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The Enemy of my Enemy?

A Man Out of Time

Not long ago, a beloved editor and Impact’s resident pestilent congregation of vapours scribed a heartfelt confession so poignant that one could hear Tartini’s ‘Devil’s Trill’ violin sonata; in G minor of course, whilst reading it.

Howbeit, this arbitrary hodgepodge of a text brought to my attention an intriguing matter. This breed of young ladies and gentlemen known as ‘hipsters’ are renowned for heralding elements of nostalgia, sporting elaborate facial hair and, so they say, have a penchant for irony. On paper, this façon d’être seems remarkably close to my personal tastes. If this is the case, then how in Heaven could this ‘hipster’ movement be a derogatory term?

Through arduous academic analysis via the electronic telecommunication service, I discovered that these beings often congregated in a nearby Honkey-Tonk known as the Bodega. Unacquainted with this social establishment, I paid a visit with the expectation of being greeted by some like-minded socialites.

Suffice to say, my encounter was somewhat discouraging. Had my investigative efforts been adequate, I may have foregone the gruelling experience and merely consulted Impact Magazine’s comprehensive guide on nocturnal local taverns; an amusing tale in which one member of the article’s team is violated by an acorn. That having been said, I was slowly coming to understand the daunting reality of the hipster’s true identity.

This merging of the past and the modern world is, alas, no celebration of nostalgia at all but nothing more than a bastardisation of all things beautiful. Likewise, a pair of skinny jeans coalesced with tweed was perhaps one of the most unprepossessing sights I have ever come across. My continuing inquiries were simply battered away with derision laced with underlying sarcasm.

This unpleasantness continued between bouts of self-conscious hipster attempts at crude gambolling and a courting process that was merely gauche self-aggrandisement. I came upon the realisation that I shared little with these inarticulate self-deluded gorbellied flap-mouthed ratsbanes and decided for a hasty retreat, roughly akin to Napoleon’s withdrawal in 1812.

Although the inelegant dress-sense was indeed distressing, the most disturbing aspect was its motivation. Vile cardigans, haggard clothing and crude perversions of classic personal grooming were expensively adorned – not to be beautiful but under the pretext of irony. Surely, given this opportunity, any self-respecting individual would endeavour to garnish him or herself in tasteful apparel with pride instead of striving to appear unsightly.

An unsettling aspect of this influence is the further degradation of all things that glorify the past. These are conceptualised through a process of what I have termed ‘hispterisation’ in which desirable elements of the bygone days lose all their virtue. From typewriters to old photography, anyone who appreciates the fine tastes of sepia tones and the sounds of clacking keystrokes becomes tarred with the same innocuous brush.

Naturally, given our perceptions of a forgotten culture, it is unavoidable that tributes to replicate this may diverge from the original. However, this distortion by no means has to be one without taste. Perhaps a pair of slacks could be paired with a tweed jacket; preferably one that fits, too. If you have been blessed with perfect vision, is there any need in those cheaply fabricated spectacles in a shoddy attempt to impersonate Buddy Holly? And those vulgar haircuts?  They could use a good application of pomade.

Every badly fitted jacket, tasteless untucked shirt, and unkempt scarf would be pardoned if it were not for the definitive affront which has immortalised the hipster into abhorrence. I am referring, of course, to its insolent obnoxiousness. Whatever style an individual may adopt, musical tastes (popular or not) or education received, you are no more superior to the next man. Any belittlement of others over this is merely a display of foul breeding. Rather than appearing intellectual or sophisticated, such transparent arrogance only succeeds in intensifying the credence of prevailing as something less than human. Indeed, I relish living in the past and savour the mockery of modern tastes. However, I would never perceive myself as superior for it.

Well, maybe a little bit.

Charles-Philippe Bowles

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