O-Bummer! Hipsters O-Bandon Obama

Prez ditched by Pitchfork.com-wielding puerile politicos who prefer Stumptown to stumping. ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO...Well, it's not really clear right now.

“I haven’t really thought about it. A re-election campaign definitely won’t be as exciting.”

Kimberly Salib, the proprietor of Art Gotham in Soho, asked 300 artists to make a 12-inch-by-12-inch work of art inspired by the election, and auctioned the pieces off in the fall of 2008. She is not planning on trying again either.

“I kind of lost my passion for it all, to be honest with you,” she said. Since the election, she has been audited, and a shaky economy and lack of support for galleries like hers “has made me totally uninterested. I am no longer excited about doing these things.”

Among Obaminators, some moments from the run-up to the election live on memory. They are like this generation’s Woodstock, with those who remember what it was like outnumbering those who actually experienced it.

At a spring benefit at the Hope Lounge in Williamsburg, the hip-hop artist Toothpick performed, slam poetry was slammed, and a stenciling station was set-up outside. Nearly 300 people paid $10 to get in the door, all of which went to the campaign. Colette Whitney and James Johnson, a biracial married couple, performed what audience members remembered as a song-and-dance vaudevillian number that went, “We’re Ready/Right Now/To Fight For/ Obama.”

“It was an exciting time,” recalled Ari Herstand, a singer-songwriter who performed there and who said that the long campaign’s numerous benefit concerts gave his music career a boost. “Everyone was totally amped up and energized. Spirits were high. There was this electrifying energy that night, and in general—everyone was excited to be a part of this movement.”

Asked if he expects a similarly full dance card this time around, Mr. Herstand replied, “No way.”

“That time we felt that Obama was more or less this outsider, this new young proponent for change, and he really engaged the younger, 20-something crowd, and we felt that this was someone very different, someone that was kind of an intelligent, amicable leader that we could get behind.”

And now?

“It’s hard to get everyone to rally back around him this time. We see mild victories here and there, but it’s not the complete overhaul we were expecting.”

The event at Hope Lounge was organized by a young artist who goes by the name Gadi. Early in 2008, he met up with 30 or so other creative types at a bar in Alphabet City and had the idea of do-it-yourself stencil T-shirts for the campaign.

After the Hope Lounge show, he was doing some Obama-inspired stenciling in the East Village one evening for another revuelike fund-raiser when a young filmmaker named Annie Woods came up to him and said, “Those are super rad. Can I buy some off of you?”

Ms. Woods and her sister had covered their Volvo station wagon from bumper to bumper with Obama bumper stickers, and the two ended up driving something they called “The Bama Bus,” a Vanagon likewise covered in Obama stickers, across the country, setting up stenciling stations along the way.

Gadi would like to get involved again but said it will be hard-going to get other artistically inclined members of his generation to sign on.

“It’s going to be impossible to recreate that moment,” he said. “People’s memories are very short.”

He recited for The Observer a song he had written for 2012 effort.

“The system is broke and they all promised to fix it/I’m tired of that joke, wish I still believed it/If we are the ones we’ve been waiting for/Then why are we waiting for something more?”

A number of new political organizations arose in the wake of the ’08 effort, trying to keep the spirit of the season alive for the next round of local elections and hopefully, they thought, beyond.

The New Kings Democrats formed in North Brooklyn with the task of electing Obamalike reformers to local offices. In 2010, they propelled one of their own to a post with the Brooklyn Democratic Party.  The Barack Obama Democratic Club still stands in Washington Heights, and its founder, Mark Levine, said that it remains active heading into the 2012 season. But most of the organizing groups are a shell of what they were three years ago.

Brooklyn for Barack, a clearing house of all things Obama-related, tried to keep the energy up with community service fairs and the like, but has mostly withered away. Its founder, Jordan Thomas, a 40-year-old filmmaker, declined repeated requests for an interview, saying he was in preproduction. Others, like New Yorkers for Change, are little more than un-updated websites.

“You had people not from the political chattering class, and they all had different sorts of contacts, different social networks and professional networks and that is what was utilized,” said one former campaign official. “And people going out and getting activities together created buzz, and one thing spawned another.”

Those inside and outside the Obama youth movement say that the conditions of 2008 are not replicable this time around, regardless of how the first three years of the Obama administration have gone. Then you had a generation of people weaned on the Bush years, war and the Patriot Act. When a thoughtful and cool biracial candidate came along, it was hard not to get swept up in it. A dash of naïveté, of the kind that believed “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” could be an actual policy platform, helped too.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Seriously, what the hell is a hipster? Someone who lives in Brooklyn? An artist? A person in their 20s? Dudes with skateboards? Douchebags? People who fall for gimmicks? This article could have used a definition….

    1. Anonymous says:

      Author provided examples of hipsters throughout article without specifically defining hipster. What do you care what the hell a hipster is (unless you suspect you are one)?

      1. Anonymous says:

        Yeah, why would I care what a hipster is in this article entitled “O-Bummer! Hipsters O-Bandon Obama”

  2. K.C. says:

    Obama 2012 operatives need to take a look again, at what they did for the people in their 20s and 30s who got them elected. What affects me? Health insurance until I’m 26. What else? So far,  my subsidized grad school loans will be eliminated thanks to the budget crisis, most likely I won’t have clean water in my future since oil and coal industries run the country…

    1. Anonymous says:

      Word. And I still don’t have my free gas.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Nothing like a cold dose of reality to the face.

  4. a citizen says:

    I submitted a post a few hours ago that blew this dumb article out of the water. It has not yet been posted. It looks like the NY Observer is engaging in cencorship.

    1. They  did not approve  my highly critical comment either.

      1. Boo101 says:

        Censorship we can believe in!

    2. Romanxp47 says:

      Maybe they’re looking for people who are marginally proficient a spelling.

    3. Anonymous says:

      Fight cencorship.

    4. Anonymous says:

      Perhaps they are still spell-checking it?

  5. Robagiuffre says:

    all i can say is that maybe some of these people should of taken the time to read up on Mr. Obama and his stance on issues and they wouldn’t have been so surprised. Obama is nothing more and nothing less than Bill Clinton 2.0, but in a time where Bill Clinton 2.0 is not the best political strategy.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I thought he was Jimmy Carter 3.0.  And Jimmy Carter was like the Herbert Hoover Droid.

  6. Dvz says:

    What the hell is a “stenciling station”? This entire article made me feel stabby.

  7. Guest says:

    This article’s hipster cred is slightly undermined by spelling Shepard Fairey “Shepherd Fairy.”

    1. Anonymous says:

      I’m pretty sure it was an artistic choice on the author’s part. Conveying at once society’s inability to spell, and the apathy most emotionally healthy human beings have toward the misspelling of someone as useless as Sheepherder Fairy.

  8. John says:

    What the ..I keep reading this and think you really have a code that hasn’t been shared.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I cannot resist just loving the cartoon pictorial. In my personal belief this is as close as a depiction as to what is really going on….Lets see what happens during the elections..

  10. Don says:

    Dear bozos, What is the alternative?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yeah right, vote 4 Mistershell Bachman/woman…

  12. richiepartington says:

    President Obama is responsible for Sonia Maria Sotomayor sitting on the US Supreme Court.  Want another Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia making the decisions?  Then sit on your hands.

    1. Anonymous says:

      “The newness and the excitement is gone, and it would be hard to rekindle just because of the historic nature of the election,” he said. “But it’s definitely still there. Talk to me if Michelle Bachmann is the Republican nominee; then  you’ll see how fired up everyone will be.”

  13. Msmsm says:

    Maybe because Obama is destroying the Country.. Some People just don’t study the canidates like the should, before voting.. I hope they have learned thier lesson..

  14. josh c says:

    don’t forget he killed bin laden!

  15. Peter Mullen says:

    And I thought hipsters were smart.  Turns out they make idiotic voting decisions just like most the rest of us.  “He’s articulate!”  “He’s inspiring!”  “He’s black!”  “He’s cool!”  Gag me.

    1. Anonymous says:

      And me.

  16. Boo101 says:

    all your base are… resist we much.

  17. 57nomad says:

    I remember when my daughter was in high school and at that age when her contempt for all things not cool was at its most condescending and her lack of patience with her parents view of the world at its highest I asked her what she wanted and expected from life.  She replied “oh a nice apartment, a new car, and a few luxuries.” 

    I asked her how she expected to obtain these things and she looked at me as if I’d just stepped out of a space ship wearing a clown suit.  There was simply no way of explaining to a dork like me that everybody that lived in her world, a world I could not by the nature of my being ever understand,  just got these things as a matter of course, like getting wet in you stood in a running shower.

    I realized that there was no way I would ever be able to explain to her in advance the lessons that life was going to teach her once she left home.   Looking back, it took her about the same two and a half years that it has taken the Obamaites described in this article to understand  that believing that you are cool will translate into material reality is the road to disappointment.  They now understand that that road which  appeared at first to be a smoothly paved highway with a special lane for the very hip was nothing but a movie set illusion painted on a backdrop and  utterly lacking in substance.

    1. jadez says:

      its called having hope.

      you start each day wondering if you should jump off a bridge??

      jeez…you must be tons of fun to be around.
      you could bring helium balloons to the ground.

      1. akobori says:

        no, its the difference between having a purpose with plan to get there and a wild expectation that everything you dream of will magically fall from above just for you.

        Were the obamaites really looking to get into politics or were they just voting for someone because it was cool at the time?  If they really wanted to make a change they would have gotten involved in helping local politicians, held rallies for the elected officials who affect them most. but then thats not cool, and sounds like a lot of work.

        If obama had a plan to go along with his vision he could have accomplished much more.  We’ve now witnessed what happens when a lot of energy is directed to no plan in particular, a freight train on ice.

      2. VincentMVNY says:

        Dude, like Wow, your reply was real cool. Cool words, like ‘wake up’ and ‘hope’ and …. and well like you know what I mean
        Typical doofus hipster.

  18. Bachmann-bashing and Romney-bashing, but no Perry-bashing? We’re going to need you to try a little harder.

  19. Mcdume says:

    I can’t define ‘hipster’, but I know one when I see one. Of course it’s tough for the 2008’ers. Look at what Obama ran on, his promises, look at what he’s followed through on. And that’s WITH 2 years controlling House and Senate. Basically, once again, we were lied to.

  20. patricia says:

    Hipsters are young people who “think” they know everything. If you ever have a chance to have a conversation with one of them you’ll find out they are not only ignorant on most current events, they are also small minded and stupid. In their efforts to “be cool”, they have no common sense or sense of responsibility, just like Obama. Living in the real world takes time and practice, something most hipsters choose not to do.

  21. Gravedi99er says:

    I  pray no one votes for Obama – he has destroyed America enough!