Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ghetto Baskets? Yet Another Reason To Hate Hipsters...

Anyone who reads this site knows I'm no fan of "hipsters". For those somehow unaware, here's the wikipedia definition of "hipster", no doubt written by some random hipster. The irony!
Hipster is a slang term which appeared in the 1940s. In the 1990s and 2000s it was used in various, sometimes contradictory ways, often to describe types of young, recently-settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with interests in non-mainstream fashion and culture, particularly alternative music, independent rock, independent film, magazines such as Vice, and Clash, and websites like Pitchfork Media. In some contexts, hipsters are also referred to as scenesters.

It is difficult to give a precise definition of "hipster culture" because it is a "mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior[s]." One commentator argues that "hipsterism fetishizes the authentic" elements of all of the "fringe movements of the postwar era—Beat, hippie, punk, even grunge," and draws on the "cultural stores of every unmelted ethnicity" and "gay style", and "regurgitates it with a winking inauthenticity" and a sense of irony.
One potential downside of the Obama ascent to Presidency has been the proliferation of hipster counter-culture as pertains to racism. There was that idiot selling those "ironic" Obama/Hitler shirts, the moronic "Obama penis" display in that NYC art gallery, and many more examples than I can shake a stick at. Add this latest batch of foolishness to the scrap heap of irony.
[website name redacted] is a way of life. It's keepin’ it real. It’s the real deal. Seriously, it's for real. As in: order one and it will actually be delivered. It might be funny, but it's no joke.

We are a group of concerned citizens who realize the plight of our economy and the course our country is headed. We’ve made it our life’s mission to provide sensible offerings to those who would not otherwise be able to afford them. We use the cheapest products we can find and pass the savings on to you, our valued consumer. In these dark and dreary times these baskets provide hope for a brighter future. And the future of our children. Thank you for your support.

Appropriate occasions for the Ghetto Basket:

You just found out the baby isn’t yours
A loved one was recently released from prison
The tornado didn’t blow your trailer away
Mom found her tooth
You just got your GED
Arbor Day

It's that simple.
And what might these vaunted "Ghetto Baskets" contain?
You never know exactly what each Ghetto Basket will include. It all depends on our shaky contacts and what falls off of trucks around the neighborhood. But it might have:

Hot Sauce
Pregnancy Test
Grape Drink
Beef Jerky
Potted Meat
Pork Rinds
Noodles in a Cup
After Shave
Plastic Commemorative Plate
Religious Candle
Porcelain Figurine
Kung-Fu DVD
Cassette or VHS Tape
Doo Rag
Vapor Rub
Energy Drank
Outdated Calendar
The website features emaciated looking "hipsters" pulling on newports, wearing hoodies, and decked out in "ghetto" apparel, underneath the tagline "show a mu'f*cka some love". Oh my, the height of hilarity.

I have chosen not to provide the site name or URL in this post and am specifically asking you guys to not visit this website, because the last thing I want to do is give these ingrates valuable webhits, because that's obviously the point here. Trust me, it's stoopid, stoopid, stoopid. But is it offensive, or merely mimicking some of the same stereotypes black folks perpetuate themselves?

Witness Dave Chappelle's "Drank vs Juice" routine.

And Dallas Penn's "Bodega", which I personally consider more informative than exploitative.

I'm sure if you asked the folks who started this site if they considered it racist, they'd have a million and one "ironic" reasons why it's not, and explain this away as "an attempt to bring to light the paucity of nutritional choices in inner-city bodegas, and besides, I VOTED for Obama Bro, so I can't be racist!!!!" or some such nonsense. Riiiight. Never mind the fact that they're actually selling these things for $40/pop. And I'm assuming somebody's actually buying them, which is even sadder.

Question: Are "Ghetto Baskets" ironically funny, or just plain ignorantly racist? Do black folks even have a right to be offended by this, considering how much we laughed at Dave Chappelle's "Drank vs Juice" routine, and similar comedy of the same vain?

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