Big parenting milestone today. Hope I handled it all right. CJ asked me for the first time: “Daddy, what’s a hipster?”
It’s a hard question, actually! I told him they were people who were cool and sometimes wore old clothes or had tattoos or a lot of earrings, and liked to listen to music. How would you describe to a 5-year-old what a hipster is?
Someone who is very eager to fully experience life but hasn’t quite found their groove yet.
A mathematician living in a Madison retirement/assisted-living center told me with a big smile that the permanent residents there refer to those who who come and go there after hip surgery as “hipsters.”
Son, the most important thing to know about hipsters is that nobody wants to be one. and then you show him the hipster dinosaurs: http://www.sadanduseless.com/2010/08/hipster-dinosaur-coloring-book/
I recently came across the following definition: A hipster is someone who pretends not to be a hipster. Though this is a bit too self-referential for the uninitiated (as I expect most 5 year olds are).
But it does address the fact that hipsters are a group of people who feel really cool about how they’re cool in this way that no one else is (except for all those other hipsters that are just like them). In particular, they have this great taste in music that is so beyond what everyone else likes, hence making them so ahead of the curve that you can’t put a label on them (except, of course, that of hipster). So, maybe I’d say that they are people who think they are cool in such a special way that they don’t belong to a specific group, except that they are all – almost all – following the same aesthetic, namely that of hipsters.
Although I could be off, as my experience with Williamsburg is almost entirely of a vicarious nature.
Impressive. My 7-year old only recently understood the concept of sarcasm (though now, alas, he understands it too well). But irony is still beyond him, and so presumably is hipsterism.
He did ask me what a hippy was, though, which I was somewhat better able to define without resorting to second-order definitions…
Hate to sound more pragmatic, but whenever I get a question like this, from either an adult or child, I try to find out what provoked the question. This usually allows me to give the simplest answer that satisfies the questioner and prevents me from getting overly philosophical or giving TMI. There are many questions that automatically trigger far too many thoughts in me. Of course, these days my automatic answer to my 12 year old is “I don’t know. Just google it.” And his response is always “Just great. Google allows fathers to abandon their responsibility to teach their children?”
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