eats anything that can be used to make a profit, it plays its role (we learned well enough that its no use to fight it - they will only sell your rebellion right back to you) so it plays along, it hasn't the illusions that it's a culture thats going to change anything, it just a game - finding things it likes along the way.
should it really be that reprehensible for people to be drawn to similar things?
we came out of the same disillusionment, boredom and frustration - and, thanks to technologies old and new we can always rebuild our sense of identity and culture but this time we won't be as stupid to think we are the first or even the last.
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