Hipster Perspective


Hipster – Mobile App and Website

I have just launched a site and mobile app called Hipster at http://www.hipster.mobi and would like to give some background.

Hipster has become a term for people who dress and act cool taking elements from past styles.  Unfortunately and somewhat unfairly it has become a derogatory label – so much so that very few people say they are Hipsters.

I am a Hipster

Let’s take a look at a little “top of the head” history.  To be hip comes from hep – some jazzy black term.  We had the Beatniks in the 50’s who were Hep Cats and we had the Mod and Psychedelic Hip Cats in the 60’s.  60’s punk and early psychedelic folk wore Hipsters – pants that were low on the hips held up by big belts.  These often flared at the bottom – flares.  Not bell bottoms – Hipsters.

Stripey Hipsters - Original '66 taken in

Dan Zen – Stripey Hipsters – Original ’66 taken in

In the past, styles tended to last for a longer time and as time passes, eras get remembered for certain styles. I created a site in the early 2000’s called Hip Cats at http://www.hipcats.com.  There are examples of Hip cultures – Beatnik, Psychedelic, Surf, Goth, Cyberpunk and Urban. On the Scoop page there is a history section for each of these genres.  There are also relevant songs, books and films listed.


Hip Cats site at http://www.hipcats.com (2002)

These days, with many more people, accessible historical media – movies, TV, songs, the Internet, etc. styles have become much more varied and mixed.  There still are some unique forays and spinoffs like punk, indie-pop, nerd, emo, clubbers, etc. but over the last few decades, kids started liking everything – or a wide variety.  I would go up to someone who looked like a mod and ask them if they were a mod and they would say no – and on occasions, they would answer they did not know what a mod was.  They could not say what their favorite type of music was – they liked everything.  I have mixed emotions over this response – it seems on one hand that they are not trying hard enough – like they have not researched and felt a passion.  On the other hand… it is an inclusive attitude.


Some Second Generation Hipsters (me on right) 1986

Perhaps it is this lack of historical perspective that has led to concerns of the authenticity of modern day hipsters.  There is merit in this criticism but let’s go a little easy on the youth.  First of all, wise people say this kind of stuff does not matter – who cares what you dress or look like, etc.  I care because it is fun to care, what I wear is self expression.  Do I care if a girl likes to wear mod dresses but does not know their history – not really, I am pleased to tell her of its history.  I think we are drawn to certain styles regardless of knowledge of the deeper culture.  And the deeper culture is born from people who share interests so let’s take a more supportive and nurturing attitude.

Attitude is another issue with the current Hipster.  To be cool is to often be reserved.  This sometimes comes across as being better than thou.  This side effect has been there right from the start of hipness.  So now we have this backlash of you think your so cool… we hate or we laugh at you hipsters, etc.  And then this feeds the standoffishness, etc.


Zany Dan Zen Dancing 2012

I have never condoned being too cool to communicate.  I am more zany and outgoing and inclusive – hipsters embody all sorts of people.  I think for the most part, the values of current hipsters are good.  They care about the environment – riding bikes, eating local food.  They are into cafe discussions, reading – they tend to be nerdy and intelligent.  This is what I assume – perhaps there are hipsters that do not share these values but for the most part, I think their outlook is positive and commendable.  Treat them like humans and I am sure that they will be kind and even a good influence on your life.

There is the issue of being labeled.  I suspect that nobody likes to be labeled.  I suppose if people include the “snooty attitude” and “lack of authenticity” issues in the label then perhaps I would not like to be labeled a hipster.  But if a hipster is just someone who IS hip – then I don’t mind that label.  I understand the striving to be unique but I say to you, if you ARE hip – then you are a hipster.

Comments welcome and please try out the app and have some fun.  http://www.hipster.mobi

Dan Zen – 2013

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6 Responses to “Hipster Perspective”

  1. Senor Chang says Si Says:

    Hipster should land in the hands of hip or hip hounds everywhere

  2. Dan Zen Says:

    Strange… 1000 views of this article and no comments aside from spam that I turned into a comment (shhh). I see other people have comments on posts – what gives? Is the article too long to reach the bottom? Is it too wrong? Too right? What are your thoughts?

  3. Aaron Nielsen Says:

    responding now there..Dr. Zen..

  4. Dan Zen Says:

    Wooo Hooo – how’s it going Aaron! Check out those shades!

  5. Senor Chang Says:

    My comment was spam, my thoughts on this app are fully summarized by this link: hahgay.com

  6. Comment on Touchy is on TV – by Overheinous, et al. | Beloved Comments Says:

    […] ANALYSIS I have been really getting into Sherlock Holmes these days with two excellent renditions running (I have not tried a third – Elementary).  So I am proud to be recognized for my keen analytical skills.  I have also just launched a Creativity Framework where the main practical point is the combination of analysis and synthesis http://danzen.com/creativityframework.  The techniques from the framework were used to come up with the idea of Touchy.  I also developed Touchy to help mitigate a problem that I foresee – that is that people spend too much time playing games in the mobile devices and are losing the idea of physical game play.  So Touchy is a physical game played with the mobile device – a mobile mediated game – as is its perhaps more accessible follow-up Tilty.  It is fabulous that our Beloved Commenter recognized all this.  They must have been looking for games with physical activity, judging from their username: overheartily overheartiness overhearty overheat overheated overheatedly overheating overheats overheave overheavily overheaviness overheavy overheight overheighten overheinous overheld overhelp overhelpful overhelpfully overhelpfulness overhie overhigh ov.  So lengthy that indeed, it appears to have exceeded the WordPress username maximum length.  Perhaps the last “ov” was to be “overlength” – although that would not fit the alphabetical pattern.  Overhigh?  Overheave?  Funny typo on the end – “may foresee problems before these people happen”  Are we talking about before they were born – Dan Zen: the diviner of Karma.  Or are we talking about the people being involved in a happening?  I am all for happenings being a child of the sixties. […]

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