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I Am An Object Of Internet Ridicule, Ask Me Anything (theawl.com)
935 points by mwill on Sept 19, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 378 comments

Hipster-hate strikes me as just another thinly veiled form of bullying, and it's interesting to see how readily internet nerds - the people who are disproportionately to have been bullied in the past - engage in it.

Look! He's different! Let's make assumptions about his motivations and get him!

It's also interesting to see how many times Reddit (and other communities) fly into a rage-fest because of lack of context, only to make an about-face when the full picture comes out. It's also interesting how no matter how many times this exact situation happens, there is no stopping the next rage-fest.

Above all other things, internet communities is what makes me cynical about humanity.

This is going to sound inflammatory but I basically consider anyone younger than around 25 to be functionally insane. They're in a period in their life where they seriously believe that they cannot spend the rest of their lives with someone who doesn't have the same taste in music as they do. You're busy cultivating a sense of identity, I get it. But more often than not you grow up and find yourself in love with someone who likes everything you used to hate and you find it endearing. It's not a bad thing and I try not to treat anyone differently because of it... but young people pick on each other for these sorts of things. That's pretty insane IMO.

Update I could probably justify this comment by making a point other than, "young whipper snappers be cray, yo."

Hipster hate has been around for years. I find that it comes from young, self-conscious people posturing and picking on other people based on the way they look, the music they like, and other trivial things. It's cruel to pick on other people for something so utterly trivial. There's nothing thinly veiled about it, IMO: it's just bullying and it seems to be a phenomenon I strongly attribute to young people.

Maybe that makes me an old, ignorant, ruddy-duddy but I seriously haven't really heard someone over the age of 30 or so make snarky remarks about how so-and-so is such a hipster douchebag. They'd get funny looks and people might think, "What is this, high school!?"

I think someone should make this a youtube video. Old people picking on other old people for liking obscure bands young people have never heard of in forty years. Calling them hipsters (a term that originated in the 50s beat movement, no?).

Ageism is dumb, and I rally against it now as an adult as much as I did when I was 15.

> "but I seriously haven't really heard someone over the age of 30 or so make snarky remarks about how so-and-so is such a hipster douchebag"

Maybe that's because you surround yourself with people who have similar outlooks? That doesn't mean that all people over 30 are above high school bullshit. And it certainly doesn't mean that all people under 25 are perpetuating high school bullshit. There is really no reason to bring age into this conversation at all. You're just confirming your own bias.

tl;dr condemn the behavior, not the demographic that you feel is representative of the behavior

When I was under 30 or so I was ageist - I felt that most under 28 or so had a long way to go before they become human beings. Obviously, I was the exception to that rule, but even at that age I knew that my contemporaries lacked in maturity.

Except... then I reached my 30s. And realized that I was not, in fact, an exception to that rule. I was perhaps worse, because I was aware of it and somehow thought I was above it.

Now I'm closer to 40 than 35, and haven't seen anything to change my mind. The majority of twenty-something people I encounter in life and online - no matter how intelligent and capable - are still maturing well into their late 20s. Just as I was, even while convinced that I was not.

I'm nicer about it now, though. I realize it's probably physiological.

Nietzsche says something similiar:

From http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4363/4363-h/4363-h.htm

Quoting at length because it's hard to extract the pith:

In our youthful years we still venerate and despise without the art of NUANCE, which is the best gain of life, and we have rightly to do hard penance for having fallen upon men and things with Yea and Nay.

Everything is so arranged that the worst of all tastes, THE TASTE FOR THE UNCONDITIONAL, is cruelly befooled and abused, until a man learns to introduce a little art into his sentiments, and prefers to try conclusions with the artificial, as do the real artists of life.

The angry and reverent spirit peculiar to youth appears to allow itself no peace, until it has suitably falsified men and things, to be able to vent its passion upon them: youth in itself even, is something falsifying and deceptive. Later on, when the young soul, tortured by continual disillusions, finally turns suspiciously against itself—still ardent and savage even in its suspicion and remorse of conscience: how it upbraids itself, how impatiently it tears itself, how it revenges itself for its long self-blinding, as though it had been a voluntary blindness!

In this transition one punishes oneself by distrust of one's sentiments; one tortures one's enthusiasm with doubt, one feels even the good conscience to be a danger, as if it were the self-concealment and lassitude of a more refined uprightness; and above all, one espouses upon principle the cause AGAINST "youth."—A decade later, and one comprehends that all this was also still—youth!

I also think ageism is dumb, however the age - 25 - that he mentioned isn't an arbitrary cut off point.

There have been studies, such as by the National Institutes of Health that show that "the part of the brain that restrains risky behavior, including reckless driving, and thinking skills is not fully developed until the age of 25." Meaning the Frontal Lobe and Prefrontal cortex have not yet matured until 25, that's the area of the brain area responsible for planning, prioritizing and controlling impulses.

There is an amount of truth in this.


So does this have much to do with calling people "hipster" in a disparaging way? And why "hipster", but seemingly not other insults (which >25 year olds certainly still make)?

He's just yelling at kids to get off his lawn and lacks the self-awareness to pay attention to who's lawn he is standing on while he does it. There aren't any deep truths hidden in his comment.

Whose lawn is it?

Not his either? Before he yells at others to get off it, he should get off it himself.

He is making a baseless judgement about an entire age group because he thinks that age group makes baseless judgments. The lack of self awareness is ludicrous.

Can't we all just /share the lawn/?!

I would believe it's more to do with the degree to which a person's identity is externalised. As soon as someone doesn't have the same taste in music, clothes, lifestyle - then it is an attack on them personally. I don't think it necessarily lessens with age rather shifts to other things like postcode envy.

Those studies are obviously flawed based on the anecdotal evidence that I was well into my 30s before becoming even passably mature.

Totally agree that ageism is dumb. I've met plenty of people under 25 who are rather smart, mature, and well rounded people.

But I've also met far more who are arrogant, confused, and wistful.

It's hard not to make broad, generalized statements when making such observations which is why I felt like I should justify it a bit more. I'm not saying there aren't any adults over 30 who don't act like bullies; the game just changes in my experience.

The point is that hipster hate tends to be a symptom of the self-conscious people who lack a solid understanding of their own identity. This can be a problem for people well into their 50's or through out their lifetimes: I don't know. Either way I wasn't implying anything negative about young people. Except that they're all absolutely insane in my opinion. Hate me if you want.

> I'm not saying there aren't any adults over 30 who don't act like bullies; the game just changes in my experience.

The game doesn't change, it is just played in different arenas, against different 'opponents'.

TIL Piaget was ageist.

On the other hand, I have noticed that people over thirty are willing to label people under twenty-five as functionally insane, which strikes me as a bit of an internal contradiction in your post.

Wait until you get here, you'll find the young'uns unbearable to be around too. Just seems to happen...

I'm sure that'll happen, as I have no reason to believe I'm better than anyone else. I hope I'll have the self-awareness not to judge them for judging people, though, or at least to do it in a more measured fashion.

Indeed, and I'm not judging the young folk either, with their energy and their zeal and their misguided good intentions. Life will beat it out of them sooner or later, best let them get on with it. They'll join us old cycnics soon enough...

Judging people for judging people is the last acceptable judgementalism!

I don't think it is bad though.

They're in a period in their life where they seriously believe that they cannot spend the rest of their lives with someone who doesn't have the same taste in music as they do.

Wow... you actually believe that? You're insane.

"I seriously haven't really heard someone over the age of 30 or so make snarky remarks about how so-and-so is such a hipster douchebag. They'd get funny looks and people might think, "What is this, high school!?""

Yuppie douchebag on the other hand...

Unfortunately, biological age and mental age don't always go hand in hand.

Ha, I know what you mean. But it's not the kids I'm worried about, it's the adults.

Perhaps the cultural pendulum has swung a bit too far into elevating the voices of those with traits of psychological neoteny. How could we insert a counterbalancing force of support for mental gerontomorphic features in online discourse?

Author summarizes the rage quite well:

"The reaction, then, had nothing to do with hipsters. It was a hatred of people that need to stand out for standing-out's sake. That realization was at once positive and negative—people didn't hate me because I was a hipster, they hated me because I looked like I was nakedly desperate for attention, and had gone about that attention-grabbing by glomming on to marginalized trends."

I believe that statement would be true even without the "glomming" part. Societies seem to both love and hate attention seekers. We pour accolades on attention-seeking celebrities, but scowl at neighbors who buy flashy cars or ride a Penny-farthing (I had to look that up) seemingly only for the attention.

I was really impressed by that observation, and I thought that the article was going to turn in a pleasant way that I wasn't expecting. Sadly, instead of wondering why someone of a different perspective could think that of him, he continues:

"The experience of being labeled and then cast aside made me realize that what many people call 'hipsterism' or, what they perceive as a slavish devotion to irony, are often in fact just forms of extreme, radical sincerity."

So in the end, they hate us for our freedom. They criticise you because they are jealous of you, like mom said. I don't understand this lack of self-awareness in a generation and class so obsessed with self-cataloging.

"Sadly, instead of wondering why someone of a different perspective could think that of him..."

So it's his fault that people were nasty and hated on him? Way to go - blaming the victim much?

I literally wanted to end my comment by talking about "haters" and the people who talk about "haters" in a very nasty way, but since the guy I was criticizing didn't refer to "haters," I felt that was unfair and putting words in his mouth.

To not rant: the fact that someone criticizes you is not a sign of a quality that they hold of being a criticizer, When people criticize you, they are criticizing you, and if you feel that that makes them a criticizer, it's because you define other individuals in terms of yourself.

Instead, pretend that someone is telling you how they see you from their perspective, and decide whether their perception is distorted, or if you just have to eat it and accept it, and reflect.

>So it's his fault that people were nasty and hated on him?

Depends what you mean by fault. If somebody hates fox hunting, and I hunt a fox, is it my fault that people are upset with me? I'm just living my life how I want to live it. What does fault even mean? If you're a shitty singer, singing on the street outside of my apartment, and I stick my head out of the window and yell at you that you suck and should shut up, is it your fault that I told you you suck? What does that mean? Am I a hater?

>blaming the victim much?

The victim of being upset that people on twitter and reddit didn't like him? Cry me a river.

> To not rant: the fact that someone criticizes you is not a sign of a quality that they hold of being a criticizer, When people criticize you, they are criticizing you, and if you feel that that makes them a criticizer, it's because you define other individuals in terms of yourself.

Well that makes no sense whatsoever. If you criticize someone, then in fact you exhibit the trait of criticizing. But you'll notice I didn't use the term "criticizer", so it's a moot point.

> What does fault even mean?

In the context of what I wrote, it was not the author who caused the nastiness. He went to a park with a typewriter. People made horrible comments about him. Many people said they hated him. To say you hate somewhat entails the act of hating, which would make you a hater. Not sure how to spell it out more clearly.

As someone else has already pointed out, your examples aren't relevant to this article. What this guy went through bares no resemblance to fox hunting (?!?!), or annoying others with bad singing.

> The victim of being upset that people on twitter and reddit didn't like him? Cry me a river

You are blaming the victim! Thankfully, there are more people in the world who call people out on blaming the victim than there are who actually blame the victim.

> The victim of being upset that people on twitter and reddit didn't like him? Cry me a river.

I suppose you think the notion of "cyberbullying" is nonsense, then? And their purported victims should just "man up"?

I don't even know why you brought up fox-hunting and singing. The guy was being hated on for nothing more than his appearance.

Very often people have their perceptions distorted by their emotions. When someone calls someone a "hater" they are saying that the "hater" is a person who lets their perceptions get distorted by hate, or some other source of negativity that is being channeled into hatefulness.

Usually that accusation is justified. Even if the complaint itself is reasonable, in most cases, the act of complaining is not. For example, if you see someone who is overweight, the sentence "you are fat" is arguably objectively correct. However, the act of saying that sentence out loud reveals something about the speaker. The weight level of a stranger is not their business. They do not convey any new information. It seems likely that the motivation for making such a statement is some desire to hurt the stranger. Desiring to hurt strangers is a bad thing, and is pretty much the definition of "hater". A "hater" is someone who lets their own personal emotional problems colour their perspective of the world, generally seeing other people in a negative light, and generally thinking it is okay to hurt strangers for no reason. The world is chock full of people like that and if you can't see that, it's probably because your perspective is similarly skewed.

To clear up a few things, context is important. It shouldn't be socially acceptable to publicly throw vitriol at strangers who are deemed attention seekers. (If you don't like attention seekers, don't give them attention. Nothing more is reasonable.) On the other hand, someone singing badly outside your apartment clearly directly affects you. People who campaign against fox hunting are personally invested in the issue. Whether or not it's reasonable for them to get upset about it is a matter of opinion - and is closely related to whether or not their views are deemed reasonable. The anti-fox hunting movement is generally seen as legitimate, even by people who disagree with them. However, not everything that people campaign on is regarded as reasonable, take the Westboro Baptist Church for example.

Being turned into a hipster meme is pretty harsh, whatever you say. Even the hardiest of Internet tough guys break down under torrents of social media abuse. There are countless examples of Reddit mob justice singling people out and breaking them down. It's obviously a deeply unpleasant experience, and unless you've been through it, I don't think you're in a position to make light of it.

Lastly, I just want to say I find it hard to understand why you don't have any concept or understanding of what bullying is. The most likely explanation is that you are prone to negativity and you're being self indulgent about it. So, given your commitment to absorbing other people's perspectives, why don't you take on board mine? I think you're probably an overly negative person. If you see the majority of people around you negatively, then you have unrealistic standards (by definition). Unrealistic standards will make you unhappy, because you will be perpetually disappointed and full of complaints. It's better to care less about the faults of others and enjoy their good points. In fact, if you want to live a happy life, then you need to have tougher standards on yourself than you do on others. That might sound counter intuitive, but it's pretty obvious that most people live pretty unhappy lives. If you want to live a happy life then you need to do better than them - and you can't get upset at their failings, because that'll make you unhappy.

A lot of people go one step further and justify their hate though. Preferences have real world results. An individual's actions might incur a social or financial penalty or risk on others. Some examples:

- "I hate people who listen to X music because it gets supported financially, while band that I prefer like Y are barely able to make ends meet"

- "I hate people who are fat because their poor health choices will add stress to the health care system and (in case of most health care systems) increase my health care cost burden"

- "I hate people who use X software tool; if only they used Y, the community would be larger, the amount of quality tools would go up, etc."

- "I hate people who go around begging for money X location. The presence of homeless can destroy property values, and reduce how many people come to visit local businesses, harming the local economy."

- "I hate the guys who only use girls for one night stands. It breaks their hearts and makes them less trusting and less approachable for all the guys who aren't like that."

- "I hate people who vote for political party X. If only they voted for Y, everything would be so much better in my country."

The problem is people don't go to the next step: realizing that their emotion of hate is more harmful then helpful, and seeking out more productive solutions. Hate, at best, can be used to shame people into social compliance, but in our modern world, a person can generally find a subculture where they are accepted and not shamed, which largely mitigates this utility. All that is left is the effect of hate making us less empathetic, less willing to cooperate, more predisposed to make irrational choices, more stressed and so on.

So basically, if you are hating on people, I don't hate you. I just wish you would think really carefully about what the cost and benefits of the act are for yourself and for society, and then practice managing those emotions more wisely in the future. For that reason I offer this text forth.

Typically, celebrities acquire accolades for having done things of note, other than attention-seeking. [1] The ones that deliberately seek attention for its own sake get as much scorn as anyone else; they're essentially tabloid heels.

And they exist for the same reason cable news is in such a state: There just isn't enough 'news' to justify 24x7 coverage, so programming must be invented that is, by definition, not things that would otherwise be considered news. [2]

[1] Without stepping into discussion of merit, our culture does ascribe value to people who play sports well, act well, are likable parts of the media, are fashionable/attractive, etc.

[2] There are cross-overs, sure. Some famous-for-being-famous types cross over into 'actual' celebrity. But that's more an effect of the secondary content operating as a 'farm league' of sorts. They throw a lot of famous-for-being-famous / 'reality-star' stuff against the wall and graduate anything that 'sticks'.

And I personally wonder at what point the 'celebrity media' will start openly paying C and D-listers directly, to generate content.

e.g. pay a couple fashion models to go to the beach and provide photo content. maybe even get some clothing labels on-board to under-write the thing for the sake of having -their- products featured and plugged in the resulting copy.

But I digress.

It's kind of interesting. I typically expected a shallow world to actually have a decent taste in beauty. But when I look at many celebrities, I find a serious lack of physical attraction to any of them. Like sure there are actresses that I can respect and admire, but many of them lack any talent, or even modicum of depth.

And I always wonder, wherever I go I see young attractive women everywhere, and I go to a university where Liberal arts is the focus, so where are all the attractive actresses.

Pretty sure they already do that. Fictionalised by Martin Amis in Yellow Dog, if I remember correctly.

"It was a hatred of people that need to stand out for standing-out's sake. That realization was at once positive and negative—people didn't hate me because I was a hipster, they hated me because I looked like I was nakedly desperate for attention, and had gone about that attention-grabbing by glomming on to marginalized trends"

But that is (one) definition of hipster.

Casual speculation: Would the situation have been different if the sign advertising the service weren't hidden? I think yes.

Would the situation have been different if he weren't wearing stereotypical "hipster attire", and instead were in say a pinstripe suit? I think yes.

Eh, I'd think hipster if I saw a pinstripe suit.

Loose fitting jeans and a polo, however, might do it.

They he'd just be a hipster doing it wrong...

I think is is a really interesting point, and it's something I spend quite a bit of time thinking about. Why is some attention-seeking behavior generally seen as acceptable, even positive, while other attention-seeking behavior is seen as pathetic or rage-inducing?

Based on my own anecdotal experience, I think part of the anger comes from a sense of discomfort at the dissonance between how one thinks the attention-seeker is being perceived and how one thinks the attention seeker believes they are being perceived.

In the case of someone using a typewriter, the issue isn't simply that one thinks that person looks foolish, it's the dissonance between knowing they look foolish and imagining that they think they look super cool. Dissonance leads to discomfort, discomfort leads to anger.

With other kinds of attention-seeking public behavior -- street performance, for example -- even if one doesn't enjoy it, there's a much closer match between how the performer believes themselves to be perceived and how they are actually perceived (assuming they are competent).

I harbor no ill-will towards hipsters, self-identified or otherwise. But if I imagine someone using a typewriter in Starbucks, it does make me uncomfortable, and by far the biggest part of that is imaging that person thinking they are really funny or really cool.

I guess it comes down to whether or not we should be patrolling how other people think of themselves.

NO HIPSTER NO! You may think that bringing an Olivetti typewriter into a coffee shop is twee and wonderfully anachronistic, but you just look silly! Know your place Hipster!

I'm generally, genuinely jealous of people who can go through their lives adhering to their own sense of appropriateness and style.

That's very strange to me - I don't understand why a stranger thinking they are funny or cool would be upsetting. People have different tastes, why does it bother you?

On top of it, geek culture is a hipster culture. Oh you listen to obscure geeky bands and wear comic/anime t-shirts all the time? You purposely disengage from mainstream society? You're overly critical of the status quo and only socialize with people exactly like you? Gee, that sounds like the guy you're criticizing.

I can't help but feel that a large portion of the current "geek culture" is a collection of appropriations from a different group, selected for "authenticity", similar to criticisms of the wider hipster culture.

I wore thick-rim glasses because 1. I didn't/couldn't care about fashion 2. my parents didn't have the money for nicer frames and 3. I actually could not see without glasses. So yeah, when I see thick rim glasses being worn _because_ they "look geeky," or worse, without even any lenses because the person has perfect vision, it annoys me a little bit. Because I got treated like dog shit by the exact same class of person who now dresses in a parody of my life as a frivolous fashion decision.

I grew up wearing "dorky" glasses, switched to vertically narrower frames, and now wear a pair of Warby Parker retro-ish glasses (http://bit.ly/1btLNTC for reference). So as someone who's been on both sides, I find your response pretty interesting.

I can understand your annoyance and you're certainly entitled to it. I suppose the first thing I did when I read your post is ask myself "Well, why do I wear these glasses?" The simple answer is that my girlfriend thought I should get new glasses, so we picked out a bunch from Warby Parker to try on and she liked these the best. But even though she picked them out, I was complicit in the choice; if she had picked out some sort of bizarrely-shaped polka-dotted frame, I'm pretty sure I would've vetoed that. So there was some part of me that said "hey, I kinda like how I look in these."

Now, does this mean I'm appropriating a look that was formerly a magnet for bullies? Maybe. But the key thing to remember when considering the relationship between ridicule and compliments is that both are equally arbitrary. There was no reason for people to mock you or me for our choice of glasses back then, just like there's no intrinsic reason that these same glasses should appear attractive 10 years later. That's just how fashion/culture works.

I think if someone personally harassed someone else for wearing "dorky" glasses, and then later decided to wear that same style of glasses to appear fashionable while continuing to deride people that don't share their taste in clothing, then yeah, that would seem pretty hypocritical.

So you are hating some actual person because years ago some other person which has absolutely nothing to do with the first person except for you classifying the as "same class of person" did something bad to you? Are you realizing that in this scenario you are the problem and if only you stopped classifying people by "classes" and started treating them as individuals there would be no reason for annoyance at all?

> Because I got treated like dog shit by the exact same class of person who now dresses in a parody of my life

What suggests to you that these are the same people? Like, if I wore lensless glasses for kicks, would that put me into the "high school bully" class?

You're doing what TFA complains about: making assumptions about people & speaking ill of them because of how they dress. Why make assumptions? Why get mad because some guy wears a V-neck?

Because it's not arbitrary. I didn't get punched in the guts when I was a kid because I was wearing tight pants driving a pennyfarthing. I was punched in the guts because I was a "nerd" which meant "not cool." So when someone copies the cartoon version of me to be "cool" I'm entitled to be annoyed. I was who I was, I wasn't trying to fit an "image." Unlike hipsters, which are a real thing, I didn't get the privilege of being made fun of for trying so desperately hard to look a certain way; I was made fun of for being who I really was.

It's "cool" to be a nerd now, only in the sense that you can generally like whatever you want and be accepted for it. And I think that's great. Wish it was like that when I was a kid. Hipsters tried to make being a "nerd" "cool" in their usual exclusionary fashion, by ironically appropriating what they thought was ugly and awkward. Unsurprisingly us ugly, awkward folks didn't like that.

EDIT: I have nothing against the guy in the article, to make that clear.

Why do you think any given hipster wasn't also punched in the gut for being a nerd? Who are you to say that your nerd style sense is somehow more "real" than their adopted image now? For all you know they were a nerd then, continue to be a nerd now, and have merely refined how they carry themselves. Maybe hipsters look like cool kids trying to make "nerd" cool because they are actually nerds who are cool.

Who the hell knows? Not you. You are just judging them for their style and how well they can pull it off. This tells you nothing of who they actually are.

> I was punched in the guts because I was a "nerd" which meant "not cool." So when someone copies the cartoon version of me to be "cool" I'm entitled to be annoyed.

I'm not sure how old you are & I apologize if this comes off as patronizing, but I promise you'll be happier when you let go of some of this stuff. You're getting pissed off at some guy on a fixie with a "Chthulu is my Homeboy" shirt on because you got bullied in high school for wearing glasses? Two reasons not to do this:

1) It's arbitrary: you don't know if the fixie guy was a bully or bullied as a kid, if it even matters; you're just hating some random person who has nothing to do with your childhood.

2) There is a cost and probably no benefit: being bitter and angry at people is not free of cost- it can make you feel bad, increase your stress, and make other people not want to be around you. What's the cost/benefit ratio on hating PBR drinkers?

I don't know, like the article says, it's easy to confuse deep sincerity for irony. Some of hipster/geek chic is about beauty shining through unflattering clothes and awkwardness. Some of it is genuine appreciation for unusual things. Both part of a movement towards being more accepting of differences.

> It's "cool" to be a nerd now, only in the sense that you can generally like whatever you want and be accepted for it.

Can we stop for a moment to appreciate how amazing this is? As a social development, this is something I could barely even conceptualize when I was in high school at the turn of the millenia.

A few years ago I pulled up to a four-way stop on my Vespa Granturismo at the same time that there were 3 other Vespa riders pulled up to the other three sides and I thought to myself, "wow, just look at all of the quirky individualist non-conformists!"

Ehh, I think there is certainly some overlap, particularly in the "retro" tastes, but I don't think what you are describing as geek culture is really a subset of hipster culture. Mario tshirts? Sure, you could call that hipster. Anime tshirts? I wouldn't say so.

People with both styles are in many of my social circles, but they still seem relatively distinct to me.

I don't think he meant about the particular details. To give a minimalist example, you could say that people who enjoy using old cameras (even though they're not as good as modern ones) share something in common with people who enjoy hooking up their NES and playing Mario 3 (even though some might argue that it's not as engaging as their favorite AAA game).

The two objects of interest are not the same, they're not in the same category, but they're both tied by the same kind of enjoyment for retro things.

So it's not really about which shirts are worn by geeks and hipsters at the same time ...

> Anime tshirts? I wouldn't say so.

Depending on where you're at culturally, anime could be relatively obscure.

Hipster is a blanket term that really means something along the lines of "they're doing something unique to others in order to stand out and be 'cool.'" A "geek" may wear a Github or a Mario T-shirt because it's "cool" within their circle, but relatively obscure to the general public.

I don't think it is accurate to just sum up "hipster culture" as obscure, or even obscure and retro. It is more nuanced than that.

You could dress up like a 1980s goth kid, which is retro and relatively obscure these days, but I don't think many people would consider that hipster. I think anime t-shirts are similar, even where anime is obscure (also, I think outside of college campuses, anime is universally more obscure than many people believe).

> "You could dress up like a 1980s goth kid, which is retro and relatively obscure these days, but I don't think many people would consider that hipster."

You might be surprised. There used to be a Tumblr blog called LookAtThatFuckingHipster, and it was kind of funny the insane range of people that get submitted there. Part of the silliness of hipster-hating is that it would seem we can't even agree what constitutes a hipster! I remember seeing more than a few emos and goths in the bunch.

People often assume that when someone is dressed unusually they are doing it for attention.

I don't know anyone who actually dresses for attention. I know plenty of people who dress unusually though, since I'm part of the rock/goth/alternative community in my city. Every one of them dresses according to their sense of aesthetics. They dress in a way that they think looks good.

I get the feeling that a lot of the people complaining about hipsters are like when you get regular people complaining about modern art or jazz music. Ignorant people making assumptions. I'm not saying I understand hipster fashion, but I at least know that I don't understand it. I find it hard to believe that many people dress in a way that they personally think looks bad in order to be fashionable.

What does "cool" even mean here?

Being hipster is just trying to look cool for doing everything that isn't actually cool. Being geek is about doing things that you like that just happen to be geeky.

It's very presumptuous of you to assume that "hipsters" don't actually enjoy the things they do.

If they actually enjoy what they're doing, and not the feeling of being 'counterculture', then they're not being "hipsters". It's pretty simple.

What's wrong with enjoying the feeling of being counterculture?

This whole anti-hipster sentiment is so bizarre to me. It's all about policing other peoples' fashion/taste/activities without reason. The idea that hipsters are somehow not genuine doesn't make any sense. What is there to be genuine to?

If you use an old film camera because you like the photos it takes and are fascinated by how it operates, more power to you.

If you use an old film camera because you think it looks cool around your neck, more power to you.

If you use an old film camera because you like the fact that you're one of the only people using one, more power to you.

>What's wrong with enjoying the feeling of being counterculture?

In terms of a stereotypical hipster, it's because it's being smug that you're not following the crowd. But you get there by paying a lot of attention to what the crowd likes, and using that as your primary decision maker. AKA you're following the crowd.

It's okay to like being unique, but find a niche though your own preferences, not though hypocritical reasoning.

I suppose there is a kind of self-contradiction is trying to be "fashionably unfashionable" which seems ripe for mockery.

But, in practice, the mockery boils down to an exercise in More Authentic Than Thou based on guesses from superficial details. Isn't making judgements about authenticity based on a few superficial details an even more loathsome exercise in hypocrisy?

I do like EvanKelly's point here: "What is there to be genuine to."?

What the heck is someone supposed to wear that is neither an overt exercise in conformity or a contrived exercise in non-conformity? What would in between or opting out of the pretense look like?

In fact, it might look a lot like Mr. Hermelin, whose clothes look functional and cheap, without any visible labels, without any apparent in-factory distressing of the fabric.

Me too, I actually find hipster culture, to the extent it is indeed a thing, to bring a certain sense of fun to my little world. As opposed to everyone just giving up and buying what they see on TV, watching football, Facebook etc.

I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but I don't think it is an expression of individuality, either. Going against the grain is still buying into the grain. Individuality is more about being orthogonal.

I like this response. I'm not sure that I'm mentally mature enough to actually sustain it, but I like it the best. Let people do whatever they like and don't bother judging or grouping them too much.

Edit: fixed broken english.

It undermines genuine counterculture movements. When you have a lot of people who will act like they support a certain idea until questioned about it, and then duck away saying they were just being ironic, the result is that no-one takes anyone seriously. It's bad for the same reasons as bumper stickers, or protest groups who do nothing but stupid stunts.

Who is worried about undermining counterculture movements? Don't wear that old camera, b/c it makes xyz not appear legitimate? Wha?

Who supports social movements out of irony? I don't understand this.

Do you think they're doing it (playing Go, listening to vinyl, whatever) despite not enjoying it? That seems a weird, self-sacrificing thing to do.

They drink PBR, I think that says enough about self-sacrificing if one has any tastebuds left.

PBR is very cheap, and actually very tolerable when you are in the market for cheap American lagers. Before it got a reputation for being "hipster" it was a popular "blue collar" beer, and for good reason.

I'd call it better than Budweiser, worse than Coors. Certainly better than the other heavyweight in 'cheap booze that young people drink': Natural Light. For some reason drinking natty light is not seen to be as damming an indicator on a persons character though... that is reserved for PBR.

Good points. I think they're all pretty awful (relatively speaking, if one is doing more than getting plastered), but somehow only the one gets the negative connotation. Though, I will admit my early college years I did drink them all at some point regrettably, even at least one PBR that I know of offhand.

Call me strange, but there are times when I am honestly happy to get a Bud Light. It's cheap, very light, and still gives me a "You're drinking a beer" feeling. It's relaxing.

I definitely prefer Sierra Nevada, Stone IPA, and Harpoon to Bud Light 95% of the time, but there are days when it's 115 degrees out and my mind says "I want beer-flavored water."

The worst beer, by far, is heavy beer that tastes like garbage. I can drink Natty Light and be happy; I cannot drink a heavy beer that tastes bad.

Outside of America I can assure that bud and miller both have very negative connotations ;)

Negative connotations as in "these are very bad beers", or negative connotations as in "anyone who drinks these must be wildly uncool"?

The first exists in the US, but the second doesn't really (outside a few circles typically called 'beer snobs' ;).

The first, it also tends to extend to most american beer (excluding some of the bigger craft ones which have made it out of the states) and cars, in my personal experience. Although for a perverse few who idolise american culture, bud etc are aspirational, so each to their own I guess?

As a Canadian, where I think beer has a more logical percentage ;) I agree.

I've been to Utah and see what kind of nonsense they do with beer.

It's not like vinyl is a huge sacrifice in quality. I think you underestimate the value of feeling special/cool, especially in somebody 15-25.

Haha whoah whoah whoah since when is playing Go hipster and something that 'they' do? This whole us vs. them turn in the conversation is making me suddenly uncomfortable.

No true Scotsman would do something he didn't actually enjoy.

Of course they don't like it, if they actually liked what they were doing it wouldn't be ironic!

When he does it, it's phony hipsterism. When you do it, it's pitiable nerdism. When I do it, it's cool. :)

Depends on your definition of "hipster". Some people just look like hipsters because they don't actually care what you think, not because they're trying to stand out.

You want to use a typewriter at the local coffee shop? Rock on.

Hipsterism is nothing new (we were complaining about it back when affluent kids started hitting juke joints in the poor part of town). We call it a sub-culture but it isn't one and never has been.

It is most often upper-middle kids (generally white) adopting and gentrifying sub-cultures and then abandoning them when all of the cool has been drained out. What is left becomes fodder for "ironic" mockery.

That is what the author never thinks of addressing. What he boils down to "they hate me because they think I want attention" isn't because he wants attention, it is because he has taken on the trappings of a group who devour other groups.

Geek culture gets pretty tiresome too.

This is really common, unfortunately. People who are raised being abused, or being excluded, are taught that those in power should abuse or exclude those not in power.

Naipaul wrote about this when he was talking about post-colonial societies that ended up as brutal as the white man they replaced. "Hate oppression but fear the oppressed."

Just because some people are oppressed, it doesn't mean they are all nice and pleasant otherwise. "Noble savage" is a western invention, but many undeveloped (from out POV) societies are brutal, violent and harsh without any external influence, just by themselves. Being brutal is natural, being nice comes later.

"cycle of abuse"

I found it interesting that the redditors - or, as some might say, the "straight white male neckbeards" of Reddit - quickly turned apologetic when they heard the full story, while the enlightened feminists at xoJane ignored the new facts and persisted in their vitriol.

You also have to consider the context; the xoJane post was about a breakup, and it's a natural tendency for people to demonize another person's ex as a way of providing emotional support (not saying this is ideal, but it seems pretty common).

The situations aren't exactly analogous. All reddit had to go on was a photograph, whereas xoJane's userbase were told the story by someone directly wronged by this guy. (At least as they perceived it.)

Hipsterism itself is thinly-veiled bullying - it's essentially "I'm cool and you're not". It's like before Apple became really popular, some users exhibited a 'smug field', where they considered themselves better people for using this elite product, being part of those 'in the know', and were just better than you. I have an aunt who was like that, who would mock me for not using Apple... yet she couldn't articulate why. It was just 'better', and she'd backed it.

Hipsterism is like that, putting on airs without having the substance, and that annoys people.

Above all other things, internet communities is what makes me cynical about humanity.

Pre-internet communities were far from unicorns and rainbows. Conformity was much more strongly required.

> Pre-internet communities were far from unicorns and rainbows. Conformity was much more strongly required.

Yes, but if someone took an embarrassing photo of you, you could move to another city and be done with it. There's no escape from internet ridicule. I honestly don't know if I'll be able to handle the world of Google Glass & co where no public faux pas will be forgotten - at least the OP was out there in the public by his own choice. :/

"Putting on airs" is not bullying. Being smug is not bullying. Your Aunt mocking you could be a form of bullying, however, I strongly doubt that your Aunt is representative of the hipster movement.

Being smug and putting on airs are bullying. Subtle, but still bullying. It's exclusionary and it's condescending.

Imagine this: Young nerdy guy sees incredibly popular hipster guy in his high school listening to some band, I don't know WAM! or whatever the kids listen to these days. Either way, young nerdy guy LOVES that band, but has only recently started listening to it.

So he decides to strike up a conversation with popular hipster about WAM's newest album. Popular hipster shuts him down simply by saying, "Oh, yeah, that album's okay, if you like mainstream sounds, but I've been listening to them for like 5 years now. You should hear their unreleased Japanese single called 'Kuma o tabetai'." Young nerd now has nothing to talk about, and shambles away.

Not OVERT bullying, but it is absolutely asserting dominance in an aggressive way through exclusion.

I find it interesting how the word "hipster" has morphed in usage over the last five-or-so years. Originally, as far as I could tell, it had a specific meaning: "someone who prefers unknown bands just for their being unknown, and dislikes well-known bands just for their being well-known." This, obviously, is a person to not hold in high regard--their mannerism, after all, is entirely defined by contempt for the majority of humanity. ("As soon as everyone likes it, I hate it.")

Then an image and a lifestyle got attached to it--some mix of the effete New Yorker, the post-punk Seattlite, and the "urban woodsman" Portlander. And now it just refers to those things, and no longer really carries the requirement that the person so-labelled define themselves via contrarianism and contempt.

But language influences thought, people still remember the old meaning, and "slur it forward": seeing people who are hipsters-as-in-culture and assuming they're worthy of the same contempt given to hipsters-as-in-contemptuous-assholes.

Hipster goes back way further; hippie actually derives from it and not vice versa.

And it isn't a term that just completely died out in the 50s and was reborn in the aughts (e.g. in Seinfeld, Kramer gets called a "Hipster Doofus").

Has it really changed that way? As far as I'm aware it still carries the requirement they the person defines themselves via contrarianism and contempt; that image is just a big blinking warning sign.

I'm pretty sure there's a large contingent of people who self-identify as hipsters--in that they dress like them, enjoy bands hipsters used to like at some defining moment ca. 2006, etc.--but enjoy mainstream culture otherwise.

it's interesting to see how readily internet nerds - the people who are disproportionately to have been bullied in the past - engage in it.

Nothing new there. This how pecking orders form in human society; people who are pushed around look for other people to push around, to feel better about themselves.

Agreed. In my experience the worst bullies are always people who are "paying it forward".

That bully who stuffed the smaller kids the locker at school? He was probably being bullied at home by bad parents.

Works also with "internet nerds" with a history of being bullied. Give them an ounce of leverage and they will lord it over other people, they just tend to engage in psychological bullying instead of the physical kind.

"Above all other things, internet communities is what makes me cynical about humanity."

The internet is like alcohol: it doesn't put ideas into people's heads. It just lowers their inhibitions. If people are being dicks on the internet, it's because they are dicks, and the internet gives them a relatively consequence-free forum for expressing their dickitude.

If we're "cynical about humanity" because of "internet communities," we should be "cynical about humanity" because of humanity, full stop.

>it doesn't put ideas into people's heads.

I'm going to assume this statement was meant as a rhetorical device, because on its own it's clearly ridiculous. Of course the internet puts ideas into people's heads.

More generally, while I understand the point you're making, I think you're underestimating the influence of a community on the behaviour of its members. I would say that by far the most significant factor causing people to be dicks on the internet are communities that normalise that kind of behaviour. People see others criticising "hipsters" and they are taught that this behaviour is accepted and even encouraged. Many of these people would be offended by the same behaviour in real life, and not even notice the hypocrisy.

I personally really like hipsters. They made tattoos non-scary. Before them, it was all bikers and sailors... many of them want to hurt me.

I'm sort of joking and sort of very serious.

I think hipsters, with their funny tight pants, single-speed bikes, and amusing attention to facial hair, have had a positive influence on society. The world needs people to be overly fixated on the mundane, or else we get too productive.

I personally am not cool in any way, nor do I aspire to indicate coolness through my physical appearance. I've got a wife, a kid, and a mortgage. I just can't spare the cycles trying to look cool.

But, I'm happy the hipsters are out there.

Plus, some of them serve excellent coffee.

It amazes me how so many commenters here can miss an essential point about hipsters and hipster-hate. Hipster-hate is more than bullying, it can be understood if we consider that socio-economic classes are at war with each other: in this understanding, hipsters are the ones that have crossed the trench lines. They're percieved as people who mostly come from a wealthy white background, from which they want to be independent, but which gives them a certain legacy and advantage over non-white poor people. This helps them colonize/gentrify poor neighborhoods, thus pushing the prices up and paving the way for the city to push it's poor further away. Not to mention the fact that they are easy targets from the traditional upper class who percieves them as "willfully bohemian". We have the same kind of hate here in France for our "bobos". Hipster hate has a material economic basis.

Given the most core of the criticisms of hipsterism are its judgementalism and superiority complex, your argument seems to be tantamount to decrying the bullying of bullies, or the lack of tolerance for the intolerant.

Is that really the core criticism of hipsterdom? I hear much more often the appropriation of poor/outsider chic and concordance devaluation of intrinsic meaning. Consider the kiffeyeh (plaid arabesque scarf) worn originally to signal solidarity with Palestinians. Now the overriding significance of it, when you see it worn (it's a little dated now) is that of an empty fashion trend.

Another common critique I hear is the mindless pursuit of "authenticity", an aping of anything whose style is "old" -- the automatic assumption that old is authentic, and authentic is better. These are, in my mind, two core branches of an otherwise very difficult to define notion.

> "Is that really the core criticism of hipsterdom?"

How would a hipster caricature respond to the kiffeyeh becoming an empty fashion trend?

"I wore it before it was cool" i.e. I was better/smarter/above simple fashion herding.

So, yeah. I think that's the over-riding common thread linking the various branches and spectra of hipsterdom and the one thing that's almost universally criticized wherever hipsters are being discussed.

The core criticism is always that hipsters are purposefully contrary as a method of attention seeking.

Also, being judgemental and having a superiority complex are very different to bullying. Thinking you are better than someone is very different to telling them they are worse than you.

The strange thing about NYC is weird hipsters (and yes I'll call him that) are one of the things that make such a commerce driven city a livable place. They're behind random cool stuff in the park, most of the bars with really awesome beers, and a lot of the other quirks that makes a financial center liveable. Of course they just get bullied as a result...

The whole situation would have been completely different if people waited for some context and explanation. Unfortunately pre-judging people based on quick first impressions is something pretty much everyone does. Some are just more vocal about it.

I quit browsing Reddit because of the comment sections.

> Above all other things, internet communities is what makes me cynical about humanity.

What makes an internet community any different from any "other" community? They are both human social constructs. The only difference I would argue is that online communities are much more public about their members' views. "Offline" communities can often hide under a veil of an organizational hierarchy of structure (usually in the form of a representative such as "head of").

"it's interesting to see how readily internet nerds - the people who are disproportionately to have been bullied in the past - engage in it."

My theory has been that the downtrodden are pissed because they're on the receiving end, not because it's wrong, evidenced by many examples of them engaging in the same behavior when the opportunity presents itself. Whether it's immigrant minorities or geeks/nerds, the pattern seems to come up time and again.

It's simpler (and more universal) than that: tribal identity is based on ascribing virtues to the tribe -- and vices to others -- based not on objective reality but based on their own values.

"We do the things that we perceive as good for reasons we perceive as good. They do the things that we perceive as bad for reasons that we perceive as bad."

And the teasing/bullying of members of other tribes is just a core human behavior to reinforce status within their own tribe. "Look at how well I recognize what's wrong with them! I'm a good one of us!"

But then the next question is, why does the geek tribe pick on the hipster tribe as nastily as it does? I don't see the same amount of _personal_ hatred against bankers, or people who do sports to the extreme. Weren't hipsters the least likely to pick on geeks (me)? Is that why they're now at the bottom of the pecking order? I don't see how a difference in values alone explains it.

Being bullied doesn't breed sensitivity--quite often the reverse.

While I agree with some of what you are saying and I don't join in hipster hate, I think this is the main thing:

Any self-righteous style that tries to come off as cool and aloof that seem ridiculous to others is going to be made fun of. It doesn't matter what it is. Portlandia makes fun of hipsters. Zoolander made fun of high fashion.

Be yourself first and foremost: type on an old typewriter in the park, wear RPGs even though you were never formerly in the military, drink double Doppios from non-chain coffee shops, and break up with a girl because she said PETA stood for People Eating Tasty Animals. But being made fun of comes with that game.

I think it's considered 'OK' to hate hipsters. You won't be considered racist, sexist, agist or anything. So I guess it's an outlet of sorts.

It's interesting how in one sentence you identify a slight against 'hipsters', and then fall into slighting another group in the same comment...

Ah yes, because that kind of thing never happens on HN...

Oh it most certainly does, which is why I use this site less and less over time, and referred to "internet communities" in general, Reddit being only one of many.

I don't know. Where I'm from the hipsters are the bullies.

Reddit is visited by tens of millions of people of virtually every demographic. Corralling them as "internet nerds" seems a bit like you're trying for some bullying yourself.

In any case, talk about much ado about absolutely nothing. A bunch of people said silly things, largely under the assumption that it was no consequence (that no one was hurt, etc): In many ways the comments on there are performance art. It is the most astonishingly meaningless thing going, and really the purpose of this entry that we're discussing is the chap talking a moment to extend that fifteen minutes.

Above all other things, internet communities is what makes me cynical about humanity.

People declaring their cynicism about humanity (or trite variations like "faith restored") make me cynical about humanity.

Reddit is visited by tens of millions of people of virtually every demographic. Corralling them as "internet nerds" seems a bit like you're trying for some bullying yourself.

The post to which you're replying didn't even mention Reddit. Reddit is by no means the only place where a nerdy demographic (and I'll define 'nerdy demographic' as 18-25 that skew towards STEM education and exhibit above-average internet usage) tends to engage in destructive behavior, but they're certainly guilty of it.

A bunch of people said silly things, largely under the assumption that it was no consequence (that no one was hurt, etc)

The whole point of the article is the inherent falsity of the assumption that what you do online has diminished/no consequences.

People who are on the Internet tend to forget that literally everybody else is on the Internet too. Being a jackass isn't somehow excusable just because you don't know who you're being a jackass to (in fact, some would argue that it makes it worse.)

The article mentions Reddit being the place where C.D. Hermelin was textually abused for being a hipster; or more accurately, accused of being a hipster solely because he was using a typewriter. Reddit is the only place where the internet nerds in discussion come from.

Reddit however is not made up of internet nerds. Reddit is made up of average joes who know enough about computers to register at facebook and reddit. The average reddit user is no more advanced than the average 13-year-old nowadays - can browse the internet, turn of a computer and install some games on their smartphone and tablet. They were never made fun of for being internet nerds, because they're not nerds nor geeks. They're just average joes; because as you say, everybody is on the internet nowadays, and those who are the truly advanced users who MAY have been made fun of more because of it generally do not spend their time raging about a hipster. I say may because honestly, geeks are not the object of ridicule as they once were.

Reddit is a heterogeneous collection of wildly different subreddits. Some subreddits (/r/pics, /r/funny, /r/WTF) are "average" as you described, but others have different demographics.

For example, I would hardly call the typical user of /r/TalesFromYourServer to be a 20-25 year old male STEM-educated nerd.

Until I checked the subreddit, I assumed "server" meant a beat up old PC running some obscure Linux distro in a corner of some basement, and I was about to call you out... :)

I'm going to guess that this was not posted in /r/TalesFromYourServer. The mere fact that it attracted so many comments means that it was posted on one of the "average" reddits.

It was posted on /r/nyc. Which isn't a default sub-reddit, but would probably still be subscribed by "average" users.

Reddit was primarily made up of hipsters who all migrated there to circle jerk from /r9k on 4chan

Hipsterdom doesn't even exist anymore, VICE/dov charney declared it dead in 2007. This guy brings a typewriter to the park to get attention and it worked.

Oops I didn't read the entire article. /ignore

> above-average internet usage

I doubt that internet usage is any longer a measure of how "nerdy" a person is.

There are teenagers, especially girls, constantly using internet-based services from their cell phones to communicate with other people for most of the time they spend awake [1,2,3]. Would you call them "nerdy"? I doubt.

[1] http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/social-media/...

[2] Madden, Mary; Lenhart, Amanda; Duggan, Maeve; Cortesi, Sandra; Gasser, Urs. "Teens and Technology 2013," Pew Internet & American Life Project and Harvard's Berkman Society for Internet & Society, March 13, 2013. http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2013/PIP_T...

[3] Reidulf G. Watten, Jo Kleiven, Knut Inge Fostervold, Halvor Fauskeand Frode Volden. "Gender Profiles of Internet and Mobile Phone Use among Norwegian Adolescents" http://seminar.net/images/stories/vol4-issue3/watten_et_al-g...

Your point is well-taken, but female teenagers who spend their entire day on the internet only fulfill one of the three qualifiers I had for "nerdy" (the other two being 18-25 and STEM-educated.)

18-25 is a really silly criterion.

He did in fact mention it.

It's also interesting to see how many times Reddit (and other communities) fly into a rage-fest because of lack of context,

> The post to which you're replying didn't even mention Reddit.

Didn't this all kick off with a mean-spirited reaction to a photo on Reddit? The ancestor post hardly needs to mention Reddit explicitly...

> Being a jackass isn't somehow excusable just because you don't know who you're being a jackass to (in fact, some would argue that it makes it worse.)

This. "We didn't know we were hurting anybody" is no excuse for hurting somebody. Man up, accept the blame, apologize, and move on. It's not the end of the world if you hurt somebody's feelings, but you're a piece of shit if you knowingly hurt somebody's feelings, or they make it publicly known, and you DON'T apologize.

Having a STEM backgound myself, that is something that saddens me with others with a similar education. Some, not all or even the majority of STEM educated people, show an arrogance towards people with different backgrounds that I just see as arrogant and ignorant at the same time. Nothing against the friendly exchange of not at all serious stereotypes with, say, economics majors. But some people just can't stop there.

For me, having a somehow technical or scientific background means to look at things as they really are instead of believing stereotypes yourself. The internet only makes it easier to voice these oppinions. At the very least it says more about the commenters than anything else by ahowing just how ignorant they are.

But than, maybe that's just human and we are were like that at a certain pint in our lives.

It may have been edited after you posted, but the comment he replied to did mention reddit.

The post to which you're replying didn't even mention Reddit.

The post I replied to specifically mentioned Reddit. Although that was later edited out, it is hardly necessary given that the entire story is about a post and discussion on Reddit.

Being a jackass isn't somehow excusable just because you don't know who you're being a jackass to

While no one said it was excusable (at best I implied that it was ignorable), at times people want to take ownership of offense and leverage if not exaggerate it to prolong exposure, which is exactly what is happening in this case. Naturally played out, Internet memes have a half life of about a day, after which they would naturally be forgotten.

Secondly, while this seems counter-intuitive, the discussions on Reddit aren't about the subject (in this case guy on typewriter in NY city) -- they're about a contrived representation that is essentially a created fiction (the fiction in this case was "guys who try to be different by bringing a manual typewriter to parks -- hipsters!", which has absolutely nothing to do with "performance artist making a living". The guy being discussed on Reddit is not the actual guy in the picture, and few confuse the two). I called the discussion itself performance art because it really is -- people aren't trying to insult the guy literally, but instead are engaging in the banter of Reddit, which is something that exists unto itself.

There is another post in here by a guy whose wedding picture got appropriated for a meme, and while he took it in stride and seemed good natured about it, and while it sucks when the internet machine appropriates one's stuff, that meme has literally nothing whatsoever to do with him or his wife or anything at all to do with their life. In that case, again, it was simply representative for people to discuss, essentially, marriage. Just as typewriter man is simply a stand in for the purported hipsterism. People needn't over-personalize this stuff.

Good point, and here is your citation:

[1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appropriation_(art) ‎ Appropriation in art is the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them. The use of appropriation has played a significant ...

Appropriation art (spoiler alert) is as Hipster as it gets.

"T\ypewriter guy" appears innocent of the Appropriation he Approriating (un-wittingly). Which is something that happens...similar to other sub-cultural trends that get sent into the mainstream. So this is entirely hall-of-mirrors mockery, than anything pernicious...it seems.

>Corralling them as "internet nerds" seems a bit like you're trying for some bullying yourself.

Exactly. Encouraging the stereotype that in addition to having deserved bullying in high school for their poor social skills, nerds deserved bullying because they are mean spirited and just waiting till it's their turn to be the bully.

People declaring their cynicism about humanity (or trite variations like "faith restored") make me cynical about humanity.

This is very intriguing. Although I have some idea of what you mean, I would love it if you could elaborate on this.

I think he meant it as snark, but I could easily understanding despair at the fact that so many people seem to "give up" on humanity for such ultimately fleeting reasons. What hope is there for humanity if everybody is so dreadfully defeatist?

Even though people from all walks of life visit Reddit, that does not mean every demographic is equally represented.

The other funny thing is that there's a violent dislike of mainstream media on websites such as Reddit, and constant criticism when news stations take things out of context.

Then they do things like this themselves on a daily basis!

^People write this comment on Reddit a lot. The one I'm about to write, they also write this one too.

You can't talk about Reddit as a hivemind, because it isn't one person, or even a definite collective of people. The people who take things out of context, and the people who call them out, are different sets of people. If Reddit seems to have multiple personalities, it's because... well, it does.

You can talk about Reddit as a hivemind because it is one.

Reddit can turn into an angry mob in a nanosecond, tear someone's life apart, utterly destroyed, and then a nanosecond later flip around because of the discovery of guilt and empathy, to try and repair what just happened.

It's not any one person, but the collective does have certain predictable patterns of behavior. If you're part of Reddit, you're part of that super-organism, like it or not.

That's the part that makes me cynical about humanity. Reddit isn't some unique group of particularly hateful, particularly judgmental people. They are, in the grand scheme things, a pretty typical and pretty vanilla set that's probably a decent sample of "young and western".

Which is to say, their ability to fly into a collective rage and stampede through the lives of innocent people isn't really unique to them, it's probably just a phenomenon inherent in all large groups of mostly-anonymous humans.

Reddit just gets named and shamed constantly because they are the largest group of mostly-anonymous people on the internet. Had things gone differently it'd very well be Digg in its place.

You can make several generalisations about reddit users though.

They're likely anti-government, anti-corporation, ant-advertising, anti-mainstream.

They're likely left of centre politically.

They're not busy - that's why they spend time commenting on Reddit. More likely unemployed / students / etc.

They absolutely love to be outraged by something.

By definition, they are the sort of person who would comment on Reddit, which is a certain personality.

They're by no means a random sample of humanity thank god.

These are not special reddit features, you can make generalizations about any group of people that isn't randomly chosen.

That doesn't mean that "the group of people in your office building" or "the group of people in your neighborhood / town / state / country" or "the group of people that you bowl with" or "the group of people in your extended family" are "hiveminds" though. That is like accusing this piece of granite (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Granite_Y...) of being gray.

In my experience, "hivemind" is just bullshit people talk about when they want a way of saying that they are better than other people, but can't bring themselves to commit such a crime against modesty forthright. You'll notice that it is never "reddit is a hivemind, and oh yeah, I totally agree with it." It is always "reddit is a hivemind, and I disagree with it"

The problem with any collection of people though, is popular opinion is rewarded, unpopular opinion is shot down.

That means people tend to go with the crowd - hivemind.

"That means people tend to go with the crowd - hivemind."

Or you know, standard social dynamics that have existed since our ancestors first figured out how to vocalize opinions. The very silly label you are giving it serves no purpose other than to vilify it for the sake of making yourself out to be superior.

Lots of people disagree with you, meaning you do not get to enjoy having lots of people agree with you, meaning that clearly they are all a bunch of Borg with no sense of individuality. Give me a break.

Yes it's nothing new, but the internet has vastly accelerated the phenomenon. If you post some idiotic comment, and 1,000 people agree with you, that's quite a powerful feedback loop.

Particularly obnoxious is when the most popular comments are in the vein of "most people here are being idiots" or "'the hivemind' disagrees with this, but..."

Really? Most people? Then why is your comment the most popular comment? (Hint: because the majority of people like to believe themselves superior to the majority of people. 'If everyone is being dumb but me, then that means I am unusually smart!')

Can we make a generalisation of reddit when something is the top story on the whole site, and the majority of highly upvoted comments make the same point?

This is different to HN and most other internet forums?

It's a fascinating example of what happens when very bored people get together online and start swarming about as if they were one person though. Mob rule, hivemind, internet hate groups, react first, research / put into context later.

Also pretty ugly to watch.

I don't bother commenting on Reddit anymore, and rarely on here. There is absolutely no point.

You sound like a newspaper journalist from the 90's when you speak of Reddit as "they".

Reddit - collection of mainly unemployed young left wing anti-government, anti-corporation, anti-mainstream types who have far too much time on their hands to look at memes and commenting.

The front page of reddit can be a cruel mistress

My wife and I had one of our wedding pictures take the number one spot on /r/all one day -- There was some rather embarrassing text super-imposed on it that said "Oh you think married women still give BJs" (google Condescending Wife to find it).

Despite some of the comments in the thread being pretty mean, my wife and I took it in stride, we're both internet people, we get it; we thought it was pretty funny all things considered --

The awkward part of all of this though, was this picture was EVERYWHERE for about a day. All over Facebook, Tumblr, etc. So countless friends and family inevitably saw it. I got a call from my concerned father, asking me if everything was ok and if I had seen what the internet had been saying about me and my wife. I explained to him that we didn't really mind and we left it there as explaining reddit to him would have been near impossible. But it was just a really surreal experience. We got dozens of texts and emails that day all asking if we had seen the picture.

The best part of the the internet's short term memory is how quickly this image found it's way into obscurity; to be completely forgotten. No ill harm to my wife's nor my reputation.

I shaved half of my hair and half of my beard so that I'd have an interesting driver's license, and posted the photos on Reddit. So I can't really complain about someone else appropriating my image. But it did get big in a way I didn't expect.

My mother found out when she went to yahoo.com to log into her email and I was on the front page. My father-in-law was watching the local news and saw me giving an interview. Two years later, I can bring out my driver's license at parties and people remember it. But they don't remember me, just the photo, so no harm done. (And happily, my domain has enough precidence on google to at least appear first for searches of my name).

On the upside, if I ever meet Greg Proops or Ellen DeGeneres in person we'll have something in common to talk about.

The eyebrows show a lack of commitment, my friend ;-)

Wow, I had never seen that before. That is one epic driver's license.

That's a very yin/yang cut.

A few months ago someone posted a photo of a young lady sporting facial hair. Predictably the reddit hivemind were pointing and laughing until the lady in question saw her photo was plastered online and decided to reply to the OP, explaining she was a Sikh and her beliefs dictated that her hair was sacred (I think)

The OP grovelled and apologised for posting the photo without her permission, but still, I think that was one of reddits lowest points

The nice thing about memes though is it rarely has anything to do with the people in the photo, and more about what kind of universal message the photo can convey. I believe the scumbag steve guy discusses this since he went through a lot of emotions over his photo being so popular. Nobody who makes these memes is thinking of him personally, but rather of the character that can be extracted from the photo.

I have to say, if you can make her laugh that hard, you will have a long and happy marriage.

The website she referred to had a series of essays they dubbed “It Happened To Me” that they sprinkled in amongst feminist-leaning news and features. “I want to talk about how all of this makes me feel. You, all over the Internet, right after you dumped me.”

Does that seem bizarrely self absorbed to anyone else?

Of course it is, but I don't think it's possible to write about yourself without being self-absorbed. Personally, I think it's an interesting story idea from a perspective that I never would have thought about before.

Yes. And passive-aggressive, since she welched on the deal by not letting him read it before press.

Aren't most people self-absorbed for a period of time, post-breakup? It may be a self-defense or healing mechanism, of sorts.

Then again, imagine if it happened to you, and all of your friends were continually reminding you of it, forwarding you more and more tumblogs where the meme was propagating, commiserating, condemning your ex, etc., et bloody cetera. It'd make almost anyone feel somewhat strange.

I'm sure at the time it seemed like the world was conspiring to show her this guy everywhere. I would have complained about it too, albeit privately, and then probably felt like a pompous douchebag after reading how he felt.

That seems appropriate for a column called "it happened to me".

And wait, you're surprised a human, in media, is self absorbed? That seems bizarrely self absorbed.

I can definitely relate to the feeling. For a full 1.5 years after my ex and I broke up, it felt like my friends were being deliberately cruel, first by continuing to involve her in various events, then by continuously posting about stuff they were doing with her on facebook. For a long time, it felt like they were actively trying to push me out of the picture or drive me to jump. The only difference is, this woman wrote an article about how that feels.

Did you do things with your friends too during that time? Maybe it's just that for them it's less awkward to hang out with either one of you than it is for you two to hang out with each other, and they didn't realize that talking about it on facebook would be awkward for you.

Don't you think it would be a bit demanding on your part if you wanted your friends to stop hanging out with and being friends with your ex? Maybe you should figure out how to get closure on your relationship and move forward in a healthy manner rather than hoping that the rest of the world will coddle and protect a wound that only you could possibly understand or be responsible for.

Maybe these people you call your friends are not really your friends? For if something is affecting you, they should be able to be considerate of your feelings too. Just a thought.

It seems like the hipster-as-a-pejorative thing started around the total collapse of the music industry in the mid-2000's and unfortunately was driven by indie scenesters who resented the influx of popularity when say, Modest Mouse had a song appear on say, One Tree Hill. The primary aesthetic religion of the indie scene from punk onward, no matter what the genre or style, was D.I.Y. so suburbanites who went to Hot Topic to grab Iron Maiden t-shirts were profoundly reviled.

This happens in any insular subculture. Do I even need to mention the "geek girl" bullshit?

The problem has quickly become that this revulsion has also played into the jock-centric bullying of anyone who dares to be different--"my football coach won't let me grow my hair long so now let me go punch that faggot with the plastic frames" sort of crap. Any indie community that still exists needs to rid itself of all this baggage for that reason alone.

Whatever utility the word "hipster" had as a pejorative, if any, is gone. Internet killed pop culture and it's dead to stay. The most popular cartoon character now is effing Grumpy Cat. Anyone should consider anyone else using "hipster" as an offhand pejorative to be no greater than a classroom bully, no different than calling someone a dweeb in the 1980s.

>Do I even need to mention the "geek girl" bullshit?

The thing is, the 'geek girl' stereotype is something that almost never happens, but as far as I understand it the stereotypical hipster is not uncommon.

It is possible to 'like' something the wrong way: namely where you do not actually like it. Hipster hate isn't about being different, it's about a perception of dishonest attention-seeking.

> Hipster hate isn't about being different, it's about a perception of dishonest attention-seeking.

Isn't this the same justification that's used to shame the "pseudo" geek girls?

The justification is not the problem, it's the targets. People will give that excuse even when it's a blatant lie.

As far as I am aware, the discussion of 'fake geek girls' has mostly come from MRA-types that spend most of their time failing to see women as people. So any particular instance of 'fake geek girl' is almost certainly the commenter being an ass and wrong. But, again, as far as I am aware, there are no large groups going around being 'anti-hipster' in situations where it doesn't fit. So instances of being 'anti-hipster' are often accurate.

When you call somebody a hipster...


Hipster bashing started with this book which came out in '03: http://www.amazon.com/The-Hipster-Handbook-Robert-Lanham/dp/...

Also, pop culture is not dead #twerking #beiber #hashtags

NEWSFLASH: If you're doing something specifically to get attention, it's possible the attention you get might not be to your liking.

(Though I agree people should be more open to people doing fun performance-ish stuff like this, it does not mean a performer is entitled to receive only positive reactions.)

I don't think you can expect this type of reaction from a performance. One of the larger issues is that people don't get that it was a performance. Roughly equivalent to taking a picture of a clown and making fun of him for his make up as if he walks around like that in every situation.

If you do some kind of guerilla performance art, going around in public doing weird stuff, then most people will probably not realize it's a performance.

Expecting otherwise seems irrational.

You are correct, but that's not the issue. The issue is not that people are not able to jump to the right conclusion, it is that they jump to the wrong conclusion.

If you crop out the clues that its performance art, then it's more likely to be misunderstood.

Context is so important.

I remember seeing this on reddit and thinking that surely it must be staged satire, poking fun at the types (pun intended) of people one sees around Chelsea. Without the context of it being a piece of (really rather compelling) performance art, the photo looks like a person who is trying very hard to be noticed.

I guess the issue for me is that there is a cachet in our society for successful artists- That's why so many people want to try art, because art is "cool".

But the reason art is cool is PRECISELY BECAUSE artists have to take risks and stick their necks out and have to be able to take the heat if their art gets a bad reception.

It seems to me OP wanted the cachet of doing art, but doesn't want to accept the risk that is an integral part of being an artist.

He expected to be criticized for what he saw was the performace: writing stories. He did NOT expect to have his "Hey I'll type anything for you" sign completely hidden, and therefore the pictures about him to be taken completely out of context.

In real life, you can see something like that, and then walk around until you see the sign and have better context, and be less dismissive or confused. When all you have is a photo, that's less easy.


Oh I see, you're saying that he was an artist who's art was MISUNDERSTOOD! Well, that changes everything: In other cases, people understand 100% what artists are trying to do. No performance artist in their right mind can be expected to take into account that others might misunderstand his/her performance.


No, his art is not being misunderstood in the least. That would have required an iota of effort on the part of the mindless haters.

No, they (and apparently you) think that forming harsh judgment about the person based on a few superficial details, without any regard for the attempt at art whatsoever, is somehow okay. That the person is attempting art is just being used as an excuse for indefensible behavior.

Somehow we've reached a point in society where being spotted in public with a typewriter turns you into a subject of mockery and disdain.

Hell, the author would be better treated if he dressed up as a clown and made balloon animals.

> It seems to me OP wanted the cachet of doing art, but doesn't want to accept the risk that is an integral part of being an artist.

yeah, many celebs behave that way. they don't mind seeking irrational popularity that makes them sign multi-million contracts, but get extremely butthurt when popular opinion shifts against their favor when something goes wrong. the same medium and communities that made them famous and rich suddently get called a bunch of abusive haters that need to get exterminated.

> NEWSFLASH: If you're doing something specifically to get attention, it's possible the attention you get might not be to your liking.

What on earth was he doing to get attention?

He was doing a job.

If you are writing stories for people in a park, a typewriter is probably the best way to do it, how else would you?

How was he trying for attention any more than the ice cream van I'm sure was down the road? Since when do people working in public have to be "NEWSFLASH"ed that they are trying to get attention.

I don't know if you've ever had to do any significant writing on a manual typewriter, but it is a very difficult process. It would much, much easier to write it out long hand (he has great hand writing, as can be seen on his sign.). Even better would be to write it up o a laptop, let the customer view it on the screen, then email it to them later. Or, write it up on a phone with a $20 Bluetooth keyboard and email it immediately. Lots of different superior options exist, depending on his budget.

Bottom line, using a manual typewriter is a theatrical element and designed to draw attention to him.

You seriously think you can't type on a typewriter?

As to doing it electronicly, he deals with that issue, a electronic story email would have little value to most people. ---------------- My favorite exchange was between “I_thrive_on_apathy” and “dlins”:

i_thrive_on_apathy: What the fuck is he going to do with that typed page? Scan it?

Dlins: you do realize things have value even if they're not digitized, right?

i_thrive_on_apathy: Huh? ------------------------------

you are both right.

while the typewriter may or may not be a convenient tool for producing hardcopy outside in a park, it's most definitely also for purposes of grabbing people's attention.

and it makes a lot of noise, I'm assuming.

no seriously. Huh?

"Hate" is a proper subset of "negative reactions".

No subset of negative reactions is proper.

Your parent used an uncommon meaning of a word, and you reinterpreted it with the most common meaning! How clever of you!

You used sarcasm! I bow down to your magnificent display of wit.

I have the utmost respect for anyone that can take their natural (legal) talent, go to a park and turn it into beer/food money in an hour or two. When I met my wife she was substitute teaching occasionally and to make ends meet she would do pencil portraits in the park. She would always wear a floppy hat and a colorful long skirt. Back then (1975) she would have been referred to as a hippy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippie :-) as opposed to a hipster. I remember sitting in her apartment and watching her gleefully straighten and count a pile of small bills. Great times!

I work just up the street from Seattle's Pike Place Market where I see talented street performers of all kinds. Guitarists, sax players, one guy with a big parrot, magicians, everything. I don't see the idea of writing a super-short story as any different.

Now I'm surprised I haven't seen it yet.

Tangentially related, things like this are why I have not stopped wearing my fedora (in appropriate situations, with appropriate outfits).

Dear Internet Fashionistas: You've decided that fedoras and suspenders are the mark of a horrible person. Your opinions have no connection to reality. Over here in the real world, I look good. When I come back to the bar the next day to pick up my credit card, and the bouncer remembers me well enough to compliment my outfit from the previous night, that means I'm doing it right.

You are trying to make fashion into something objective; it really isn't. I can line ten people in reality who can hate on your fedora. At the end of it, wear whatever you want to, I guarantee there will be people hating on it and loving it. Such is the nature of things.

Hell, I have worn a suit to a friend's place and gotten hate from it.

This and the obsession with t-shirts reminds me as to why I never take fashion advice from HN.

Yeah, that, and this weird obsession people have with pants. Who wears pants anymore?

What is the obsession with t-shirts?

T-shirt obsession is really a universal techie thing. Everything from the latest hip startup to the most stodgy of conventions give out t-shirts, often sizes far too large for most people to wear.

I guess. T-shirts just seem like one of those hyper-cheap things that companies can give out with their logo. Not much different than pens or foam 'stress toys'.

I swore I wouldn't wear startup shirts anymore, but then a shirts.io guy handed me one at a conference and it was so absurdly meta (print your startup shirt using our cloud API!) that I want to wear it all the time

Reminds me of Diaspora's t-shirt expense.


Fedoras come off well with the right outfit, sure. Most fedora-wearing nerds don't get that right. If you do, more power to you.

Yeah, wearing a beat-up $10 fedora with a T-shirt and jeans is not a great fashion decision. (But note that "poor fashion decisions" does not mean "disgusting, reprehensible goblin," despite the usual fashionista hyperbole.) I have a nice, properly-fitted felt fedora that I try to keep in good shape, and I wear it with a nice button-down and slacks at a bare minimum, usually a tie and sometimes a full suit.

I've had several internet fashionistas try to tell me that fedoras (and bow ties, and suspenders, and etc.) are Ruined Forever because a few unpleasant dudes on OK Cupid wear them. I find the notion absurd.

> But note that "poor fashion decisions" does not mean "disgusting, reprehensible goblin," despite the usual fashionista hyperbole.

You're reading their casual implication in the wrong direction. What they usually mean is that disgusting, reprehensible goblin implies poor fashion decisions. Thus, by Bayesian inference, poor fashion decisions are evidence which increases the likelihood that you are a disgusting, reprehensible goblin.

And fashion is entirely about Bayesian inference--or "judging a book by its cover," as it is sometimes known. ;)

So, what do you think is the prior probability of being a disgusting reprehensible goblin? And what is the difference in likelihood of poor fashion decisions between goblins and non-goblins? Seems like would be interesting to actually try and find out which personality traits correspond most with poor fashion decisions (presumably introversion would be a given?)

I don't think it's introversion. I think it's the personality types that don't register or care how (negatively) people are reacting to them. For example, the guy that will talk to you incessantly about some topic you don't care about, or someone who's smelly because of their own fault.

Yeah, fair point. My reasoning was that introverted people, being more introspective, will just have seen less reactions and so be generally less able to interpret them. But, this could be balanced by other traits - for example, greater stimulus sensitivity might mean introspective people place more importance on people's reactions to them

I agree that poor fashion sense != terrible person. But clarify this for me: fedora aside, your standard dress is a button-down with a tie, but usually no suit jacket?

Not "standard," really. My day-to-day wear is usually a short-sleeve button-down and slacks; ties and fedoras are more of a clubbing outfit. The one that the bouncer and half a dozen other people complimented me was a crimson dress shirt, sapphire tie, black slacks and fedora. Risky but striking, and evidence suggests that I pulled it off.

(I will now pause to enjoy your apoplectic fit. Yes, you. You know who you are.)

By comparison, my last-minute no-budget "Devil out on the town" Halloween costume was a black suit, black shirt, black fedora with the King of Hearts in the band, blood-red tie.

When I think of fedoras I think of terrible ska bands from the 90s where every member of the band had one on. I have no issue with the current variant, but I do think I was permanently scarred by ska music, so the hate will remain in that context.

One fedora per crew, bro.

Related to his original idea: I think it's simply fantastic. Not only does it help avoid writers block (You constantly have a stream of stories to create), but it's forced practice. Nobody says Mozart's first few works were brilliant. It wasn't until he practiced for years that he became a virtuoso. An approach like this, while easy to view from the lens of simply making people happy, is an investment in one's creativity and writing skill that will pay off in leaps and bounds years down the line.

It's just so unfortunate that the internet makes it so hard. You're either loved, hated, or ignored. He, thanks to an unlucky picture angle and loss of context, fell into the 'hated' category by many. I applaud the effort to just do it. It is funny how many view the real world as hard and the internet as an easy escape, yet in his experience, it was just the opposite.

"Nobody says Mozart's first few works were brilliant. It wasn't until he practiced for years that he became a virtuoso."

Are you trying to be ironic? Mozart's first work was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andante_in_C_for_Keyboard_%28Mo..., written when he was 5 years old.

Mozart's the canonical example of somebody who didn't have to practice for years. Obviously he did spend thousands of hours practising as he grew up, but that's a nuanced argument. You'd be much better choosing pretty much anybody else for your example.

"Mozart's the canonical example of somebody who didn't have to practice for years."

I'm assuming the parent was referring to information presented in the book Outliers, which provides a counter-argument to this

You are correct. In fact, I just drove x-country and Outliers was one of the books I listened to on the way. I haven't had the time to cross-check much of the information, as I just took most of what Gladwell wrote as fact (even if this was just an opinion).

Not to beat on Gladwell (more than a bit) but I tend to double-check most of what he says.

I love Gladwell's writing (he writes some of the most entertaining non-fiction around), but it is wise to take some of his more outlandish claims with a grain or two of salt. He takes anecdotes to be almost evidence, especially in Outliers.

Ever since Igongate...

Besides, using a typewriter is really the only viable way for him to do this. If he used a computer he would have to deal with power, printers etc... If he handwrote it then there would be the issue of legibility, consistency and fatigue. A typewriter is a great for the purpose he used it for, it allows him to print his story as he writes it with no additional equipment.

You're either loved, hated, or ignored

I'm curious what you'd suggest as an alternative. To have strong, passionate, but neutral, feelings about people?

The alternative is to have less strong and passionate feelings. Like "Oh I wouldn't really do that but that's cool that he is." Why would one need to have such strong opinions about a random guy in a picture?

I think the point is that the hivemind/bandwagon/mob mentality pushes everything to an extreme, because the people with more neutral opinions aren't very motivated to post them.

How about strong passionate acceptance or tolerance? A resolute desire to give strangers the same consideration you hope to receive from people who don't know you.

In the little town where I did born, you're loved or hated. You can't be ignored in a little town.

I've noticed more and more about this, as I move across the world.

Cyber bullying kills kids. That's one thing to remember about all this. If he had been a shaky, insecure, frightened teen, this kind of treatment can push mild depression into thoughts of suicide. And many adults are also vulnerable to this kind of abuse. If you see this happening to anyone, please, step up and defend them.

Please get them away from the internet, defending them will do literally nothing. Bullying in schools is awful because children have absolutely no recourse. They can't get away, they are forced in day after day. They have no tools to mediate conflict.

Bullying on the internet is trivial, you arn't trapped, you arn't forced into these situations. You can hide if you want to. You don't have to reveal who you are. You can walk away. You can be anonymous. You should be anonymous anyway.

This article is about someone who suck his neck waaaay out, and got his head bashed in for it. Don't do that.

> This article is about someone who suck his neck waaaay out, and got his head bashed in for it. Don't do that.

No. No no no no no no no.

You're saying what happened to him was justified, or that it should be expected. This is wrong. Nobody should have to change their life to avoid being abused. Instead, we as human beings should stop the abuse. Here are some examples of your position put in other situations:

  Don't dress like a slut and you won't get raped.
  Don't be out and gay and you won't get gay-bashed.
  Don't look weird and people won't treat you like shit.
The article is about a man who sat on a bench with a typewriter. He didn't "stick his neck out". He did not invite people to abuse him, whatever you think. What you are doing is a textbook example of victim blaming. And i'm not angry with you; I just want you to know this position is exactly the mentality that perpetuates abuse. Try to blame less and be more supportive, because the only way we can stop abuse is to speak out against it and show we won't tolerate it.

Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

   Instead, we as human beings should stop the abuse. 
you can't be serious. Tell me, how do you intend to elevate the bottom 0.1% of humanity?

If you pretend like it doesn't exist, you will get burned. If you didn't know and you got burned, then you have my sympathies, but there is nothing that can be done.

What you are advocating is the continued abuse of victims because they should have known better. Your defense of this is that you can't do anything to prevent bullies or abusers. Here's why that's wrong.

1. 'there is nothing that can be done'

There's lots of things that can be done; they're just not things you care about, or things you want to help with. That doesn't mean things can't be done.

We can educate people on why bullies exist, how to identify them, and how to stop them. We can show in the real world the effect of bullying, and the effect of stopping it. They do this now in small programs for some schools, but it needs to be expanded.

We can also lead by example. As adults (well, some of us are adults anyway) we can show bullies and victimizers that what they do is not acceptable, and we can hold them accountable for their words and actions. Not only can we address them specifically, and treat each other with respect, 45 states have laws on cyber bullying. If common human decency doesn't work, we can report them to law enforcement.

2. 'the bottom 0.1% of humanity'

Bullying exists in all walks of life in different ways. And i'm not talking elevating, i'm talking educating, and protecting other people. There is nothing wrong with trying to protect vulnerable people.

Why would you advocate that people should be hurt? Whether they 'pretend it doesnt exist' or not, it's still wrong, and because there's something wrong going on, we need to work to make it right, not just throw up our hands and say "oh well thats what happens when youre a hipster" !!!

You might not be entirely aware of the scope of the problem. When I said the bottom 0.1%, I was being generous.

How much social education do you think it takes to make socipaths not sociopaths? I am asserting a fact. Most actual bullies are really just mildly, or even completely socipathic. and socipaths can not be cured.

Anti-social factors that manifest as socipaths have an incidence of about 1/100 in any given population. So of the several hundred people you saw on the street today? Maybe 2 of them would have no problem stabbing you in the back for a nickel. The population of my town suggests that approximately 2,300 residents are socipathic. My school likely had ~15 sociopathic kids. I've personally known 2. What kind of education regime did you have in mind?

and about the hipsters: For every innocent caught in the crossfire of ridicule, there's at least a thousand more narcissistic children who were just attention seekers. They posted online about how important they were, and were ridiculed for it. That process was necessary. People need humility. The Subject of this article emulated those children exactly. Whether he deserved it or not, that's what happened.

> Bullying on the internet is trivial, you arn't trapped, you arn't forced into these situations. You can hide if you want to.

Yeah, just stop going online, it's so simple! I know almost your entire social life is online, and the identities we create online are increasingly hard-linked to our real life identities, but all you have to do is exclude yourself from everything that you enjoy doing online and you'll be fine!

Now you know exactly why hard-linking your life online is such a horrifying thing to do. You expose yourself to humanity. Bottom 0.1% included.

There's lots to do online that doesn't require a hard link to real life, and everything that does require a hard link should be looked at with the most rigorous of scrutiny and suspicion.

tell that to a 14 year old when all her friends are on example.com, the hip new place that just needs your real name to log in.

I never really understood why people needed identities on the Internet.

I never had one, I mean I didn't have too many friends and wasn't very popular. I cannot say for sure how cyber-bullying affects people, well because maybe I just missed the era where elementary/highschool kids really engaged on the net.

I think I have spent more time on the Internet that anyone in a square mile, maybe more. But I opened a facebook account and I don't even have a profile picture. I never really found it interesting, because people are super boring.


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