In what in some circles equates to earth-shattering news, the New York Times plans to discontinue use of the term "hipster." On Tuesday, the standards editor claimed it no longer accurately describes what the American Heritage dictionary defines as "One who is exceptionally aware of or interested in the latest trends and tastes, especially a devotee of modern jazz." That shows the word's roots with the hepcats of the Beat Generation, but says little about its second wave use to describe those infatuated with irony, mustaches, and dirty hair.
I first started to hear hipster when living in New York City in 2000. But I didn't really grasp the situation until a friend made an admission: She lied and told boys in bars they looked like The Strokes' Julian Casablancas. If they asked "who?" they weren't worthy of more of her time. From then on, the line was drawn. There was an "us" and a "them." We were the ones mocking you, and we did it while wearing giant, plastic earnings from the '80s. Mea culpa.
But I too am not really sure hipster describes the latest generation of cool kids. After all, the second wave of hipsterdom is now ten years old. Asymmetrical haircuts, electro, showering - something new was born along the way, and we were all too lazy to coin a new term.
Take a look at this infographic by FameGame's Ryan Brown. New Times's
sister paper Village Voice uses hipster a ton more than any other NY publication.
For the New Times calendar, we traffic in short 150-word descriptions of events,
people, and venues. The concise write-ups make us dependent on shorthand
terms like hipster. I keep gravitating towards replacing hipster with scenester,
but I'm aware that I'm not the one shouting, sweating, and swaying in
Gawker recently tried to come up with a few alternatives. Although
being Gawker, they were mostly dicks about it. "Fauxhemians" won out in
the end, but a take a look at other suggestions:
Doucheoisie ("Schwazzies," for short)
Probos (professional hobos)
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Gents (for gentrification)
Can anyone remove tongue from cheek long enough to suggest an actual alternative? If one of the most read publications in the nation wants to kill a word, maybe we all should agree on its replacement first.