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Related: consumerism - cool - counterculture - groovy - hippy - hipster - hip hop lifestyle - rebellion - snob - subculture - trendy - youth

image sourced here. [May 2005]

How to Speak Hip (1961) Del Close and John Brent

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The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster (1957) - Norman Mailer

The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster (1957) - Norman Mailer [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

In the purest sense, the original hipsters were the hip, mostly black performers of jazz and swing music in the 1940s and , at a time when "hip" music was equated with African-American-originated forms of musical expression.

Although hipsters could be black or white, the term later and more predominantly came to be used to refer to whites who were aficionados of the music, groupies and members of the so-called Bohemian set, or Beat Generation. Because the jazz scene had long been integrated, hipster culture, too, became integrated before much of the rest of society. The use of the term "hipster" for whites who had an affinity for the avant-garde and for African-American culture was popularized in Norman Mailer's 1956 [1957] book The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster. Hipsters sometimes were referred to as beatniks, a combination of "beat" and "nik," a Yiddish suffix meaning "person."

Hipsters were cool. That is, they exhibited a mellow, laid-back attitude that is still called hip. Many also were users and popularizers of recreational drugs, particularly marijuana and amphetamines, but also heroin, which was popular for a time among bebop scene leaders like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster [May 2005]

The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster (1957) - Norman Mailer

Our search for the rebels of the generation led us to the hipster. The hipster is an enfant terrible turned inside out. In character with his time, he is trying to get back at the conformists by lying low ... You can't interview a hipster because his main goal is to keep out of a society which, he thinks, is trying to make everyone over in its own image. He takes marijuana because it supplies him with experiences that can't be shared with "squares." He may affect a broad-brimmed hat or a zoot suit, but usually he prefers to skulk unmarked. The hipster may be a jazz musician; he is rarely an artist, almost never a writer. He may earn his living as a petty criminal, a hobo, a carnival roustabout or a freelance moving man in Greenwich Village, but some hipsters have found a safe refuge in the upper income brackets as television comics or movie actors. (The late James Dean, for one, was a hipster hero.) ... It is tempting to describe the hipster in psychiatric terms as infantile, but the style of his infantilism is a sign of the times. He does not try to enforce his will on others, Napoleon-fashion, but contents himself with a magical omnipotence never disproved because never tested. . . . As the only extreme nonconformist of his generation, he exercises a powerful if underground appeal for conformists, through newspaper accounts of his delinquencies, his structureless jazz, and his emotive grunt words.

- "Born 1930: The Unlost Generation "
by Caroline Bird
Harper's Bazaar, Feb. 1957

See also: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~DRBR2/whitenegro.html [Sept 2005]

inspired by Cool Rules: Anatomy of an Attitude (2000) - Dick Pountain, David Robins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

see also: hip - cool - white - black

How to Speak Hip (1961) Del Close and John Brent

Basic Hip is the second cut on the first side of the legendary beatnik comedy album by John Brent and Del Close, How To Speak Hip. John Brent plays Geets Romo and Del Close is The Instructor on this recording aimed at helping the uncool break into the fascinating world of hip. "Basic Hip" has served as my moniker for several years now.

Many people have asked about the "weird guy" with the cigarette holder and mono-brow in the Basic Hip logo. He is none other than Del Close himself and the image is from the cover to the soundtrack of the musical, The Nervous Set. Larry Hagman was also part of the cast. Here is a track from that record which features Close singing How Do You Like Your Love?

Now that you know the history behind the name and who that goofy hipster is, please return to the previous page and enjoy the wonderful world of Basic Hip Digital Oddio! --http://www.basichip.com//basichip/basichip.htm [May 2005]

see also beatnik - comedy - 1961 - hip

Jon Spayde on hip

[H]ep, and the world of hepness and the hepcat, were the spirited creations of black jazz players in the 1930s.

[H]epcat from hipicat--"person in the know" in the West African language Wolof--to recognize that the clued-in, snazzily stylish hepcat ethos was pure African American creativity: a zoot-suited, hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-ho horse laugh at the racist stereotype of the "Negro" as a shuffling, mumbling, fresh-out-of-the-cotton-patch naif. Here was an image of blacks as dazzling urbanites: brilliant, stylish and "hep to the jive"--so knowing in the ways of the world, that is, that no one, ever, could get the jump on them.

[T]hen in the bebop era, hep became hip and this little word began a long career in the (white) mass media. From a good-natured symbol of subcultural solidarity, it slowly morphed into something altogether less cheerful and nourishing. This change is the dispiriting path from the radiantly sleek and life-affirming Harlem bandleader Cab Calloway in his white suit to a SoMa art dealer in his all-white room, sizing you up and finding you pathetic.

[W]hat the beatnik-circa-1958 had to master to be hip was an expanded list--including, but not limited to, bebop, existentialism, Paul Klee, Glenn Gould, William Blake and Buddhism.

But what the late '90s would-be hip guy or gal has to master (or pretend to master) just to stay in the game keeps growing exponentially. Modern avant-garde art from Delacroix to Mike Kelley. Pop culture from Louis Jordan to Xena the Warrior Princess. Film from the Lumiere brothers to John Woo. You have to be intimately familiar with King Sunny Ade records and know what acid house is. You have to be no stranger to kink: Bob Flanagan, Jim Thompson, Ed Gein. You have to have at least a nodding acquaintance with Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes. --Jon Spayde, From the December 31, 1997-January 7, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz, http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/12.31.97/hip-9753.html

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