NPR reports on the state of American hipsterdom

NPR sums up the state of the American hipster scene:

On the streets of Franklin and Nashville and almost every town throughout America now, hipsters scuttle by on scooters, zip around in Zipcars or Smart cars, roll by on fixed-gear bikes or walk about in snazzy high-top sneakers and longboard shorts. They snap Instagram photos of each other — in black skinny jeans and T-shirts with funky epigrams like “If You Deny It, You Are A Hipster” — and turn the pix into iPhone cases. They buy cool-cat snuggle clothes at American Eagle and down-market monkey boots at Urban Outfitters. They drink cheap beer, listen to music on vinyl records and decorate their lairs with upcycled furniture.

They follow indie bands and camp out at Occupy movements. They work as programmers and shop clerks, baristas and bartenders. They are gamers and volunteers, savvy entrepreneurs and out-of-work basement dwellers.

In case you haven’t noticed, hipsters — and those who cater to them — are everywhere. And that really galls some hipsters…

You might think that as hipsterism ripples out, in concentric (and eccentric) circles farther and farther from its big-city epicenters, the ultra-coolitude would lose its authenticity, Furia says, “but the opposite may be true. Cities are known for setting trends; hipsterism is about anti-trends. It sounds funny, but hipsters in Omaha may actually be cooler than hipsters in New York City — everyone knows about New York City.”

I don’t know that this report adds much to what has already been noted about hipsters – see an earlier example here. Here is the question I would really love to hear people answer: what comes after hipsters? How long until hipsters are no longer cool and another group takes over? What’s the next “cool” group?

Young evangelical says churches shouldn’t strive to be “cool”

In the Wall Street Journal, 27-year old evangelical Brett McCracken suggests churches shouldn’t try so hard to be cool:

If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that “cool Christianity” is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don’t want cool as much as we want real.

If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it’s easy or trendy or popular. It’s because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It’s because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It’s not because we want more of the same.

McCracken sounds like he is suggesting the church should be counter-cultural rather than go along with the culture. This seems fairly obvious given the radical message of Christianity – it is difficult to reconcile this with today’s American culture. But churches also want to attract members and the glitzy and glamorous ways to do this seem attractive.

Follow-up questions: does this approach from churches lead to long-lasting attendance or spiritual growth? Is “real” what most emerging adults are looking for in church and religion? And what is “real” anyway?

McCracken recently published a book titled Hipster Christianity that further examines this issue.