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Hipster Blunders by Mistaking Photo Model as Himself

As the maxim goes, it’s better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. There’s at least one hipster-looking guy who will probably, in the future, take that to heart.

The MIT Technology Review recently published an article about a study out of Brandeis University on something called “the hipster effect,” the idea that a group of self-proclaimed nonconformists will eventually coalesce around similar behaviors and styles. It’s a partial explanation for the common idea that many hipster men tend to look alike--often bearded with flannel shirts and knit beanie caps.

After the story ran, editors received an email from an angry reader. He was upset about what he perceived to be unfair generalizations about people in his demographic, but also because he claimed to be the man in the cover photo and said the Review never obtained his permission to use his likeness.

Editor-in-chief Gideon Lichfield and his team quickly contacted Getty Images, the stock photo provider, to ascertain whether the model in the photo had signed a release form authorizing its use. Getty Images confirmed that the model in the photo was a different person than the email complainant. The man responded "Wow, I stand corrected, I guess. I and multiple family members, and a childhood friend pointed it out to me, thought it was a mildly photo-shopped picture of me … Thank you for getting back to me and resolving the issue."

In a tweet, Lichfield summed up the situation: “The guy who'd threatened to sue us for misusing his image wasn't the one in the photo. He'd misidentified himself. All of which just proves the story we ran: Hipsters look so much alike that they can’t even tell themselves apart from each other.”

Potential Preaching Angles: First impressions matter less to God than a thorough examination of the truth. Fools who insist on speaking up often end up proving their critics correct.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro, “Man Inadvertently Proves That Hipsters Look Alike By Mistaking Photo As Himself” NPR (3-10-19)

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