The ever-awaited Coachella lineup is out, and we're beginning to map our guerrilla coverage of the hipster bacchanal in the California desert, especially the lack of clothes and cultural insensitivity. Last year saw plenty of feather headdresses, rice-paddy hats and tacky spirit hoods on mostly white kids, leaving us to believe the young and cool love to pretend to be any race but white.
It seems this latest generation of the tragically hip is more determined than any of its predecessors to offend, shrug its shoulders, and insist that not only is it not racist, but also those accusing it of racism are the TRUE racists for even bringing up race in the first place.
Native American culture takes the brunt of hipster appropriation. The unofficial cigarette of hipsters is Natural American Spirits. Many claim to smoke them because they're a natural alternative, but we're not convinced the brightly colored package, with its logo of a Native American smoking a pipe, has nothing to do with it. No Doubt pulled their video for "Looking Hot" because it depicted Gwen Stefani as an Indian princess. And the Native American headdress and the pinned feather run next to the iconic thick-framed glasses and Pabst Blue Ribbon that stereotype modern-day hipsters.
But Mexican culture is not left out. Stefani has long advocated chola chic in her fashion, claiming she was inspired by Mexican girls at Loara High School in Anaheim during the 1980s. The prevalence of Dia de los Muertos-themed tattoos, costumes and purses is picking up. And the dispatches hipsters have of visiting downtown SanTana resemble British letters from the Punjab during the 19th Century.
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Eastern cultures seem to get stereotyped less, partly because Asian American activists quickly organize campaigns against such idiots (although the idiots continue to try—witness American Apparel's controversial sale of the "Conical Asian Hat" for $15 and Ashton Kutcher's laughable mock-Bollywood commercial for PopChips).
All this leads us to wonder—what culture will fashion appropriate next? We'll get back to you when we come home from Coachella.