Hip: The History is the story of how American pop culture has evolved throughout the twentieth century to its current position as world cultural touchstone. How did hip become such an obsession? From sex and music to fashion and commerce, John Leland tracks the arc of ideas as they move from subterranean Bohemia to Madison Avenue and back again. Hip: The History examines how hip has helped shape and continues to influence America's view of itself, and provides an incisive account of hip's quest for authenticity.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Don't be misled by the glib title; Hip: The History is not a decade-late cash-in book on martini revivalism and what made Frank and Dino swing. Rather, it's a thoroughgoing, research-intensive analysis of that uniquely American anti-establishmentarian posture known as hip, undertaken by a fellow who's spent much of his career ruminating on the subject, John Leland, a reporter for The New York Times and a former editor in chief of Details. Leland has assigned himself a mighty task: to explain the history of hip from its 18th-century origins in America's West African-born slave population, where hip evolved as a sort of whitey-confounding slanguage (evidently, the word ''hip'' derives from the Wolof term ''hepi'' or ''hipi,'' meaning ''to see'' or ''to open one's eyes''), to today's epidemic of ubiqui-hip, of corporate-sponsored grooviness (iPods, Gap ads) and pan-cultural dreadlocks.