Hipsters can be irritating, yes, but launching a pogrom against them is more than a little bit fascistic
One of the unintended new side-effects of gentrification in London seems to be roving bands of self-entitled class warriors, presuming to speak for the whole city when really they represent only themselves, carrying out Kristallnacht style pogroms against businesses that are insufficiently tatty, cheap or “authentically” working class.
The latest victim is the Cereal Killer Cafe in Brick Lane, a quirky and charming (if thoroughly Hipster-like) establishment selling international breakfast cereals in weird combinations, which I happened to visit for the first time only last weekend.
From the Guardian:
Hundreds of protesters attacked a cereal cafe in east London on Saturday night, daubing the word “scum” on the shop window and setting fire to an effigy of a police officer.
Riot police were called in to defend the Cereal Killer Cafe in Shoreditch after it was targeted by a large crowd of anti-gentrification activists carrying pigs’ heads and torches.
The owners of the cafe, which has been seen by some as a symbol of inequality in east London, said on Sunday that the attack left customers including children “terrified for their lives”.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that hipsters and their fashions can be annoying, pretentious, infuriating even. But marauding up and down the streets at night wearing masks, carrying flaming torches and breaking windows in response? That goes too far. And yet it is precisely the sort of behaviour we encourage when we indulge in intellectually lazy talk about the supposed “evils” of gentrification – or “social cleansing” as some are now calling it, in an attempt to fill us with the same horror we might feel about ethnic cleansing.