It’s a question I posed to myself while waiting for Lady Bird to start. Starring Saoirse Ronan as the titular bird and written/directed by Greta Gerwig, I had been waiting for this little indie to drop in my area for weeks. I had prepared to make the trek into Boston (which is a huge deal for a Rhode Islander), but was pleasantly surprised to learn it would be screening at The Avon in Providence for a limited engagement.
My love of art house cinema notwithstanding I looked around and saw so many of ‘my people’ getting ready to enjoy this sweet, perfect little film. But were we hipsters? Knowing that my tastes are uniquely opposite of my closest friends I wondered, am I a hipster?
I could spend all day going through Urban Dictionary’s various definitions and connotations of ‘Hipster’, but in the end I feel like trying to put a label on my style or tastes is an impossible task.
Watching Lady Bird helped put things in perspective, warping back to 2002 and bringing me back to that very specific time in my life. Christine “Lady Bird” MacPherson, a wayward student at a Sacremento Catholic High School desperate to leave her hometown, go to college on the east coast, and escape the hometown (and mother) she’s felt trapped by. Renaming herself Lady Bird is an act of defiance in itself, while the relationships she attempts to build to better herself in life and love is absolutely something I could relate to.
I attended Catholic grade school growing up, and when I was tossed into the High School ocean I was desperate to transform myself into something else. It took pro wrestling to help me carve out a new identity and become JC Marxxx, but just like Christine I eventually went back and remembered who I was and where I came from.
Finding yourself could take you to the edge of the earth, but in the end you’ll always have home. Where you grew up, your childhood friends, and especially your first love. It’s not nostalgia, sometimes it’s just comfort for the journey you’re on.
When it comes down to it, being a hipster isn’t a real thing. It’s no different then being preppy (is that still a thing?) or nerdy. In 2002 Tim Kilgore called me ‘college radio’, which I guess was a precursor to hipster? Those 90’s flannel shirt grunge rockers? Hipster pioneers.
Greta Gerwig has always been a favorite of mine, and there’s a very good chance she’d be labeled a hipster as well based on her filmography alone. But watching this amazing coming of age tale, a passion project for her, and a wonderful love letter to an awkward time in the early aughts made me feel like I was truly apart of something.
This isn’t a movie with high stakes, but for me it’s never felt more personal.
We’re all hipsters.