HIP TO HELP

Hipsters, that urbane set of groovy renegades, may be facing a sudden and untimely extinction. The New York Press questions if the cool and aloof look of hipsters may be out and a new look may be in…that of “helpsters.”

The peculiar neologism, helpsters, defines an up-and-coming, trendsetting breed combining the cool of hipsters with a social consciousness . Whereas hipsters are “disaffected aesthetes with nihilistic tendencies” these helpsters are “motivated and committed Samaritans.” NYP

Similar to their hipster counterparts, they’re by-products of gentrification; but, rather than luxuriate in gentrification’s epicurean delights they seek to undo its rampant disparities. Helpsters are critical of the social displacement and communal inequality caused by gentrification. They want to end the callous redevelopment of neighborhoods, systematically redesigned locales marketed for the prosperous, and make them more socially equitable.

So they’ve taken to organizing concerts by bands like They Might Be Giants to raise money for a community center in Williamsburg, launched “guerilla gardening” campaigns to create new greenspaces, held bicycle demonstrations and protests, and pushed to establish Brooklyn’s own currency. Helpsters even helped New York Cares have a 30 percent increase in volunteers last year, 60 percent of whom were between the ages of 18 and 34.  Gothamist

The helpster organization surveyed their fledgling group and found that one in five were motivated when President Obama was inaugurated and that economic insecurity and rising unemployment was the leading factor in motivating them to  focus on more selfless, community-oriented goals. Nevertheless, if the recession is waning and Obamamania is declining, we may be soon questioning whether or not helpsters may be facing a sudden and untimely extinction as well.

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