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the h-word

A Recent History of Hipsters, According to the New York Post

New York Post cover for Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Front page - HOME WRECKER

The cover of today's New York Post features a sad, bloodied woman described as "Brooklyn hipster Sophia Anderson, 21," who crashed her red Mercedes Benz into a Long Island home yesterday, sullying the name of youngish creative(-ish) types everywhere. Although expensive automobiles aren't typically tied to that particular overly broad subculture, the Post also identified Anderson as a "'DWI' B'klyn hipster" on its website before scrubbing the H-word from the story entirely, in favor of the simple "woman" and more vivid "BOOZE BABE." Some tabloid editor with their finger on the pulse must've noticed that the article in question features no other easily classifiable details about Anderson other than her age and borough of residence, which presumably fall short of the paper's criteria for deploying such a loaded term. It does raise an age-old question: What is a hipster anyway?

If we're to go by recent usage in the Post, hipsters can be identified by their fashion choices, although that tends to vary: In one instance we learn, "Skinny jeans are a must, and cardigans are preferred." But a "hipster-looking hoodlum wanted for the heartless shooting of a pit bull" was simply bearded and wearing glasses, along with "a FedEx uniform and hat," so that's not really helpful.

There's also "the skinny-jeans-wearing, Pabst Blue Ribbon-swilling, somber-and-ironic" kind, the thirtysomething "who has come to feel strangled by the upper-middle class life he shares with his successful magazine-editor wife," and um, Dorothy Parker.

Or Girls. There's always Girls.

But in the Post's eyes, the city-dwelling scum are most often violent, from the "hipster catfight," in which a woman burned another with a cigarette, to the "high-strung hipster, 'stressed' by the indignity of having to wait for the arraignment of his Occupy Wall Street buddies." Basically, it's not something you ever want to be in tabloid-speak, falling on the derisive index somewhere between being a "goon" and a rape accuser.

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