Victoria's Reviews > What Was the Hipster? A Sociological Investigation

What Was the Hipster? A Sociological Investigation by Mark Greif
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's review
Dec 08, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011, essays, hipster, kindle, sociology
Read on December 08, 2011

So, I got it, thinking it was supposed to be funny. It wasn't. It was a combinations of articles and a forum (which I'm not even sure ACTUALLY happened) about hipsters. They were acting like this was a summit on an important issue. As someone who recently conducted a ridiculous amount of research for my thesis on human trafficking, this read like a pamphlet composed after a meeting at the UN on a conversation to stop child abuse. Except that's a subject that matters. These are hipsters. It's not important at all. And to be honest, real hipsters happened a while ago. It's on the decline and into mainstream. They were using racial, feminist, and post-colonialist lenses to analyze the whole thing. On top of that, they kept applying Marxist terms to EVERYTHING, but they threw the terms around willy-nilly, and at this point, I'm not even sure if they've read anything of Marx or his followers. Certainly not Lenin, even though they slapped "vanguard" onto something hipster-y. And the only way they described hipsters tended to be "skinny jeans." Way to be social anthropologists, guys. And again, I'm not sure if this was supposed to be humor or not. It failed on both levels so hard, though, that there is no going back. If I can't find the humor anywhere in the work, and it's supposed to be funny, that's a failure on the author, not the reader. If this was serious, way to be a bunch of pretentious intellectuals when there are more important fish to fry.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Saptarshi your entire critique seems to rest on the unacceptable fact that this book exists. hey, victoria, did you know there are books about n*sync in the world? and coffee table books about coffee tables? and really, the only way it could be a legitimate cultural comment, is if it was 1. more academic (and therefore substantive) or 2. fluffy and comic (and therefore in lieu of substance, entertaining at least)? good luck writing about BIG IMPORTANT things for the UN.

Victoria I'm glad this review seemed important enough for you to comment. It has nothing to do with me not thinking this book should exist. The review has everything to do with the purpose of the review not being clear to me. If the point of the book was clear, and the book accomplished its goals, fine. I'd still find a hipster summit pretentious. I think most people would. But, again, my main struggle is that the book seemed too ambiguous. Yes, if it was a legit cultural comment, I'd want more academic backing. And if it aims to be funny, I would want to see the humor. Also, I never said I'd be writing for the UN; I said that this read like a UN pamphlet. I feel like you took the time to write a pissy comment, but not the time to truly read what I was saying. This saddens me, Saptarshi. Also, your 3rd sentence was a bit complicated in its structure, so, I didn't fully understand. I attempted to answer as best I could.

Victoria Tomas wrote: "Victoria, are you familiar with the New School?"

Yes, I'm familiar with them and their philosophy. However, I don't want to rehash this review...written 2 years ago when I was in a terrible mood and almost all the books I read faced the harshest criticism I could dole out at the time. That being said, I still find this book a bit silly.

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