Raising Awareness of the Problem
Guinness is a wonderful beer. Its flavor, texture, look, feel, presentation, drinkability, all of it, excellent. I love it and I always have. Some years I drink more of it, some years I drink less of it, but Guinness is always in my life. When it comes to beer, Guinness is my rock.
Guinness is a huge worldwide brand and might be the best and coolest corporation ever in the history of man. They don’t need my help. But there is a sad phenomenon out there that affects how Guinness is being enjoyed, and I hope that by raising awareness we can fight the problem.
After all, this has to do with hipsters. If you can see a hipster and understand what he is doing, he will suddenly no longer want to do that thing. Knowledge is the best weapon in the fight against the Hipster-Guinness Trajectory.
Life Cycle of the Hipster
There are three phases in the development of the hipster into a full-grown adult, and these phases can be seen in how a hipster relates to Guinness beer. Sadly, most hipsters never reach full adulthood.
1. Larval Phase Because the drinking age is so late in the United States, hipsters will often make it through the larval stage in this country without showing the Guinness signs that Canadian hipsters will exhibit. Nonetheless, it is common on both sides of the border to find larval hipsters ordering Guinness as their first choice. Larval hipsters still have an undeveloped sense of snobbery, and occasionally will hear bands they enjoy played on the radio. They do have a vague, blind sense that things, all things, food, clothes, music, beer, should be better than what is being mass-produced. On the other hand they haven’t become assholes about it yet. They are therefore still able to recognize quality and craftsmanship regardless of production style or advertising veneer. Larval hipsters lose this ability as they mature into nymph hipsters.
2. Nymph Phase In this phase the hipster fully develops what is only an immature tendency during the larval phase, i.e. making choices based strictly on whether its fellow hipsters will think it’s cool enough, instead of allowing personal preference to be the ruling factor in decision-making. This phase usually lasts through the hipster’s twenties, but some never emerge.
Categories are very important for hipsters stuck in this phase. Subtlety is discouraged. Music is an excellent example of this. The music itself might be understated, but if it cannot be categorized immediately it presents a threat to the hipster’s ability to maintain its social status. This is because making a judgment will require discernment and taste, qualities which have become atrophied to an almost vestigial point in nymph phase hipsters.
Guinness is a beer, and therefore falls into certain beery categories. It is, for example, a stout. Yet it does not always behave like a stout. I could go on about it for a long time, but simply put, Guinness is a unique beer. The nymph phase hipster is therefore unable to digest it. He will be unable to appreciate it for its virtues, but unable to condemn it due to its unique excellence. He will therefore resort to comparing Guinness to other beers as if they shared categories (remember, the all-important category!), and failing that, will appeal to personal taste as if the Guinness had let him down, and not the other way ’round. “Guinness is okay, but it’s not malty enough.” “Guinness is fine, but it doesn’t have a big enough body.” “Guinness? I don’t drink it, it’s not complex enough. I like more hops.”
Sadly, many hipsters never grow out of this phase, and never develop the ability to enjoy things for what they are.
3. Adult Phase Although there is great variety in the age at which maturity is reached, for the vast majority of hipsters this comes just after the age of thirty. At this point the hipster begins to live real life, the complexity, ambiguity, and force of which begins to develop those atrophied senses of discernment and taste. It is at this point that the young hipster says to himself, “I am capable of making aesthetic judgments of my own!” So radical and profound is this transformation that many adult phase hipsters will go shopping for their baby’s clothes at a Target and not care if you see them there.
It is at this point that the hipster begins to order Guinness, perhaps after a ten-year hiatus, but usually for the first time. For the hipster the ideal time for introduction to Guinness has passed. Without the mother’s milk of Guinness when he is young, he can develop a beer detachment disorder from which he might never recover. If that happens, the adult phase hipster will no longer be an asshole, but will likely drink only extreme beers and Pabst until the day he dies.
Solution to the Problem
Honest exposure to Guinness in the earlier phases of development will assist in a more rapid maturing and a more satisfying maturity in the adult hipster. Hipsters are among the most parochial and ignorant of consumers. Occasionally merely sipping a Guinness will bring the hipster straight into the adult phase, where he is able to make decisions for himself. Unfortunately the forces of hipster peer group approval are very strong, and this will not always work. The solution in that case is to help bring the nymph phase hipster slowly and gently into an awareness that he’s being an asshole.
Sit next to nymph phase hipster at a bar. Order two Guinness. Take one for yourself, hand the other to nymph phase hipster. If he makes to refuse, say kindly “Don’t be an asshole.” Hipster will usually drink Guinness at that point.
So awareness is the true solution to the Hipster-Guinness Trajectory. The general public should be aware of the problem, in order to be able to confront it earnestly. And the hipster should be made aware that the grace of Guinness is there on offer to every man except the proud.