A generation of industrious professionals

Hipster parents will be paradoxically proud of the mainstream little overachievers they raised

Is Eminem Elvis’s heir?
  • Is Eminem Elvis’s heir?

Dear Hipster:

At this point, I think it’s safe to assume a significant number of hipsters, particularly those pioneers who were already rejecting the mainstream and proudly displaying their fingerstaches as early as the middle 2000s, have met their hipster soulmates and produced precocious hipster offspring with names like Wanderlust and Octavian (for a girl, of course) who will no doubt grow up drinking oatmilk, munching gluten free cereal, and wearing the most adorable little skinny jeans. I wonder how these hipster babies will grow up. When you look at, for example, the Baby Boomers, you see how many of them rebelled against the squareness of their Greatest Generation parents by turning into hippies and Hells Angels. There’s at least some irony there as those square Greatest Generation types probably took such a shine to the American Dream because it was such a departure from the freewheeling chaos they were born into during the Twenties and Thirties. Anyways, if history and common experience serve as a meaningful guide, children rebel. How will the children of today’s hipsters accomplish this time-honored tradition?

— The Formerly Rebellious Child (Now Mellowed By Age and Perspective) of a “Square” Parent

Back in 2002, Eminem rapped about “little hellions, kids feeling rebellious — embarrassed their parents still listen to Elvis.” Plenty of those little hellions rebelled against their parents (and the carefree ignorance of the pre-9/11 world) and grew up into today’s hipsters. If your model accurately predicts the future, the children of hipsters will grow up deeply resentful of the world they inherited from their parents because, irrespective of whether it’s a good world or bad world, it’s a world they had no hand in building. I have only vague memories of my own formative years as a rebellious little hellion, but I remember clearly the burning need to forge my own way in the world, or at least make a go of it, rather than let anyone, let alone parents, dictate the contours of my life. If “the youth” has a unifying characteristic, that’d be it.

However, what that prediction entails is much harder to ascertain. Will the children of today’s hipsters become a generation of industrious professionals who condescend their parents’ decisions to become bartenders, alternative crochet instructors, and urban kombucha farmers instead of doctors, lawyers, and business types? Will they blaze new trails through the impenetrable forests of as-yet-undiscovered technologies, industries, and environments? Will they have no time for obscure music and even more obscure hobbies?

They almost certainly will, and their hipster parents will be paradoxically proud of the mainstream little overachievers they raised.

Yet, I also believe the children of hipsters will find themselves repeating history, so to speak, in ways they never expected. No matter how mainstream they trend, the children of today’s hipsters will always harbor a soft spot for artistic underdogs, and they will always find themselves inexorably drawn towards the cultural fringe. One day, a child born in 2015 will hear himself say, “I used to be so into anti-gravity laser whittling [or whatever people do for fun in the future] but since everybody on the moon started doing it, I feel like the scene is so played out,” and, as he catches a glimpse of himself in a nearby mirrored surface [because everything is chrome in the future] wearing his vintage, ironic Keeping Up With the Kardashians t-shirt, he will think, Oh crap, I sound like my dad.

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