Dear Hipster: What’s the deal with adding exclamation marks to everything?! Emails! Texts! They’re everywhere! It’s like everybody is just super excited all the time! When did we start overpunctuating?! — Just an Excitable Boy
Appending a bang (if I may emulate printer’s cant) to the end of every sentence, no matter how unexciting the subject matter, is the 21st-century equivalent of ’90s kids endlessly punctuating their sentences with the word “like.” On the one hand, it undeniably signals the downfall of all that we hold dear in speech, diction, and grammar. On the other hand, it won’t seem like a very big deal in a few short years — when was the last time you heard anyone complaining about using “like” too much?
I would add that the OMG EVERYTHING!!!!!!! phenomenon is just one symptom of a culture of hyperbole that has been working out its teenage issues for a few years now. For better or for worse, we live in a world where a four-star Uber rating will get you fired in some markets. Just think about that: you are either the best or you are looking for a new job, chump. The subtle distinctions of a five-star rating system no longer apply, because one, two, three, and four all mean “no.”
In this and many other things, we no longer think or speak in terms of a middle ground. Things are either great or terrible in popular consciousness,, which, when you get right down to it, makes a meaningful assessment of anything borderline impossible.
Against this all-or-nothing backdrop, hipster disenchantment makes a kind of intuitive sense. Jaded hipsters cast off the yoke of endless, breathless superlatives by flat-out refusing to participate in black-and-white assessment. The uniquely gray, “Meh, I’m over it,” is a direct rejection of the contemporary trend to sort things into BEST and WORST piles.