City Desk

Atlantic Curses Politico Hipsters to Eternal Unhipness

This Atlantic Wire article on why D.C. will never be the hippest city of them all is infuriating, but not because it insults the city's collective street credibility. After all, the Forbes "politico hipster" blurb that kicked this off was largely treated like a joke, at least until some people didn't get it.

Instead, writer Rebecca Greenfield's piece is irritating because it begs for your engagement, turns out to be inadequate for it, then makes you feel stupid for even trying—essentially, a Chinese finger trap of clickbait.

But who can resist? Like any great piece of writing, it's very dense, and you're encouraged to find your own arguments to knock down. Here are some of my favorites:

D.C. restaurants are notoriously overpriced. Back in 2009 the city had the second most expensive average drink price. That still feels true. Unlike New York or San Francisco or Philadelphia, there's no mid-price in the D.C. food scene: it's either the Equinox or Panera.

The cheapest dinner entree at Equinox is $14, and it's in a pretty lonely spot down-menu. If you know a restaurant that has meals that cost less than $14, but are better than a $7 sandwich at Panera Bread, then congratulations—you have discovered the first hole in Greenfield's argument.

Really, if anyone should be mad about this article, it's Panera. Their menu is generally delicious, and we should be lucky enough to someday have it associated with our dining scene.

Greenfield also thinks the District's 'zine sales are eternally depressed because the Metro is too clean:

To keep the nation's capital looking good, which is a noble cause, the metro station attendants scold people who break the rules. Once someone told me to stop drinking my coffee, for example. As a result, it all has to be very sterile.

At the risk of playing into Greenfield's hands, if you're drinking coffee on the Metro, you should get a talking-to. Them's the rules—and pretty easy-to-follow ones with a clear purpose, at that. If I took a train to New York and kicked a cop in the shins, could I complain that the city had lost its edge when they booked me?

Brb, Panera.

Illustration by Carey Jordan

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  • Jane

    So does this mean Toki Underground and Fast Gourmet are figments of my imagination?

  • TM

    Greenfield displays the vast depth of knowledge and familiarity with the city that I've come to expect from young 20 somethings whose tenure in DC can fairly be measured in minutes.

    Note to young writers: if an observation seems self evidently true to you, it's probably trite and even more likely wrong.

  • NE John

    if you kicked a nyc cop, he would likely shoot you 39 times

  • noodlez

    YO SOMMA-MA-BITCH THE PIECE IS NOT ONLY IRRITATING AND INADEQUATE BUT BY MS GREENFIELD’S SUBMISSION ONE CAN ALSO DEDUCE THAT SHE IS AN IGNORAMUS AND ILL-INFORMED LIL WHITE GIRL WHO WHEN SHE WAS 9 YRS OLD LEFT HET STUFFED BEAR IN AISLE 8 AND WHINED ABOUT IT IN AISLE 10 SO HER MOM WENT BACK AND GOT IT FOR HER BUT COMPLAINED ALL THE WAY HOME THAT HER MOTHER LEFT HER ALONE FOR TWO MINUTES. THAT IS WHAT THAT WACK-HACK JOB OF A COLUMN REMINDS ME OF.

    THIS MYOPIC LIL TWIT IS GETTING THE OVERUSED TERM HIPSTER AND WHAT IS ACTUALLY ‘HIP’ TWISTED. MR FLORIDA WAS SPOT ON BECAUSE DC HAS A HUGE HIPSTER CROWD AND THEY FLOCK TO WHATEVER IS HOT RIGHT NOW. THE WDC METRO AREA IS HOT RIGHT NOW FOR A NUMBER OF VARYING REASONS. THERE IS ONE GLARING PROBLEM WITH HER ARGUMENT AND THAT IS IF YOU ARE ‘HIP’ YOU DON’T FLOCK!

    RIGHT OUT THE GATE SHE FUCKED UP BY LUMPING ‘DC PROPER’ IN WITH THE METRO AREA AND SUBURBS AND USING STATS TO BACK UP HER CLAIM. ANYONE WHO IS ‘HIP’ KNOWS THAT IS SOMETHING YOU DON’T DO. YOU STAND ON AND BELIEVE YOUR OWN PRINCIPLES NOT SOME BULLSHIT MADE UP TO SHOW THE WORLD. THERE IS PLENTY OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN DC. DC IS A RENT CONTROLLED CITY AND OLD RUSTIC APTS AND HOMES ARE AVAILABLE EVEN IN REGENTRIFIED HOODS.

    SHE GOES ON TO COMPLAIN ABOUT DC BEING TOO SMALL??? HUH? SOMEONE NEED TO TELL ‘MS. PANTIES IN A BUNCH’ THAT IS THE VERY UNIQUENESS OF BEING HIP. REGENTRIFICATION IS NOT HIP! THE WHITEY WHO MOVES INTO AN ALL BLACK OR LATINO ‘HOOD, BLENDS WITH EVERYONE, GETS THE MAYOR OF THE BLOCK OR ‘HOOD BLESSING, ACCEPTED AS IF HIS SKIN COLOR IS NO LONGER AN ISSUE, GETS HIS ITEMS RETURNED AFTER SOMEONE WHO BREAKS INTO HIS HOME BECAUSE NOW HE IS ‘FAMILY’ IS THE ESSENCE BEING HIP.

    TO BE ‘HIP’ IS TO BE SMALL, IS TO BE SQUARE, IS TO BE LOW KEY. HER METRO ARGUMENT IS THE EPITOME OF THE DIFFERENCE OF BEING HIP AND BEING A HIPSTER. YEAH A HIPSTER WOULD COMPLAIN ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO GET HOME AS IF WAS STILL RUSH HOUR AFTER A NIGHT ON THE TOWN BECAUSE THEY DEPENDED ON METRO. IF YOU ARE HIP-‘FUCK METRO’! AS FOR THE GOV’T JOBS SOMEONE SHOULD TELL HER TO GET OUT OF THE POLITICAL CIRCLES TO GET HER MISINFO. MOST GOV’T JOBS ARE CAREERS THAT FOLK CHOOSE TO HAVE NOT SOME DEM OR REPUB FLOCKING TO THE AREA FOR A CAUSE.

    SHE IS OBVIOUS A HIPSTER OR WANNABE WHO KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT BEING HIP. EVEN THOUGH I DISAGREE WITH FORBES RANKING ABOUT H ST NE HIPSTERNESS FOR SEVERAL REASONS THAT I WOULD RATHER VENT ABOUT ANOTHER DAY THAT DOES NOT GIVE SOMEONE WHO LICKED SNOT OFF OF THEIR NOSE A REASON TO BASH MY CITY. ALSO IF YOU ARE GOING TO BASH DC AT THE VERY LEAST HAVE YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT NOT SOME REGURGITATION OF SOMEONE’S BULLSHIT MASQUERADING AS COPY.

  • JS

    the whole coolness equation, as it relates to hipsters, is that what is uncool is inherently cool. therefore, dc is the coolest city in the country. that's what i keep telling myself at least.

  • Dave B

    Dc and it's burbs are too expensive? She probably thinks dc has only six wards, though she probably can't name them. Clearly all the poor people I see just sprout up from the earth in the morning because they dont have anywhere to live

  • MS

    Sadly, I think much of this is true. Just look at Bloomingdale -- Big Bear changed their whole schtick just so they could get in on the 15-dollar-a-plate business. You want a 3 dollar bagel on Sunday? Sorry, they don't do that anymore! But you can have the 13-dollar-a-plate farmers market buffet!

    And affordable neighborhoods? Sure, affordable apartments exist in great neighborhoods like Brightwood. But try getting to, say, H St on public transportation. It will take you over an hour to travel 4 miles. OVER AN HOUR!.

  • JustMe

    try getting to, say, H St on public transportation. It will take you over an hour to travel 4 miles.

    Take the metro to Chinatown and grab the X2 to H Street NE. Not so difficult!

    Plus, midpriced food abounds in DC. It's hard to find something very upscale that's not tasteless 'klassy' food catering to wealthy business travelers, Congressmen, and lobbyists with no taste.

    That said, this quote from the link:

    As you can see, the things that make D.C. unhip ... [are] things like infrastructure, the government, the economy, and a long tradition of following the rules.

    is 100% true. Completely.

  • MS

    @JustMe Which metro exactly do I "hop on" from Georgia Ave NW and Kennedy St, aka Brightwood? Look it up on Google maps.

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