Tonight, My friends and I found ourselves in an unexpected place. To switch things up a bit, we decided to go to The New Parkway Theatre, a pizza joint/pub adjacent to a retro-styled movie theatre filled with assorted couches and loveseats. The entire set-up was a hub for Oakland hipsters that indulge in activities like bingo and beer Tuesdays, art night Wednesdays, and open mics. My friends and I joined Thursday’s trivia night, which turned out to be as I expected, more difficult than we might have presumed. Aside from the fact that I lacked any knowledge on the questions that were being asked, the environment made me feel a little out of place. To be quite honest, I felt like an outsider. It might be because I wasn’t able to order a pint of beer like rest of the adults, but I’m pretty sure that our appearance and age definitely had some part in my isolation. I was getting strange looks from people that didn’t even know me.
While I personally have nothing against their lifestyle and tastes (by all means, be who you want to be, I respect your interests), I do have a problem with the cliquey, cynical and elitist attitudes some people associated with being a “hipster” must embody. They hate when their interests become mainstream yet refuse to respect people who don’t match their persona or wardrobe. Saying things like “You probably haven’t heard of it” or “your music taste doesn’t match your closet” makes you a closed-minded asshole.
Nevertheless, there are cliquey, cynical and elitist attitudes in all groups of people. Calling out one group would be making a one-sided argument. The close-minded asshole can be found anywhere. Labels like “hipsters” or “frat guys” or “yuppies” create larger gaps between people, force ourselves to spot out differences and immediately judge another person’s interests. These ethnocentric actions keep people in their comfort zones and stratify our diverse communities.
Overall, I think going to this joint made me realize that there are so many different personalities, styles and interests around us. Sometimes I get so used of being around the same people and going to the same places, that I forget that our world is diverse in more ways than just ethnicity, religion and gender. By avoiding ethnocentrism, being aware of other people, finding similarities and respecting their individuality, we can avoid becoming the close-minded asshole. Don’t let my opinions or personal feelings stop you from checking out The New Parkway Theatre. I definitely think this cool, unique place is worth a visit! Who knows, it might just be your cup of tea.