This month the New York Times ran “Montauk’s Hipster Fatigue,” an article claiming that a simple sign popping up around the sleepy beach town represents country-wide resistance to hipster subculture. The sign: a fedora with a red slash through it, above the words “Save Montauk.” The article has faced some backlash from the blogosphere, which is not quite ready to declare Montauk the new Williamsburg—Gothamist published a slideshow of “regular, non-hipsters” in Montauk, sporting soul patches and doing keg-stands. But putting aside the Times’s claim that Montauk has been overrun by fedora-wearing parasites, the article, more persuasively, speaks to the importance of image within the hipster zeitgeist. The hipster, so often bashed as a “poser,” has long-been criticized for mismatching image with substance. Here, they are easily and recognizably reduced to a single, even outdated image—the fedora. And perhaps even more pertinent is what this image symbolizes to the population of “regular, non-hipsters.” According to the Times:
In these parts, the image of the hipster is also a stand-in for a more deeply seated suspicion that the whole look provides cover for a more privileged crowd that is intent upon importing to your neighborhood higher real estate, food and drink prices — and a new attitude that says, “I’m richer than you, I’m hipper than you and, gosh darn it, some things are going to change around here."
This fear of hipster attitude, and all that comes with it, is “more pronounced” in Montauk, the Times argues, which is historically unostentatious despite its Hamptons location. And it’s an attitude that is communicated visually, by the superficial, image-based article of clothing the sign pinpoints:
It’s not just a hat, it’s the attitude that goes with it,” said Rob Devlin, the owner of the West Lake Clam and Chowder House, a Montauk fixture that has remained overwhelmingly popular in the face of all the new establishments. “The attitude is, ‘Hey, I’m So-and-So.’"
Read the full article here, and share your thoughts in the comments section below.