Here is something you may or may not know: bloggers love to throw the word “hipster” in a headline because it practically guarantees a bunch of page views. It’s not foolproof—foolproof would be a slideshow of puppies suckling at the teat of a Bengal tiger—but it is pretty damn close. And see what I did there? I just embraced a little thing called irony, with the whole “puppies and Bengal tiger’ shout-out. That’s another thing bloggers love to do, embrace irony. It’s the only thing we like to get very close to, actually, because otherwise we tend not to like to be touched at all. We are, when it comes down to it, a solitary breed. And, unfortunately, it is behavior like ours that is ruining everything. And by everything, I mean modern society as it exists in Princeton, New Jersey, which is, clearly, everything.
In an op-ed in the New York Times, Christy Wampole, assistant professor of French at Princeton University laments the fact that “irony is the ethos of our age” and that the hipster—”our archetype of ironic living”—has proliferated, so that it “haunts every city street and university town.” Personally, I am a bit more worried about Wampole’s rampant alliteration, “hipster haunts” and “scholar of social forms…student of cool” and the fact that she uses the word “ethos” twice (unironically, obviously) than I am about the degradation of society due to hipsters, but those are my own hang-ups, I suppose. I just firmly believe that a professor at an Ivy League university—even if it’s Princeton—ought not to write at the level of a high school senior whose reach school is Tufts. But that’s just me.
Wampole is disgusted with the “hipster culture,” as she sees it, and the tendency within this culture to live “life ironically.” Which, is that a thing? How do you live your whole life ironically? You don’t. No one lives their life ironically. A life full of irony? Sure. But those are two different things—wildly different things. Using irony to get some form of distance from life’s inherent absurdities is not necessarily unhealthy. Of course it would be unhealthy not to take anything seriously, but who does that? Only the most dead-inside, personality disordered individual would do that. Which, we’re not saying Wampole is that, but she does use the word “ethos” a lot and she does teach at Princeton. So.