Monday, April 23, 2012

Review for Epitaph for the white hipster

This last article for the semester seems a lot different than the ones we have previously read. Greif started by talking about class, race and ethnicity issues in big cities(New York City and Boston), revealing dissatisfaction/hatred of the lower class towards higher class(example of the Alife shoe store rooting). He then draws upon his personal experience on beholding the changes of the streets in New York while also coming from a white town in Newton. He then calls attention to hipster subculture and seem to discount it: " This subculture was pro-consumer, pro-consumption, amoral, pro-lifestyle. It credentialed itself as resistant because its pleasures were supposedly violent and transgressive. " He then categorize the hippies, not as a subculture, but as an ethnicity. He thinks the hippies in the cities symbolizes" a return of rich whites to big cities in the 90s and 00s". He also used the term "urban renewal"- I have known this term before in a architectural context; it was quite interesting to see it used by the author in here, to represent this phenomenon.
According to the author, the hippie movement died down around 2003. I haven't come to the US until 2007 so when I learned about Hipster Movement in the American History textbook for the first time, it didn't mean much to me. I couldn't even visualize it because I had never seen one. When I came to Brown/RISD for college, I started to notice a campus fashion that include leather shoes, moleskine notebooks, urban outfitters vintage clothes, second hand shop, feather earings. I quickly caught up on what "artsy" people wear nowadays. It seems to me that, nowdays, it's hard to see any prominent type of subculture among young people, unlike the 60s 70s, or 80s. Fashion wise, it seems more like an unconscious blending of hipster, bohemian, vintage, art...Do young people nowadays still care about tagging themselves with a certain subcultural group? Are some people really just pretentiously trying to be unique? Considering being unique varies in different environment, (artsy designy style might seems unique in a rural town, but not in SOHO at New York), how should we go about defining what is mainstream and what is distinctive?

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