Hipsters in Space!

Penned inside this enclosed microcosm in which everybody knows everybody, condemned without the possibility of escape or relief to live with others, beneath the gaze of others every individual experiences deep anxiety about ‘people’s words.’

– Pierre Bourdieu, “Différences et distinctions” 1966.

It’s strange to return to your blog’s statistics page after months of inactivity, especially when you discover all the myriad ways people arrive at your site while you are busy ignoring it.  A lot of people arrive here searching for Aperol, Pasolini, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Picasso in his marinière, and—a wee bit puzzlingly—piñata sex. But however they arrive, I’ll take it. Today somebody got here from a Paris-based wine blog’s entry about Breizh Café written in the spring of last year. My Hungerdome regarding some local crêperies received one of links in this oenophile’s annotated bibliography on the subject, which reads as follows:

A 2008 piece on Breizh Café @ DavidLebovitz, containing the benign authorial blunder of complaining about hipsters (really? in the Marais? how hip? hipster complaints invariably demonstrate an anxiety about cool equal to or greater than that which the author purports to disdain in those about whom he is complaining)

A recent comparison of Breizh Café and West Country Girl @ LesBonsBonsdesRaisons, unfortunately written in the voice of a 9-year-old game show host. (It also contains complaints about Marais hipsters. It’s like people walk into the Marais and turn into frowning Mormons, or something.)

Wow! This is a series of amazing firsts for me. First off, David Lebovitz is an unofficial deity among Paris food writers, so this is surely the first time anyone has ever voluntarily mentioned anything I’ve written and anything he’s done in the same breath. Secondly, I can’t say that I’ve ever been likened to 9-year-old game show host OR a frowning Mormon, much less in the same paragraph. I’m pleased, however, to finally have such a canny explanation for the deep lines that mysteriously arrived on my forehead during the two years I lived in the Marais (though admittedly not in the “nicer more genteel” neighborhood surrounding Breizh but rather smack dab in across the street from that shower show). It’s from anxiously scowling at all those goshdarn hipsters day in and day out! Thank goodness that Pierre has come back from the grave to diagnose old David and me!

Obviously I’m showing my thin skin here, but this did feel rather like being inexplicably kicked by a stranger on a crowded subway car.  I recognize the impulse to link to other better-trafficked blogs of niche celebrities like Lebovitz, Clotilde Dusoulier, or Deb Perelman in an attempt to drum up traffic for one’s own writing, but I’m genuinely bewildered why someone would be compelled to shit on my unobtrusive and mostly uninhabited corner of the internet. Aren’t there bigger fish to fry? I guess there isn’t much more to say about it besides that, but it left a nasty taste in my mouth all afternoon.

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2 comments

  1. secretmenu

    A comment left on something I’d published in an online journal said that it was a really great idea for an essay — if only it had been written by a more talented writer. Ouch.

    Meanwhile, I am racking my brain trying to figure out what a 9-year-old game show host might write like, and whether or not I’m a talented enough writer to imitate that voice. I think we should all aspire to that kind of literary character acting. In any case, it left me feverishly jealous, wishing I’d coined the phrase — so much so that I checked out that guy’s blog to see what other clever morsels he had in store.

    If I had been able to stay awake through the first paragraph of his latest post, I might have left a comment, but the idea of being the among the few to admit I’d visited a site with an “About” section featuring multiple paragraphs was too mortifying. Still, I’ve got my eye on that guy. If he makes one false move, I’m gonna spam his ass with piñata sex links.

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