If your parents bought you this for Christmas they are literally rinsing you
They think you’re a hipster don’t they
The chances are you spent Christmas with your family. The chances are you received a stocking. The chances are, that in the stocking, along with the miserable tangerine and the less miserable chocolate coins, you received this book:
Your Ma or your Da or both of them, walked into Waterstones, walked past the books which don’t have illustrations, and reached instead for The Ladybird Book of The Hipster. Why? Why did they reach for this small, short picture book about a dead subculture?
Because they thought it would be fun to rinse you.
Because they saw the word hipster (a word which entered their lexicon about eight years after it entered yours) and some connection was made, shuddering between their optic nerve and their brains and they thought:
Jason/Amelia is young and wears clothes and listens to music that I don’t understand and really wouldn’t like to understand tbh, so maybe if I buy them this book which is also about young people like them, who could explain what chia seeds are (note: google “chia seeds” later), they will think I “get them” and at the same time your father and I can laugh at you because you have no idea what a Ladybird Book is – that it’s actually meant for children – bringing us full circle and making me happy to know something you know absolutely nothing about, in the same way you know how to ride a swegway and sing all the words to What Do You Mean?
Buying this book did two things for your parents.
It let them feel “in” on the derided world of vintage clothing, tofu, London Fields, beards, writing a screenplay in Starbucks, sleeve tattoos, being “a bit gay”, fixie bikes, jam jar cocktails, making your own bread on the weekend, the whole concept of Brighton, saying “you’ve probably never heard of it” and generally being a bit of a wanker – a world where the tropes are so tired and pulped of originality or wit that it literally hurts my fingers to type them out.
Just look at these Amazon reviews:
Your parents are saying we get the joke as well and it’s all a bit like receiving an email from your Dad with this song and a 😉 attached.
But what’s missing from the reviews is the second thing The Ladybird Book of The Hipster made your parents feel: smarter than you.
When they were kids they learned to read using these books. The cynical postmodern twist they’ve been given, making them about hipsters and mid-life crises doesn’t change that.
The nostalgia they feel for them comes from a time when you weren’t born, which means you can’t understand their enjoyment of all this layer of irony. Weirdly, this isn’t too far away from the mindset of the hipster.