Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

My complete guide to being a modern hipster

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I can tell by the super-cool way you are reading today's column that you are wondering how to become a modern hipster, just like me.

I began ruminating on increasing the general public's hipness quotient yesterday morning when I glanced in my email inbox and found a news release from a public relations firm entitled Why It's Cool to be Cool Again.

The promotional bumf contained groundbreaking observations on modern hipness from an American guy named Eli Just, who is described as a "former physics teacher, musician and author of two serial novels."

"If you have oversized, plastic-framed glasses, are obsessed with computers and ride a 10-speed bicycle everywhere, you're no longer a nerd, you're today's hipster," was the first of Just's helpful hipster insights.

The news release didn't mention it, but we assume you would also get bonus hipness points if you were a member of your high school's audio-visual club and spent a great deal of time having your head dunked in the toilet by older kids who smoked and had really scary haircuts.

Just's central observation was that modern male hipsters have begun seeking "a more traditional flavour of cool" by taking part in decidedly old-school trends, such as:

1) Drinking whisky, which is becoming alarmingly expensive because so many (bad word) hipsters are doing it;

2) Hungering for rugged individuality, which basically translates into watching reality-TV shows where people other than yourself engage in highly dangerous activities, such as being Alaskan crab fishermen, which increases their level of hipness right up until the point where they die a horrible death on air;

3) Embracing your maleness by growing facial hair, which is something I personally have been doing for years on the assumption I was too lazy to shave, but, as it turns out, I was just way ahead of the hipness curve.

Anyway, if you are serious about becoming a modern hipster, you are going to have to try something my wife and I tried the other day for the very first time; I should stress this is probably not what you think it was, but thanks for seeing an overweight newspaper columnist in such a frisky sort of light.

The thing my wife and I did was engage in the latest pop-culture trend, namely "binge-watching," which is something people do if they have a desperate desire to be hip but lack the energy to physically get off their couch.

Back in the days before people knew how to be hip -- and you kids are really going to get a kick out of this -- watching TV involved sitting down and viewing a single show, then talking about that program with your buddies at work or school the next day. You had to wait an entire week to watch the next episode.

In contrast, today's modern hipsters binge-watch, wherein instead of viewing one episode of a series, they watch -- I am going to activate the caps-lock feature of my keyboard to emphasize this next point -- EVERY EPISODE of a series in one sitting, which leaves them far too exhausted to go to work or school the next day.

To become a binge-watching hipster, you need to purchase an online service called Netflix, which is something I am not going to bother explaining to you now because that would only underscore how unhip you actually are.

The point is, the other day my wife and I remained motionless on our couch and binge-watched the final season, six consecutive hour-long episodes, of The Killing, which is a crime drama about people in Seattle killing each other because they drink too much coffee and are depressed about how much it rains in that city.

If you would-be hipsters want to binge-watch an entire series on Netflix, however, it is important that you first learn how to use Netflix. My wife and I did this in the hippest way possible -- we asked our daughter.

"How do we make Netflix work?" is the question we texted her.

"You are so LAME!" is what she texted back, because this is the way we hipsters talk to one another.

"Seriously," we texted, "how do we (very bad word) make it work?"

Eventually, after we threatened to become her "friends" on Facebook, she explained it to us and, before you could say something in a hip but ironic manner, we were happily binge-watching, becoming rugged individualists, just like everyone else.

The great news is, if you want to become as hip as my wife and I, all you have to do is learn how to binge-watch. Of course, you will also have to give birth to an obnoxious child to teach you the technical details.

So you might want to grow a beard or drink some expensive whisky first.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 15, 2014 A2

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