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comment by cgod
cgod  ·  1958 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Backyard chickens dumped at shelters when hipsters can't cope, critics say - NBC News.com

You are close enough in your analysis but let me expand on why I find the term Hipster offensive and stupid, both generally and specifically.

I know three households in my neighborhood that keep chickens. One house has both chickens and goats, they grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. The people who own the house are in their late thirties or early forties. They have something of a "hippie" aesthetic in their dress. I find them somewhat creepy, they aggressively accused me of calling the police about a possibly illegally parked RV outside their house, which I did not do. The RV in question was about a half block from my house, it wasn't in my way and it was a pretty cool looking older model vehicle that I thought was cool.

One block from my house are a couple that I presume to be professionals by their dress and hours. They are in their late thirties, a tad overweight, keep several raised beds of vegetables and assorted herbs and greens. Nice folks, they talk to my kid about their chickens. I can't imagine anyone picking them out of a crowd as different from anyone else.

The third house once again has a garden which I can't tell you much about as it's raised up and behind a fence. I don't know much about the people who live there except that at least one gentleman who lives there appears to be in skilled trades or construction. He has a workmanlike truck and his dress is that of a man who does some kind of physical labor. I'd say he is in his early thirties. They have a large sun with a painted face on the side of one of their sheds.

I don't know what makes these people "hipsters" maybe someone else can tell me. I will dip my toe into what I think people who use the term "hipster" are really getting at here and expand it a bit more later. Keeping chickens is something not everyone chooses to do and it is in fact something which is somewhat novel to many people. It could be seen as a fad or a hip thing to do. A person who bandies about the term "hipster" sees people who choose to keep chickens as someone who chooses to do something they would never do for no other reason than to be different, cool, or try to be hip. Keeping chickens is different from what many people choose to do and different is not something that many people like.

So maybe these chicken keepers in my neighborhood aren't "hipsters" because they have kept chickens for many years, they are doing it to provide food not because it's the "hip" thing to do. Maybe it's the people who keep chickens and give them up who are "hipsters."

I have a friend who kept chickens. He is an overweight fortysomething math teacher at a community college. He is married has a teenage son, a pre-teen daughter, a toddler and as of last week a new daughter, his mother also lives with his family in an attached mother in law cottage. He has unruly hair and has been known to leave the house in sweatpants. He kept several chickens but when his son started crawling that he didn't want his son to crawl in chicken shit and didn't want to keep the chickens that weren't allowed to roam in an open space. He decided that keeping chickens was no longer for him and gave them away. Is my friend a "hipster?" To me he sounds like a person that formerly kept chickens and found that continuing to keep chickens was no longer for him. I don't personally think that he needs a special derogatory category that accentuates his difference, I think he is just a person who chose for a time to keep chickens.

When I was a kid my father kept chickens. My dad wasn't particularly popular with his neighbors, he is a strange guy rubs many people the wrong way. He also kept bees and built me a stilt fort that stood fifteen feet off the ground these were both things that the neighbors tried to get the city to make his stop doing or tear down. The neighbors couldn't do anything about the bees or the stilt house, but the chickens were declared farm animals and my dad was forced to get rid of them. See my dad was different from the other neighbors, they couldn't relate to him, did their best to try to get him to live a life like their own. I don't think my dad, in his overalls with his checkbook tucked in one breast pocket and sunglasses in the other, mesh tank top clad, workboot shod, garden spade and pruners in the back pocket buzzcut sporting father was a "hipster", but he was different from most his neighbors, and they did their best to make him conform or be ostracized.

So maybe my friend or my dad isn't a "hipster." Maybe a "hipster" is a person who has chickens and gives them to a shelter or lets them starve to death when they realize that keeping chickens isn't for them. It's a pretty narrow definition but if you are comfortable with it I guess that is on you.

I work at a bar that is known as a "hipster" bar. People from out of town actually go there to see real "hipster" culture (I shit you not, hipster tourism is real). Let me give you a good idea of what 80-90% of the people who are regulars are like. We have salespeople, nurses, lots of skilled trade and construction workers, tech workers, accountants, cooks, bartenders, musicians, waiters, social workers, teachers, lobbyist, graphic designers, artist, city workers, landlords, call center workers, secretaries, retired people, Vietnam vets and clerks. Racially we have African Americans, West Africans, North Africans, Whites, Mexican Americans, Mexicans, South Americans, Irish Americans, a pair of Germans, Koreans, and Vietnamese Americans. We significant number of our clientele is gay and lesbian. While the average customer is a middle aged straight white person, the average probably holds it's own at about 50% and it's a pretty diverse crowd. I'd say that most regulars have no more than one or two degrees of separation, with most regulars knowing the name of and ready to sit down and have a chat with any other customer who comes in at their normal day or time, regardless or profession, race, sexual preference or social class.

Yet still people from out of town come to gawk at the bartender who has a beard that is grown down below his collarbone and ask if we are going to play Def Leppard, because evidently that is what "hipsters" listen to. Having enough space to park 25-30 bicycles and having all that space filled makes us a "hipster" bar, because what kind of people choose to ride bikes when they could drive cars. Because we don't serve redbull, or any energy drinks, we are an elitist hipster bar. Because we don't serve long islands, we are an elitist hipster bar. Because we don't serve drop shots ect... We have a fierce pour at a good price, we don't serve many sugary kiddie drinks, mostly because we don't want to fill the place with young folks slamming sugar shots and crashing thier cars on the way home.

It's basically a non homogeneous space where people freely mix and if you aren't ready to talk to sharply dressed gay or an old grizzled Vietnam vet then it's going to seem a bit different, and different has to be clearly delineated with derogatory language like "hipster" instead of "people who aren't all like me".

A local magazine posted a map that scraped yelp for all reviews that had the word "hipster" in it and made a handy map so that people could avoid having to rub shoulders with "hipsters" a while back. People loved it. One poster said something along the lines of "This is great, now we only need one that shows where all the blacks and hispanics are." It was a joke and it wasn't. The poster was obviously remarking that the map was a load of bigoted bullshit but the rest of the commenters didn't seem to think that it was a very witty comment. Their response was "Hey, this is just in fun, it's a joke and if you can't take you just don't understand and don't have a sense of humor." Let me tell you a joke I heard the other day, we'll see how this sits with you.

How do you hide something from a Nigger? Put it in a book!

I didn't laugh, in fact I pretty much did the opposite vocally. "It's just a joke, lighten up," I was told. I didn't lighten up. If any read here doesn't like that joke and bandies about the term "hipster" then they ought to examine what they are thinking. I'm sure many people think that I'm making an unfair analogy and that I ought to lighten up.

An analogy that I always liked was that of the American love of lawns to our conformist society. The perfect American lawn is uniformly green with every blade of grass cut to a perfectly uniform height. Every splotch of lawn that isn't uniformly green and perfectly uniform in height and similarities is a blemish. "hipster" is just the word for those who are different, who don't conform to a neat little box, have an odd hobby, wear a loud shit, like a different kind of music, or keep chickens. "Hipsters" are those who are brave enough or oblivious enough to do what they want instead of doing what everyone else does. "Hipsters" are in fact just people like everyone else, just like blacks are just people with different coloured skin and italians are people who were born in a different place. There is no sense in setting them aside with derogatory language, in fact it makes everyone poorer to set people aside just because they are different.

pseydtonne, as far as flouting whatever guidelines for polite decorum which you have set for yourself, I have to say that I set my own guidelines. I reserve a somewhat different set of guidelines when I protest what I think is ignorant and bigoted content. Truth be told my comments were made in hopes of igniting some attention toward the the phenomenon of "hipster" callouts, which didn't really catch on like I hoped. They were purposefully aimed at inciting some discussion of the issue but that didn't seem to take off like I hoped. It looks like you weren't around last time I took on a bit of what I perceived and still believe was racism on Hubski. It was quite a kerfuffle and was I believe a good deal more important than this "hipster" bit I've tried to explore here.

There are no rules to Hubski as far as conduct goes, it is a free speech zone and anyone is more than welcome to take umbrage and counter my speech with more delightful free speech.

I'm sure that my post could use an edit for brevity and content but I'd rather get it up here now rather than wait a few days when I am free of obligations. Time is pressing, I must wake and feed my daughter before I head to my "hipsterly" duties of getting people drunk.




flagamuffin  ·  1957 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Two things:

I want badly to come hang out at your bar.

You have several lifetime's worth of experience with chickens.

cgod  ·  1957 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Chickens are huge in this town.

ButterflyEffect  ·  1958 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm in the same boat as you with the paragraph about the "hipster bar", though with a bit less racial diversity (everything else is spot on). The worst part is, I've known some people to go to places like that simply for some ill-placed novelty value that they hold towards what they call "hipster" culture. Be it that, or going to a local grimmy record store, eating and drinking locally produced goods even gets a callout sometimes, things of that nature.

It is, as you put, a term for people that aren't conforming to what other people want them to be. The media uses the phrase because they know damn well that it will generate views, and in the end, that is what they want. The numbers are what matter, and that helps elevate those numbers.

Great comment, things like that are why I use Hubski.

markcaudill  ·  1958 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I get what you're saying (I think). I mean, I have a garden and like The Avalanches and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Am I a hipster too? The lines have been blurred and I think that's a good thing.

_refugee_  ·  1956 days ago  ·  link  ·  

An excellent post. I too was irritated at the use of "hipster" with "chicken-rearing" and in fact thought it was a lazy use of the term, but reading this has made me think more about the use of the word "hipster" and how it's essentially a denigration of a willingness to be different; originally it was a denigration of a specific type of difference, but at this point it seems to have just boiled down to "it's new and the kids are doing it so it's 'hipster'," even losing what original meaning it had, just becoming a pejorative.

pseydtonne  ·  1956 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Wait, wait. I must be missing something here.

There must be something I just don't understand about cgod's long response. It got a badge and lots of cooing. however it seems to boil down to:

1) some folks shouldn't raise chickens (agreed);

2) some folks don't know what to do once a hen is beyond its egg-laying years (completely understandable);

3) the intersection of "chicken-parenting challenged" and "hipster" is not also the union (again, totally agreed);

4) folks have been using "hipster" to replace "arsehole" or "douche bag" when there are also differences (again, a good point);

5) it makes cgod angry to see the diverse patrons where he works clumped with the people they spent their lives avoiding (oh yes, agreed);

6) Then someone told an old Chris Rock joke from his 1996 HBO special (now it starts to fall apart);

7) This somehow puts 'hipster' into a harsher context as a pejorative (not necessarily a syllogistic conclusion but not necessarily wrong);

8) It also therefore equates 'hipster' with racial slurs, some of the most offensive ones in the English language. (...come again?)

9) Thus it's perfectly fine to throw racist comments around because cgod just proved he can't be a racist.

I'm sorry. It doesn't work that way. Where I come from, I walk away from this trash. Now it's staring me in the face.

You want to think "hipster" is as bad as wop (we'll take the softest slur in the bunch as an example)? That's cute, but it's wrong. No one lynched any hipsters recently. No one gets denied a job or a mortgage for being a hipster. It's not the same. It's not even close.

I am seriously angry that the community favors cgod's remarks. His (there, I said it) white privilege (I'm saying it too) is showing. If you honor that, then you're part of a much larger problem.

thenewgreen  ·  1956 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think in this particular comment the community responded in a way that makes sense to me. cgod's original comment was short, curt and to many I would wager offensive, given that it lacked explanation. Two people clicked on this comment's hubwheel to show appreciation.

Then, cgod took the time to explain his original comment in a longer, more nuanced and thoughtful way and it received much more positive acknowledgment.

I think that's great. I've enjoyed this conversation and while cgod's original comment was, by my estimation, hyperbolic. His thoughts on the use of the word hipster as a pejorative has changed my thinking, and I'm the one that got in to a debate over a year ago with him about this topic. (cgod, I looked and looked for that thread but I cannot find it anywhere).

"Hipster" has become a brand. It was first sold to us as the "intelligent, thoughtful, well read, well listened, connoisseur of all things "hip". Now it is being morphed in to the "lazy and cynical". -The media builid-ith up and tear-ith down. I'll admit, I've used the word as such in the past, but cgod has changed my thinking on it. It would be "lazy" of me to lump an entire group of people in to those categories. Based on what? Their clothing? Where they drink their PBR? -Okay, that one was below the belt. But seriously, stereotyping is stereotyping.

edit: sorry for the double shout out cgod.

humanodon  ·  1956 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'd like for the following image to be a piece of Hipster brand merchandise:

And to keep my comment on-topic, I think cgod's response was hyperbolic. If I had been unfamiliar with cgod's comment history and I saw the comment in question without any frame of reference, then I'd probably think he's just another internet racist.

I think it's good to remind ourselves every once in a while, of the limitations of communicating and commenting on things via a text-based format and how they might be viewed.

thenewgreen  ·  1954 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I posted this to the Hubski Facebook Page and it used that image in the post. People have to wonder what the hell that image has to do with Backyard Chickens and Hipsters, ha. Great image though, I'm not complaining.