The Social Benefits of Hipsters

Hipsters catch a lot of flak for being pretentious and seemingly silly social fashion fringe-dwellers.* People don’t like people who stick up their noses, or those who like to flaunt edginess or early adopter status.

Still, I don’t think we give hipsters enough credit for the positive role they play in things. What’s better is that we can all choose to enjoy the work of hipsters without having to be hipsters ourselves.

Hipsters help us to see old things in new ways. They’re the ones who launch folk music revivals, who refurbish old buildings for new tenants, who bring back old styles in a fresh way in men and women’s clothing.

Hipsters also help us to see normal things in extraordinary ways and new things in old ways. They go through ordinary life using extraordinary lifestyles and lifestyle techniques. They release their newest records on vinyl. They invent games like soccer pool (apparently available at The Painted Duck here in ATL) that with the next person.

Hipsters start restaurants like the Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall, a camping and wilderness-themed “basecamp for the urban explorer.” Hipsters refurbish old buildings to be luxury bowling alleys, like with Nashville’s Pinewood Social. They build some of the best venues for socialization around.

Through all their creativity – which may after be driven out of arrogance or snottiness – hipsters deliver a massive benefit to their societies. They bring back some magic into the mundane, and they bring new life to the parts of our world that might otherwise die slow deaths.

So be thankful for those friends of your who listen to music from the 1960s folk revival, wear fedoras, and twirl their mustaches. As a creative force, they help us to transform our culture.

* They probably wouldn’t mind that accusation. Flak jackets are totally in these days.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at