|DIY shirt inspired by this|
I used the word “disdain” with a smile. I don’t hate anyone (except for the nation of Amalek), but I really don’t like hipsters. They have always rubbed me the wrong way. No, this isn’t a rant. Just take a breath and give your eyes another 1.5 minutes to read this post.
The main reason I disdain hipsters is, ironically, because I was a hipster before there were even hipsters, yet I (and my contemporaries) don’t get any credit. My issue with hipsters is that they are coasting down a road that was paved by the punks and alternative-types in the 80s, yet they think being so anti-establishment is completely their chiddush. It’s smacks of coolkeit (a termed coined by The Rebbetzin’s Husband in this post). It’s a lack of hakoras hatov, on their part. There are always people in every culture and subculture that go against the grain and do their own thing. There’s the guy that loves to quote lines from obscure movies, the girl that can throw out a song lyric that seem apropos in any given situation, and the dude who is learning a sefer that most people have never heard of. Now some people do this because they want to be noticed, while others are just into doing “their own thing”. Then there is are the hipsters, who have skillfully jumped on every bandwagon, yet pretentiously figured out a way to do it while seeming to be original.
I see those hipsters sitting in front of their MacBooks or brainstorming about social networking and it strikes a cord. They remind me that I still can get anchored to accomplishments of the past. I see them and it takes me back to high school and my freshman year at college, when I was more idealistic and hung out with same-minded people who helped fuel my creativity. When late nights out with friends revolved around coffee, watching people get drunk, and pseudo-philosophical discussions about Albert Camus, Ayn Rand, Jack Keroauc, and why bands should not sign with major labels. Hipsters, by their nature, gravitate toward the past and seeing them totally blinds me from being grateful for my own present and envisioning the many simchos in my own future. I’m not anti-the past, but if you keep looking back, then you can never look forward (as told to me by my brother-in-law many years ago). Eventually the hipsters will get older and a newer breed will take their retro-throne.
It’s a well know teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that when we see deficiencies in others, it’s really a reflection of the deficiencies in ourselves. With this in mind, I find myself wondering why do I actually care? Why do I feel that I (and those who are in their late thirties and early forties) need recognition for doing something before someone else did it? That’s the heart of the matter. It’s guyvah, arrogance, and pure ego to think, “Hey, I did that first.” I am guilty of it more often than I’d like to admit. I don’t try to be the first person to eat a new restaurant (I’ll wait two weeks until the buzz dies down) or attempt to be the first of my friends to get the newest iPhone, just to say, “I got it first.” However, I do find that I’ll read something and share it with someone and then get upset when that person shares the same thing without giving me the credit. It’s a lacking on my part, I know.
Of course, my own frumkeit says that it’s because I remember that the 48th way to acquire the Torah is to say something in the name of the person who said it. As the 6th mishna in the 6th chapter of Pirkei Avos concludes: “One who says something in the name of its speaker brings redemption to the world, as is stated (Esther 2:22), “And Esther told the king in the name of Mordechai.” As I wrote, it’s ego. If I had stronger Emuna and Bitachon, then I’d be more secure in not needing recognition from others. I think that’s the point. It’s not that Morechai had a desire to be quoted by Esther. It’s Esther (it’s always the woman) who knew it was derech eretz to tell Achashverosh. Bringing the geulah means being mevatar your ego.