Have you ever wondered why all hipsters look alike when they try like heck to be different? It’s the Hipster Paradox.
“Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.” Eric Hoffer
It’s more ironic than paradoxical if you ask me. Then again, in my opinion it doesn’t take an advance degree in math or science to deduce hipsters all look alike. All you really need is about three minutes of sipping coffee and people watching at Starbuck’s. And yet Jonathan Touboul, a mathematician and associate professor at Brandeis University, felt compelled to spend a boat load of time (and probably grant money) creating an equation and a computer model to do just that.
Touboul discovered when hipsters persist in rejecting the mainstream (translation: try like heck to be different), their choices become synchronized, new trends emerge and conformity ensues (translation: they look alike). He literally studied hipster-specific behavior, stuff like the kinds of beards they grow and clothes they wear. According to the good doctor, “Despite (and actually, in response to) their constant efforts, at all times, anti-conformists fail being disaligned with the majority, They actually create the trends they will soon try to escape.”
Evidently, Touboul’s compulsion to study hipster behavior is not just about finding out what makes hipsters tick for the sake of finding out what makes hipsters tick. His findings have far greater implications, “Beyond the choice of the best suit to wear this winter, this study may have important implications in understanding synchronization of nerve cells, investment strategies in finance, or emergent dynamics in social science.” You can read the entire scholarly article here (first published in November 2014 and revised in February 21, 2019), which might sound like this in your head…
Or you can check out Instagram and leave it at that. Whichever you choose is not important because the actual point of this blog post is to share a hilarious story about an enraged hipster dude threatening to sue MIT Technology Review for a photo that appeared in an article they published on February 28, 2019.
The Hipster Effect: Why anti-conformists always end up looking the same, which discusses Dr. Touboul’s research study and findings, also contains this photo of some random, unidentified, ruggedly handsome, stereotypical hipster.
After reading the article, Enraged Hipster Dude, believing he was the hipster depicted in the photo, threatened to slap the publication with a law suit for not only swiping said photo from his social media profile and using it without permission, but also for slander! Enraged Hipster Dude is NOT a hipster, by golly! I repeat HE IS NOT A HIPSTER… he only dresses like a one and to suggest otherwise is an egregious mischaracter of justice! (Insert sarcasm). If you’re scratching your head and struggling to understand how implying someone is a hipster is slanderous, don’t be confused. It’s not. Plus, what about abductive reasoning? You know, that “form of logical inference which starts with an observation or set of observations then seeks to find the simplest and most likely explanation for the observations.” Kind of like, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck.
Anyway, after all the threats and brouhaha, it turns out the guy in the photo is a model posing as a hipster…or he might be a hipster, but he’s definitely NOT Enraged Hipster Dude. Let me be clear: Enraged Hipster Dude mistook himself for the guy in the photo, which brings us to the most ironic and sidesplittingly hilarious part of the story because it proves what Dr. Touboul (and I) have been saying all along: Hipsters all look alike. In fact, hipsters look so much alike even they can’t tell themselves apart. If you think I’m making this up, check out this Twitter thread from MIT Tech Review Editor in Chief, Gideon Lichfield.
By the way, if you don’t think this funny or at least ironic…you might be a hipster.
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