The ideal of hip is inimical to the idea of travel

“In traveling, I don’t want to be counseled on what to enjoy. I cling to the hope that visiting a new place can be about more than what’s hot and what’s not; that I can still do a few things without mediation. After all, I travel partly to escape the sort of place where knowing the names of obscure bands has become a substitute for enjoying music, and getting into the newest restaurant a stand-in for appreciating food.”
–Elisabeth Eaves, “My War Against the War Against Clich

2 Responses to “The ideal of hip is inimical to the idea of travel”

  1. Julia Says:

    Bashing hipsters is suddenly very trendy (case in point: the two articles quoted in your post published within a year of each other as well as a smattering of others I have read lately). But, I am not sure that one (hip) has much to do with the other (travel).
    Is it the point that those who are hip do not travel? Because even those peasants with band names tripping off their tongues like to get away, and they aren’t always getting away to Club Med.
    Or that you can’t carry hip with you? Because I don’t think you can–obviously the garments, language, and paraphernelia of hip are lost, to some extent, in translation.
    On the other hand, America doesn’t have a monopoly on “hip,” and scenes do exist internationally. Hiphop and breakdancing here in Brazil; the “French Touch” (house scene)–that’s already crested in Paris; new and covetable Beijing nightlife–a version of local hip exists anywhere that there is money and leisure to support it. Hip, unfortunately or fortunately, is a series of inhabited islands (sometimes scarily similar) in a variety of lands.
    Contrary to Swick, what is “hip” IS often what is new, IS about being the person/group who has delved beyond the surface culture with the passion of the explorer, in North America taking the form of skaters, dancers,comic drawers, poets, DJs, graffiti artists, and producers of underground culture who automatically obtain hip’s “visa”. Swick’s comment sounds more to me like “the angry fox calling the grapes sour,” having been refused entry into a place that(landlocked though it may be), is completely unknown to him.
    (Eaves’ essay is more about raging against the ironic, “hipster” tone of TimeOut guides and genuinely enjoying flamenco and the bullfight, which is more a matter of taste.)
    But to return to the subject: I would suggest that the IDEAL of hip and the IDEAL of travel are quite similar. After all, the travel of “real travelers” described by Swick, those open-minded souls, is often lost to me in the airports of the world. Are there so many real (package tour) travelers philosophizing as they sip pi

  2. Rolf Says:

    Actually, neither Eaves nor Swick bash hipsters so much as they refute the notion that the travel world can be reduced to the fickle dictates of fashion by