White culture’s re-appropriation of black culture has been well-documented, but less discussed is the white mainstream’s tendency to swipe from within its own counterculture. These mainstream vampiric whiteys, known as Hipsters, will absorb any subcultural artifact that can be fashionably consumed.
Hipsters disguise themselves as nonconformist outsiders, using their external appearance as a means to express their perceived individuality. Hipsters play dress-up, and their costume is “Unique Individual.” They accessorize and co-opt by feeding on subcultures like ‘white trash’ rednecks (belt buckles, The Great Trucker Hat Debacle of Aught-Three), the geeks and dorks (awkward eyeglasses, bad haircuts), and the ever-popular class-slumming trend of pretending you’re poor (ripped clothing, Salvation Army scavenging). A studded bracelet from the headbangers, sneakers from the skaters, fixed gear bicycles and shoulder bags from the bike messengers… A Hipster’s trendlust knows no bounds. These vampires feed until the ironic novelty is drained away, until they have devalued the things which were once important signifiers to the original subcultures. They seek, consume, and destroy.
Hipsters need to manufacture their rebellion, because underneath all of their cheap signaling, they are indescribably normal. Isn’t that sad? Doesn’t that explain your savage desire to drive wooden stakes through their impossibly thin T-shirts?
See the original comic strip version of this piece: Hipsters Are Vampires
Listen to the audio version of this piece: Audio Essays