Nancy Rommelman notes how, in Portland hipster culture has turned downright totalitarian and urges caution, lest Portalandization come to your own neighborhood.
I have a friend, letâ€™s call her Karen. Karen bootstrapped several Portland businesses, including a coffee shop. She walks in one day and the barista, who is trans, says she had a man come in earlier wearing a MAGA cap and is she obliged to serve people like him? Karen asks, did he say something to you? No, says the barista, but heâ€™s a white supremacist. Karen tells her, first, you donâ€™t know that, and second, you cannot discriminate based on the way someone is dressed. And that, Karen thinks, is that, but no, the barista relays the story to another barista we will call Jen, who goes onto Facebook and posts, â€œMy boss Karen is a Nazi.â€ Karen learns of this while she is on vacation. She calls her manager and tells her to get Jen into the office. Jen may intuit as much, as when the manager says she needs to speak with her, Jen gets on the floor behind the espresso bar and curls into a fetal position. And you might think, if anyone should maybe not be in customer service, itâ€™s Jen, but no, people prove sympathetic to her and the other baristaâ€™s fears and start an online inquisition and can Karen prove she is not a Nazi? And should she not be more concerned with the safety of her employees than some random Republican wanting a cup of coffee?
By 2017, some defenders of diversity and safety were learning how variously those concepts could be construed, could bring the future they wanted a little closer; could be fashioned into tools that got the job done. Sharp tools would be used to cut out those deemed a threat to inclusivity, including two girls who during a road trip in Mexico fell in love with the tortillas made by local cooks. The girls were young, and snoopy, and hung around the cooks until they learned the techniques. Once back in Portland, the girls told the paper Willamette Week, they scraped together enough money to open Kooks Burritos, a food cart they shut for good later that week after receiving multiple death threats due to their not being Mexican and thus, according to the alt-weekly blog post that incited a campaign against them, having no right to make Mexican food.
Week after week people of color in Portland bear witness to the hijacking of their cultures, and an identifiable pattern of appropriation has been created â€¦ After the fury continued online, a different resource emerged and quickly went viral: a Google doc showing exactly how prevalent this epidemic is. The list titled â€œWhite-Owned Appropriative Restaurants in Portlandâ€ provides a whoâ€™s who of culinary white supremacy.
Iâ€™d cite more of that post, clipped here from a Willamette Week follow-up, but when you go to the Portland Mercury website, you get the following message:
Dear readers: Due to new information that has recently come to light, we have taken down our blog post, â€œThis Week in Appropriation: Kookâ€™s [sic] Burritos and Willamette Week.â€ It was not factually supported, and we regret the original publication of this story.â€”eds.
Too late to help the Kooksâ€™ girls, but, oh well. As for that restaurant list, thatâ€™s been deleted, too, which shows me people are not willing to stand by their weapons of destruction, and also, that Portland is pulling off the pretty slick trick of beaming to the world an image of tolerance and inclusion, while concurrently denying certain of its citizens a place at the table. Thatâ€™s some scary-strong juju, and maybe one best kept in check lest exclusionary tactics be taken for progress, be enshrined by some centralized authority.
John Ellis does not approve of drinking IPAs, Heineken, Yuengling, Blue Moon, or Guiness. Not one of these widely popular choices rises to his standard.
His analysis goes:
1) IPAs don’t taste like beer.
Well, they are all ales, not beers, and representatives of a distinctly different genre, liking which does represent a specific, idiosyncratic taste. It is, I think, possible to feel that there are too many IPAs these days and one IPA is pretty much like an other, except some are even bitter-er and hopp-ier than others.
2 Heineken is bland and is not really a superior beer.
Screw Heineken. They support Gun Control. I’ll never buy or drink another Heineken. But I will note in passing that what he really means by “bland” is that Heineken is a Pilsener-style pale lager, a type of beer that is not dark, heavy, full of floating debris, and loaded with complicated earthy tastes. in other words, not the style of beer beer snobs dote upon.
3. He doesn’t like Yuengling either because Yuengling is a reasonably priced lager.
He is just prejudiced against all lager beers and all mass marketed beers. Yuengling is really pretty neat and almost everyone likes it. Yuengling is the oldest brewery in America, dating back to 1829, and is still owned by the original family. It comes from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, the county seat of Schuylkill County, in the very heart of the Anthracite Coal Region, and today’s Yuengling, honest to God! tastes kind of like, only definitely better than, the Yuengling I used to find on tap for fifteen cents a glass in local bars when I started drinking as a teenager. It has a distinctive character and authenticity and it isn’t premium priced. Yuengling is a better beer than Bud or Michelob and it’s just as cheap. What does this guy want? An egg in his beer? as they’d say back in the Coal Region.
4. He’s down on Blue Moon because he allegedly knows of some superior Belgian-style wheat beers and you ought to be drinking those.
Jesus, this guy is a snob. Well, outside the Metropolis, we are lucky if we can find Blue Moon. Raised-Pinkie-Finger Craftbier witbier made in Florida, Maine, or Washington State is not likely to be found in your supermarket in rural Virginia or at the local beer distributor in Central PA. Besides, Blue Moon (though pricey) is actually pretty good.
5. Guinness is not stout-y enough.
Americans customarily drink light lager beers. Guinness is dark, heavy, and bitter and is an acquired taste for Americans. And, according to Ellis here, getting used to Guinness is simply not enough. You have to get used to drinking the kind of stout that you could grow plants in.
Frankly, all this pretension and display of connoisseurship is beside the point. It’s only beer. It’s not Premier Cru Bordeaux or Napoleon cognac. You drink a beer after mowing your lawn or while watching idiots run into each other in the Superbowl. Beer is never haute cuisine. Beer really belongs in the unpretentious, mass-marketed workingman’s realm.
This John Ellis guy ought to leave Brooklyn and walk into a bar in Minersville or Hazleton, order a beer, and then turn up his nose and start telling everyone how this stuff is swill and they ought to be drinking $25-a-bottle craft beers with stuff swimming in them made by monks in Belgium from a medieval recipe.
New Yorker profile photo of Rod Dreher by Maude Schuyler Clay.
Rod Dreher writes prolifically, at some times even well, and his recent book, The Benedict Option, which argues that the secular Left has won decisively, there is no hope for America or Western Civilization, and traditionalist Shventobazdies* like Dreher ought to emulate St. Benedict of Nursia and retreat from the world to private Christian communities resembling the monastery at Monte Cassino attracted enough attention on the part of the wicked, fallen world that he was profiled by the New Yorker.
*anglicized spelling of a sarcastic Lithuanian term for a person of publicly conspicuous piety, for someone sanctimonious, for a holier-than-thou, meaning literally “holy flatulator.”
Maude Schuyler Clay’s New Yorker photo (above) of Dreher makes him look like D.H. Lawrence Jr., like one of those mad British poets or writers (Henry Williamson or T.H. White, Gavin Maxwell or even T.E. Lawrence) who took to living somewhere deep in the English countryside in a thatched-roof cottage with a Goshawk or an otter. In her photo, Dreher looks like the suffering artist or visionary.
The photographer sent along to Dreher photo 2 (below), which prompted Dreher to write up another column, publishing both photos, and confessing that he thinks he really looks more like the latter.
And what a photograph the latter is. Dreher looks precisely like the very typos of the metrosexual hipster. As P.G. Wodehouse would probably observe: His knotted and combined knots part and each particular hair stands end on end like quills upon the fretful porpentine. And he is wearing glasses every bit as hideous as the glasses Marine Corps recruits are issued at Boot Camp, known universally as “Birth Control Glasses.”
The fact that Menards thinks they can sell 8″diameter/9 inch high logs for $9.99….
Or that I saw some hipster in fake work boots loading 4 into his cart.
Or 1) that these are unsplit and so large in diameter that you will have to have a fire already going well with a good bed of coals before there is any possibility of getting any of them lit. They are too short for a fireplace and they all need to be split.
2) They are all birch (!). Get one of these logs lit finally, and poof! it will be gone in a ridiculously short interval of time.
Not only are these pieces of alleged firewood ridiculously priced, they are useless as firewood.
Commenter Hammond Aikes knows more about these than I did. I thought they were just logs. But “Bonfire Log” is a brand name. They are actually chemically-treated artificial logs, which will light readily and burn 1 1/2 hours in the Regular size, 2 1/2 hours in the Jumbo.
David Infante has some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the Hipster is dead. The bad news is that he has been replaced by another intensely annoying type of millennial wussy, what he refers to as “the “Yuccie” (pronounced “Yucky”), i.e., young urban creatives.
[T]he hipster has to be dead, killed by a contradicted identity. When everyone is rejecting the mainstream, no one is. When everyone is a hipster, no one is a hipster. Hell, saying â€œthe hipster is deadâ€ is, itself, pretty much dead, a late-aughts victim of thinkpiecery and primetime cable namechecks.
And anyway, â€œhipsterâ€ doesnâ€™t line up culturally with who yuccies are. To use myself as an example again: I have no tattoos. My credit is good. Hell, Iâ€™ve got dental insurance. My basic, unwaxed mustache, like the rest of me, wouldnâ€™t have rated in the heady days of hipsterism. Hipsters themselves might have scorned me as a yuppie. But that isn’t right, either. â€œYuppieâ€ conjures Sharper Image catalogs, clean condos and piles of new money pulled from the pre-recession stock market. It doesnâ€™t capture the sense of creative entitlement that defines the yuccie.
Yuccies are the cultural offspring of yuppies and hipsters. Weâ€™re intent on being successful like yuppies and creative like hipsters. We define ourselves by our purchases, just like both cohorts, sure. But not by price or taste level; we identify by price and taste level: $80 sweatpants, $16 six-packs of craft beer, trips to Charleston, Austin and Portland. How much it costs (high or low) is immaterial if the material bought validates our intellect.
Weâ€™re a big part of the reason that 43% of every millennial food dollar is spent in restaurants, instead of at home. After all, what product is more fraught with the politics of money and creativity than dinner? Itâ€™s gotta be Instagrammed.
You cross the yuppieâ€™s new money thirst for yachts and recognition with the hipsterâ€™s anti-ambition, smoke-laced individualism, sprinkle on a dose of millennial entitlement, and the yuccie is what you get.
We are what we hate
The Young Urban Creative. The yuccie. As far as trend-naming goes, this is on the punnier edge of the spectrum. Yuccies are yucky. Why?
Letâ€™s use me as an example again. Almost by definition, yuccies possess enormous privilege. My professional drift towards a creative field (writing) is an implicit statement of privilege. Being a yuccie is synonymous with the sort of self-centered cynicism that can only exist in the absence of hardship. Itâ€™s the convenience of being unburdened by conviction; itâ€™s the luxury of getting to pick your battles. In this context, cynicism is maybe the yuccieâ€™s most defining trait.
To wit, of all the reasons I enjoy being a writer, the single driving force behind my career trajectory has been validation. I write for validation: of my peers, of my parents, of the followers who retweet me, even of the commenters who say cruel things in my general direction beneath every piece Iâ€™ve ever published.
Donâ€™t get me wrong â€” I need the money, too, as much as any of my peers. But if I hadnâ€™t insisted on majoring in English, writing professionally and â€œexpressing myself,â€ I probably could have chosen a more lucrative path. But
I need to be told, repeatedly and at length, that I have valuable ideas. That my talent is singular. That Iâ€™m making a dent, the size and location of which is less important than fact that itâ€™s shaped like me.
Thatâ€™s the cynicism of privilege. Thatâ€™s what yuccieism is. Iâ€™m not ashamed of it, and you shouldnâ€™t be either if this sounds like you. But Iâ€™m not proud of it either. Like I said â€” itâ€™s a bit yucky.