Decolonize Hipsters by Grégory Pierrot

About the Book

Hipsters are notoriously difficult to define, and yet, we know one when we see one. No wonder: they were among the global cultural phenomena that ushered in the 21 st century, rising in the late 1990s to melt into the zeitgeist throughout the 2000s. They have become a bulwark of mainstream culture, cultural commodity, status, butt of all jokes and ready-made meme. Hipsters purport to surf the waves of cultural innovation, embodying in style and
demeanor the kind of ironic scorn for the mainstream that has long provided the mainstream itself with its next big thing. For all accounts and purposes, the irony of their ironic detachment they are essentially defined by their looks and the cloud of meaning attached to them–however gratuitously; cool vanguard of gentrification, capitalism with a conscience,
hipsters are all looks and these looks are a visual timeline: 19th century facial hair, 1930s hairdo, 1950s duds, 1960s politics, 1970s addictions, 1980s music, 1990s tattoos, 2000s jobs and 2010s tech. Underlining this timeline is a history of American popular culture’s rooting in a love/hate/theft relationship with Black culture. Yet the pattern of recycling has reached a
chilling point: the 21 st century hipster made all possible past fads into new trends, including and especially the old uncool. There was but a small step from ironically looking back to exclusively white things to embracing white supremacy: entire regiments in the armies of latter-day hipsters took that step gleefully, adopting the MAGA hat like the latest trucker hat. This book offers a depiction and genealogy of the hipster as a symptom and vanguard of a wave of aggressive white supremacist sentiment now oozing from all over the country.

  • Grégory Pierrot

    is an associate professor of English at the University of Connecticut at Stamford. His works focuses on the international cultural politics of blackness. He is the author of The Black Avenger in Atlantic Culture (Georgia UP, 2019), translator of Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli’s Free Jazz/Black Power (Mississippi UP, 2015) and co-editor with Paul Youngquist of Marcus Rainsford’s An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti (Duke UP 2012). He is also co-editor with Marlene L. Daut and Marion Rohrleitner of the forthcoming Anthology of Haitian Revolutionary Fictions (UVA Press, 2020).