Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hipster Catholics and Eunuchs

These, I am told, are "hipsters" - and I feel a sudden desire to puke.

A friend and blog reader writes that he thinks one of the hallmarks of the new "Hipster Catholics" - by which he seems to mean the cool young crunchy "independent music" types who are more or less orthodox (unless a bit of heterodoxy suits them) and who are self-consciously and deliberately "counter cultural" and "independent" in a way that shows how seriously and deeply they really do identify with superficial things - that one of the hallmarks of "Hipster Catholics" is "lack of masculinity".  Some of them, he even implies, have an "apostolate", which means they sponge off others while engaging in "ministry".  This is kind of like living off Mom, Dad and student loans while getting your second B.A. in Art History at age 30.

He contrasts them with sober and mature men, who, whether lay or clergy, take responsibility for their own lives and families and finances and whose charity and friendships are more adult and realistic.  And who, unlike hipsters, really don't care how they dress.

But what the hell is a "hipster", anyway?  Until just now I had no idea what a "hipster" was, much less a "hipster" Catholic.

If they're anything like the characters described in glowing terms by this article, then let me state that - contrary to the universal call to Christian charity - I hate every single one of them.

And above all I hate this ... .

They form book clubs and meet in the back of the local open-mic cafe to chuckle over G.K. Chesterton – you wouldn’t understand.

To use Chesterton as a shibboleth for the "in crowd"?  Despicable.  Hang every one of them.  St. Gilbert would agree with me.  At least Belloc would.


Meanwhile, I've been Hip since Sammy Davis Jr. used to use that word.  And I've been Funky since before the Funk dried up.  And I've been both Intellectual and Anti-intellectual at the same time - and that's hard to pull off.

But I have never been a "hipster" (or a "eunuch" for that matter, even though I'm married).

I am, however, getting to the age where I may soon need "Hipster Replacement Surgery", and if that happens, I'll be sure to let you know.

ADDENDUM:  Lots of reaction to this post over on Facebook.  As I expected, the humor is offensive to some, especially to hipsters or to those who know and like hipsters.

"That came across as needlessly angry," was my favorite Facebook comment yet.  Of course it's needlessly angry - that's why it's funny.

So let me say, in seriousness - who cares if you're a "Hipster" or a "Boomer" or a "Neo-Cath" or a "Traddie"?  The point is to be an Integrated Catholic, not a Disintegrating One.  If some Hipster Catholics are superficial and let fashion trump Faith, some other types of Catholics let ideology trump Faith - and both are worthy of laughter and ridicule.

So, if the comments over here start to match some of the reaction over on Facebook, just keep in mind that the point of this is that Jesus Christ is more than just a fashion or an ideology, and following Him more than a choice equivalent to what sort of music you put on your phone or what political party you happen to support.

Another Facebook commenter said, "But all of that goes back to the old chestnut, real community. In its void you end up having these artificial excrescences." - and that, I think is really what I'm saying.


Chris said...

Good point. The hipster or pop-catholic or conservative Catholic phenomenon is not good. I think they often have one foot in the world/the pop-culture and don't even realize it. They are often not so much Catholic as conservative or alternative or "pop" and they still engage in behaviors, attitudes, and the like foreign to Catholic sensibility, whether in t.v. shows they watch, movies, music, magazines, the way they dress, etc. They often seem to have a hermeneutic of discontinuity, thinking that truly "traditional" Catholic customs, attitudes, practices, are "old-fashioned," though they may have adopted some authentic ones. To put it another way I think these are among those who went uncatechized and were raised more in the popular culture, so they often try to baptize elements taken therefrom and then claim these are now Catholic or part of Catholic culture. As you point it, this also means they can adopt in piecemeal fashion different elements of Catholicism when they think it's "cool" or it suits them, but discarding others if not so deemed; so they end up with a kind of Catholic schizophrenia and there is so much a renewal of catholic culture but a diluting of it.

Terry Nelson said...

Now in this post, you remind me of Bill Geist.

Indhra Kannan said...

Thank you so much! That did the trick, you saved me more endless hours of searching for a fix.

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