Rules and Values for Hipsters to Live By

In my side job as a wildly successful media-mogul (something you aren’t, if you’re a hipster) I’ve brushed up against this idea of hipsterness with my Happy Rant Podcast co-hosts Barnabas Piper (not a hipster) and Ronnie Martin (an aging self-identifying hipster). In true neo-Reformed fashion we decided that this topic needed boundaries and I want to try to provide those boundaries.

Below are several helpful rules for hipsters which we didn’t try that hard at (which – not trying hard – is itself a core value of hipsterness). Enjoy (or don’t, we don’t care because not caring is another core value).

1. Never try hard. Because trying hard smacks of earnestness which isn’t at all hipster.

2. Try incredibly hard to look like you’re not trying. This hair doesn’t dishevel itself. But then take/post hundreds of photos of yourself not trying.

3. Take something simple, like brewing tea, and complicate it so that it takes several hours and can then be called a “hobby.” (see also: making a pot of coffee, getting dressed)

4. Defend your hobbies like moral absolutes. Because TeaVana YouthBerry tea is ESSENTIAL to life.

5. Overpay for gross things like kale and quinoa and then defend your use of those things, again, as though life depends on it.

6. Take something simple and classic like ice cream and needlessly complicate/ruin it by adding flavors like bourbon and cayenne pepper. Then charge triple for it and serve it on a plate that used to be part of a barn door or a piece of sheet metal. (see also: hamburgers)

7. Do everything as though you lived in an era before iPhones so that you can post hundreds of pictures of whatever it is you’re doing, from your iPhone.

8. Judge the establishment while taking full advantage of its benefits.

9. Have whole stores dedicated to specialty items that could/should be gotten elsewhere.

10. Fight for causes while having absolutely no idea of their implications.

11. Only obscure bands. If you’ve heard of it, it sucks.

12. Hand craft everything, even if it takes forever.

13. Steal ironic fashion, but only from mockworthy decades. (see: wolf shirts, mom jeans, etc.)

14. Farm. But not in the traditional way. (see 13)

15. Live in the city and be disdainful of people who don’t.

16. Live, church plant, and shop in dilapidated spaces.

17. Dress like a poor man, drink like a rich man (specialty coffees, microbrews, bourbon, etc.).

18. Vehemently reject the term “hipster” while insisting that you just like having a long beard and wearing a flannel shirt even though it’s 93 degrees out.

A collaborative effort of Ted Kluck, Barnabas Piper and Ronnie Martin – the hosts of The Happy Rant podcast

Ted Kluck

Ted Kluck is the author of many books, on topics ranging from Mike Tyson to the Emergent Church. Both "Why We're Not Emergen"t and "Why We Love the Church" (with Kevin DeYoung) won Christianity Today Book of the Year awards, and "Paper Tiger: One Athlete's Journey to the Underbelly of Pro Football" won a Michigan Notable Book award in 2008. His work has also appeared in ESPN the Magazine and Christianity Today. Ted has played professional indoor football, coached high school football, trained as a professional wrestler, served as a missionary, and taught writing courses at the college level. He lives in Grand Ledge, MI with his wife Kristin and sons Tristan and Maxim.