The skies grow dark over Davis Square this day, as word has come forth from the DC area that the spark has finally been struck. The fuse is ignited. The prophecy is coming to pass.
The great hipster civil war has begun.
What began as a simple drink order in an Arlington, VA coffee house has now catalyzed into a full-on contretemps pitting the two largest hipster factions — coffee snobs and snarky bloggers — against one another in a battle for supreme self-righteousness. Denizens of the gentrified ethnic neighborhoods of New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Philadelphia are busy preparing for war.
Austin may not survive the night.
The chronicle begins July 13th, when snarky blogger Jeff Simmermon orders his favorite coffee drink — three espresso shots over ice — from a well-respected coffee house called Murky Coffee. He is informed that store policy prevents this abomination, so he orders a triple shot of espresso and a cup of ice. The drink is delivered as ordered, but Simmermon is again told that what he is doing is “really, really Not Okay.”
Simmermon gets peeved. He tells off the barista, writes “FUCK YOU AND YOUR PRECIOUS COFFEE POLICY” on a dollar bill and puts it in the tip jar, then retreats to his snark lair to conjure an appropriate riposte to the injustice that was sort-of done to him.
Maybe condescending service from a patronizing millenial at a DC coffee shop isn’t news to anyone else. But the only way I’m ever coming back to Murky Coffee in Arlington is if I’m carrying matches and a can of kerosene.
Snarky blogging is a common strategy employed by snarky bloggers. Usually the snark simply bounces through the series of tubes until it loses speed and dissipates into the ether. But Simmermon’s post gained a new life when it was picked up by Boing Boing — a favorite site of both major hipster factions.
The spark was lit.
Before: Snarky bloggers and coffee shops, an uneasy truce
Simmermon’s post elicited over 200 blog comments, many of which defended the coffee house and condemned his snarky writing. For example:
this isn’t about coffee, this is about the barista doing his job the best he can and you totally disregarding the store policy and then proceeding to be a dick. that photo of the dollar you left speaks a ton about you. you’re an ass and i hope for the sake of the baristas at murky you don’t go back.
you need a mobile coffee machine… haven’t the astronauts invented little coffee pills for you yet… just add water… like sea monkeys…
Then the coffee shop itself jumped into the fray, employing its own version of snark directed back at Simmermon. Shop owner Nick threw down the hipster gauntlet (a 3rd place trophy for a 1983 4H Club cattle auction) by threatening violence against Simmermon’s manhood itself:
To Mr. Simmermon, you overplayed your hand with your vulgar tip-schtick. While I certainly won’t bemoan you your right to free-speech, I have to respond to you in your own dialect: F*@k you, Jeff Simmermon. Considering your public threat of arson, you’ll understand when I say that if you ever show your face at my shop, I’ll punch you in your dick.
And so it was that great hipster civil war began — with a mean dollar, a handful of Web sites, and talk of dick-punching. We now stand on the precipice of our own demise and wonder: what hath hipster man wrought?
As for our position in the coming war — while we are often accused of both epicurean snobbery and snarky blogging, Pax Arcana prefers to remain neutral in this war as long as possible. Just in case, we’ve already ordered kevlar Chuck Taylors and bullet-proof ironic T-shirts. A word of warning to those who would tempt fate by drawing us into this fracas — do not make me slice your ass with my iPhonesaber.
Murky Coffee, Arlington: Hold That Espresso Between Your Knees [And I Am Not Lying]
Open Letter to Jeff Simmermon [Murky Coffee]