Hipsters are conformist...

Error message

If you're a hipster into analogue, fixies, and vinyl, you'll love Clearnote Church, Bloomington. We use tip-up concrete to build, mothers to raise our children, chemical barrels for our acoustics, and we receive pastoral care from an elder who recently sold a third of his personal classical vinyl record collection to the Library of Congress—20,000 of his 60,000 records.

We're so hip we're on Bloomington's west side and young couples from our fellowship are whole-hog into rehabbing ranches from the sixties and split-levels from the fifties. People do raised bed, heirloom seeds, and a growing number of our cars have rebuilt titles. Oh yeah, and we also subscribe to the seventeenth century's Westminster Standards, which is to say, we're pretty sure we're unique. Pretty sure, although it turns out unique is the new Company Man...

Check out this essay. Here are a couple teasers:

...the fetishization of low-tech is about the illusion of agency; it provides affirmation for the hipster whose identity is defined by the post-Modern imperative to be an individual, to be unique. ...this desire to be unique (is) something rather insidious (in that) the mechanisms of social control are being decentralized away from institutions ...and are now situated within the mass population itself. We, each and all of us, are now the primary mechanisms of social control. We are built to desire what society needs from us and to demand the same from others. 

* * *

institutional control (has been) replaced with a new system of self-regulation reinforced by mass surveillance. As institutions weaken, individuality and uniqueness are no longer stifled but, instead, are promoted as the chief values of hipster culture. Innovation is the result of constant surveillance of and comparison to other individuals.

So, hipsters are the product of a moment in history where the socio-economic system benefits from and has discovered effective methods to enforce the moral imperative to “be unique.” The hipster aesthetic reflects an ideology of hyper-individualism, though this individualism is itself paradoxical because it is socially mandated.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!