By Allie ’12
As summer comes to a close, I’ve found myself on Facebook grimly clicking through Polaroid after poorly developed Polaroid of various teenage summers, feeling increasingly mournful as I reflect on the spiking level of brooding in my generation. I look upon these adolescents with pity, those that hiked mountains in wedges, went to hot, crowded music festivals and sat in uncomfortable tents in their backyards, all for the coveted hipster image: being so devastatingly individual that you are barely human. Some say that Los Angeles traffic is slowly blackening our souls (literally and figuratively), but I think the real silent killer is hipster culture.
According to Freud, most people function under the influence of an aspect of the mind he called the super ego. We care what other people think, so we suppress our natural instincts and wear clothes… just like the peer pressure to conform in high school (but at least at Marlborough no one will judge you for growing out your leg hair for the winter). Of course the suffocating effect that the super ego has on us can be a drag when we dwell on it (e.g. bowling, the most pointless, shaming activity man has ever invented), but I think we Gap-wearing, hair-brushing average folks totally have it made, especially compared with those under the crippling power of a super duper ego.
When a girl develops a super duper ego (usually by spending too much time loitering in Silver Lake), she has a new layer of consciousness that incites her to be as offbeat and freaky as she can imagine but in the most casual, unintentional ways. Despite their blasé demeanor, hipsters have to work really hard to be themselves. They are constantly worrying about what everyone thinks, but they have to hide it deep within themselves under the pretense that they don’t care at all. Think about it: normal people never have to feel guilty for loving Hall & Oates, eating at chain restaurants or even thinking that Fellini is creepy. Hipsters must not only pretend to be disdainful of these activities because they are socially acceptable but also exist in a strange counter-culture of bug-ridden bonfires, bleary sunset vigils and sticky, overcrowded music festivals— all while wearing neon leggings. It’s really quite tragic.
Like me, you may have at some point observed a hipster in the world, whether on Facebook or in real life (if you make an effort to leave your home, that’s great for you). You probably thought this person looked ridiculous wearing a sunhat in the library or frolicking in Griffith Park solely to take artsy photos in nature, but behind the eye makeup and chunky sweater is just a person lost in the world. And aren’t we all lost, in our own little ways? I personally get overwhelmed every time I walk down the vitamin aisle (realization of mortality… you know). So let’s all cut a hipster some slack and lend her some sensible walking shoes for those long, meaningful, obscure walks into the sunset/forest/ocean.