Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Origins of Hippie and Hipster

 Alternative theories trace the word "Hip"'s origins to those who used opium recreationally. Because opium smokers commonly consumed the drug lying on their sides, or on the hip, the term became a coded reference to the practice] and because opium smoking was a practice of socially influential trend-setting individuals, the cachet it enjoyed led to the circulation of the term.
Note: Hippie derives from this and so does Hipster. In fact Hipster was a "dope"smoker in beatnik lexicon originally only to be generalized later.

Hipster or hepcat, as used in the 1940s, referred to aficionados of jazz, in particular bebop, which became popular in the early 1940s. The hipster adopted the lifestyle of the jazz musician, including some or all of the following: dress, slang, use of cannabis and other drugs, relaxed attitude, sarcastic humor, self-imposed poverty and relaxed sexual codes.


Marty Jezer, in The Dark Ages: Life in the United States 1945–1960 (1999), provides another definition:

The hipster world that Kerouac and Ginsberg drifted in and out of from the mid-1940s to the early-1950s was an amorphous movement without ideology, more a pose than an attitude; a way of "being" without attempting to explain why. Hipsters themselves were not about to supply explanations. Their language, limited as it was, was sufficiently obscure to defy translation into everyday speech. Their rejection of the commonplace was so complete that they could barely acknowledge reality. The measure of their withdrawal was their distrust of language. A word like cool could mean any of a number of contradictory things—its definition came not from the meaning of the word but from the emotion behind it and the accompanying non-verbal facial or body expressions. When hipsters did put together a coherent sentence, it was always prefaced with the wordlike as if to state at the onset that what would follow was probably an illusion. There was neither a future nor a past, only a present that existed on the existential wings of sound. A Charlie Parker bebop solo—that was the truth.
The hipster's world view was not divided between "free world" and "Communist bloc", and this too set it apart from the then-current orthodoxy. Hipster dualism, instead, transcended geopolitical lines in favor of levels of consciousness. The division was hip and square. Squares sought security and conned themselves into political acquiescence. Hipsters, hip to the bomb, sought the meaning of life and, expecting death, demanded it now. In the wigged-out, flipped-out, zonked-out hipster world, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Truman, McCarthy and Eisenhower shared one thing in common: they were squares ... . [T]he hipster signified the coming together of the bohemian, the juvenile delinquent, and the negro.
 The new philosophy of racial role reversal was transcribed by many popular hipster authors of the time. Norman Mailer's 1957 pamphlet, entitled "The White Negro", has become the paradigmatic example of hipster ideology. Mailer describes hipsters as individuals "with a middle-class background (who) attempt to put down their whiteness and adopt what they believe is the carefree, spontaneous, cool lifestyle of Negro hipsters: their manner of speaking and language, their use of milder narcotics, their appreciation of jazz and the blues, and their supposed concern with the good orgasm."in a nod to Mailer's discussion of hipsterism, the United States'Cold War deployments of African American culture and personalities for the purposes of public diplomacy has been discussed as "hipster diplomacy".

Sexual rolesEdit

Some scholars, such as Eric Lott, describe this new philosophy as based on "the twentieth century reinvention of ... homosocial and homosexual fascinations."
A complex pattern of sexual relations emerged among the men—which, in a rather self-consciously literary fashion, they sometimes regarded as resembling the affair of Rimbaud and Verlaine. Like Rimbaud, they endorsed "the systematic derangement of the senses"—through intoxicants, meditation, and other forms of intense experience ("kicks")—as a means to reach states of expanded awareness.

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