Christopher R. Weingarten is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer whose work can currently be seen in The Village Voice, RollingStone.com, Spin, Revolver, and Nylon. He’s also the creator of my favorite internet-phenomenon-turned-book, Hipster Puppies. What began as a Tumblr blog joke on a lazy Saturday afternoon has recently made it’s way on to the printed page. Hipster Puppies, an outrageously funny photo collection of snarky, impeccably accessorized, and adorable dogs, is a must have book for every dog lover, hipster, dog-loving hipster or hipster-hating person out there
Being the huge fan that I am, I was over-joyed to have had the privilege of interviewing Christopher about his book. From his description of the inspiration behind Hipster Puppies to the reveal of his favorite Hipster Puppy ever, I was (to no surprise) in stitches over his laugh-out-loud responses.
The Hipster Puppies blog started in early 2010 and, to the delight of your fans, has been a monumental success! What was the initial inspiration for the site and what do you attribute to it’s success?
There was a time in the beginning of 2010 were people were really adamant about passing around a whole bunch of Tumblrs that made fun of hipsters. I was kind of aggravated that they were so popular, considering most of them had a tenuous-at-best grasp of what a “hipster” even was. I figured that it would be hilarious to a hipster Tumblr where the hipsters in question couldn’t even have the cognitive capacity to know what they were doing. The other idea I had was “Hipster Foods,” which would have been, like, a pair of Ray Bans floating in a bowl of soup. Kind of glad my natural love of tiny dogs won that round.
As to what I attribute to the site’s success, I think it’s definitely a natural out-cropping of the anxieties, self-doubt and narcissism that artistically and fashionably inclined people have about their place in the world, that has been going on for time immemorial. Or people just like to look at cute dogs.
The writing for Hipster Puppies is too funny! Like split-my-dress funny. Can you explain how you go about writing your captions? Do you take inspiration from the dogs themselves? Or do you write your captions beforehand and then just try and match it to your photo submissions afterward?
Aw, thanks so much! Most of the time I’ll just look at a dog’s picture and try to invent a story around the props in the room and look on his face. If this was a real person, what would he be like? What type of contradictions would his life entail? What questions would he ask about himself? Where can I buy that 7″?
Although, living in Greenpoint, a lot of captions naturally come from real life and my interactions with others. Just the other day, I had a friend tell me where I could get a delicious pho. And he made sure to pronounce pho so correctly that it was just hilarious. Like just that urge we have to show ourselves as culturally literate and worldly, even though just saying “FO” would have gotten the point across. That one became a caption within 24 hours.
Although one can perhaps discern your beliefs through the clever and uproariously funny captions, what is your definition of a Hipster and a Hipster dog? Must a dog possess something special to receive such a designation? Or does it just need to call a human-hipster mom or dad?
The word hipster has changed so much in the last 10 years. There used to be a real set of fashions and beliefs and bylaws, but now it basically means “Whoever blindly follows fashion and music trends to a more comical degree than myself.” Most alternatively inclined people are a hipster to SOMEBODY.
In hipster dogs, it really is something where I just know it when I see it. Sometimes its a well worn accoutrement, but there have been dogs who have made the cut just based on smugness alone.
In putting the Hipster Puppies book together, what breed/type of dog is most popular amongst Hipsters?
Boston terriers. I have no idea why. Like I had to cut photos from the book so it wouldn’t be all Boston Terriers. And they’re all named Lucy.
Do your submissions come mostly from Hipsters themselves, or ordinary folk living out their Hipster fantasies through their canine companions?
I haven’t met 95% of the people who submitted photos to the book, so I honestly have no idea!
You must have so much fun going through submissions. I, for one, can look at hilarious dog photos all day! In all of the submissions to the site, I imagine there must be at least a few favorites and standouts for you. Could you share your favorite Hipster Puppy with us?
My favorite hipster puppy of all time is Rufio the chihuahua on page 78 of the Hipster Puppies book. Like, for someone who’s like 10 inches tall and pees on the lawn, he’s the smuggest asshole imaginable. I’ve never wanted to punch a chihuahua before, so he’s definitely got something really, really special.
Miles and I live in Oakland, second only to Brooklyn in sheer number of hipsters roaming the neighborhood. We consider ourselves “yipsters,” (a yuppy/hipster hybrid) and do our best to blend into our surroundings. In your most knowledgeable opinion, does Miles have what it takes to be a Hipster Puppy?
A tie and scarf combo is either the biggest fashion faux pas imaginable, or some next level hipsterdom that is going completely over my head. I’m gonna have to say the jury is still out on him.
Thank you Christopher! You can pick up your own copy of the Hipsters Puppy book right here. And, as Christopher says, buy one for someone you love or tolerate.