Ah, the Hipster. A loosely-defined term whose constituents are rarely, if ever agreed upon.
However, it is usually agreed that Oberlin has many of them. Very few of them, however, will actually admit it, and definitions vary wildly. Someone who barely qualifies as a hipster after a semester at Oberlin may be surprised when returning home and finding that their vegetarianism and propensity for leggings has earned them this label from their high school friends. Meanwhile, just listening to Pavement and reading Dave Eggers won't quite cut it here at Oberlin, I'm afraid. You've got to dedicate yourself to the cause if you really want to be up there with the hipsterist of hip. The hipster elite are a proud few here, and the proudest are rarely, if ever, seen, and are rumoured to spend most of their time making art and shooting up in a Victorian house somewhere on the east side of town. Even they won't admit their own hipsterdom, but everyone can tell.
For a true 101 on what hipsters actually are, it's best to peruse the highly-satirical "Hipster Handbook," or watch a couple episodes of "The 'Burg" , a Friends-style sitcom about hipsters in Williamsburg (The hipster capital of America, if you didn't know).
There are some claims that the Grape is Oberlin's "hipster" paper, but nobody can figure out what exactly that would mean. Hipsters always have better taste in music than you do, and their clothes are somehow more cool, and possibly dirtier than yours. Plus their glasses are either little rectangles, or huge aviators. When they graduate, they all move to Williamsburg to become artists, at least until their trust-funds run out, at which point they succumb to the Man and get a job on Wall Street. Most people would rather not be a hipster, and so many near-hipsters or hipster-wannabes or even full-out hipsters spend a fair amount of energy saying how silly hipsters are and how they are not a hipster. Very few people are willing to admit to being a hipster.
The aforementioned Hipster Handbook, published by Free Williamsburg, explains, among other things, how to tell apart hipsters and non-hipsters. Oberlin students in general fit many of the criteria for hipsterdom including attendance at a liberal arts school with a losing streak football team and being around few Republicans. The Hipster Handbook gave Oberlin an A rating as an "Ivy League For Hipsters"--surpassed only by Evergreen State College, which was given an A+.
From the Handbook:
"This small college in Ohio has a student body that is 94.6 percent Hipster (provided you exclude the conservatory). The English, religion, and creative writing departments are equally strong, attracting hipsters in droves. Students enjoy lively dancing on campus at the 'Sco, which is strangely reminiscent of a high school dance filled with catty conversation and no-smoking signs. After graduating, relocating to Manhattan to pursue a career in the arts or with a nonprofit is an unwritten requirement."
Even the Hipster elite of Oberlin tend to be a bit more humanizing than the hipsters of other colleges. If you're a prospective student looking for Hipster heaven, you might want to try out Bard College, where the drugs are more rampant, the students shallower, and the art more pretentious. Oberlin students are sometimes described as "part hippie, part hipster."
Stereotypes relating to Hipsters
Studio Art is the hipster major, that or Creative Writing, or Cinema Studies. Art History would be a hipster major, but it's a bit too difficult. GAWS is sometimes a hipster major, but it attracts a bit too many nerds. The same thing goes with Classics. The ideal hipster major has plenty of room for bullshit and pretension, with a hint of either creativity or social activism (pick one), yet is not too difficult, since a hard major means more study time which means less time spent getting seen and shopping at Salvation Army and American Apparel. This means NEVER a science major.
John Harwood is the hipster professor, known for being a wry elocutor capable of discussing postmodern architecture and name-dropping Wu-Tang Clan in the same dry sentence without batting an eye. And, he teaches a class solely on the chair. Damn.
Visiting professor Brett Kashmere also qualifies as a hipster.
PBR or Black Label are the hipster beers, at least here in the midwest, though it varies regionally. In Brooklyn, for instance, Coors Light is also acceptable, though its republican connections make some hipster Obies wary.
For Forties, Mickeys or O.E. are standard.
Irony and kitsch are the two defining factors that initiate any hipster trend.
Recently the square, Buddy Holly frames have been usurped by the antifashion old people frames (which look like non-sunglass aviators) as the hipster spectacle of choice.
The Truth About Hipsters in Oberlin
People at oberlin just dress sort of hipster. There is a particular clique that are the actual "hipsters" but most of them have graduated. Anyway, even those folks seem pretty nice.
Opinions on hipsters
I hate hipsters. --126.96.36.199, 2 May 2008