Pop Culture Shock
Moving to New York City three years ago was a little bit of a culture shock. All of a sudden I was confronted with things like “public transportation” and “Starbucks.” If I sound like a cliché, it’s because I was one – I grew up in a small rural town, and New York was pretty daunting. Every time I got my bearings I had to figure out something else. And this included the people. It turns out that I-bankers, short for investment bankers, is a term for guys who wear polo shirts, go out in the meat-packing district, and have enough money to pay for dinner. Brooklyn “green” moms only give their kids organic food while fighting campaigns for breast-feeding rights. And then there are the hipsters.
Like hippies and punks of the past decades, hipsters are the new cornerstones of alternative youth culture. But instead of believing in free love and/or preaching anarchy, hipsters like to listen to indie bands, wear skinny jeans, and do everything ironically.
I like irony as much as the next person. Actually, that’s not true. I’m diabolically sincere, especially when it comes to cheesy pop culture stuff. I like so much stuff unironically. Things that are not cool for anyone to like. Things like “One Tree Hill.” And Twilight.
But living in Brooklyn puts me in the heart of the hipster world. Many of my friends fell out of the womb in skinny-jeans. In the past few years, I’ve developed a healthy appreciation for hipster culture, even as I recognize that I can never truly be a part of it (fedoras just don’t look good on me).
Therefore this column is a chance for me to blend two things I love: hipster stalking and pop culture. I’m going to “out” hipster culture. Well, sort of. It’s kind of tough for me to write anything without mentioning Robert Pattinson, so fair warning, there’s going to be a lot of cheesy stuff mixed in with the too-cool-for-school. But if the word “hipster” leaves you scratching your head, think of me as a hipster-culture translator — or, if you’re a hipster-in-training, as a big fat warning sign. Because let’s be honest, if it’s gotten to me, it’s probably no longer cool.
Rachel Carter has an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in Girl Zone magazine and The Faster Times. She is currently living in New York and working on a young adult novel about ghosts. Visit her Pop Culture Blog.