Hipster vs. Douchebag: A Literary Inquiry

It may still be too early for a Friday drink, but here’s the next best thing: a fun, new internet toy to help you waste time until happy hour! Andrew Sullivan points us to the Books Ngram Viewer, which draws from Google’s massive book archives to track the prevalence of any given word over time. You can enter any combo you want, but we decided to pit “hipster” against “douchebag” — two of the internet’s favorite terms and, in many circles, both insults.

Although the slow emergence of “douchebag,” with a small peak around 1990 and slow, steady climb since the early ’00s, seems right, we were more surprised by “hipster.” Despite its recent overuse, 21st-century authors aren’t employing it nearly as much as their early-’60s counterparts. It’s also interesting to note that “hipster” has been in a steady decline for as long as six years.