I have recently jumped on the Walking Dead bandwagon. For the past month or so I have religiously hooked up Netflix and plowed through episode after episode, taking periodic breaks to sulk whenever a major character gets killed off. The show has taught me a few things. First, it convinced me that in the midst of a zombie apocalypse humanity would not unify to preserve its existence. Instead, the balance of power would become crucial and opposing human survivors with a functional capacity greater than that of a newborn would be more of a threat than a drooling pack of the undead. Second, the more I watched the show the more it made me understand hipsters. I have struggled with the concept for a number of years but watching the show has brought a much needed clarity that allows me to comprehend and somewhat accept, if not empathize with, the hipster lifestyle.
- Both zombies and hipsters travel in packs
Zombies wander aimlessly through forests and streets with one purpose; to eat. Hipsters travel for the same reason. They walk urban streets like amoeba through a digestive tract, weaving around sidewalks and down alleyways in search of sustenance . In doing so, they remain rather unaware of their surroundings which in some cases includes moving motor vehicles, puppies and non-hipsters. The latter can take advantage of this phemonemon by setting hipster traps. Whereas a zombie can easily be corralled using a large pit or a wall of sharpened sticks, the hipster can either be distracted by noise (see below) or other strategies. For example, having a member of your party slow down in front the oblivious pack allows your friends to rush to the door of the destination and scoop the last table well before the hipsters can get there. Such a strategy was employed by some of my family members outside of Beast in Toronto during brunch and it worked like a charm.
- Both zombies and hipsters are attracted to noise
Anybody who watches the show knows that zombies are attracted to noise. Packs of them have been known to veer completely in the other direction with anything from the clinking of pots, the rattling of a fence or jumping up and down repeatedly and screaming “over here!” The same rings true of the hipster. Although the noise does not need to be of an auditory nature, it needs to satisfy the impulsive nature of the hipster and may include things like a semi-lit neon sign, a sandwich board advertising a happy hour or the promise of a 45 minute wait in order to eat a beef cheek taco.
- Skin blemishes are key characteristics of both zombies and hipsters
Skin blemishes are a key identifier of both groups. The presence of decay and discolouration, usually the result of partial death and the lack of SPF 30, is a sure fire way to pick out a zombie. For a hipster, look for colourful sleeve tattoos, quotations or foreign language mantras peppered somewhere on the surface area of the skin. This is not to say that these blemishes can’t become a clandestine feature of either group. A good makeup job, some body spray and a little human love was enough to disguise a zombie in the motion picture “Warm Bodies” while a donning long sleeved plaid shirt nicely hides the floral arrangements and depictions of exotic woman on the forearm of a hipster. Unfortunately, all the Drakkar Noir and Abercrombie and Fitch in the world can’t camouflage the obnoxious behavior exhibited by each which means an astute observer can easily see through the façade.
- The whole is greater than the sum of the parts
Although each zombie in a pack is a unique individual, little regard is given to that individuality of the zombie by outside observers. They all have distant looks on their faces. People tend not to discern between the old and young, male and female or still human like versus quite decayed. A zombie is a zombie. Hipsters are much the same. They all have looks of angst on their face. Externals do not differentiate hipsters based on the size of their ear spacers, their sleeve tattoos, what side of their head their hair is parted on or the colour of plaid shirt they are wearing. A hipster is a hipster. To be fair, there is a subtle difference between the two groups in this regard. Zombies don’t KNOW they are zombies and hipsters don’t THINK they are hipsters.
- Both zombies and hipsters relish the “nose to tail” concept
Although they do it for different reasons, both zombies and hipsters adopt a nose to tail philosophy when it comes to eating. Zombies are not particularly fussy in regarding their diet and will consume anything they can get their hands on. The hipster is slightly more discerning but will often include foodstuffs such as jowls, liver pates, animal glands and heart tartare. I suppose the difference is that a zombie takes little pride in consuming an entire organism while the hipster will tweet, facebook, yelp, zomato snapchat, Instagram or tumble such milestones not to mention the likelihood of a “Keep Calm and Eat Sweetbreads” shirt surfacing somewhere in their wardrobe.
- Both zombies and hipsters are primarily nocturnal
The walking dead zombies are a bit atypical from those depicted in other television shows and movies in that they are not overly adverse to light. That, said, one can argue that they prefer the evening hours for feeding. This is true of the hipster. Feeding hours usually begin after dusk and will proceed until the wee hours of the morning. This is not to suggest that hipsters, like zombies, are adverse to eating during the day. There is a ritual in which hipsters do hunt and feast outside of the dusk to dawn hours…it’s called brunch.
- You don’t mind watching them from a distance but you sure as hell don’t want to be there.
While watching a walking dead marathon, it quickly comes apparent that there is no rest for the human characters. Just when you think Rick and the gang are safe, a hole in the fence or an evil human henchman foils the plan for long term safety, forcing the protagonists to flee and the cycle continues. I sit there watching, grateful that I don’t have to spend my life, like an antelope, looking over my shoulder wondering if I’m about to get eaten. It is extremely uncomfortable but I can’t get enough. I have the same feeling when I see a pack of hipsters. There are fun to watch from a distance, but the thought of actually being involved in the dynamic is as frightening as an encounter with a walker. Sure the smell of hair gel and musky cologne may be slightly better than that of decaying flesh, but the same lack of personal space and relentless monotony of behavior would simply be unbearable for any extended period of time, let alone 5 seasons.
- You can get rid of them by messing with their brains
Any object inserted in the right part of a zombie’s head is enough to curtail any immediate threat . Swords, shovels, sticks and arrows are all effective tools in this regard. For a hipster, the use of such weapons would be illegal and unnecessarily cruel. Instead, aiming your assault at their mental acuity is much acceptable. Engaging in general trivia including references to key historical events or geography outside the hipster universe (such as areas in Ontario outside Parkdale) works nicely. Also, referring to the evening hours in military time (ie. Hey, it’s 2100 hours..don’t you think you should go home now?) or listing menu items that include cents (ie $17.00 vs 17) may be enough to clear a room of hipsters with relative ease.
I think we are in the midst of a hipster apocalypse. Although I wish Max Brooks would release a hipster version as a sequel to his best selling “ The Zombie Survival Guide” , I think the walking dead has taught me enough about hipsters so that, if was cornered in a room with the last crawfish beignet on earth, I could survive the onslaught and live to see another industrial night.