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baudelaire (almost) on hipsters

with 2 comments

One of my brilliant PhD students quoted this passage from Charles Baudelaire’s A Painter of Modern Life in his thesis:

Dandyism appears especially in those periods of transition when democracy has not yet become all-powerful, and when aristocracy is only partially weakened and discredited. In the confusion of such times, a certain number of men, disenchanted and leisured ‘outsiders’, but all of them richly endowed with native energy, may conceive the idea of establishing a new kind of aristocracy.

It’s tempting to rewrite this for our times. It doesn’t require much of a transformation to do this.

Hipsterism appears especially in those periods of transition when democratic meritocracy has not yet completely disappeared, but when a new aristocracy is being born out of what remains of it. In the confusion of such times, a certain number of men, disenchanted and leisured ‘outsiders’, but all of them richly endowed with the inherited and rapidly redoubling spoils of their ancestors, may conceive the idea of establishing a new kind of aristocracy.

 

Written by adswithoutproducts

June 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. From the 60s pimp to the current generation of “swag” hip hop kids with their intricately designed gold teeth, I’d argue that some of the LEAST richly endowed Americans are, and have historically BEEN, the most Dandified.

    Imma

    November 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm

  2. Also: Mods and Teddy Boy types in the UK. I’d argue in fact, that most forms of – Jesus, I cringe to use the word – “HIPSTERS” – are and have always been reactions from the lower reaches of society against the plain, boring culture of the richly endowed. The 21st century focus on a tiny minority of richly endowed dandies living in Shoreditch and Williamsburg spending $5 on coffee drinks at the expense of the vast majority that currently and historically have not been so financially fortunate is pure ideology.

    Imma

    November 15, 2014 at 3:47 pm


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