This is the last blog. 11:23 am // Saturday, September 22, 2012Posted by jjb in blogging.
After today, we will no longer be updating the Hipsters United blog.
HipstersUnited.com will continue to exist as a portal archiving our old posts. New podcasts may be posted intermittently, and the HU Twitter account will remain a voice for the site, but Hipsters United will no longer be committed to coverage of Smashing Pumpkins ‘news’ on a continuous basis. The @PumpkinsNews Twitter account will accordingly be deleted, as will our Facebook page.
At its inception, Hipsters United was not a news operation, and HipstersUnited.com has never branded itself as a “news” website. (The HU.com sidebar has always contained one or more links to “news and talk” from fan forums.) But along the way, HU gradually became a news outlet, became almost exclusively a news outlet. Opinion and analysis never disappeared from our work—all news outlets have underlying biases and frames through which their operators interpret and present the ‘news’—but they did fade from the foreground into the background.
This change from ‘blog’ to news outlet happened because, and as, HU’s original raison d’être resolved itself. We started HU in 2007, and our key motivation was to explore the question: Why is it now [meaning, then] so freaking uncool to be a Smashing Pumpkins fan? Slowly, we developed some obvious-seeming answers. Essentially, we think it was little more than a generational shift: Those about 10 years younger than the bulk of Pumpkins fans had a natural rebellious attitude against that culture, that time, those people. We now see it as flowing out of the contempt commonly held by twentysomethings in or just out of college—possessed of much free time to write for hip music-news sites—for thirtysomethings tied into lame jobs and long relationships. (And I personally do not think it merely coincidental that I, pushing back, was in graduate school and was possessed of some free time to muse about coolness on a music-oriented blog.) More recently, some of these youngster writers are being displaced by younger youngsters, to whom the cohort of Pumpkins fans—now pushing 40—seems less harried, a bit more suave (or, at least, grown-ass), and appealingly nonplussed by The Internet. Think here of the 20-year cycle that seems to hold in cultural nostalgia (1990s/1970s, 2000s/1980s, 2010s/1990s).
So we were figuring out why it was uncool to like the Pumpkins. But as that process took place we didn’t simply write fewer posts. We had found ourselves with an audience! Like many bloggers, we learned that either you feed the beast or you lose it, and who wants to lose the audience? (Okay, wrong question.) We added a podcast, and more writers, and we started to inform readers about ‘news’ rather than to presume they had already seen it. We were serving a community, but not with the exact fare that brought them in the door; as Carroll Quigley would say, HU became less of an instrument and more of an institution.
And then, out there where the demographics shift, the Pumpkins became less uncool. It’s to the point where a snarktastic site such as Gothamist will publish something like this, where Billy Corgan’s interview-ist almost comes out and says: “I never would have conducted this interview in so respectful a manner three years ago.” When the music press is treating the Pumpkins reasonably thoroughly and fairly, the instrument or institution of HU has little cause to exist. So, in a move Quigley might applaud, we are doing away with the part of the institution that burns up a lot of resources. Going forward, you can just find news about the Pumpkins in the same way we always have: Click through the links that are now on the sidebar (especially the “press coverage” link to Google News search), and bookmark them or add them to a personal feed or whatever. You then can talk about that news on the SmashingPumpkins.com fan forum. Who needs HU, huh?
We’ve had fun doing the blog. We are amazed that it received over 40,000 comments in five years. We loved the back and forth with you, and with others (on your behalf, of course!), and we’ll keep that bit going on Twitter. We are still fans of the band, and I expect some of our writers will pursue other fan-oriented projects, e.g., on SPFC.org. We’ll be seeing you around the Pumpkins-obsessed corners of the Internet, probably until, you know, we’re dead. So don’t get too sentimental: Billy would not approve.
Yours, but not always,