There was recently an article in the New York Times declaring hipsters had ruined Paris. It has created quite a stir over here and people have approached me about it all week. Like many, the article made me angry. Not because the “journalist” was bashing hipsters, name calling is an art of playgrounds, I rather like that it denounced the author as a fool immediately.
What made me angry was that a serious paper like the New York Times was promoting such dribble. Where were the fact checkers? The editors? If you substitute the word (insert nationality here) for the word Hipster in the piece, it would have been thrown out as hateful slop. And is the NYTimes really implying that a handful of 20 somethings could do what the Romans, British and Hitler could not? Are the French really so simple and child-like that they don’t know what’s good for them? Because lets be clear about this. The French are thrilled with the gentrification. The author was too, when he chose to live in a neighborhood that has been gentrifying since most hipsters were still in diapers and was called SoPi when I moved here over a decade ago.
The cocktail bars he laments are filled with affluent young FRENCH people who order burrata, sample kale and would probably be thrilled to find steel cut oats. These are smart, educated kids who had to study philosophy and “general culture” to get their high school diplomas. Most of them have a passport and travel the world exploring all kinds of different cultures, American included. They know what they want in their lives and they’re dead on with the cocktails. Until very recently getting a decent cocktail in Paris was an exercise in frustration and now its an absolute delight!
The French have been managing this city with more or less success for millennia, they don’t need the NY Times, or some pedantic American who has been in town for 24 months telling them what is good for their city and what’s ruining it.
Skimming along the NYTimes a few days later, I got even angrier because you see all the more important stuff going on in the world and you ask yourself… who cares??? Thousands are dead, homeless and missing loved ones in the Philippines. Entire families have been wiped out. 10s of 1000s have been displaced. That’s a tragedy. And it is thanks to the very same NYTimes that I looked to for ideas on how I could help. They suggested giving to Doctors without Borders, who is over there on the ground and doing what they can. I have been a big fan of Doctors without Borders ever since I backpacked through East Africa 20 years ago. They make a difference in people’s lives. They’ll even help hipsters! I blogged about them last year suggesting a donation to them would make a great holiday gift and this year I agreed to run the Semi Marathon de Paris on their behalf. They are in the Philippines doing what they can and I am here in Paris doing what I can, which is to ask for your support. Its easy, simply click on the link below. They suggested a minimum donation of 20€, but even 5€ makes a difference. Already through Facebook and Twitter you have been a fantastic crowd, helping me raise 285€, well past the 100€ they asked of me. But goals are meant to be surpassed, so don’t be shy. Merci!