Monday, May 22, 2006

The First Hipsters

I don't know about the scene where you are, dear reader, but here in New York we are overrun by hipster bands. They come in all shapes and sizes, but their overarching characteristic is a hyper-developed sense of irony. You can note this virtue most clearly by glancing through some band photos of hipsters. For example, take a look at the photo on the left. Note the colorful scarf, worn not due to chilly weather but for ironic effect. Also ironic is the prominently displayed sundae in the hands of the fellow on the right.

Now look at exhibit two. This hipster outfit features not only an ironic scarf, but no less than five other articles of clothing worn ironically. Try to guess, then check your answers below.

Did you identify the following? Lime green jacket, banana yellow shirt, 70's era leather coat, sunglasses, silver shoes. Ironically, the guitar player is not wearing that red and white leisure ironically.

Here's one more for you.

This photo is classic. The drummer is sporting the tie, while the bassist's shirt is not only ironically open, but he's also striking a heavily ironic pose. Upon further consideration, the bracelet and chuck taylor shoes are also worn solely for ironic effect.

And yet, as the scholars say, history is cyclical. We Americans can be famously myopic at times, our collective memories wiped clean every 30 or 40 years. The truth of the matter is that artists and musicians have been drenching themselves in irony for time immemorial, perhaps even before the word was coined. As evidence, we've unearthed we think to be the first ironic band photo. Check it out below.

These guys, known at the Peerless Quartet, have it all: the ties, the jackets, the ironic smirks, the overly serious guy and even the coup de grace--the band member ironically taking a photograph of the photographer! In 1923!

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the first hipsters. Of course if you find something from an earlier period, let us know and we'll put our expert hipster sensors on the case.

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