By Chris Testa
Regular readers of UniLife Magazine may find themselves occasionally pondering whether the hipster undertones of many articles within are reflective of campus culture. Said readers may even paint themselves with an ironically sepia-toned hipster brush.
There may be other readers belonging to the hipster-hating crowd who are left shaking their head at what they read. Yours truly, who would probably be accurately classed by the hipster crowd as a wog, bogan, or better yet, wogan, has never really understood the fascination with being a hipster.
The beard-sporting, vintage-clad subculture was, incredibly, a complete unknown to me until I went from public school kid to journalism and international relations uni student. In my first weeks at uni, the fights and footballs of high school were replaced with a bunch of bad sweaters, glasses without lenses and shrill voices of great social conscience.
“Who do these people think they are?” I thought to myself.
Time Magazine writer Dan Fletcher said in 2009 that “hipsters manage to attract a loathing unique in its intensity”, but does such sentiment also exist on campus?
UniSA student Alex Smith once prowled the Magill campus regularly, and he has subsequently developed a deep dislike of the hipster breed.
To his dismay, Alex has found more hipsters at City West and Mawson Lakes where he now studies.
“Well, it’s not exactly new but hipsters are annoying, to be polite,” Alex replied when asked of his impressions of hipsters on campus.
“They are douchebags; fake,” he added, the politeness quickly disappearing.
Alex, who had not encountered a hipster before arriving at university, said hipsters draw this resentment because their seeming quest to be unique usually results in them merely “joining the flock of sheep”.
“It just seems like it’s a lack of originality,” he said.
But the secondary education student believes being a hipster is not necessarily a lifelong calling for those wearing their grandpa’s old jumper.
“It seems the same people who embrace every new trend that comes along are now hipsters.”
“They aren’t being individual by following the herd.”
A 2010 article published by The Guardian looks at the trend of hipster bashing and describes the disliked hipster as “a tiresome sort of trendy, ostentatious in their perceived rebellion, yet strangely conformist; meticulous in their tastes, yet also strangely limited.”
Matteo Gagliardi is another UniSA student whose balls are regularly broken by hipsters. He feels that hipster hatred is fuelled by the superiority complex many of them have.
“It is conceited and elitist how they go about judging people on the way they talk, act and dress,” he said.
Matteo points to the ‘Stop Kony’ fad of 2012 as highlighting the problem with the subculture.
“If you want to see the epitome of how vapid and smug hipsters can get, look at how they lapped up the chance to sit on their high horses after watching the viral campaign to end the injustices of an African dictator unknown to most of the West, and definitely unknown to most of them.”
“And yet, true to form, they ended up doing little, if not nothing at all, to help the situation.”
Alex too does not appreciate hipster complacency, particularly in a university environment where group work calls for unity and effort.
“I try and avoid having hipsters in my group because I feel they are unreliable,” he said. Despite his aversion to hipsters, Alex moved to suggest there are a select few he counts as friends.
“People can be exceptions to the rule on a personal level.”