If there’s one thing hipsters are known better for than their sustainably grown food, Goodwill clothing and religious devotion to the “independent” business, it’s for asserting their superiority for being known for that. Yes, look deep within the soul of any hipster and you will find a little man looking down at you from behind ironic eyewear, asking whether you looked at your own soul as much as theirs. How do you tap into that well of seemingly effortless disdain and pretentiousness when criticized?
It’s not as hard as it seems. When you, the aspiring hipster, is forced to interact with the mainstream and is being questioned/criticized, it is relatively easy, no matter what the charge, to respond with raised eyebrow: “Well I would be like you too, except I’m not a slave to blind consumerism and arbitrary cultural expectations.” Adding a snort or disdainful cough can also help you here.
The trick with this sort of thing is completely blocking the insult and reflecting it back, no matter whether or not the “shield” you used to do so is valid. Showing any signs of flustering or anger will result in their victory; a face of amusement, much as if you were watching a caveman discover a toaster, will generally make them feel woefully inadequate when compared to your “cosmopolitan” and “dynamic” nature. You must vehemently believe, or at least pretend to believe, that you are right, and all the gods of heaven couldn’t shake you from your position.
Of course, such an aloof attitude is bound to garner a retort, which often snowballs into a full-blown assault on your lifestyle. In this instance, quote the following Buddhist parable.
One day, as Buddha was surrounded by his followers, an angry man came up to him and began insulting him, condemning his teachings and his character. While the attack wore on, Buddha just sat with a little smile on his lips. Frustrated, the man walked away.
His followers came up to Buddha, asking: “Should not you have done something? He insulted you greatly.” To which Buddha replied: “If someone offers you a gift, and you refuse to accept it, who has the gift?”
Confused, they replied: “The giver of course.”
“Now you know why I did not respond.”
Not only does the story directly suppose you are like Buddha, infinitely wiser than your criticizer, it also does a wonderful job outlining how aware and explorative you are by embracing Eastern religious/philosophical ideas.
Now keep in mind, you hipster you, to supplement your diet of locally grown produce and organic Javan blends, with situations in which to be pretentious. The ability to turn other’s judgement of you back at them is the fuel to support your expanding hipsterness, allowing you to expand farther from the mainstream and get more criticism, which makes more pretentiousness, which gets you even farther from the mainstream. It’s a self feeding cycle. If such situations are hard to come by naturally, try creating them by going around saying, “So how’s your carbon footprint these days?” or asking loaded questions like, “How much money did you give to save the Amazon this year?”
Where the criticism gets hard to handle, however, is when you are questioned by other hipsters. Coming from a similar perspective, such subculturally-unique guilt trips will have no effect, and they will already have memorized the Buddhist parable. This leaves our only defense a vigorous self-affirmation, sprinkled with some patronizing laughter and, “I remember when I thought that,” implying your progress down the hipster road is much farther than his.
The only thing that could make this article better (besides improved writing, free puppies, and overall quality) is you. Try out these tactics on your friends and family*, and comment back with your stories. Hell, comment anything. Want to pretentiously (hey, that’s what this article’s about!) judge me for doing this “mainstream blogging thing?” The floor’s yours.
*Ironic Poncho is not responsible for the loss of friendships and/or being disowned by one’s family through an employment of the content of this post.