Why We Should Be Nice to Young Hipsters

My buddy Austin pointed me to this video that’s gone viral from Jimmy Kimmel. It’s a Lie Witness News report his show did during Coachella where they ask some attendees if they’re excited to see bands like the Obesity Epidemic and the Chelsea Clintons and they all express that yeah, they love those bands so much and can’t wait to see them. But here’s the catch: those bands don’t exist.

Now there’s probably 3 reasons for this, all of which I think are valid.

1) People who go to Coachella aren’t really going to see music or bands, so they probably wouldn’t be able to tell you who’s playing anyway (this one’s more accurate than you think).
2) They’re just being polite to the people asking them questions and don’t want to look like an idiot with a camera in their face.
3) They’re hipsters.

I would like, for the purposes of this little spiel, to focus on #3, though the other two are probably correct in some fashion as well. While the video was funny, I kept thinking to myself throughout the course of it, “Wow. I used to do that ALL THE TIME.” I remember being a young, impressionable 20-year-old, hanging out with new friends from bigger cities who I met in undergrad, trying to fit in, be cool, lying about how I know every lyric to every Mountain Goats song ever and how the Decemberists’ first album is way better than their last two, etc. These are conversations young hipsters have all the time. Yes, I too was a young hipster. I struggled to fit in with my musical friends, who I’ve now come to realize may have not even liked music at all anyway, or at least the trite shit they claimed to like.

At 26, I now understand my true self. I hate the Mountain Goats. John Darnielle’s voice is atrocious and his speaky-singy delivery irks me to no end. This is merely my opinion, but the difference between my age-26 Mountain Goats opinion and my age-21 Mountain Goats opinion, other than the opinions themselves, is that one is sincere and one is not. One is from a kid who thinks too much about what other people think about him. The other is from an older guy who is tired of listening to shit he will never like and tired of trying and doesn’t really care anymore. But it took me a while to get there. I spent a lot of time on music I respect greatly in retrospect, but ultimately I have determined just isn’t for me.

Meanwhile, I back-burnered a lot of music I LOVED simply because it didn’t fit with the current catalog of “Things Okay To Like.” These are purely subjective, arbitrary things that make no sense to me whatsoever at age 26, but at age 21, I lived by The Code. I had to be cool, I had to gauge someone else’s reputable opinion of a band before I claimed my opinion. This was highly pretentious, it was sad, it was necessary. It was a period of self-discovery and it made me who I am today, a more self-aware, musically intelligent, but overall less snobby human being. But it was pretty bad, and I know if it was bad for me in Lubbock, Texas, I can only imagine what kids at Coachella 2013 are going through. THE PRESSURE.

I say this all a bit tongue-in-cheek, of course, because we all know that being insincere and insecure about your music taste is a dumb thing to dwell on to the point of flat-out lying about it. But these kids are dealing with it, and I can understand that. And it will take some time. It’s all part of a big painful process called growing up and your twenties and self-discovery and blah blah blah. All of which is easier said than done. And one thing that never happened to me during this time was I never ended up looking like a jackass on national television during this developing period of my life. So I kind of feel for these kids, even if you can look in their eyes and see nothing but complete cluelessness and low self-esteem and the general physical effects of recreational drugs. Because all they did was show up to have a good time, and then some millionaire has his interns put a microphone in their face and they opened their dumb mouths and pretended to know what they were talking about, like young hipsters do, and got called out for it on YouTube, and now they’re sitting in their chemistry class totally embarrassed and sunburnt and hungover. And this is part of the process. And it’s funny, funny, funny, hilarious stuff. But also, a little sad. But mostly funny.

Because we have to laugh at ourselves. That’s the first step to getting out of your young hipster phase. And most of them will get there. Some never do, unfortunately. And that’s not funny at all. That’s annoying. Because if there’s anything worse than a young hipster, it’s an old hipster.

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