By Jess Goodwin
Incredibly popular blog â check. Book deal â check. Weekly column on a major news site â check.
Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz, who met during grad school at Northwestern, started Stuff Hipsters Hate just over a year ago. Theyâd been exchanging e-mails about their various encounters with hipsters; one day, Ehrlich stumbled upon a new kind of hipster.
âThe âI hate everythingâ hipster,â she said. âAll he did was talk about the things he hated: jeans, clapping at shows. Who hates clapping?â
As the site grew, it garnered attention from a variety of people: from hipsters to âbros and trixiesâ â basically what the âpopular kidsâ grow up to be â to all those in between.
âWeâve gotten e-mails from people who like, scary hate hipsters,â said Ehrlich.
Good or bad, all this attention has paid off for the girls; the blog has spawned a book â Stuff Hipsters Hate: A Field Guide to the Passionate Opinions of the Indifferent, due for release this week.
âItâs kind of a faux-anthropological look at hipsters,â Bartz said of the book. âSome of it will be in the style of the blog, but a lot of it will read like a field guide.â
Back in June, Ehrlich and Bartz were approached by CNN.com to write a weekly column on ânetiquette.â Theyâve covered such topics as how to write e-mails without looking like an idiot, comment trolls and appropriate Twitter behavior.
The girls arenât just Internet personalities; they have ârealâ jobs. Ehrlich works as a news editor for Mashable.com and Bartz holds the same position at a psychology magazine.
So how do you know if youâre a hipster? According to Ehrlich and Bartz, âTo be a true hipster, one does not identify oneself as such. That is why you will often hear dudes in skintight jeans and chicks flashing calculator wrist watches muttering, âF***ing hipsters,â as they sip at their PBRs and glare at all the kids from NYU sporting red pants spewing off the L train onto Bedford Ave.â
If you believe the gentle mocking of SHH, among the other things hipsters hate fall children, religion and parents (or, what many people consider the staples of a well-functioning community). They also hate âbros and trixiesâ â who hate them right back â and other hipsters.
For a while â until they outed themselves back in November â no one knew who the minds behind SHH were. No one even knew that it was more than one person bringing them their daily dose of hipster info. Ehrlich and Bartz made (and still make) sure to only to refer to themselves as âIâ and âme,â leading at least one person to believe that they were an âaging ex-hipster with a potbelly and thinning hair who lives in Bushwick.â (To be fair, that is exactly what they sound like.)
That may be what drew people to the blog: hipsters could read it and assume that whomever was writing it was just bitter and malicious, and non-hipsters could read it and smile and nod knowingly. People were undoubtedly surprised that a pair of girls who look, well, nice, were behind the wheel, but that probably just made them like the blog even more. The tone of each post is just scathing enough to appease the hipster-haters, yet the girls seem to have a certain amount of affection toward the culture.
In honor of Stuff Hipsters Hateâs first birthday, Ehrlich and Bartz threw a bash at The Woods, a bar in South Williamsburg, last month. Not Paint, Blood, a Brooklyn-based progressive rock quartet known for their elaborate costumes, performed to a slew of twenty-somethings who gently swayed to the beat. After the show, a girl and two boys sat at a picnic table outside, arguing loudly about the nature of hipsters.
âWe are exactly what youâre talking about!â exclaimed the girl, her mismatched earrings dangling. âWe are hipsters.â
Clearly she, at least, is not. The first rule of hipsterdom is that you do not admit to being a hipster, after all.
Not the First
Stuff Hipsters Hate isnât the first blog to brings its creators success outside the confines of the internet, and itâs surely wonât be the last. Look at This F***ing Hipster, another blog dedicated to mocking the culture, released its book (or âblook,â the not-widely-known term for a book based on a blog) earlier this year.
HarperCollins last year released Brooklynite Nick Douglasâ
Twitter Wit: Brilliance in 140 Characters or Less, a collection of funny quotes he found on Twitter.
WTF Is Up With My Love Life?, a forum-based web site created by Jessica Massa of Manhattan and Rebecca Wiegand of Brooklyn, was born from the girlsâ idea for a book and movie. (Massa and Wiegand do have a movie deal with Newline, though, in a reverse of how things like this typically work, the movie deal came first, then the book, then the web site.)
WTF is based on what the girls call the âgaggle.â According to the site, a gaggle is âthe select group of guys in [a womanâs] life who compel [her] to put in that little bit of extra effort because they are, or potentially could be, romantic prospects.â Massa and Wiegand came up with the idea after they realized that âpeople donât go on traditional dates anymore.â Rather, friendships are formed first (hence the gaggle) and romantic relationships just naturally evolve.
Readers can submit to âDate or Non-Date,â where their peers weigh in on whether an encounter can be considered a date, as well as the âWTF?!â section, devoted entirely to the bizarre moments puncturing peopleâs love lives.
Hipster: Whatâs in a name?
The success of Stuff Hipsters Hate can perhaps be attributed in part to the appropriation of the topic (and terminology) into the mainstream. The word has started to be thrown around haphazardly, used to describe musical, fashion, even food trends, thereby inundating people who would never have heard of hipsters with knowledge of the subculture.
âI get Google alerts for the word hipster sent to me, and there are more and more articles every day,â says Ehrlich.
Many publications have also taken to associating certain practices with hipsterdom, in effect creating âhipsters by proxy.â Unless youâre a racial minority and delivering food, for instance, if youâre on a bicycle and of a certain age youâll be branded a hipster. Tattoos have found their way onto the list of hipster indicators, as has veganism, drinking PBR and smoking American Spirits. Based on all this, it has been suggested that hipsters are just poor â the blog Hipster or Homeless? has taken full advantage of this, posting photos of particularly raggedy youngsters â but then again, another supposed quality of hipsterdom is a strong sense of entitlement, created by the trust funds theyâre assumed to have (how else can these kids do nothing but hang around on Bedford, yet still afford pricey apartments and gourmet food?). Hipsters, it would seem, at their basest core, are just bratty rich kids who think the easiest way to substantiate themselves is by living unnecessarily far within their means.
Every few days, it seems, a story or blog entry about hipsters emerges; a number of popular media outlets have written features that downplay the hipness of hipsters, rendering it commonplace. In April New York magazine published âClash of the Bearded Ones: Hipsters, Hasids, and the Williamsburg street,â about the war over the Bedford Avenue bike lane.
ââŠEach group finds itself standing in for a larger one in a larger fight: the Satmars for all Orthodox Jews and the bikers for all young secular Williamsburgers, i.e. hipsters,â reads a passage in the article.
Such a statement is bold, at the very least. That simple âi.eâ clumps every twentysomething who lives in Williamsburg into a particular group, one that, if the stereotypes are true, forms a community of tattooed bicyclists with weird haircuts and a deep loathing for the very mainstream theyâre inadvertently infiltrating (also one that, assuming SHH is correct, hates all religion, and therefore doesnât actually have one to separate from state).
Questions? Comments? Sound off to the Editor
Â© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2010
All materials posted on BrooklynEagle.com are protected by United States copyright law.
Just a reminder, though -- Itâs not considered polite to paste the entire story on your blog. Most blogs post a summary or the first paragraph,( 40 words) then post a link to the rest of the story. That helps increase click-throughs for everyone, and minimizes copyright issues. So please keep posting, but not the entire article. arturcatt at.gmail.com