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A Psychological Analysis of Why the Hipsters in ‘Unhappy Hipsters’ Are So Unhappy

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Ever since we, and everyone else on the planet, posted about Unhappy Hipsters, a simple Tumblr blog that lends captions to photos from Dwell, the site’s been completely unavoidable of late. Hard to believe that it’s only been around, by our estimates, since mid-January. But that’s the internet for you, quick, quick, quick. With all that attention, some interesting bits have sprung up. First, the LA TimesChristopher Hawthorn filed a two page report about the site, talking all about how popular it had become and how its owner(s) still wish to remain anonymous. Strangely he also comments on how its quality has declined: “once the world noticed — it was only a matter of time before its crisp satire started to droop a little, as it has in the last few days.” We know the guy’s a critic, but geez, he just says so himself that the site’s only three weeks old. Less discouraging than that review, and much more interesting, is that Psychology Today picked up on the site and put together a great read on why exactly these hipsters are unhappy and asks if modernism is inherently a big downer. Here’s a bit:

I think that modernism’s restrained quality is fundamentally in tension with the idea of delight. Delight is an emotion of abundance — a celebration of sensation and richness. Delight and joy are primally connected to wellness, and wellness in nature is lush, plump, vibrant, and bountiful. Throughout our evolution, these were the aesthetics that signaled a good place to settle — one that provided adequate water, food, and shelter to sustain life. The matte, bare surfaces beloved of modernists signal something else entirely. I can’t help but think there must be something primal within us that understands such stripped down spaces as inhospitable — the emotional equivalent of dry desert, or fallow fields.

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