Is Martha Stewart the New Hipster Hero?

Illustration for article titled Is Martha Stewart the New Hipster Hero?

Is Martha Stewart, Our Lady of Cranberry Relish and Thinly Veiled Apoplexy, the latest mascot of 21st-century hipsterdom? I have no idea, but the internet certainly has feelings on the subject! According to some breathless trend-gathering in the New York Times, young "hipster" people with novelty pants and artisanal last names are currently really really into our gal Mar-Mar—to the point where they are crafting shabby-chic trifles out of garbage with Type-A-Dragon-Lady precision! Willy-nilly all over Brooklyn! A TREND INDEED. Just check out this preciousness:

Tony Stinkmetal, a many-tattooed East Village artist and a fixture at the Artists and Fleas craft bazaar in Brooklyn, would not strike most people as a Martha Stewart devotee.

But after his business partner, Keith Bishop, watched a 5 a.m. rerun of a Martha Stewart program on how to turn a castoff men's jacket into a throw blanket, he decided to make a similar blanket from discarded Star Wars sheets. From that first blanket, the two men developed Golly NYC, a brand of T-shirts and lamps created from vintage children's sheets (depicting cartoons or superheroes), inspired by Ms. Stewart's emphasis on craftsmanship and perfectionism.


Now. A couple of things.

1) I fucking love Martha Stewart, because she is quite obviously a raging kookaburra terror, and usually people like that hide their kookaburra ways under a thick veneer of PR and/or pill haze. Martha doesn't do that. She is terrifying! And yet so competent! And hilarious! Watch the guests cower before her! So I'm not going to sit here and begrudge the Honorable Antonio J. Stinkmetal, Esq. his Martha love. (Also, unrelated: Did you know that she's 71 years old!?!? She just seems soooooooo perpetually 47.)

2) What the fuck is a hipster, you guys. The term "hipster" is vague to the point of meaninglessness. As far as I can tell, it just means someone you don't like who's younger than your dad. Pointless. Put it to bed, y'all. PUT IT TO BED.*

3) I'm pretty sure the current crafting movement and urban chickens and rooftop beekeeping (you guys know those things are FULL OF BEES, RIGHT!?) are much, much bigger than a couple of dudes' cutesy (though totally justified, see No. 1) affection for M-Stew.

Basically, I don't really know what to do with this "story," so I'll let the always shrewd Jen Doll at the Atlantic take us out:

"She's like the Jesus of the craft world," said one fan to Haughney. Yet, Haughney writes, "Despite all of this encouraging news, Ms. Stewart's company still has not figured out how to make these loyal fans lift it out of its deep financial troubles, no matter how many costs are cut." The problem is that no matter how much so-called hipsters love Martha, these hipsters are not terribly likely to buy her merch at (or set foot in) the big department stores.

...Imagine: If we stop throwing around the label hipster to mean whatever we want it to, to add shock value or fun to a story that's really just about crafty people liking crafts, and maybe selling them, despite a propensity toward tattoos, where would we be? We'd just be talking about Martha Stewart.



*Yes, I realize I wrote an article with "Hipster Racism" in the title one time, but I only used that term because it was the term that people were using all over the internet.


Violet Baudelaire

I've always defined a hipster by attitude towards what they do. It's a certain undefinable smugness and self-satisfaction with a some inner self-hatred mixed in. It's the classic attitude they have towards music, for instance; "I love this band you've never heard of (smugness, self-satisfaction) but I will hate them as soon as they get popular (Now that you like them, I've lost what's made me different and special and I'm back to hating myself because I don't feel better than you anymore!). Or the liking of things ironically (I like this ironically, because you're not expecting it and so I can feel smug and better than you when I've surprised you, and because I don't feel confident enough in myself to admit I actually genuinely love this)

You can do 1 million crafts and ride bikes and love microbrews and whatnot, but hipster is an attitude about the way you do it. Oh, and hats, stupid, stupid hats.