Talk:Hipster (contemporary subculture)

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Elusive hipster photo[edit]

There have been debates about whether previous photos of people truly were hipsters, leading to deletion of the photos, but the new photo is a self portrait of a man claiming he illustrates the hipster look. Seems like we might be able to have an argument to keep this pic. OnBeyondZebrax

I removed that image because it is still not relevant. His self-serving claim that he is a hipster is irrelevant, as is the claim that hipsters wear flannel, therefore this guy wearing flannel must be a hipster. It is circular logic. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 02:04, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
It continues to be impossible to get a photo which people can agree demonstrates a hipster look. Surely this should be possible, as the references give a number of fashion characteristics, such as the ironic wearing of a trucker cap.OnBeyondZebrax (talk) 20:45, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
It is still not possible to get agreement on a photo of a hipster. The most recent pic was called Original Research. How is it that Punk subculture and Heavy metal subculture and Goth subculture have photos of punks, a metal fan, and a goth, respectively, but we cannot agree on a hipster photo? Is the hipster look just impossible to define?OnBeyondZebrax (talk) 00:20, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that "hipster" can be pejorative - articles like chav and redneck don't have any "here's a guy I saw on the street who I think belongs to this group" photos either. Somebody provably self-identifying as a hipster who also matches a description given in the article would be okay, though, I think. --McGeddon (talk) 07:45, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I've removed the request for a photo at the top of the talk page, it's clear that TheOldJacobite won't find any picture acceptable, so no need to maintain the argument as long as they are policing the page. Dstanfor (talk) 16:35, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
I've added it back, an image which TheOldJacobite rejects can be added if there is otherwise a consensus. File:Hipster_wifebeater_shirt.jpg, suggested last October, might be inappropriate as WP:OI, but can be discussed. --McGeddon (talk) 16:40, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
In my opinion that pic does not have enough distinguishing hipster charactaristics to make it the only picture here. If I were to be shown that picture out-of-context and asked to charactarize the subject, I might have chosen "Good Ol' Boy" just as easily as "Hipster". Better to have nothing than a so-so selection. Marteau (talk) 22:51, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
I haven't seen older photos, but can somebody find a full-length photo of a "hipster"? If a flannel shirt by itself is insufficient, then perhaps including, say, skinny jeans would help. Talu42 (talk) 15:32, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

John Cooper Clarke song[edit]

The John Cooper Clarke song appended to the end of 1940s section is utterly irrelevant to the content of that subsection. In addition, it is unreferenced and trivial. It should have been deleted as soon as it was added, as it adds nothing substantive to that section or to the article as a whole. The word "hipster" probably appears in a lot of songs, movies, books, etc., but we would not add everyone of those examples unless they added something substantive to the article. That one sentence does not do that, it is simply a stray appearance of the word, hence my repeated deletion and my repeated statement that it is irrelevant. Would someone care to prove me wrong? ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 02:03, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Any literary appearances of the term are notable to the usage history, to give an idea how the significance of the term developed over time a la the OED, so it would be better to expand it with further instances than to delete them. Knowing the story of a word's usage, what it meant or implied and how it was used at various times is key to really grasping any concept and how it came to mean what it does now. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 06:26, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
But quoting a single line from a song tells the reader nothing about "what it meant or implied and how it was used at various times". If Clarke spoke about the line or a writer has put it into context, then perhaps there's something there, but with no context this floating quote could mean absolutely anything from "the word remained in common usage throughout Britain through to the 1980s" to "Clarke used the consciously archaic 1940s term in a poem once". Or it could even be obscure Manchester slang for an entirely unrelated type of person. If we can't explain the quote, we shouldn't leave it to the reader to guess at its significance. --McGeddon (talk) 09:34, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
It may not tell you anything about 'how it was used at various times' - and likewise there may be others who always have to be told what they have just read and told how to interpret it, because they have been mentally trained to become accustomed to this and they begin to panic when confronted with raw quotes and no explanation to tell them what they are supposed to think, thus forcing them to draw their own conclusions. This is an unfortunate consequence of presenting information but I cannot think of any solution; at any rate "relevance" like I said is an objective and empirical quality - it either is relevant or it isn't, and this can be shown empirically - rather than a "subjective" quality such as "Well, this is relevant because I think it is relevant" kind of thing. This is the correct meaning of "relevance". There is also a slang meaning of "relevance" such a when Miss Piggy tells Kermit "You're not relevant", this slang meaning is totally subjective and I think that is the sense of "relevant" that you understand. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 14:02, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
That was a whole lot of gibberish that did not address McGeddon's point: any quote needs context. A random line from a song is not helpful without some indication of what it meant. That line should be deleted. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 14:26, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
On the contrary, I responded perfectly on point to the question of "Does a 1980 quote tell us anything about how the term was used at various times?" and the obvious, what should be self-evident answer. Rather than address one word of my response or attempt to refute my central point, you merely brushed it off as "gibberish" and repeated your initial assertion. I think I see where this is going. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 14:34, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Even speaking as a minor fan of Clarke, I have no idea what this lyric is specifically about, or what it implies about historical use of the word "hipster" in 1980s Manchester. From the rest of the song it seems just to be "poet uses 1940s slang for effect", which isn't a significant part of the word's history. If you feel there's more to it than that, the solution is simple enough: you write down what you think the significance is, and like you say "it either is relevant or it isn't, and this can be shown empirically" - by seeing if this analysis of it has ever been published. --McGeddon (talk) 16:19, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
So you're asking me to go out on a limb so you can criticise me for going out on a limb? That's a new approach. I would avoid projecting any additional analysis of it beyond the obvious common sense significance being "This shows that the term was not unheard between the 1940s and 1990s but made appearances in popular culture, viz song lyrics, as of 1980" and that is so axiomatic I wouldn't even bother to add that text. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 16:26, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I was just asking you to state what you thought the significance was, because you'd only said that the implication of your interpretation was "key" and that some people might have been mentally trained not to work it out for themselves, not what it actually was.
The appearance of a word in a song doesn't axiomatically tell us anything about that word, beyond the fact that the singer sang it. We can't support a statement like "the term was not unheard in Britain during the subsequent 50 year period, and made multiple appearances in pop culture" simply from Clarke having used it once. The solution isn't to present the quote unexplained and leave the reader to jump to the (possibly wrong) conclusion about it - we should look for a source that talks about the term's usage between 1940 and 1990. Clarke's lyrics may well be a useful starting point - perhaps the term was being used in Manchester in the early 1980s - but it offers nothing by itself. --McGeddon (talk) 11:42, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
It is as if your mind rebels at just being presented with raw data relevant to the article topic, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions from it, instead of having that little voice telling you what you just read and how you are to interpret or analyze it. When that voice is missing, you don't know what to think; you cannot see any relevance; what is 'relevant' by definition of 'relevant' become 'irrelevant' to you, because it lacks the voice you seek to interpret it for you. I really don't care about this song or artist, in fact I have never heard it that I know of. But I know the correct definition of "relevant", and any usage of the term is relevant in its own right without the need for accompanying exegesis. Have you ever seen an OED? I know wikipedia is not a dictionary, but the OED is much more than a dictionary and in many ways gives an encyclopedic and neutral, factual history of the usage of a word with as little added "steering" commentary as possible. So this neutral and thorough technique and approach utilized by the OED is generally seen as very admirable and useful for encyclopedias as well. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/
You have to prove that it is relevant, and not only have you failed to do so, you have not even attempted it. Simply mentioning the word hipster does not make it relevant. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 17:00, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Like I said, "relevant" is empirically defined. If a reference were "irrelevant", then it means it makes no mention whatsoever of the topic. You need to explain what kind of subjective or iffy definition of "relevant" you are using. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 17:41, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Just noticed this thread again. The rest of the "Origins in the 1940s" section puts the word's usage into context for that decade, and quoting a poem without commentary adds nothing to that; at worst, we risk actively misleading the reader by implying that the word "hipster" was still in use forty years later. If two editors are opposed and the other is asking them to explain what they mean by "relevant", I think this can go. --McGeddon (talk) 10:22, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

How is it misleading the reader to imply that the word "hipster" was still in use forty years later? Obviously you are misleading by implying that it was NOT in use then, in the face of this empirical evidence that it was (plus anyone who was old enough to talk then can certainly tell you it was) Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 12:45, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Common use. If the word was in common use in the 1980s (contradicting the existing article claim that "One author dates the initial phase of the revival of the term from 1999 to 2003"), then this should absolutely be corrected. But mentioning obliquely that "John Cooper Clarke used the word in a song in 1980" with no further context is not the way to do this. --McGeddon (talk) 13:28, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Why isn't it "the way to do this"? It makes sense by illustrating perfectly that the word was indeed in usage at that time; what is your problem with seeing this? Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 14:03, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Because the reader cannot tell whether Clarke's lyric is reflecting a contemporary revival of the term, or just referencing its historical usage. If we know it was the former, we should say that. If we know it was the latter, it'd seem trivial to mention it in a potted history of the term's rise and fall. If we don't know which it was, then we should err on the side of caution and omit it. --McGeddon (talk) 18:40, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
The actual situation is neither of those two alternatives you gave, but that the word never disappeared from anyone's vocabulary at all during the intervening time. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 14:46, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Your conclusion (that the word was in use and never disappeared from anyone's vocabulary) is not supported by the evidence you offer (its use in this one song). The fact that a word appears in a song does not mean that it was in use at the time, only that it appeared in one song. (By way of example, the word "pompatus" was not in use in 1973.) Perhaps the songwriter chose the word precisely because it was antiquated, no longer in use, and had disappeared from everyone's vocabulary. Maybe not. We don't know because we don't have sufficient context. -- Irn (talk) 15:04, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
This can't be too perplexing since it can't be that hard to find people (like me) who lived through those years and can tell you if they forgot the word during those years or if it had no meaning... Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 17:56, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
If you know how to use googlebooks search tools, you can easily turn up several hundred literary references for any single year between 1959 and 2000 by all kinds of authors proving that the word never dropped out of common speech and was readily understood by readers of English during all these years. I think this song quote (although I have not heard the song) is representative of the mental image most people had - if you asked them what 'hipster' means during much of that time they might well have said 'something like a hippie who is wearing a hat'... Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:49, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
It'd certainly be useful to chart the decline of the 1940s subculture and maybe even put an endpoint on it, but the simple fact that people didn't forget the word doesn't tell us anything about that. If by the 1980s the word had faded to mean "a hippy wearing a hat" to most people, then that'd make a good conclusion to the section, but we'd need a source verifying this, instead of just a Wikipedia editor thinking it. --McGeddon (talk) 11:49, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
This conversation is becoming less productive, because you are accusing me of OR when the only content in question was a straight up quoatation with no appended commentary whatsoever, and you are the one who keeps insisting we come up with some kind of an analysis of the raw information to "tell us what we're supposed to think about it" instead of merely presenting it without comment and neutrally for the reader to draw their own conclusions. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 11:56, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Ghost World[edit]

"In Daniel Clowes's graphic novel Ghost World, serialized from 1993 to 1997, the main characters, who pride themselves on their ironic enjoyment of pop culture and feel superior to everyone they meet, refer to themselves as hipsters." - any secondary sources for this, confirming the context? I haven't read it, but Clowes' 2001 screenplay is online and only uses the word "hipster" for unspoken character names. A 1993/97 comic using "hipster" in this way sits oddly when the next two paragraphs describe the subculture under different names from 2000 onwards, until finally being re-christened "hipster" in 2009. --McGeddon (talk) 13:41, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

I've tagged this as needing a citation a couple of times, and been reverted by an IP who sees no need for a citation because the graphic novel itself is the source. Wikipedia must "avoid novel interpretations of primary sources" and look for secondary sources. If no secondary source has ever found it remarkable that Ghost World was using the word "hipster" to mean "superiority and ironic enjoyment of pop culture" over a decade before the word returned to mainstream usage, it may be that the editor who wrote that paragraph is reading one line of dialogue alongside the general tone of the work, and seeing a correlation that wasn't intended and has no great significance to the history of the word "hipster". --McGeddon (talk) 08:51, 28 July 2014 (UTC)