Woe to us all, for we print journalists are increasingly enslaved by the three Cs: content, clickbait, and comments.
That is about all I can come up with to explain why the Chronicle chose to disclose yesterday that Houston was the fifth least hipster city in America, at least according to real estate web site Movoto.com.
First off: the story was, by definition, content.
Since it was accompanied by one of the Chronicle's increasingly frequent slideshows—this one consisting of no fewer than 53 pictures of hipsters and their accoutrements—you could safely call it clickbait.
And with 37 reader comments, it certainly ticked that box, eliciting such pearls of wisdom as this, our fave by far: "Show me a Hipster and I'll show you a person that's childhood was void of love, security, and sanctuary. That being said, way to go Houston!!!"
The piece contends that with our increasing number of farm-to-table restaurants, the newish bike-sharing program, the increasing Heugelism of the local cocktail scene, and Buffalo Exchange's busy Christmas season, Houston is becoming more and more tragically hip with each passing day—but that is the only aspect of this article that differentiates it from this one.
That's right. Not 10 months ago, the Chronicle reported the exact same survey, along with another slideshow.
You can't say they haven't evolved, though.
First, there's the sheer volume of that slideshow: last March, they only had 16 pictures for you to click through, as opposed to yesterday's 53.
And then there's the content of the slideshow. Apparently, whomever assembled last year's was operating with a 1961-era definition of "hipster," because most, but not all, of the black and white photos are of beatnik babes and hepcat daddios doing things like bebopping in smoky basement jazz bars. (Modern-day hipsters are mixed in at random.)
They are just like us! They sit around! They read maps! (For what it's worth, the kids in the "sitting around" pic are not even hipsters, neither in the modern-day sense nor Jack Kerouac's.)
So maybe the Chronicle is correct in pointing out that Houston is becoming more hipster. Certainly the paper of record seems finally to gave at least grasped a notion of the meaning of the word.
Maybe some day they will finally have a similar epiphany with what is and is not a dive bar, but I am not holding my breath on that score.