What I Love About Hipsters

If you want to make fun of hipsters (and who doesn’t?) there’s a lot of low hanging fruit. But there’s also something redeeming and much needed in the hipster ethos.

When hipsters do something, they DO it.

If they’re going to make coffee, they make the shit out of that coffee.

If they’re going to eat a sandwich with a pickle, they craft a work of art.

If they’re going to send a party invitation on homemade paper made from sawdust in the shop where they whittled a spoon and written in calligraphy with ink from a squid they caught and a quill they hand-plucked, well, you know.

My wife and I were driving by a new housing development recently. The houses were well-designed and lovely. Except they were oriented in relation to each other, the road, the rising and setting sun, and the natural slope of the land in the most absurd, brutalist, ramshackle way imaginable. If there’s a word for anti-feng shui, it was that.

I commented on the tragedy. A developer took the time to build new, lovely houses, but gave no care or attention to the layout of the neighborhood.*

This is where hipsters are right.

If you’re going to do something, put care into the craft. Learn and know the principles undergirding the craft. Have pride of ownership. Take joy in the details.

If you’ve ever been through a neighborhood built on the principles of life-giving design, you’ll know it immediately. Your soul will feel safe and at home. You won’t feel conflicts between your natural tendencies and the lay of the land. It’s the feeling of a beckoning, winding path, framed with foliage. The opposite of running from the blazing sun in an open parking lot.

You can get away with not caring.

The market is broad enough and bustling enough and enough consumers don’t mind. You can throw together a mediocre version of a house and in a decent market it will sell.

But you can get away with caring too.

And the extra time, effort, and money tends to pay off in the long run. People who thought it was silly when just a theory suddenly start wanting to live in the lovely neighborhood, or eat the artisan bread, once they’ve experienced it. The market rewards care, craftsmanship, and production based on sound principles.

If both can work, why do the one that brings less pride, joy, and fulfilment to yourself and the world?

Just a touch of hipsterdom can elevate the daily grind.


*In fairness to developers, it is often damn-near impossible to create lovely stuff in the face of the ham-fisted, idiotic illogic of government regulations, planning boards, inspectors, and pretend-environmentalist bureaucrats.

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