How to be a snob without being a hipster

One of the great challenges of the 21st Century

Deconstructed coffee. From Jamila Rizvi's Facebook.

Dear Hipster:

Thanks to my FB newsfeed, I got to read all about the Australian deconstructed coffee scandal. I included links for you. I think I might be a little stupider now (thanks, Obama), but I felt it was interesting that the manager of the café serving deconstructed coffee said the coffee was “for snobs, not hipsters.” Now, I wonder, can you be a coffee snob, or any other kind of snob about some particularly hipster thing, without actually being a hipster?

— Andy

Of course. It’s not easy being hipster. Displaying an affinity for one or two aspects of hipster culture shouldn’t be sufficient to claim membership in hipster society. It’s not as if one magically transforms into a hipster the minute one orders a coffee served separately as its constituent elements (water, espresso, steamed milk) in ironic, science-y beakers. And, yes, that is exactly what happened in Australia, for those of you wondering at home.

Still, deciding who is and isn’t hipster remains one of the great unanswered challenges of the 21st Century, and it’s muddied by the fact that things like snobby coffee, Instagramming your food, and specific fashion choices are inextricably linked with the gestalt, if you will, of hipsterness. Can I say for certain that somebody enjoying a deconstructed coffee is not a hipster? Probably not. That particular piece of evidence would surely tip the scales toward “hipster.” Yet, by the same token, I couldn’t say that somebody making Folger’s in his Mr. Coffee is 100% not a hipster, either, no matter how unhip his behavior.

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