Friday, June 14, 2013

Dads Are the Original Hipsters

Dads Are the Original Hipsters
Brad Getty

You may have read Christy Wampole’s viral NYT article arguing that the irony-drenched nature of hipster culture gives its members a way of dodging the difficult question of how to live an authentic life. Wampole makes a lot of good points. But hipsterism is cool. Those perky wee fedoras, those coke-bottle glasses and massive frames, those ‘staches like unkempt caterpillars dozing in the shade of the hipster’s nose! So defiantly out of style they define style. But can a person be a hipster without being a symbol of postmodern malaise? Sure—there were tons of people who were hipsters sans irony. They’re called dads, and Brad Getty’s hilarious and oddly moving book is the definitive tribute and field guide to them.

It’s been said (by someone with a particularly cruel take on humour) that laughter is always laughter at someone. And that’s true in Getty's book, but the butt of the joke here is you, the contemporary cool dude who prowls the thrift shops searching for the trappings of individualism, only to become a pale shade of what your dad didn’t even have to try to be. With glorious original Polaroid photos and razor-wire sharp wit, Getty shows how in their day dads dripped attitude like trees drop leaves or cats shed fur—without even thinking about it.

Getty explores the original hipsters in all their glory, from beards to tube socks to BBQs to being apathetic, and, to add to the pleasure, he puts them side-by-side with their contemporary incarnations. Like bow ties? “Your dad kept it crisp in bowties before you did and can still tie a knot so fresh that it would choke the pot smoke out of your throat to prove it.”  Into skateboarding? “Next time you’re rolling down the bike lane of some hipster neighborhood in SF, Portland, or New York, remember this…Your dad was so awesome the things he did for fun were made illegal in public places.”

The photos in Getty’s book will make you intensely nostalgic, and the prose will provoke howls of laughter. So for Father’s Day this year, give your dad the ultimate gift. Give him the last laugh.

- Bruce

ps For more nostalgia, check out Getty's Dads Are the Original Hipsters site--it's great! But you don't want to give your dad a URL for Father's Day, do you?

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