The Conspiracy

Hey You, With the Beard, Are You a Jew?

As a previous summer resident of Trendyville, Brooklyn, the running joke throughout my stay revolved around the aesthetically similar but culturally dichotomous comparisons of the facial hair of secular and religious men. A clearer way to say this? The proliferation of Hasid vs. Hipster hirsute jokes. And let me tell you, they were (and are) aplenty.

First, there is the Hipsters or Hassids tumblr. While I still struggle to figure out what exactly the conceptual backing for this website is, it appears to be a collection of pictures of men, who are clearly not hasidic, with captions that attempt to wittily portray their actions as hasidic. At least the author seems to really enjoy it. If you can get over the randomness, you might enjoy a few of the taglines. Particularly this one, which has the caption, “My leather suspenders is also where I keep my teffilin.”

This tumblr shouldn’t be confused with this other tumblr…branded the eerily similar name of Hasid or hipster. With three fewer ‘s’s to its name, this collection of streaming photos is a lot more earnest, and to the point. Aka a series of photos of ambiguously bearded men that could either be religious Jews or extras on the cast of Girls. My personal favorite? “Hasid in plaid, or hipster being rad?” I come away from this website with the realization that all bearded men… kind of do look the same.

And then, leaving the tumblr sphere (don’t worry, we’re not going that far away, just to WordPress), is the website for Elke Reva Sudin, a Brooklynite painter who describes herself as both religious and artistic. Thus, caught between the two worlds of ironic glasses and blurry-women-hiding glasses, Sudin finds her artistic inspiration. Her website explains her work as “a visual comparison between two prominent subcultures in Williamsburg, Brooklyn who are finding themselves more and more publicly at odds.” The point of the work? To show how visually similar these two antagonistic lifestyles really are. Comparing black wide-rim shul hats with trend-of-the-moment black felt hats and modesty headscarves with exotic, fashionista headscarves… Sudin does draw intersting visual comparisons between these two worlds, and in those comparisons, their lack of tolerance towards each other becomes even more striking.

Clearly, the hipster-jew comparison is well-trodden material. Which is why I was surprised to find myself laughing so frequently during the Hipster/Hassid game on Jimmy Kimmel live the other night.

Watch above, you will definitely laugh. My favorite line? “Hi, I’m Yonkey Shnitzel (?). I’m not a Hipster. I’m a Jew. You can check me out on Facebook.”



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