Die Hipster, Save the Sticks


Brooklyn reprebrent.

Brooklyn reprebrent.

A wave of shock, disappointment, delight and relief has washed over the Brooklyn blogosphere in the week since Die Hipster announced that he would post no more forever. Over at Greenpointers, Jen celebrated the blog’s death knell, Sheepshead Bites has posted an anonymous ode of appreciation to Die Hipster, and The Brooklyn Paper produced a strange in memoriam mix of reporting and opinion, hipster haterade and gentrification idolation–which sort of sums up any Brooklyn Paper article, really.

I’ve written in the past about “the Die Hipster Bump” and about how I found it useful, and often funny to read his takedowns of bad art projects, twee grooming products and look-at-me culture in general. I’ve also written about how much Today’s Hipster Beating bothers me, and how DH seemed to have crossed the line from commentary to an actual call for real violence, especially in the comments section. I’ve never liked the homophobic undertone on DH–the obsession with “toothpick-limbed Ethans” and “nasally-voiced Calebs,” the regular use of the word “faggot” in the comments, and the general outrage that hipster men aren’t more, well, manly.

The blogger who is DH is genuinely smart and funny–to her delight he christened Greenpointers Jen, “Jentrify,” and when I tweeted the above photo of Brent Young from The Meat Hook in a Lincoln ad, he mocked it by encouraging hipsters everywhere to “reprebrent.” (I’m assuming he’s a man because no woman would ever obsess so much over “celery limbs” on men and not pick apart the physiques of hipster ladies as well–women don’t direct all their body snark at men.) Shutting down the blog so quickly, and closing all comments so that he couldn’t even get the satisfaction of the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments from his troll patrol seems out of character. I’m guessing that someone either outed him, or one of his commenters truly freaked him out by taking the hipster beating thing way too far.

Ultimately, Brooklyn will survive the loss of Die Hipster, just as it will survive the hipster inundation, the rezoning and gentrification of the North Brooklyn waterfront, the Barclays Center, Hurricane Sandy and whatever else comes our way. It’s a dynamic place, Brooklyn. What I worry about more is the inverse of DH’s obsession. What happens to all those little places that young, creative people are migrating from? Whether you think it’s a bane or a boon to our borough, Brooklyn is absorbing talent and energy from rural places that can’t so easily balance themselves out.

I’m a transplant, it’s true. But I’m not from Culdesacia, I’m from East Bumfuck. I don’t know shit about the burbs and won’t pretend to. What I can say, is that DH has never understood transplants from the sticks. I had never even heard of a trust fund until I went to college, and even then, I assumed it was like, $10,000 in savings bonds someone’s supersaver grandma had given them, that they would save for when they wanted to buy a house. In the tiny Vermont town where I grew up everyone had a job from the time they were old enough to get hired somewhere–usually at a nearby ski resort where dudes from New York would hit on us and ask whether our boyfriends ever fucked livestock. Even if your parents were well off (meaning they were nurses, teachers or small business owners), you paid for your own clothes and gas (and pot). And you damn well put half of it away for college. And if your name was Caleb? It was a sure bet that your sisters’ names were Hannah and Rachel and your family went to that weird church in the pre-fab building out on River Road.

When I go back to visit my mom I’m struck by how worn around the edges the town is, by how much it doesn’t change. I would say that at least 75 percent of the smartest, most dynamic people I went to high school with now live in Boston, New York or somewhere on the West Coast. There aren’t very many jobs in Southern Vermont, and it’s a big risk to start a small business in a sparsely populated place where people save more than they spend, and eye change with suspicion. My sister and brother-in-law, who live in Queens, have a friend from high school who moved back to Vermont, who begs them every time he sees them, to move back, to help him revitalize a sad former factory town that agreed to let the state build a prison in it in exchange for a bike path and a new rec center. They’ll move back eventually, but me, I don’t know. As a writer and an editor, Brooklyn is a much more fruitful place. I like not having to drive a car or own house. I like change.

Brooklyn? Brooklyn will be fine. Someday it won’t be cool (or even kewl) any more, but it will survive even that. It’s the sticks we should be fretting on.

9 Responses

  1. Elizabeth CareySmith -

    Well-put. I moved here 10 years ago, from Detroit. That’s the Midwest, and I sure as hell had never heard of a trust fund til I moved to New York. Conflating the Midwest or East Bumfuck with trust funds is certainly ignorant. People have always moved to New York for opportunity, of which Detroit has zero, as everyone knows.

  2. Emilie Williams -

    Amen. I’m also from Southern Vermont, and have lived in Brooklyn for over 10 years. When I first started teaching in the Bronx, I didn’t tell anyone where I was from, because the few people I did tell made false assumptions about me and my upbringing. I often think about what it would be like to move back, but there just aren’t enough opportunities for my husband, who is a classical musician.

  3. Die Hipster -

    you’re not a hipster but in that pic you have perfectly chipped nail polish, converse clad and holding a picture of a transient art butcher for a website that is “based” in Brooklyn. Nope nothing hipster about this scenario. What a joke.

  4. Ed David -

    Really nice post by the way. Brain drain it’s called. And it is quite scary. Most of America is doing poorly. Revitilization in Detroit is one example. I think with raising rents and low quality of life, many people will start to move. I’ve seen it happening quite a bit in the past few years. But they do miss the excitement and energy of NYC.

  5. Ed Lennox -

    Ultimately, nobody cares, as most people have never heard of DIEHIPSTER. A waste of time that amounted to exactly nothing.

  6. Gun_Logic -

    I’m not sure if “Brain Drain” is the right word for it (it’s not necessarily the smartest people who move as much as the quirkiest), but whatever it is, it is a problem.

    There was a time when rural misfits moved to cities in general. They moved to whichever city was closest to them. Chances are, they’d been through the city and had a good time, or their friends had moved to that city.

    They felt out of place in their homogenous, uninspired environments, and moving to a city was a solution to that. It didn’t matter what kind of city it was- what mattered was that it was a more-dense and more-diverse environment where they got to be around more people and more interesting people.

    Within the past ten years, people have gone from thinking “I’m going to move to an urban environment” to “I’m going to move to Brooklyn.” Brooklyn has been advertised to them as a brand. People don’t hear about cities via word of mouth anymore. They read about it on the web, and they don’t read about cities as much as they read about Brooklyn.

    I used to think that NYC and Brooklyn were going to “have their day” and people would stop moving there due to high rents. But so far, people have continued to come, doing anything just to be there. And that’s not a pretty picture.

  7. A. Caban -

    The people that are new to Wmsburg.Bushwick,etc. these people lack class and respect for these communities.They abandon their fucking BIKES all over the place,and these mongrels walk their filthy mutts and allow to shit all over the place,on sidewalks,green areas and children`s playgrounds,and people are fed up!!!

  8. lance -

    He’s baaaaack! And oh, btw. His name is ‘Dante’, he’s an ex-addict who was brokering apartments to hipsters and he still might be. To protect his hate encouraging, he built Die-Diehipster as well in the event he was exposed,” He could then call it all an ” art project”. And he resurrected them both. Look at the dates on both sites. If activel encouraging homophobia, sexism and Racism is “comedy”, as his troll crowd will snipe if is, you can have it. Also notice his use of sites like city-data. com to create interest in them coming back from the dead. It’s ALL Dante. He dropped it because someone DID figure it out. It aint hard! He’s left digital footprints in man places. One of them brought up only his name and shortly-thereafter the Hate Fest ended.


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