My Labrador Retriever mutt, affectionately named Macho in a lackadaisical attempt to boost the obese dog’s self-esteem, stared sternly into my eyes, wincing slightly as he pushed out a pile of shit twice the size and half the smell of New Jersey onto my living room floor. I could do nothing. I’ve tried to stop Macho mid-shit before to no avail, and I was slightly intrigued by the fact that he was so determined to stare directly at me as he emptied his bowels onto my hardwood floor. He never shits inside…ever. Was this an act of canine defiance? Was this his way of protesting BP or Darfur or Asian sex trafficking or the fact that Purina doggy chow is the only thing on his menu? Probably not. I’ve got a dumb, politically apathetic dog after all.
“I’m going to put you down one day,” I said to Macho in a monotone. Before anybody freaks out, I’m not an animal hater. Well, that’s not entirely true. I just hate anything that can’t pick up it’s own shit—babies, old people, the homeless, homeless old people that inexplicably have self-defecating babies…I don’t discriminate. I normally wouldn’t feel bad about threatening any of these groups with euthanasia (read: murder), but the way Macho walked away shamefully made me feel like I either hurt his feelings or his bowel movements made him insecure. Regarding the latter, the publishers of “Everyone Poops” have yet to translate their work into a language dogs can understand, so if he was self-conscious about my living room’s aromatic new centerpiece, he was shit out of luck (no pun intended). So, on the off chance that my dimmer-than-the-cast-of-Jersey Shore dog actually understands English, I decided to ruminate on the positive attributes of Macho and make amends with him.
Macho is a good dog. Other than the occasional puddle of piss waiting for me outside of my bedroom door in the morning, his uncontrollable shedding, and his sporadic moments of overt racism, Macho keeps to himself. He’s a good companion when you need one and a warm footrest in the winter, and living in an apartment with the most stereotypically dramatic Latinos in the world, it’s nice having a dog that is so happy-go-lucky.
Macho’s most redeeming quality, however, finally came to me when Dom’s “Living in America” came on my iPod. The cover art instantly reminded me of the two things hipsters, my most hated foes, love most in this world: telling people that they aren’t hipster and cats. Cats, as we all know by now, are the de facto hipster pets of choice. They’re cheap, low-maintenance, easy to bring into a shitty fourth floor walkup, and generally act like assholes that are too good for everyone else. They also keep their owners company while simultaneously reminding them that they are so very alone—a paradoxical quality that somehow seems to appeal to the hipster community. Furthermore, since cats generally just respond to food, hipsters can give their cat a long, ironic name. Macho is most decidedly not a cat. He is what separates me from them.
Why is this distinction so important? Why am I so insecure that I look to my dog to separate me from the very group I am determined to destroy? Well, for one, I’m writing for this blog. As the small but loyal YeahDevelop fan base knows, this site is dedicated to obscure music, trendy photography, observations written in the sort of fuck it tone that is embedded in our generation’s voice, and anything pertaining to the hipster culture in general. The very fact that I agreed to write for this site is kind of ironic, which in itself is pretty hipster. I have a suspicious amount of plaid in my closet, and I often consider buying clothes from the Salvation Army (something only you hardcore hipsters know about). I have once or twice been accused of being a hipster, which I must admit is frightening. I sometimes fear that I’m teetering on the edge—sort of like Dances with Wolves, only I’m the Indian telling the U.S. Army that I totally see where they’re coming from and wouldn’t mind helping them slaughter my people at all. Then again, I still hate low-fi music, PBR, and Brooklyn. I eat fried, inorganic foods, not avocados and whole wheat bread. The only time I ever stepped foot inside of an American Apparel was to watch an unspeakably beautiful woman model skirts for me, and my glasses have a very thin, metal frame. I still don’t see why everyone likes Lady GaGa. But most importantly, I have a big, yellow, utterly mainstream Lab named Macho.
I’m not suggesting that hipsters can’t like dogs. I know plenty who say they would love to have one, but their apartment building doesn’t allow them or they don’t have time to walk them or they don’t have the money for the food and treats and brushes and leashes and vets and what have you. But frankly, dogs just aren’t a good look for hipsters. First off, dogs would likely make their hipster owners smile much more than they would care to. Most dogs are affectionate, playful, and love human attention. That would just evoke too many emotions from the jaded, world-weary hipster owner.
Second, hipsters, like the Taliban, are an ever-evolving group whose members become increasingly difficult to identify because their lack of a homeland, their reluctance to admit their hipster identity, and how frequently their interests and trends change. Once something hipster becomes too popular (or when a favorite musician actually gets a record deal and starts making some fucking money), the hipster community immediately shuns it as lame, cliché, etc. (see Vampire Weekend, MGMT, and the film Garden State). This way, the mainstream culture can never catch on. But even with their generally amorphous nature, there are a few static characteristics about hipsters—most importantly the appearance of being perpetually broke and always searching for free shit. Even the filthy rich hipsters I know never talk about their vast wealth—it just doesn’t come with the territory. Owning a dog like Macho would ruin the crucial hipster image. He would be a constant reminder of the dog you had growing up in your beautiful, two-story suburban home with your upper-middle class family—a family that couldn’t imagine the appeal of eating Easy Mac for breakfast and downing Natty Lites before that free show in Williamsburg. A dog would be the symbol of stability that hipsters try to avoid until they inevitably evolve into sell-out yuppies. A cat, on the other hand, is the nomad that just doesn’t care and never gets tied down—the picturesque hipster counterpart.
I grabbed a doggie treat and went to thank Macho for being another clear determinant that separates me from those hipster assholes who cutely ignore their golden financial safety nets as they drive poor minorities from their rent controlled Harlem apartments in alarming numbers while simultaneously shutting down small businesses in favor of Starbucks and Whole Foods and re-branding unique neighborhoods with chic monikers so they can feel like they live in SoHo.
I found him pissing on my door. I should have left the fucker in the shelter.