Why Hipsters Should Replace Hillbillies, Hicks, Rednecks and White Trash as Acceptable Humans for Mocking

Posted: September 19, 2011 in "Those People", Blogging, The Funny, The Hardline According to Ren

(One Crackers Humble Opinion)

Okay, I am sure this seems all ironic and hypocritical and all those good things since I am ranting endlessly about how one should not rag mercilessly upon Hillbillies, Hicks, Rednecks and White Trash (henceforth HHRWT), but face it, to some degree ragging on those different from one’s self is natural, and besides, hipsters are sooo coool they wouldn’t even care if some beneath them HHRWT was ragging on ’em anyway, right?  And I won’t be completely merciless…or maybe I will, not sure yet.  I do also realize that there are plenty of folk who already rag on hipsters.  Why yes, they do take their fair share of picking on, but often times, unlike HHRWT, the reasons they get picked on are largely within their control.  And believe it or not, Hipsters and HHRWT do occasionally have a few things in common: namely tattoos, cheap beer, and looking like they just rolled out of bed regardless of the hour.  Now, tattoos are a universal right for all humans in my opinion.  However, HHRWT drink cheap beer because it is cheap.  Hipsters do it because it’s cool, and even pay premium beer prices for it!  Also, you will generally find that HHRWT-when they look like they just rolled out of bed in the morning- rumpled clothes, messy hair, scruff on the men and screwed up make up on the women, its because they have just in fact rolled out of bed, regardless of the hour of the day.  Hipsters, males and females alike, will actually spend hours and exert amazing attention to detail to get that “I spent no time and put no effort into ‘This Look’  look”.  It’s amazing really.  I can look hungover and dishevelled real easy, so it stuns me when people put a whole lotta time and effort into it, and hipsters sure do!

Now, aside from the effort put into the no effort look, there are several other things I have found to be distinctive traits amid the Hipsters of the World.  They like bags.  Often ugly yet expensive bags, and carry them around almost constantly.  The men and the women.  Now, I know non-hipsters who do this too, but usually the bags are smaller and much cheaper, or not bags at all, but rather tool kits or tackle boxes.  Oh, and the occasional gun case.  Often in the bags, one finds an odd assortment of stuff, from cell phones to some off beat book of poetry to string to art supplies.  But yeah, sure enough, Hipsters love their bags.  They also dig skinny jeans, once again, men and women alike.  Those tight little things with low waists and narrow legs and shit that makes me wonder what the heck they would do if they got into a fight or had to run away from one.  Hipsters also tend to be big into music, but it often doesn’t matter if it is good music or not, so long as no one else has heard of it, and the second other people start to like it, its not cool anymore, or well, the hipster is cooler because they heard it first.  That attitude also applies to film.  They like floppy hair, like hair in the eyes at all times looks like it would drive me utterly crazy cause It’s Touching My EYES kinda hang in the face.  And mustaches, little  thin ones, a lot of hispter dudes have and like those…oh, and tend to blame HHRWT for making goatees uncool.  I  find it ironic that they tend to think they are ironic and pretend/put on this whole jaded or bitter  facade thingy because its cool, when in truth, a whole lot of ’em have never seen any sorta shit that should ever lead them to that sorta jaded/bitterness.  Then they bluster in that cool hip way about how a lot of folk who do actually have reasons to be jaded or bitter yet take it stoic or put a humor spin on it are “the real”  poseurs.   (Real poseurs, hahaahah). I have run across a few who find art made from human waste or bodily fluids-no matter how bad the art is- good, and think anyone who photographs a fucked up human body is edgy…yet none who have ever actually worked in the fields of medical examination, funeral homes, or crime scene clean up.   They are all about the liberal arts, tend to be iconoclastic towards anything that isn’t theirs- but tearing shit down takes sooo much effort- and are often very concerned with social issues…but I have yet to see one at any volunteer gig I’ve ever done.    They will rag on people who shop at Walmart, yet I wonder how many of ’em are wandering around in “cool shit” they found in a thrift store that has been donated by some HHRWT- who bought it at Walmart.  They are enviro-friendly and many are vegan-non-gluten-skinny folk, who like…PBR.   Some assume basic manners, like saying excuse me after burping or farting, are social constructs for other humans and they need not engage in such oppressive behaviors.    Oh, and I know for a fact that some of them like the idea of slumming in dive bars, so long as it is a “nice” dive bar in a not really dive-y area, because I made the mistake of taking a crew of people that included a few hipster girls who said they wanted to go to a dive bar to a REAL dive bar in a not fake dive neighborhood and they were NOT happy with me.   I guess the actual sawdust on the floor was more than they were expecting….we ain’t been drinkin’ together since…

…So yes, as  you can  see, there are plenty of reasons I can find to rag on hipsters, but, let’s get down to it:  The One Thing any HHRWT is going to take in consideration when it comes to choosing company to keep…who do you want on your side in a fight?  Or more specifically, if one is choosing between HHRWT or a Hipster, who do you want on your side in a fight?  Well…lets ponder that.  I want you to close your eyes and imagine, perhaps after drinking too much cheap beer with either sort, trouble happens.  Its not your fault, or maybe it is, but yep, for some reason, from Bad Moon to Bad Mood, there is gonna be a rumble.  You look around, and you have a few choices in who you can grab to have your back, or better yet, step in front of you, so who do you pick?

To your left, you have this guy.  To your right, this other guy.  See, first thing I note is actual muscle tone, which hey, muscles are handy in a fight.  Second thing?  Foot wear.  Boots are always good in a fight.  Also, you know, with the redneck guy there?  No one is gonna be able to choke him to death with his own bag strap, he obviously doesn’t mind getting dirty, and well, prolly a little crazy, just judging from his recreational activity there.   Which one do you choose?  Hell, I know who I’d be pickin’, and I sure as heck know who I’d be more likely to wanna share a victory beer with, but that’s just me.  Which guy do you want helping you escape an ass-kicking?

But lets say that there are no dudes even to help you out here, hey, gender inclusiveness for the win here at my house, so yeah, no dudes around to help you out in this fight you’ve suddenly found yourself in the middle of, so you have to go with a female as your tag-team partner.  So, realizing there are no dudes and you have to go with a gal in this horrible affair, you once again look around and your choices are once again on the left and right.  Pick quick, cause you know, getting punched in the kidney hurts a lot.  Now see, there is a level once again of practical attire I seek when attempting to avoid an ass stomping.  Now sure enough, both these gals are in flats, but for some reason, I know, no question, who I am gonna grab in case of an emergency in a rumble if these are my choices.   I mean, the one gal, she’s not gonna wanna ruin, bleed on, or get that dress torn off, it prolly cost more than I make in a month after all, and well, glasses.  Always sucks to have those broken in a fight, and once again, the fear of bag strap strangulation.  That other woman there?  Far more practical clothing and obviously, she’s not afraid to kill shit.  So yep, I’d be takin’ my camo-wearing sister there, how about y’all?  Shoot, in fact, I pick her over the dude with the bag, frankly.  How about you?

Now, this is the point where my previous possible promise of mercy may fall short.  As you have perhaps guessed from this post and others around here, I am not over all a huge fan of hipsters, especially those who make fun of HHRWT.  And I am really, really not a fan of hipster feminist bloggers who act like class does not exist unless it suits them at the moment, and even amid those hipster feminist bloggers -there is one I dislike above all others I am familiar with, one who really can dish it out but not take it, ignores class when it suits them to do so, and endlessly pick on HHRWT because, well, its okay to do that.  A gal who has ragged, as a hipster feminist big time blogger and all, on everything to gals with fake tits to those who pose in playboy to those who are not young and cute and perky and such, and then has the nerve to get upset and huffy when people of the sort whom she rags on get pissed about it, and that gal?  Well, she might be named Amanda….so I ask you people, when in a mythical bar fight and all, and you got two choices, one a Hipster Big Time Feminist Bloggy Blogger with awesome creds who is just sooo smart and funny…and the other a mean little asshole of the HHRWT vareity.  Remember, a theoretical asskicking is on the line here….

Eh, I go with the cracker in the black cowboy hat and camo pants personally, cause well, I go with her every day and all, and well, she wears boots instead of sandals…and plus, cool shirt.  But yeah, I know who I pick for that sorta thing, you know, the sorta deal where you gotta know who has your back and will keep an eye out and stand up for you and defend ya and such- things that are far more important than lookin’ like you spent no effort and music and what’s art and what ain’t?   Sure as shit, I go with HHRWT, ’cause even if you do pick on them or mock them, they just might lend you a hand because you needed it or asked.  Hell, it’s in their nature.  It kinda has to be.

A Hipster?  Hell, not sure I would ever trust one to do that, have my back or care more about someone getting their ass stomped than their cool creds or clothes. I’m not sure its in their nature at all.  And that reason above all is why Hipsters should be targets for disdain before HHRWT.  We care about who and what we care about, even if it ain’t cool.

  1. Obviously you are aware of that three-part series on Hipster bashing. Because….yeah.

  2. dead_vladimir says:

    also im not big in the feminsit blog world–who is this amber?

  3. rootietoot says:

    Ahuh. Plan on 2 days in Savannah sometime. SCAD is East Coast Hipster Heaven. nothing has amazed me more than to be downtown and see what appeared to be a couple of young homeless people crumpled on the sidewalk outside Panera, munching bagels and arguing on their iPhones over with their banker about accessing a trust fund account. True Story. I’ve seen 3 qualities of Hipsters. There’s the one’s with expensive and carefully matched to their tortiseshell glasses tweed skinnysuits and saddle oxfords, the Goodwill Hunters on Daddy’s Trust Fund, and the Appears to be Homeless But Has An iPhone. I’m sure there are more, but it is great fun to play Hipster bingo on a Friday afternoon, downtown.

    • Alyson says:

      Muriel Barbery’s description of this sort of person (from The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which is full of interesting French class stuff):
      “Colombe is the elder Josse daughter. Colombe Josse is also a sort of tall blond leek who dresses like a penniless Bohemian. If there is one thing I despise, it is the perverse affectation of rich people who go around dressing as if they were poor, in second-hand clothes, ill-fitting gray wool bonnets, socks full of holes, and flowered shirts under threadbare sweaters. Not only is it ugly, it is also insulting: nothing is more despicable than a rich man’s scorn for a poor man’s longing.”

  4. Danny says:

    I have to agree. I look at the man and woman on the left and realize that unless they know some sort of combat training (like some rare style so they can brag about how no one’s heard of it) I’m getting my ass beat. On the right I see a guy that is about to body splash a mud hole that’s probably too shallow to body splash and a woman that looks like she’s about to skin her fresh kill.

    Choice is pretty obvious.

  5. Djiril says:

    I have yet to meet anyone who is willing to self-identify as a hipster, despite meeting quite a few people who fit the profile to some degree. On the other hand, I did meet most of them volunteering, so maybe they just weren’t “pure” enough.

  6. You might like this, from a couple of years ago, titled “Hipster, the Dead End of Western Civilization:


    Its great!

    And no, you don’t have to read all 4168 replies, but that should tell you how mad all the hipsters who read Adbusters were when they read it, LOL.

    • From the article:

      “Gavin McInnes, one of the founders of Vice, who recently left the magazine, is considered to be one of hipsterdom’s primary architects. But, in contrast to the majority of concerned media-types, McInnes, whose “Dos and Don’ts” commentary defined the rules of hipster fashion for over a decade, is more critical of those doing the criticizing.

      “I’ve always found that word [“hipster”] is used with such disdain, like it’s always used by chubby bloggers who aren’t getting laid anymore and are bored, and they’re just so mad at these young kids for going out and getting wasted and having fun and being fashionable,” he says. “I’m dubious of these hypotheses because they always smell of an agenda.”

      Punks wear their tattered threads and studded leather jackets with honor, priding themselves on their innovative and cheap methods of self-expression and rebellion. B-boys and b-girls announce themselves to anyone within earshot with baggy gear and boomboxes. But it is rare, if not impossible, to find an individual who will proclaim themself a proud hipster. It’s an odd dance of self-identity – adamantly denying your existence while wearing clearly defined symbols that proclaims it.”

      Ren, he is accusing us of not getting laid, thems fightin words!!!! LOL Really, its great reading, and you are sorta picking up where he leaves off… you are continuing the working class critique..whereas his is sorta the meta-critique. (NOTE: I can understand some hipsterese, such as when to use the word “META”–but I am not truly fluent in speaking it, so I don’t even try… and I can’t write it at ALL!) 😀

      • But it is rare, if not impossible, to find an individual who will proclaim themself a proud hipster. It’s an odd dance of self-identity – adamantly denying your existence while wearing clearly defined symbols that proclaims it.”

        Is he fucking joking? Please. I lived in a neighborhood filled with hipsters who did nothing but proudly and obnoxiously proclaim their existence. Maybe Chicago hipsters are a different breed– just like our pizza but, you know, something we’d be ashamed of instead.

  7. And that photo of you is great!

    I can’t in good conscience be the 13th comment, so I have to make it 14.

    White trash peeps can be SO superstitious!~ HAHAHA

  8. A gal who has ragged, as a hipster feminist big time blogger and all, on everything to gals with fake tits to those who pose in playboy to those who are not young and cute and perky and such, and then has the nerve to get upset and huffy when people of the sort whom she rags on get pissed about it, and that gal? Well, she might be named Amanda

    Oh her. *eye roll* She is one of those women who hates on other women for doing things that are totally within her power to do (making a fraking effort on their appearance/giving a damn). And while she’s obsessed with youth, not everyone is, certainly not all men.

  9. kingschwarz says:

    The past two posts are great. This one is a little masterpiece of social commentary, with close observations about fashion and manners and more wit than vitriol. I have said it before, and I say it again now: Ren has a bit of Jane Austen in her. Before I get jumped on, let me point out that Jane was quite the independent and pissed-off gal herself, with snobs and class injustice squarely in her sights. If only she had possessed the technology to illustrate her writing with photographs! Ren’s are a wonderful compliment to her prose. I particularly like the juxtaposition of the elaborately coiffed and disgruntled-looking fellow in the pink and purple shirt with the airborne mudjumper. Ren’s prose stands on its own though. The phrase “fear of bag strap strangulation” should be copyrighted, lest some hipster band steal it for a song title. And “she wears boots instead of sandals” updates – to give Jane Austen a rest – Merle Haggard’s “leather boots are still in style for manly footwear; beads and Roman sandals won’t be seen,” a lyric from “Okie from Muskogee.”

    In “Okie” Merle seems to be satirizing and attacking hippies, a forerunner group to contemporary hipsters, but the song’s point of view turns out to be somewhat tricky and oblique. He has referred to it as a humorous character study of his father’s generation: in other words, a double satire not only of hippies but also of the square old-timers who decried them. I wonder whether Ren is also being oblique. After all, she herself is a renowned blogger – which has high status in hipsterdom – and she is not only a college graduate but an intellectual (if defined as a literate thinker). Does HHRWT fully define her, or does it also serve as a stance from which to make critiques? I am not accusing her of slipperiness or inauthenticity but of complexity. Just as Merle Haggard really is an Okie (from Oildale, not Muskogee), but one whose artistry and perceptiveness has unmoored him from any simple social or cultural identity.

    One final observation: the rather good Wikipedia entry (no doubt it is unhip, if not precisely HHRWT, to consult a Wiki page) cites a literature professor named Mark Grief. He posits “a socioeconomic framework rooted in the petty bourgeois tendencies of a youth generation unsure of their future social status. The cultural trend is indicative of a social structure with heightened economic anxiety and lessened class mobility.” Which brings us back to Ren’s penultimate post, about class in America. And raises the question: if hipsters and HHRWT occupy adjacent lower rungs in the social structure, should they refrain from picking on each other, develop some solidarity and address that structure and its inequalities? They could begin by getting together to listen to Merle Haggard, who apparently is a hipster favorite.

    • rootietoot says:

      Hipster is more of an attitude than a physical style, tho it is not difficult to identify a hipster by their style. I can say with confidence, having met her in person, that Ren has NO hipster in her. The literacy, wit and blog prowess are there for sure, but it’s like saying Gustav Mahler was a musician like Billie Joe Armstrong. Apples and oranges.

      • kingschwarz says:

        “Hipster is more of an attitude than a physical style.” Interesting observation, and it sounds right. Mark Grief, the literature prof whom I cite above, contends that hipster also demarcates a demographic – put simplistically, the young lower middle class. Their ironic, self-defeated, voguishly depressive affect is a response to lack of opportunity and the foreclosing of the American dream. (My words, not Grief’s.) So perhaps we should have sympathy, though to me hipsterism (the contemporary version, not the jazz hounds and beats of the 40’s and 50’s) seems like a cultural enactment of whining. After all, there are other possible responses to hard times: activism, entrepreneurialism, spirituality etc.

        By the way, I am not so convinced as you that Billie Joe Armstrong and Gustav Mahler are so entirely different. They hail from different eras, to be sure, but they might find things to talk about if they meet in heaven, or elsewhere. Both, after all, are composers. Both aligned with progressive/leftist cultural politics. Both conducted somewhat notorious personal lives. And both come from relatively humble beginnings and ascended to renown. (Remember that symphonic and choral music was the rock and roll of its time, and Mahler played to packed venues.) Though I must admit I cannot picture Mahler sagging his pants.

    • xena says:

      Oh boy. I’ll let Daisy argue the finer points of contention between hippies and hipsters with you, kingschwarz. The differences are not as simple as those between, say, Birkenstock lesbians and lipstick lesbians. Just throw some Melissa Etheridge at them and watch the love grow? Er, not quite. The difference between hippies and hipsters is more like the difference between Chomsky fans and Teah Partiers. Same grievances with Bourgeois Liberals/Stuffy Republicans; diametrically opposing retalliatory strategies.

      I had no idea hipsters listened to Merle. I was a little dismayed to find out that they listen to Journey and other 80’s Hair Metal in the same ironic way I do. At least I’m proud to quote Wiki. I guess that makes me a hick. I guess I’d be the snowed-in, toque wearing Northern variety 🙂

      • kingschwarz says:

        Insightful of you to connect and compare Chomsky and the Tea Party. He has expressed strong sympathy for their grievances and their populism, though he fears that they could be manipulated towards a kind of neo-Fascism. The Tea Party is a broad movement, and one of its strands is strongly libertarian – though that libertarianism is not identical to Chomsky’s.

        I was not surprised to discover that hipsters like Merle Haggard. I hope they are not listening to him in some ironic way. He is a terrific songwriter and performer, and his artistry grows out of a really gritty and compelling personal story. I think the hipster Hag fans are genuine, since apparently they appreciate Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline too.

        • rootietoot says:

          I have trouble with crediting hipsters with genuinely appreciating anything except their own reflection in the mirror. I’m not saying they DON’T, just that I have difficulting believing it. I tend to think the Haggard/Cash/Cline affinity is similar to the PBR/Goodwill tendencies…they do it because it’s Blue Collar and Ironic, since they’re on Daddy’s payroll and trust fund. (and yes, they call things Ironic, with no actual understanding of the definition of irony)
          It’s when behaviors, modes of dress, and such are so carefully crafted…I become suspicious of the motives behind them. Not just hipsters, either…but anyone who spends a lot of time doing things with the intention of making other people see them in a particular way, whether it’s “Jersey Shore Guidos”, SCAD hipsters, or Dallas Socialites. It’s something I have trouble understanding or respecting. That whole carefully crafted Look…I don’t know…

          • kingschwarz says:

            I cannot say whether hipsters understand the classical types of irony. If they went to college and bothered to show up for classes or if they have done some reading on their own, perhaps they do. Regardless, the irony that so prominently defines the hipsters’ affect is a narrow, attenuated type.

            Having said that, I still hold out hope even if they began listening to Haggard, Cash, Cline and Williams as an aural accompaniment to Pabst Blue Ribbon and trucker hats, the hipsters have been genuinely won over by this music. Which is superb. Sterling musicianship, emotional range, incisive social commentary, lyric sophistication, a lively sense of, yes, irony – in other words proof that HHRWT culture can produce great art. Are the hipsters, annoying though they may be, really such Philistines that they do not get this?

            About money: my cursory researches indicate that most hipsters are, per Mark Grief, not from elite families. There is a subset of “trust fund hipsters,” but they are considered wannabes and subjected to obloquy. An interesting NYTimes article from 2009 reports on how hard times have forced parents to cut off support for their hipster kids, who are now forced to scramble for jobs in a decidedly non-ironic way: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/08/nyregion/08trustafarians.html
            Should be music to your ears.

            • rootietoot says:

              Well, the hipsters I have the most contact with are the Private Art School version, at $30K a year tuition…so they tend to not be the from-a-blue-collar-family types.
              I don’t have deep issues with hipsters, but I do love to make fun of them. Being surrounded by the redneck farm boy types here in Statesboro, we don’t see them much so they’re Exotic. I have one son who falls squarely in the ‘hipster’ definition, right down to obscure musicions (did I spell that right?I’m having a braincramp) and Goodwill clothes, but that’s because he’s been on his own since he was 18 (he’s 23 now),and really *is* poor. He gets very offended when he’s called that tho, and yells. Then he quotes some 19th century philosopher and smokes a cheap cigarette.

              • kingschwarz says:

                Your son sounds like a pretty good guy. But the next time he annoys you by quoting a 19th c. philosopher and lighting a cigarette, you can toss this Nietzsche quote back at him: “Men who drink beer and smoke are incapable of clear thought.”

                Is there a private art school in Statesboro? My knowledge of your town is limited to Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues.” And a close friend’s nephew, who went to Georgia Southern in the 90’s. He was more of a hippie than a hipster, but definitely a trust funder, from Aiken SC.

                • rootietoot says:

                  Georgia Southern University- a state college, and East Georgia College, GSU’s poor country cousin, and Ogeechee Technical Institute, GSU and EGC’s redneck blue collar other cousin, where the people who aren’t hipsters go to get grease under their nails and learn something useful.
                  I dare not quote anything to Will, because he has one of those eidetic memories (memorized the entirety of MacBeth in the 5th grade, etc), and will out-quote me every time.

              • xena says:

                Which 19th c philosopher? Veblen? He’s my favourite for telling off crackers who try to call me a cracker (bum, trailer trash, etc. etc.). Your son sounds like a cute hipster. They’re rare, but they do exist. I guess what bothers me about the not-so-cute hipsters is that they mock all types of earnestness. Yeah, some types of earnestness are just begging to be mocked. Lemme count the ways…But some things are just off-limits, and most hipsters don’t seem to grasp that. A vampy, nihilistic, condescending sense of humour is sarcastic and off-putting. It’s NOT ironic unless it’s well timed, and respectful of said limits.

                I met the most adorable hipster transchick at Church&Wellesley this summer. She OWNED it. We were sitting in a park full of whackjobs, tricks and trannies for hire, methheads and all around degenerates. This crazy self-flagellant of a Quebecois staggered up to us, on an Epic Doomsday Rant–in French!! And not that pretty Parisian book French. I’m talking about down&out, nasal-growl, sing the blues ala Edie Piaf, rural Quebecois. He asked us if we spoke French, and of course we responded just as the Quebecois would in the same situation–by pretending we didn’t understand shit. We all spoke enough French to get the gyst of dood’s weirdness, tho. Everybody takes 3-5 years of French in elementary&highschool up here. It’s mandatory. So self-flagellating weirdo was on&on about how his great god could and would just end it all. He hollered, “Je suis comme un fourmis!” complete with a grovelling dirt-crawl, holding up a handful of I don’t even want to know what kind of park gunk from under the bench I was sitting on, as if he were offering it to his punitive dieu.

                Well, didn’t our little hipster hold out her perfectly manicured hand, and purr “Enchantee,” in perfect Parisian. LMAO! THAT was ironic.

                • rootietoot says:

                  Will is extremely cute (which he doesn’t recognize that women sort of fall out of their clothes when he walks by…he was very overweight in his teens, then lost it all but not the self image issues), crazy smart, and completely intolerant and sarcastic…just like I was at his age. Thus we get along He has interesting taste in music (classical piano especially), can cook well, is a slob (but then he’s a single, 23 yr old man), and always manages to earn exactly what he needs for survival and not a penny more. I think he should find a very intelligent career woman and become a househusband.

                • kingschwarz says:

                  I love Toronto! Was your guy saying that he was an ant, or was this a colloquial usage? I love Veblen too, but he had little love for the working class. All about the technocrats. I suppose he would approve of places like Silicon Valley, but Veblen would likely manage to make himself persona non grata there.

  10. xena says:

    Kingschwarz, yes to your Sept.22, 2:57 am comment. That’s what I was saying about Chomsky and the Teah Party. A few priorities tie them together under the Libertarian label, but they’re at opposite ends of the x axis on the Political Compass (the x axis measuring wealth redistribution, the y axis measuring social freedoms&responsibilities).

    Hipsters as sincere Hag fans? I’ll reserve judgement on that until I see more evidence. I don’t even like country and I love Johnny Cash. His tunes were Epic. And he was a hero for poor cop-buggered, establishment punching bags like myself. Come to think of it, so was Patsy. I’m not as into her music, tho. But hipsters hitting that level of admiration for society’s woulda-been castoffs? I’ll believe it when I see it.

    As far as your Jane Austen comparison, nope to that too. I haven’t gotten around to reading Ren’s fiction yet, so I might change my mind once I cross that off my to-do list. I’m just talking about her blog posts. What I’ve read so far is pure Twain. Right down to the pragmatism and the artful speech construction. Trust me on that one. Since I started playing with other places to set my stories so I wouldn’t be another broke CanLit author writing about snow and boring people, getting ignored by everybody except boring CBC people, and a boring British intellectual or 2, Twain has been a bit of a fascination. His Americanisms are timeless. So are Ren’s.

    • kingschwarz says:

      I agree that Ren’s diction is far closer to Twain than Austen. Like Twain, Ren has a keen ear for the American vernacular, and she uses it to great effect in her writing. The fine-grained way in which she registers issues of class and snobbery, however, and her complex viewpoint on women’s roles are Austenian. By the way, I think Ren might enjoy Veblen. Would not surprise me to find out that she has read him.

  11. xena says:

    @kingschwarz: 10:06 pm: Excuse me for not using the reply button. I’m on my sister’s 10-year-old laptop and some of these newfangled features are just too much for her ancient equipment. I SO need to get myself properly housed so I don’t have to keep figuring out a different computer every time I want to chat with somebody online. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Oct. 1st. I hope this apartment deal works out for once.

    I have to admit, I’m not really a fan of Veblen. I just like to quote him at trashy people who are hypocritical enough to think they’re somehow less trashy or harder working trash than whatever kind of trash they’re trying to accuse me of being. So maybe I’m a hypocrite, too. It shuts them up, tho. I despise Nietzche’s uber racist kife, but I’ll sometimes resort to using one of his t-shirt slogans against religious hypocrites. Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe. But the world as we know it was built by and for rich white doodz. Anybody who did groundbreaking work before the 1960’s would have been classist, racist or misogynistic in some way. And those who did their best thinking before 1900 were all of the above. Before 1800? A majority of intellectuals owned slaves. So like it or not, I have to do the best I can with the body of work that’s available to me. Who knows? In 500 years, they may discover that trees can think, and future generations of Ethics people will have a world of new stuff to rant about to the M&E people, and to the historians who study us awful wood users 😉

    Our self-flagellating weirdo was trying to demonstrate his humility before his god with that ant comment and all that crawling through dirt. He was saying that god was right to punish everybody with this cataclysm, and what could a lowly insect like him do but be humble? I was a little worried he might resort to some nasty self-castration offering-up ritual to demonstrate his god-love. Of course, our little hipster transchick would have been doubly enchanted with such a gesture.

    I love Toronto too.

    • kingschwarz says:

      I hope you get your apartment. Uncertainty about housing is really unsettling unless you are a nomad, and even then I suppose you worry about your yurt.

      About the world being built by and for “rich white doodz”: I would say only in part. Most of the literal building, even if commissioned and financed by the aforementioned doodz, has been done by others. Here in New Orleans, Creole and black artisans hand-built this beautiful tropical city. Poor Irish were brought in to dig the ditches and canals. And if we look outside Europe and the Americas, we see those on top of the world may be rich and male, but they very likely are not white. The places I know best are India and Malaysia and to a lesser extent Japan and Nigeria. And closer to home, the power elite includes many women. I am not arguing that the world is any less unjust than you imply but rather that the beneficiaries vary by place and in toto are rather diverse.

      Finally, I agree that future generations will be horrified by our mores. Likely they will be more sensitive to the sentience of plants, as you say, and the rights of animals.

      • xena says:

        Hmmm, rich white doodz still pull the rich brown doodz’ strings over most of the globe. Just follow the path of Xtianization for a more specific list of where. They’re having less success appropriating the goods and people in the Muslim world, but not for lack of trying. Yes, black slaves and poor Irish built many of the historical sites where you are, but they still built for their masters’ enjoyment, not their own. The rich white girls’ clubs were rare until the 20th c.

        The Japanese are the exception in all of this. Probably because a tiny island with too few resources for the people already living there was never a good prospect for colonization. And then there were the nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I guess anybody who was still feeling bitter about Pearl Harbour at that point figured they had their “pound of flesh”?

        Thanks for wishing me luck on the apt. hunt. I must google the word “yurt” 🙂

        • xena says:

          Ah, Mongolian-style shelter featured in backyard lifestyle magazines. Don’t let the hipsters find out about those yurts. They’ll be erecting yurt parks with a condescending ad campaign to out-trash us trailerpark types. I wonder if living in a tent city that looks like a refugee camp would be too much even for a proudly disdainful– I mean ironic–hipster troop?

        • kingschwarz says:

          The era of white folks pulling strings is rapidly coming to an end. Europeans and Americans have lost their sense of cultural superiority. Perhaps more important, they have run up huge debts that are sustainable only via Asian creditors. While China, India, Malaysia et al. may, unlike Japan, have struggled with colonialism, they have won their fights and clearly own their respective economies and cultures. Do they make deals with the West? Sure, but they often come away winners.

          And Christianization is not a one-way teleology. The Mediterranean of late antiquity was a Christian lake, but then Islam captured the eastern, western and southern littorals. (Yes, the Reconquista delivered Spain back to Christendom, but only after many centuries of Muslim rule.) And Christianity in Africa is no longer a white phenomenon. (It never was exclusively. The Ethiopian Church antedates most of European Christianity.)

          As for rich white women, I would argue that although they did not attain political power in the West until the 20th century, previously they often had social and economic power, varying of course by time and place. There is a fair amount of historical research, I think, and, completely anecdotally, I can testify that my female forebears in Denmark owned hotels, managed large farms and ruled their roosts well back into the 19th century and likely before.

  12. xena says:

    Ren’s a history major? Yes, she’s probably studied Veblen. I took Social Sciences, with my heart set on Sociocultural Anthropology. I couldn’t finish, tho 😦 Someday I will… I hope. We touched on Veblen during one of my Sociology electives. If I remember correctly, he was an Economics guy, not a philosopher, so he would have been part of the foundation that guys like Milton Friedman built their theories on. My political leanings sit somewhere between Mill and Rawls, so anything that smells too much like Adam Smith gives me a screaming headache. I walked out on my Macroeconomics class thinking “No wonder Karl Marx was so frikkin miserable” 😛

    • kingschwarz says:

      You are correct: Veblen was an economist. He was also, however, highly critical of Adam Smith and the “neoclassical” school – a term Veblen coined to describe Smith and his heirs. I guarantee that Veblen would have been entirely out of sympathy with Milton Friedman and the Chicago school. How do I know this stuff? My father is an adherent of the school of economics Veblen founded, the Institutionalists, and a past president of their professional conclave, the Association for Evolutionary Economics. I would describe them as pragmatic leftists, less interested in theory or econometrics than in history and in what you as an anthropologist might call “thick description” of contemporary socio-economic realities.

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