Hip The History John Leland Analysis

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In American culture, there is a constant state of flux in regards to what is in and what is not. In John Leland’s study, Hip: The History, these fluxes are examined in depth and are thouroughly investigated. Leland establishes that being hip is not something that can be defined by some locals hanging out in a coffee shop in a rainy city wearing combat boots and flannel but rather by centuries of cultures in what was the mxing pot of America all melding together to create a unique yet unified sound. Through his anaylsis of the Beboppers, Leland sets up a premise for Hip that had previously not been established. To be considered hip, in modern day terms, is not someting that is commonly achieved. Leland focuses his study around the assumption…show more content…
Those reading and learning about hip are inadvertently not hip. But, John Leland in a way goes against his own warning. He creates a literary historical study that provides the ignorant with knowledge about a past that was unbeknowst to most. In american society now, it is incredibly common for individuals to go about life not knowing about the past. Leland teaches the reader what it means to be hip so they can walk away knowing about the consequences, results, and the actions that determined these cultural high points. Leland rebells against the norm that average americans are used to and establishes his own type of hip. To be hip is not to sit in a coffee shop, wearing flannel with every intention of going out hiking later. In the same sense, being hip is about sitting in a coffee shop, wearing a flannel, with every intention of going out hiking later if it counteracts a previous notion of not doing those exact events. Hip, in american society, is in a contstant state of flux. In Leland’s words, “Through its changes, hip maintains some constraints: a dance between black and white; a love of the outsider; a straddle of high and low culture; a grimy sense of nobility; language that means more than it says” (Leland, p. 10). To be hip is to be malleable yet to know about conformity and to establish oneself without the pressure of having to abide by societal norms. Leland wants the reader to believe that being hip is not about the trivial things that society sees but rather about the impact the actions leave and how others are influenced by said actions. The future depends on what hip really is and how hip is
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