Whether the persistence of hipster eulogies is a sign of the West’s cultural stagnation or merely the slipperiness of the term, I couldn’t tell you. What’s incontrovertible is the hipster has been dying for about five years now. It’s true because sensitive, trend-spotting journalists have said so. But as far as I know this is the first time its death has been studied gromatically by political scientists:
Just 16% of Americans have a favorable opinion of hipsters, a new PPP poll on the much-discussed subculture shows. 42% have an unfavorable opinion of hipsters, and 43% aren’t sure. Democrats (18% favorable, 34% unfav) are twice as likely as Republicans (9% fav, 48% unfav) to have a favorable opinion. Voters age 18-29 have a favorable opinion of them (43% fav-29% unfav), but very few voters over age 65 do (6% fav -37% unfav).
Just 10% of voters say they consider themselves to be hipsters – and almost all of those are younger voters. Half of all voters aged 18-29 consider themselves hipsters; every other age group is 5% or less. … 27% of voters said they thought hipsters should be subjected to a special tax for being so annoying, while 73% did not think so. About one in five voters (21%) said they thought Pabst Blue Ribbon, commonly associated with hipsters, was a good beer. Democrats (29%) were more likely than Republicans (23%) to think so, while independents (11%) were least likely.
Almost a majority (46 percent) think they’re soulless cultural appropriators.
My favorite hipster eulogy is still this Adbusters—yes, I know it’s left-wing—piece, for the sheer hopelessness of it, and that it comes from their same political/philosophical position as most of the people we would describe as such. It quotes TakiMag contributor and Vice founding editor Gavin McInnes:
“I’ve always found that word ["hipster"] is used with such disdain, like it’s always used by chubby bloggers who aren’t getting laid anymore and are bored, and they’re just so mad at these young kids for going out and getting wasted and having fun and being fashionable,” he says. “I’m dubious of these hypotheses because they always smell of an agenda.”
In other words, people use the word like they use the word “yuppie”—pejoratively. Since this isn’t something PPP regularly measures, we can’t be sure if opinion has soured, but I suspect not. My guess is the public at large always hated them.
At least now we know what polling firms do when there’s not a big election coming up.