Hipsters pride themselves on being unique individuals and not wanting to be associated with what’s considered cool and popular. They’re the counter-culture, the ones going against the grain, the ones eschewing the social norms, the ones who make corporate America quake at how they cannot understand the individualism of youth that won’t consume blindly. Except, well, they are still part of a massive, homogenous culture. Just not the one they think mainstream America identifies with.
I mean, if I asked you, right now, to describe a hipster, we’d all give about the same answer. For dudes, it means a flannel shirt, man bun, beard, drinking some incredibly pretentious drink like a charred pineapple mojito (don’t laugh, it’s a real thing). For ladies, it means a beanie hat atop some hair (possibly died a funky color like aqua), Warby Parker glasses, and constantly talking about that band she saw at some random festival last month. So unique and trendy, right? That’s at least what they think.
You see, hipsters have become so obnoxiously common and numerous they are even beginning to confuse themselves. An MIT study stated that in a bid to make that all-important counter-cultural statement, hipsters can end up looking alike. It’s a fun, light-hearted story about hipster culture and people not understanding that attempts to avoid mainstream will gain traction due to Americans’ grasps for individuality, thus eventually becoming mainstream.
But not everyone was laughing. The Register reported getting a very angry e-mail from one man. This dude’s problem wasn’t with the study underlying the article, or questioning the methodology behind the results. No, the guy the guy was pissed because he accused the Register of using a photo of him without his permission and “slandering” him to imply he was a hipster.
Now first off all, to dust off that ol’ lawyering degree of mine, “slander” in the legal sense means to make a false spoken statement that has the effect of damaging someone’s character. So right away, this guy is already a moron because this article was published in print (and as J. Jonah Jameson will tell you – if it’s in print, it’s libel). Even if he meant libel (he’s an idiot and didn’t), he would still have to prove that 1) The Register lied by using a photo of him and 2) that the use of a photo implying that he’s a hipster would be damaging to his character.
Now, I may find hipsters to be generally insufferable, but I don’t think they’re awful people. Some are really cool, and have turned me on to awesome shows, restaurants, and trends that I wasn’t aware of (has anyone ever heard of this little grocery store called Trader Joes that doesn’t buy from the mass conglomerates?). Being a hipster could be taken as a bad thing, but slander/libel is really meant to protect people from being accused of heinous things that aren’t true like saying a racial slur when you didn’t or touching young children. Clearly, being a hipster doesn’t rise to that level. But here’s the kicker: that wasn’t him in the photo!
No, the photo that used was a straight up stock photo of a model dressed in a plaid shirt and standard-issue beanie from Getty Images. Getty classified this look as “trendy winter attire” in the photo credits. The Register even called Getty to make sure whoever was the model in these photos had signed a release and realized that the guy who was e-mailing them wasn’t even the guy in the photo.
Amazingly, this dumbass proved his case wrong and completely validated the MIT study. Because he misidentified himself with a stock photo hipster, even if he could prove that it was “defaming,” somehow it’s clearly not a lie to call this dude a hipster, since he looks and dresses like one.
And yeah, I’m sure that the MIT authors are high-fiving over the fact that some moron just tried to argue to a publication that “he’s not a hipster, he’s unique” while confusing himself with a model who was paid to represent a segment of the population that is not unique. That’s like injecting the drug you’ve been testing on mice to cure scoliosis into a human and they start break-dancing in the lab.
Don’t take it too hard hipsters, but unfortunately it turns out that you’re not the counter-culture, you’re just the culture. Everyone loves Atlanta, going to brunch, and bourbon, just ask the thousand Instagram models you look just like.
Oh, and if you think that you’re the guy in the photo listed above, please know this is also a stock photo, and it was the first one that popped up when I went to a photo sharing site. So either you’ve modeled in hipster attire in the past or you’re just as big a dumbass as our e-mailing friend.
[Via The Register]