Village Life

by Kieran Healy on February 17, 2013

This classic piece of New York Times Style Section trolling on “Hipsturbia” wrestles with the bitter fact that while “Brooklyn no longer feels as carefree as it did”, to “pull up stakes in Brooklyn … one has to make peace with the idea that a certain New York adventure is over”. The hipsters flee to the suburbs, but of course not just any sort of suburb: ‘“Hastings-on-Hudson is a village, in a Wittgensteinian sort of way,” Mr. Wallach said.’ The mind boggles. Although penetrating Mr Wallach’s private language is perhaps impossible and almost certainly inadvisable, to show the fly out of the fly bottle we here present the …

Top Ten Ways that Hastings-on-Hudson might be a Village in a Wittgensteinian Sense

  1. It is filled with very rich people affecting to be quite poor people.
  2. It’s located in a Remote Part of Norway.
  3. If a lion could live in this village, we would not be able to find it a decent duplex. Maybe a condo.
  4. The HOAs are unbelievably picky about exterior paintwork, door design, and appropriate methods of kite-flying.
  5. The configuration of the objects forms the atomic fact. In the atomic fact objects hang one in another, like the members of a chain. However, hanging laundry on chains at any time is absolutely forbidden.
  6. Cutting-edge methods of elementary school instruction designed to enhance discipline, focus, and respect.
  7. A property is internal if it is unthinkable that its object does not possess it, and is located inside the line demarcated on the relevant county plat map page.
  8. Feeding the duckrabbits is forbidden by local ordinance.
  9. Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent after 10pm except on public holidays.
  10. Slightly distressing sense of family resemblance amongst everyone you meet.

{ 109 comments }

1

engels 02.17.13 at 4:12 pm

Does anybody know of a newsagent that offers the paid service of tearing out every part of the New York Times apart Paul Krugman’s columns prior to delivery?

2

Jamie 02.17.13 at 4:15 pm

My attitude towards it is an attitude towards a neighbor of Yonkers. I am not of the opinion that it is near Yonkers.

3

Jamie 02.17.13 at 4:17 pm

Also: altogether too much discussion of rule-following.

4

engels 02.17.13 at 4:22 pm

Villagers have been known to buy two copies of the New York Times, in order to be sure that it is full of BS…

5

Neil 02.17.13 at 4:30 pm

Every building is constructed entirely of slabs.

6

Matt 02.17.13 at 4:31 pm

If you drive a WV Beetle, you must keep it inside a box (like structure) when it’s not in use.

7

Andthenyoufall 02.17.13 at 4:38 pm

I think he’s saying that the hipsters are looking for a maze of little bike paths and farmers markets, of old and new yoga studios, of thrift shops with additions from various periods.

8

Luke 02.17.13 at 4:39 pm

I read it as a reference to PI Pt. I Para. 18: Do not be troubled by the fact that languages (2) and (8) consist only of orders. If you want to say that this shews them to be
incomplete, ask yourself whether our language is complete;—whether
it was so before the symbolism of chemistry and the notation of the
infinitesimal calculus were incorporated in it; *for these are, so to speak,
suburbs of our language. (And how many houses or streets does it
take before a town begins to be a town?) Our language can be seen
as an ancient city: a maze of little streets and squares, of old and new
houses, and of houses with additions from various periods; and this
surrounded by a multitude of new boroughs with straight regular
streets and uniform houses*

9

Felix Gilman 02.17.13 at 4:39 pm

Mysterious Spate Of Ladder Thefts Leaves Brooklyn Roofers And Sign-Painters Stranded

10

Harold 02.17.13 at 4:55 pm

They brought Brooklyn to Vermont many years ago.

11

rf 02.17.13 at 4:55 pm

“The difference is between the first three days of Burning Man, when everyone is ‘Hey, what’s up?’ to the final three days of Burning Man, when the tent flaps are down. Brooklyn is turning out to be the last three days of Burning Man.”

There’s no way this is an accurate quote

12

Harold 02.17.13 at 4:59 pm

More hype from the real estate section of the NYT. Westchester is unbelievably expensive. Those “good” public schools are by no means free. Taxes can be as high as $20,000 a year. It’s the same old same old.

13

Ben Alpers 02.17.13 at 5:06 pm

Hastings-on-Hudson: Where Construction is a Language Game

14

Eric 02.17.13 at 5:29 pm

As a real(tm) Brooklyn hipster, these NY Times articles fill me with a mix of humor and dismay. Some highlight hilarious non-existent trends (hiring a bartender for your tiny apartment party, moving to swanky suburbs that are for rich people with children). But it’s worse when they’re right: “___ street in Williamsburg looks quiet but has lots of good restaurants and bars. A boring family of four moved from Manhattan a few months ago for more space, and they are having a great time and have become hipper than all their old manhattan friends. Everyone with a family should move to Brooklyn.”

The NYTimes Brooklyn pieces also tend to reinforce the stereotype of the wealthy brooklyn hipster, and tend to downplay wealth differences between brooklyn and manhattan. Newsflash: hipster is just a word for a young person in New York who doesn’t work on wall street. You don’t need a trust fund or anything.

15

Eric 02.17.13 at 5:31 pm

A “real” hipster is also unable to use HTML tags properly before noon.

16

casino implosion 02.17.13 at 5:46 pm

Gotta love the “painter from Greenpoint” married to an accu-puncturist…who finds an 860,000$ house affordable. Who are these people?

17

Chris Bertram 02.17.13 at 5:50 pm

The local bar has a one-armed pianist

18

Salient 02.17.13 at 6:08 pm

Hipsters aren’t leaving Brooklyn; it’s Brooklyn that’s leaving the hipsters, man. (But that’s no excuse to reciprocate.)

And gentrification … well, let’s just observe that without it Brooklyn could never have become coalescent.

Eendraght Maeckt Maght. Time for the hipsters to take one for the team. Who’s with me?

19

bh 02.17.13 at 6:08 pm

Style section trolling.

I don’t know why this only occurred to me with this article, but it’s literally trolling, isn’t it? I mean, it can’t be a coincidence that they consistently find the most insufferable people imaginable for these pieces.

I’m not going along with “what is a hipster anyway,’ though. It’s totally definable — a hipster is someone who uses fashion and lifestyle choices to impersonate an artist or intellectual while being substantively neither. You could, of course, keep picking at that definition the same way ad infinitum — What is an artist, anyway? What is an intellectual? But outside of contexts that make people feel defensive, we don’t tend to have a hard time defining those terms either.

It’s certainly true that ‘hipster’ is used as generic-to-the-point-of-uselessness slur by a lot of right-leaning people, but — listen to the David Cross WTF for an example — it’s also a meaningful, rage-inducing phenomenon who can’t be classified that way. Oh no, it’s not “self-loathing” either… even if you think it’s a meaningless term, it’s unquestionably — perhaps this is the best criticism — something that only applies to other people.

20

bh 02.17.13 at 6:13 pm

Argh, there should be a “for people” in-between “…phenomenon” and “who can’t be classified….” in the first sentence of the last para.

21

pedant 02.17.13 at 6:19 pm

das dorf ist alles was da falsch ist.

22

rf 02.17.13 at 6:19 pm

“I don’t know why this only occurred to me with this article, but it’s literally trolling, isn’t it?”

I’m not sure, you’re on a deadline and your editor isn’t loving the ‘wealthy families move to suburbs for quality of life’ angle, so you give well known futurist Ari Wallach a call..

23

Mao Cheng Ji 02.17.13 at 6:20 pm

Anything there about yellow suede shoes and bottle green bowler hats?

24

Andrew Burday 02.17.13 at 6:20 pm

No village rule may — or can — be understood literally. Compliance with the rules shall be understood in terms of ongoing acts of communal interpretation.

But really, I don’t know why we’re all being so snarky. It’s just the NYT, going on in the same way it has before.

25

bianca steele 02.17.13 at 6:26 pm

consistently find the most insufferable people imaginable for these pieces

Good, thanks . . . I’m looking for metaphors for my post with the cult-stud analysis of Dinner for \[Putzes\]. I mean, maybe these people are, simply, “remarkable.” In a Wittgensteinian sense.

I’m over forty and probably don’t really get the implications of “hipster.” I didn’t assume they were trying to pretend to be creative or copying styles from artists qua artists. There have been club kids for a long time, and they’ve been a mix of rich and working class kids for a long time, and also a mix of artists and non-.

26

bianca steele 02.17.13 at 6:40 pm

It’s just the NYT, going on in the same way it has before.

Hey, I just deleted almost exactly the same sentence from the end of my comment, but I decided “they always get things wrong when they venture out more than a couple of blocks from the newsroom” is probably true of every paper.

27

Donald A. Coffin 02.17.13 at 6:45 pm

Odd. The one time I was in H-on-H (that’d be late December 1967/early January 1968), I thought it was a relatively normal suburban town (that had actually had a prior existence as a real community before becoming primarily a bedroom community for NYC middle-class professional commuters).

28

pjm 02.17.13 at 6:56 pm

Someone waved a hot poker at Wallach there?

29

Luis 02.17.13 at 7:07 pm

I decided “they always get things wrong when they venture out more than a couple of blocks from the newsroom” is probably true of every paper.

Right, but most papers don’t have enough resources to produce a constant stream of faux-anthropology pieces about people who live more than a couple of blocks from the newsroom, so it’s not as obvious.

30

bianca steele 02.17.13 at 7:16 pm

Not just anthropology pieces, though, even violent crime pieces always seem to get some crucial facts wrong. I’ve heard more than one person say that there’s a point when you realize that every article you’ve ever read in the paper that was about something you knew about has been wrong, but I don’t remember whether I’ve only heard this said about the New York Times.

31

rf 02.17.13 at 7:19 pm

How expensive is Brooklyn btw if they’re being priced out to 800 grand houses in the suburbs? There must be something cheaper somewhere..what about Queens and the Bronx?

32

Eric 02.17.13 at 8:31 pm

@rf
The prices have been going up dramatically, so any info you get it probably out of date. I’d say that in prime, amenity-rich brooklyn areas, most normal (non-condo) apartments are around $1000/person per month — studios start at $1400. Once you get further into Brooklyn or off the main subway lines, you may find places that are $700/month or more, and studios in the $1200/month range. Once you get further than that or into “worse” areas, prices become more “normal”. You can get a little lower if you find, say, a large 2 bedroom that can actually fit 3. This is speaking from the perspective of a young-ish Brooklynite–a family or person with higher standards may have settle for a pricier place. Of course, Manhattan is even more expensive.
That is at least my estimation–that’s after a few years in which prices have gone up $100-$200/month and it demand is still pretty high.

33

christian_h 02.17.13 at 8:39 pm

The depressing part is that the style and real estate sections of the NYT explain the rest of the paper. It can’t be understood without them – they are the most honest part of the product.

34

nick s 02.17.13 at 8:51 pm

I’ve heard more than one person say that there’s a point when you realize that every article you’ve ever read in the paper that was about something you knew about has been wrong

Usually it’s a story that you know well enough to see the holes, and from there, you extrapolate to all the other stories that you don’t know well enough.

The NYT has stories about people (the part-mythological sliver of NY-metro demographics defined specifically for advertiser-signalling purposes) and it has stories about human animals. The former are (crappy) sociology, the latter are anthropology, peering at the native seed-growers of the plains or the hunter-gatherers of the south.

christian_h is right: the style and real estate sections are the frame for the rest of the paper.

35

Cincinnatus C. 02.17.13 at 8:54 pm

Bianca Steele @27:
Ha, I’ve been saying that about the papers here in Toronto for years and years.

36

Steve LaBonne 02.17.13 at 9:23 pm

The local bar has a one-armed pianist

Good one.

37

engels 02.17.13 at 9:54 pm

What do you call someone who comes from a well-to-do background and started life with a trust fund but cultivates an unkempt appearance and eschews a traditional career path in favour of a series of low-status occupations – teaching, gardening, dabbling at being an architect – none of which he sticks at long enough to turn into a career? Thinks philosophy is rubbish and finds traditional academic study stuffy but holds forth in a cryptic vein on the ‘big questions’? Courts a cult following who mimic his style and mannerisms? Is invited to othe town’s hippest club but shocks everyone by refusing to go? Goes off for long periods on expensive holidays but always off-season, to avoid the mainstream?

38

herr doktor bimler 02.17.13 at 10:10 pm

Wittgensteinian village?
Wittgenstein

wrote me an unhappy letter saying, The men of Trattenbach are wicked”. I replied, “All men are wicked”. He rejoined, “True, but the men of Trattenbach are more wicked than the men of any other place”. I retorted that my logical sense rebelled against such a statement; and there the matter rested until residence elsewhere enlarged his view as to the prevalence of sin.

39

Ken Houghton 02.17.13 at 10:16 pm

re: rf (#28) and Eric’s reply (#29).

An $800K house would be mortgage payments of about $4,000 a month for 30-years fixed at 4.5%. (800K is still, I believe, a non-conforming mortgage, so higher-than-listed rates even with a perfect credit rating.)

Even if you assume 20% down–read: $160,000 in savings while living in “hispter” Brooklyn–and a 4% rate, that’s still $3,000 a month.

Plus Westchester property taxes, which even for Hastings will run them about $900/month. Add in additional commuting expenses–$229/month per person–and water, sanitation, heating/electric services and basic maintenance on the house and you’re around, optimistically, another $1,000/month over and above a flat in Brooklyn. Probably closer to $1,500.

So Hastings-on-Hudson–which was a nice place when I was visiting there in the early 1980s–is going to cost have a basic cost of about $5,500/month. Before you get to any “you need to drive” expenses, you’re spending ca. $65,000 a year–about 1.5 times the median U.S. household income. (Also before food, clothing, communication, entertainment, and any other expenses.)

Reason #1 still wins the thread.

40

uffy 02.17.13 at 10:37 pm

Why not move to West Bronx?

41

bianca steele 02.17.13 at 10:39 pm

the style and real estate sections are the frame for the rest of the paper.

Definitely, this piece (having now read it) is just a story about where the cool towns are, if you’re thinking of leaving Brooklyn and you’re a Style section reader (and why, if you’ve been househunting in those towns, stuff in the 700k-800k range is moving so quickly). There’s some dubious sociology mixed in, like the dancer talking about “realizing you’re not cut out for this kind of life,” which it’s not stated whether she means she realized she won’t have a career as a dancer, or won’t have a career as a star and doesn’t care unless she can, or can’t get a dancing job at all, or wants kids, or can’t live in Brooklyn on a non-star’s pay, or can’t live in Brooklyn on a yoga instructor’s pay–annoyingly, it comes out as some, some dubious life lesson to make the story “meaningful,” about how most people reading the paper will someday realize they’re not good enough for the nice things it describes, or something.

Also, only about half of the people in that article are presenting themselves as artists, or apparently pretending to be “poor.” It’s not clear who it is who believes yoga studios, Democrats, and non-crappy restaurants in the suburbs are some crazy innovation. Westchester County is generally a pretty good place, though, if you’re looking for a town with a still-vibrant center, not a postwar suburb. And the hills are pretty.

42

brad 02.17.13 at 10:43 pm

Remember the first rule of hipster club; bitching about hipsters means you are one.

43

rf 02.17.13 at 11:06 pm

Oh I agree. Hipsters are the glue that holds the modern city together. They should be cherised and encouraged. Our tech futurist ruling classes like Ari Wallach are the real fly in the ointment

44

Jeremy 02.17.13 at 11:22 pm

@38 The depressing part is that the style and real estate sections of the NYT explain the rest of the paper. It can’t be understood without them – they are the most honest part of the product.

From the perspective of the how the company makes money, isn’t it largely the case that the New York Times is basically a money-losing vanity publication put out by a Manhattan real-estate concern?

45

John Protevi 02.17.13 at 11:29 pm

From the perspective of the how the company makes money, isn’t it largely the case that the New York Times is basically a money-losing vanity publication put out by a Manhattan real-estate concern?

I like this, as a pendant to “Harvard is a hedge fund with a university as its tax dodge.”

46

godoggo 02.18.13 at 12:16 am

Too late, I know, but still, I apologize for all the bad things I’ve done on the internet.

47

Matt 02.18.13 at 12:26 am

Thinks philosophy is rubbish and finds traditional academic study stuffy but holds forth in a cryptic vein on the ‘big questions’?

I’m not sure what most people think count as “the big questions”, but if it’s things like the meaning of life, why we should be moral, whether there is a god, why there is something rather than nothing, and the like, then Wittgenstein basically never discussed such things, particularly in the reports of his lectures. Even questions like personal identity, the nature of knowledge, and solipsism are looked at in ways that are better thought of as indirect than “cryptic”, I’d think.

I’d also think it’s inaccurate to say that he “courted” a cult following, if that means anything other than “inspired” one.

More importantly, rather than discussing hipsters or the NY Times, I wish people would get back to making village jokes. Kieran set the bar high and it’s hard to compete with that (I know) but it would be more interesting.

48

engels 02.18.13 at 1:21 am

Matt: you’re right. I think W did address ‘big questions’ but agree what I wrote was misleading. Still think the interpretation of W as proto-hipster is a promising one though.

49

A 02.18.13 at 1:38 am

I wish there were a New York Times for people who not only don’t give a rat’s ass about Brooklyn, but could care less about New York in general. Like a USA Today but not for idiots.

50

William Berry 02.18.13 at 2:05 am

Ha! I’m a little slow tonight. It took me a while to get CB’s joke about the one-armed pianist. Funney, indeed.

51

William Berry 02.18.13 at 2:06 am

funny . . .
.

52

DonBoy 02.18.13 at 2:06 am

Oh….Good….God….

My mother sold our house in HOH a year and a half ago; our family moved there in 1973 but I graduated high school in 1976, so I never had deep friendships there; but it was my parents’ home for a total of 38 years. Anyway, I don’t recognize this place from these descriptions. Which I guess proves nothing since I just explained that I’m not really an expert.

53

Hastings resident 02.18.13 at 2:07 am

Re: #35,

$800K probably gets you 4-5 bedrooms and 2000-2500 sq ft in Hastings. A better comp to what’s available for families in prime Brooklyn is the $600Ka range – there are plenty of houses in that range with 2-3 beds and 1500-2000 sq ft. Generally the add-on costs in Westchester (RE taxes, maintenance) end up being about the same as in prime Brooklyn (RE taxes, city income tax, maintenance). I’ve found it to be legitmately cheaper to raise a family here than it was in Brooklyn.

Of course, unlike the delusional people in the article – I’m well aware that I’m living in a suburb.

54

bad Jim 02.18.13 at 2:47 am

Are there any pieces for piano three-hands?

55

engels 02.18.13 at 3:16 am

56

js. 02.18.13 at 3:42 am

The newly renamed village, Slab-on-Slab, is everything that is the case.

57

engels 02.18.13 at 4:15 am

I send someone shopping. I give him a slip marked ‘two black pairs of skinny jeans’. He takes the slip to the shopkeeper, who opens the drawer marked ‘pairs of skinny jeans’, then he looks up the word ‘black’ in a table and finds a colour sample opposite it; then he says the series of cardinal numbers—I assume that he knows them by heart—up to the word ‘two’ and for each number he takes a pair of skinny jeans of the same colour as the sample out of the drawer.—It is in this and similar ways that one operates with words…

58

engels 02.18.13 at 4:19 am

I’ll stop now.

59

ges 02.18.13 at 4:30 am

Actually I live in hoh, and have for 20 years… This whole piece is a nyt fairy tale. I promise you we aren’t hip.

60

floopmeister 02.18.13 at 5:10 am

I’d say that in prime, amenity-rich brooklyn areas, most normal (non-condo) apartments are around $1000/person per month — studios start at $1400… Of course, Manhattan is even more expensive.
That is at least my estimation–that’s after a few years in which prices have gone up $100-$200/month and it demand is still pretty high.

Sounds cheap in comparison to Melbourne, frankly.

61

Meredith 02.18.13 at 5:30 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY8bsQQLm9Y

THIS is Brooklyn. Well, there’s MUCH more to Brooklyn than this. Spike Lee is a beginning to the more. But everyone knows about Spike Lee. I promote this film every chance I get. Saw it first a few summers ago in a Brooklyn park on a lovely summer evening with my daughter, who was from one point of view a NYT hipster invader, from another, a law student working on behalf of the Spike Lee constituency. (I worried a lot about her in the brief period she was living in a dangerous area in a building with no working locks on the the building’s front door.) Just sayin’, it’s all a lovely mess.

I also promote: http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/
Unfortunately, Jeremiah’s vanishing new york, which has previously been Manhattan-centered, is starting to move Brooklyn-ward.

62

Harold 02.18.13 at 5:54 am

I love the little short — but it bothers me a tiny bit that the younger nun is wearing high heels. Also, this is a quibble, but one of the hassidic boys gestures with both hands, which is characteristic of Italian, but not Jewish gesture language — but this is really only bothersome on second viewing and I don’t think I’d have noticed it if hadn’t been jolted by the nun in heels. Anyway, cavils, aside. I wish they would make a more little short films dramatizing long Jewish jokes – a whole library, in fact.

That reminds me, I wish they would bring back that wonderful 1950s short of Gogol’s “The Bespoke Overcoat” transposed to a Jewish setting — in London, I think it was? Must look on Youtube.

63

js. 02.18.13 at 6:03 am

Also: Kieran’s #10 is clearly the winner.

64

David Irving (no relation) 02.18.13 at 6:19 am

I must try reading some Wittgenstein, although everything I know of him second-hand doesn’t encourage me. Anyone who failed to understand Goedel probably doesn’t have much to offer …

The one-armed piano player was good.

65

Meredith 02.18.13 at 6:31 am

Harold, don’t know about variations in nuns’ heel heights (not spike here here, anyway — good solid heels on that younger nun), but I’d take issue with the hand gestures’ being particularly Italian (though Italians would recognize them). Here, at least, they are the gestures of an eager adolescent in the flush of feeling some adult authority in the world — Marcus Pincus made me a suit!

I read the short in terms of self-definition in terms of others, starting from the view of the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn (perhaps the shot most relevant to the OP here).

Note the Muslim women, who look a lot like Catholic nuns (just as the Catholic priests in the early shots look like the young “Talmudic scholars”) rounding the corner near the end.

Everybody looks alike, but don’t. Black or navy blue? Poor Marcus Pincus! He meant well.

66

Matt 02.18.13 at 6:36 am

I’ll stop now.

Please don’t- the #50 was very funny.

67

Harold 02.18.13 at 6:43 am

Yes, it was lovely. And very true. Just saw “The Bespoke Overcoat” on Youtube. Not a joke but almost unbearably sad.

68

Both Sides Do It 02.18.13 at 7:13 am

It’s a town full of people who know how much truth there is in solipsism.

69

bad Jim 02.18.13 at 7:14 am

About his sister’s house, this (from Wikipedia):

In particular, Wittgenstein focused on the windows, doors, and radiators, demanding that every detail be exactly as he specified. When the house was nearly finished Wittgenstein had an entire ceiling raised 30mm so that the room had the exact proportions he wanted. Monk writes that “This is not so marginal as it may at first appear, for it is precisely these details that lend what is otherwise a rather plain, even ugly house its distinctive beauty.”

almost seems lifted from E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “Der Rat Krespel”, whose protagonist has a house constructed to his precise desires in a ridiculous but efficacious fashion, first having the stone walls built up to a satisfactory height, then marching up to each side to determine where the doors and the windows should be.

70

bad Jim 02.18.13 at 7:34 am

Paul dismissed the concerto Prokofiev wrote for him, and much as it pains me to admit it, there’s probably a reason that the only concerto for one hand still played today is Ravel’s.

71

ajay 02.18.13 at 10:25 am

I refuse to accept that there is no rhinoceros in Hastings-on-Hudson.

From the perspective of the how the company makes money, isn’t it largely the case that the New York Times is basically a money-losing vanity publication put out by a Manhattan real-estate concern?
I like this, as a pendant to “Harvard is a hedge fund with a university as its tax dodge.”

See also “The US government is basically an insurance company with an army”, Paul Krugman.

72

ajay 02.18.13 at 10:26 am

1. If a lion were in the YMCA, we would be unable to tell whether he was having fun or not.

– The Wittgensteinian Village People

73

rf 02.18.13 at 12:23 pm

“Sounds cheap in comparison to Melbourne, frankly.”

Yeah it’s not so bad, more or less what you’d pay in London, with the same caveats about the centrality of the area etc My friend moved to Melbourne and said it’s a joke cost of living wise, though her sister moved to Perth and claims it’s even worse. Your wages are pretty good over there afaik and the weathers nice, so that’s something.

74

JP Stormcrow 02.18.13 at 12:41 pm

On the other hand the truth of the thoughts communicated in the article seems to me unassailable and definitive. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the problems of rationalizing not living in Brooklyn have in essentials been finally solved. And if I am not mistaken in this, then the value of this article secondly consists in the fact that it shows how little has been accomplished when these problems have been solved.

75

JP Stormcrow 02.18.13 at 12:59 pm

“For since beginning to occupy myself with the serious life again, sixteen
years ago, I have been forced to recognize grave mistakes in what I
said in that first article.”

–Ari Wallach quoted in a 2038 NY Times article, “Hipsters Return to their Roots”

76

Pamlet 02.18.13 at 4:10 pm

“What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.” (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus)

I’m surprised no one has riposted with this yet. Ah, the sad ignorance of Wittgenstein.

77

Jerry Vinokurov 02.18.13 at 4:32 pm

I assume that, for the people that live there, Hastings-on-Hudson is all that is the case.

78

Eimear Ní Mhéalóid 02.18.13 at 5:53 pm

I was assuming the Wittgensteinian village would resemble Rosroe, Killary Harbour.
http://goo.gl/maps/SyPHk
(In street view, check out the small plaque on the bungalow)

79

ezra abrams 02.18.13 at 6:57 pm

wow, the n y times shows itself to be clueless and rich.
I mean, ain’t never happened before

(I am praying that most of the comments here are by people from other countries, or people under the age of 25, cause if you are over 25, the idea that you would be surprised by the upper middle class obtuseness of the Times is a bit scary…)

every now and then, the Times runs a foibles of the rich and famous story:

Mrs van der walloon, a member of the old dutch aristocracy (the ones who wouldn’t let the vanderbilts into the old opera on 14th street, which is why we have the met) went to tiffanys to pick up a 10,000 dollar bauble for her grand daughter, and , as she was walking away, told the clerk, put it on my account.
(painful silence)
um, ms van der walloon, you have to sign for things now…..(the point of the story was how tiffanys was going down market, and ignoring its real customers)

or
guy walks into tiffanys, goes up to the watch counter, and says, I’ll have 12 of those (10,000 dollar watches).
(raised eyebrow by clerk)
response: this year, i don’t want to have to remember who got what for xmas….

or
guy is looking at the Ferrari(s) in his hamptons driveway, and is pissed cause there is no room to do a u turn in the driveway, what with 2 or 3 ferraris taking up all that space.
it is sunday on memorial day weekend – the entire USofA is on vacation
guy calls his contractor, says how much to have the driveway widened *today*
“thats what you call the velocity of money” the times quoted him as saying

80

Harold 02.18.13 at 7:26 pm

Hand gestures: http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/essays/body-language.php?page=all
However, according to a celebrated 1941 study by David Efron, as Jews and Italians become assimilated their gestures do become more alike (i.e., more similar to those of the Anglophone population):

According to Efron, Jews used a limited range of motion, mostly from the elbow. Their movements were more angular, jabbing, intricate, and vertical than those of the Italians, who used larger, smoother, more curved lateral gestures which pivoted from the shoulder. Jews tended to use one hand, Italians both. Italians touched their own bodies, Jews touched the bodies of their conversational partners…. Efron describes with delight an episode he witnessed where one man grabbed the arm of his interlocutor and started gesturing with it. That man, becoming annoyed, finally grabbed the first man’s wrist in retaliation and “started admonishing him back with his own…hand.” Jews also did more gesturing with objects such as pencils or, in one case, a meatball on the end of a fork. Italians used less finger and wrist movement but more repetition. They also had a vocabulary of symbolic gestures with standard meanings—from “I know more than you think I do” to “I’ll sew your lips together” to “I’ll poke your eyes out”—that could be understood without any speech at all.

The main result, the one the study was designed to find, was that as the Jews and Italians assimilated, they began to gesture alike. When Efron tested a group of students at a high school in Little Italy on the meanings of the symbolic gestures used by the unassimilated Italians, less than half of their judgments were correct. He came to the anticipated conclusion: as Jews and Italians became American, so did their gestures.

81

Substance McGravitas 02.18.13 at 7:34 pm

82

TheSophist 02.18.13 at 8:45 pm

On Main Street, at Russell’s Barbershop, all are shaved except…

83

bianca steele 02.18.13 at 9:13 pm

Let us explain the word “village” by pointing to a pencil and saying “this is village.”

84

dsquared 02.18.13 at 9:49 pm

“It’s quite an obscure club. You probably haven’t heard about it. The rules are made by one guy, who is the only member”

85

Meredith 02.19.13 at 12:10 am

Harold: “He came to the anticipated conclusion: as Jews and Italians became American, so did their gestures.”

Ah! Interesting. Compare the way the nuns are listening for Latin or Hebrew as their test, the Talmudic young men are watching for “true” black (Catholic nuns can be trusted to be Talmudic scholars’ true test of black, right? of course!), and the only spoken words we hear in this whole short are English (so we viewers know): Marcus Pincus f-ed us! Latin, to be sure, thinks the young nun (in her ignorance of Latin!) (I like that the older nun — emphasis on old, here — is the only one who gets it, along with Marcus, of course, who is also older. But then, neither of these older folks actually sees the larger picture either. In the end, it will be up to those young folks, including the young Muslim women, all eager with their sexual and other kinds of youthful energy. They’ll figure something out. Gotta have faith, the way the older nun and Marcus do. Forget the NYT on this kind of thing.)

86

floopmeister 02.19.13 at 12:51 am

Hey rf;

Apparently the NYT has heard of Melbourne too… apparently though without the anti-hipster snark:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/travel/36-hours-in-melbourne-australia.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

Gives some idea of the prices!

87

David Irving (no relation) 02.19.13 at 1:17 am

Melbourne’s nice, rf. I have a cousin who lives there.

Adelaide has a better climate, though (although the last few days have been brutal – 39C – I almost turned the airconditioner on), and the houses are cheaper too.

Oh, and not much Wittgenstein.

88

JanieM 02.19.13 at 1:20 am

Catholic nuns can be trusted to be Talmudic scholars’ true test of black, right? of course!

Except when they’re “blue nuns,” which is the kind I grew up with.

:)

89

Nick 02.19.13 at 2:39 am

I’m listening to Billy Joel singing Piano Man, and thanks to you people now I can’t stop hearing the hipster version in my head. Helping them forget about their hipster troubles for a while and all that…now there’s that old Cat Stevens song about the hipster father talking to his son about moving out of Brooklyn! Who is playing this music? Can they please turn it off and stop making me feeling weirdly sorry for hipsters.

90

Meredith 02.19.13 at 2:51 am

I’ll lay off, but I’ve been feeling guilty about not properly crediting the director and editor, Gordon Grinberg. (Yes, we live post-Babel, but.) His site (with a higher quality version than YouTube):
http://www.gordongrinberg.com/Editor/Tailor.html

91

floopmeister 02.19.13 at 2:55 am

David (NR),

Yeah I grew up in Adelaide (Belair – Adelaide Hills). Great little city – love Melbourne but still have a soft spot for Adelaide.

I remember falling in love with ‘ginger beer and milk’ as a kid – could get it from a little deli somewhere in the CBD…

92

Nattering Nabob 02.19.13 at 5:16 am

Here we come up against the great question that lies behind all these considerations. — For someone might object against me: “You take the easy way out! You talk about all sorts of hipster things, but have nowhere said what the essence of hipster things, and hence of hipsterdom, is: what is common to all these activities, and what makes them hipster, or part of hipsterdom. So you let yourself off the very part of the investigation that once gave you yourself most headache, the part about the general form of hipster activities, and of hipsterdom.

And this is true. — Instead of producing something common to all that we call hipster, I am saying that these phenomena have no one thing in common which makes us use the same word for all, — but that they are related to one another in many different ways. And it is because of this relationship, or these relationships, that we call them all “hipster”. I will try to explain this.

93

ajay 02.19.13 at 10:08 am

Catholic nuns can be trusted to be Talmudic scholars’ true test of black, right?

I thought it was priests’ socks? Ordinary shops sell what look like black socks, but if you look closely, you’ll see that they’re very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue.

94

LeeAnn 02.19.13 at 10:40 am

“I wish there were a New York Times for people who not only don’t give a rat’s ass about Brooklyn, but could care less about New York in general. Like a USA Today but not for idiots.”

But there is, the International Herald Tribune. I subscribed when I moved to Asia and couldn’t get the NYT, and now I can’t deal with the whole NYT anymore when we visit the US–it’s too much extra stuff about a bunch of stuff I don’t care about. I’m pretty sure it’s possible to get domestic subscriptions.

95

speranza 02.19.13 at 5:14 pm

Anyone who failed to understand Goedel probably doesn’t have much to offer …

I can’t tell if this is meant in earnest or as a satire on the spirit of hipsterist one-upmanship.

96

ben w 02.19.13 at 7:04 pm

Anyone who failed to understand Goedel probably doesn’t have much to offer …

Whether or not Wittgenstein misunderstood Goedel is the subject of some dispute. Floyd and Putnam have an article claiming he did understand incompleteness just fine, for instance (it’s on scribd).

97

rf 02.19.13 at 7:19 pm

“Gives some idea of the prices!”

“Melbourne’s nice, rf. I have a cousin who lives there.”

I actually did get to go once, a few years ago when I lived in New Zealand, but only for a week, and I happened to catch a cold, miss my plane and forget to book a hostel during Melbourne cup week..so it wasn’t the best trip, but definitely a nice city, and it wasn’t overly expensive back then, as far as I can recall. I think most people I know who have moved there generally like it, but they’re coming to the realisation that they’ll probably be relocating for the long term, rather than just a couple of years, and aren’t particularly happy with that reality. But what can you do

98

engels 02.19.13 at 8:26 pm

Anyone who failed to understand Banach-Tarski doesn’t have much to offer. And your favourite band sucks.

99

Jeremy 02.20.13 at 2:43 am

Anyone who failed to understand Banach-Tarski doesn’t have much to offer. And your favourite band sucks.

I suppose the next line has to be about how you were into Banach-Tarski back before the XKCD comic when it hit the mainstream.

100

NJM 02.20.13 at 3:01 am

I found Melbourne wasn’t too crazy, pricewise. But thinking back on it, I lived in Brunswick and Northcote, aka the suburbs hipsters go to because they are priced out of the CBD. Also, I rented, because the academic lifestyle doesn’t encourage house purchasing at early levels.

101

floopmeister 02.20.13 at 4:24 am

…the academic lifestyle doesn’t encourage house purchasing at early levels

Hear you there.

Although there are no hipsters living in Northcote and Brunswick now – they’re the melbourne equivalent of Brooklyn.

102

Meredith 02.20.13 at 4:45 am

Priests’ socks.

Interesting that priests play so little role in this short. The marginalized (relative to Catholic priests) — two nuns, a Jewish tailor and two late-adolescent “Talmudic scholars” (one of the older nun’s moments of half-understanding — still she, with Marcus Pincus, is the closest to wisdom we get here, and I appreciate her respectful optimistic designation of these sweet young men — like Marcus’ licking his finger then tamping down of that lapel), and (as a wonderful coda, the young Muslim women) — they all participate in the arena of exchange (no matter how confused the exchangers are about the standards of exchange).

But those priests at the opening, do they play so small a role? That shot of the church near the opening, the bells in the sound-track…. No, they have their role. In Brooklyn, at the margins. Like Manhattan’s NYT. (But, hey, be careful, Brooklyn, maybe those priests really are in control: Bloomberg?)

103

John Quiggin 02.20.13 at 5:08 am

Brisbane is best, unless you like winter.

But, as regards hipsters, it’s a place where I could probably pass as hip, if I tried. Then again, no one tries too much here. We were laid back avant la lettre, thanks to the climate.

104

floopmeister 02.20.13 at 12:36 pm

Strangely enough – I seem to remember reading somewhere that Brisbane has the biggest population of Goths in Australia?

If that’s true (given the climate) that demonstrates an impressive commitment to fashion/lifestyle choice!

105

bianca steele 02.20.13 at 2:48 pm

I blame the fashion sense of too many middle aged suburban women on the loss of the habit. I almost wrote a blog post on this, but realized halfway through that writing “the tweedy women in sensible shoes in the Dunkin Donuts next to the St. Vincent de Pauw Thrift Shop” should have given me a clue a little earlier. But I feel this is related to my (former) hairdresser’s insistence that I’m too old not to have my hair cut quite short.

As for Hastings-on-Hudson, Google Maps informs me that it’s home to the Sisters of Street Francis. I imagine they devote themselves to cupcakes in the manner of the monks of the Grand Chartreuse.

106

John Quiggin 02.20.13 at 9:06 pm

We certainly have plenty of Goths. As you say, it shows impressive commitment on the part of our young people – in fact, we even seem to have some old Goths

107

James 02.20.13 at 10:09 pm

Now it is established that the New York Times gets it wrong about people who live in the state of New York. Who is willing to take the next step, and understand that the Times gets it wrong about the people living in the other 49 states?

108

wolfgang 02.21.13 at 9:20 pm

@pedant #21 >> das dorf ist alles was da falsch ist.

Die NYT ist alles was nicht der Fall ist.

109

JimmyZ 02.22.13 at 5:39 am

James 107, do you remember the famous piece they did on grunge music in Seattle?

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