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What is a hipster? Here is a visual guide to help conservatives who are clearly confused.

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:48 EDT

Like they do with all trends a few years after they die out, conservatives have discovered hipster-bashing. But as, as epitomized by things like Christian rock and that embarrassing attempt to rip off The Daily Show, the right’s attempts to embrace certain trends always feel “off” because they can’t quite ever figure out how to pull it off. Today at Alternet, I have a piece about Charles Cooke’s jealous sniping about liberal nerds like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Rachel Maddow, who he levels the—no joke—”fake geek girl” accusation at, because acknowledging that they’re actually pretty nerdy people would undermine his claim that they’re cool kid overlords oppressing Real Americans©. It’s a strange piece that tries to imply that conservatives are the Only True Nerds, which yeah. Anyway, my Alternet piece is an analysis on why this shiny new version of the usual coastal “elite”-bashing is a political con job being pulled on the audience.

But I have a little more to say about Cooke’s transparent attempts to try to redefine nerdy pundits and scientists as “hipsters” so that his portrayal of them as sneering elitist overlords makes a smooch more sense than trying to convince his dim-witted audience that nerds are out to get them.  Believe me, to make it work, he strains the word “hipster” well past the breaking point until it shatters into a thousand pieces. As someone who has Known Hipster Tendencies and who, despite what any snarky tweets from Cooke to the contrary might say, does not actually hold herself out as a nerd(because, you know, I don’t actually think you need to be a nerd to be smart), I am troubled by Cooke’s attempt to baffle his audience with bullshit. So, as a public service, I thought I’d put together a visual essay to help confused conservatives tell the difference between the nerdy pundits that Cooke swears are hipsters and actual, you know, hipsters. All these pundits and scientists and journalists and whatnot mentioned here stand accused of being hipsters by Cooke.

Here is Neil deGrasse Tyson, accused of being a hipster. Please pay special attention to the fact that he’s wearing the corniest vest I think I’ve ever seen:


Here is David Macklovitch of Chromeo, who is an actual hipster:


Here is Rachel Maddow, accused hipster:

2009 Winter TCA Tour - Day 9



Here is Kickball Katy from La Sera, actual hipster:

kickball katy


Here is Paul Krugman, accused hipster:

Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman smiles during the World Business Forum in New York


Here is Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio and actual hipster:



Here is Richard Dawkins, accused hipster:



Here is Joey Ramone, an OG of actual hipsters, with a cat:


Here is Melissa Harris-Perry, accused hipster:


Here is Solange Knowles, sister of Beyoncé, and actual hipster:



Granted, Cooke was claiming that the people he accused of being hipsters are merely secret hipsters, and their nerdy demeanors are merely nerd drag. And it is true, nerds and hipsters do have some sartorial habits in common, like eyeglasses. (Which are actually something you need to see, but you know.) But the truth of the matter is that there are strong, noticeable aesthetic differences, differences that cannot actually be faked as easily as Cooke would have his audience believe. After you see these pictures, can you really think Rachel Maddow is secretly more comfortable dressing like Debbie Harry?


No, that is dumb. Being a hipster is a fine thing to be and being a nerd is a fine thing to be. This isn’t a contest. But I think we can safely say the best explanation for all these celebrity nerds out there is that they just are who they say they are, old-fashioned nerds whose talents have brought success.

Bob Beckel spews the word “slut”, accidentally makes the subtext text at Fox News

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 9:56 EDT

I think Bob Beckel is supposed to be the “liberal” on The Five on Fox News, though their idea of “liberal” on that channel seems to be “someone who thinks perhaps, in some cases, bosses shouldn’t be allowed to hold your children hostage in order to compel you to work late without pay”. Not that it matters much one way or another, but just a little context for this moment that Media Matters captured: They’re…


Richard Dawkins explains a principle he himself refuses to adhere to

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:36 EDT

‘Splaining. Richard Dawkins got some accolades from the atheist-bloggers-who-don’t-hate-women circles for issuing a joint statement with Ophelia Benson denouncing harassment and abuse in the atheist movement. Disagreement is inevitable, but bullying and harassment are not. If we want secularism and atheism to gain respect, we have to be able to…


Instead of asking, “Did she say no?”, we should start asking, “Did she want to have sex?”

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, July 28, 2014 13:28 EDT

This item is a little old, but I wanted to flag it because it really gets to the heart of the debate about what sexual consent is. Feminists are increasingly clamoring for an affirmative consent standard, where someone has to indicate, through language or body language, an actual desire to…


The “we like sex” argument is a winning one, so why are so many people afraid to use it?

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, July 25, 2014 14:52 EDT

You only get medical care if you stand very still and never do anything beyond the bare minimum to survive, said no doctor ever. This is hardly a new thought, but fuck it, it’s Friday and for some reason people are harassing me again on Twitter for wanting to be…


Hey, gun nuts: Shooting someone who is running away in the back is not self-defense

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:16 EDT

Another brave American, who is totally brave because guns make you big and brave and manly through osmosis, has taken another life: Greer said that he was tackled and thrown to the ground but managed to get his .22-caliber revolver and confronted them as they ransacked a safe containing cash.…


“Open carry” activists have a lovely time celebrating guns at the site a Democratic President was murdered by one

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 16:07 EDT

From the Dallas Observer and Talking Points Memo it appears that some of the “open carry” extremists are little worried we don’t get the implication when they scream about how the Democratic President is illegitimate and all their lip-flapping about how they need guns for some fantasized-about revolution. So, just in…


Ladies who don’t use contraception have had it with you 99% that do, you dirty girls.

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 8:00 EDT

What if I told you some women actually wanted to have sex for non-baby reasons? As a reminder during our fancy new era of Christian fundamentalists trying to make contraception controversial: “More than 99% of women aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive…


California needs to ban lawn-watering

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, July 21, 2014 11:38 EDT

The California drought is highlighting a number of serious problems that our country has let fester for decades, including global warming and casual disregard for the limits of our resources. This story in particular just really demonstrates how this kind of catastrophe was inevitable, a product of a culture that…


Moments in old man crabbiness taken to absurd levels

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, July 18, 2014 10:16 EDT

Damn bspencer at LGM for drawing my attention to this long form “kids these days” rant about modern art. John C. Wright is mad at the lefty kids these days because their P.C. bullshit means art cannot be beautiful anymore blah blah blah. You’ve probably heard it before, but one…