Re: Towards a more accurate definition of an epithet.

1

I'm old enough to remember when having your music on a commercial was "selling out." Now, it's a milestone that indicates an act has made it, if not to the big time, at least to the medium time.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:11 AM
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You know, I pretty much never see hipsters. Heebie U has zero hipsters. I'm not up in Austin often, and usually there I only see friends. So my entire set of associations that characterize hipsters is based on clothing. I do like to look at hipster clothing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:12 AM
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But isn't just that type of twee wanker a hipster subset?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:15 AM
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Twankers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:16 AM
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Heh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:22 AM
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I thought the premise was nothing useful?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:22 AM
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1: well, right, because it's basically the only way for a struggling and/or ascendent band to make more than a survival wage, unless they have a preternaturally enthusiastic touring audience or a zillion side projects.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:25 AM
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6 pwned by the original post, apparently. Read all the words, Sifu.

Anyhow I think it's a little bit strong to claim Pomplamoose is doing something useful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:26 AM
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Nataly Dawn's reedy voice has lost its charm for me, but I did like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G5JaicYuVU&feature=channel


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:27 AM
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When exactly did "hipster" come to refer to a particular tribe, like "punk" or "mod"? For a while there it just seemed like a generic term for young people who were into cool things and really really into the fact that they were into cool things. It wasn't a new tribe, just the very old phenomenon of people being snobbish and bohemian about one thing or another. In fact, the word came up because there wasn't a tribe involved. They weren't hippies or teds.* Just multi-purpose bohemians.

*Why are all my examples of tribes things that are mentioned in songs by The Specials? Because I'm old.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:30 AM
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10.1: 2001.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:32 AM
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The narcissism of small differences.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:35 AM
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When exactly did "hipster" come to refer to a particular tribe, like "punk" or "mod"?

There was a not very memorable article in the NYT that provoked this great letter to the editor.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:36 AM
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I thought hipsters were defined purely and completely by what and how they consume. I therefore wouldn't rule out hipsterhood for someone who does do something, so long as they also consume (and emote about their consumption) properly.

On the poster advertising an outdoor craft market this summer: Hipster and family friendly


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:39 AM
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I think exempting all writers and musicians from the term is silly, and certainly not standard usage, since they're responsible for the term. It also assumes "hipster" cannot be anything but pejorative, an idea with which I also disagree.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:41 AM
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The phrase "hipster doofus" originated in the 1990s on the show Seinfeld. There was an episode in which Elaine described Kramer as a "hipster doofus." I think this predated the actual hipster movement by a few years.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:43 AM
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Right. I think the Seinfeld use of hipster was reaching back to the fifties for a beat poet with bongo drums and a goatee, and making fun of Kramer as an old-style 'hipster' wannabe.

Using it to describe a fashionable young person again hit all of a sudden, and I don't think earlier than the late nineties. Although I could be wrong about that, I'm usually behind the times.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:52 AM
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I totally disagree with the gist of the post.

I date to around 1999-2003 "hipster" as beginning to delimit a superset of indie subcultures (The Hipster Handbook was published in 2003, by which time we have a well-established and well-mocked thing).

If Heebie wants to see hipsters in Austin, pretty much any night at Beauty Bar, Rio Rita, the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In, Thunderbird Coffee, Spider House, or Shangri-La will do it.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:01 AM
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It reminds me of the way that "non-denominational Christian" effectively became its own denomination.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:02 AM
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I went to Spider House before it was hip!!

Maybe I would've liked Pomplamoose had I not been exposed to them visually first. Her vacant-confused expression makes me cranky. On the other hand I also think their "Single Ladies" is a great example of a cover that gets it 100% wrong for all its virtuosity.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:12 AM
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Maybe I would've liked Pomplamoose had I not been exposed to them visually first. Her vacant-confused expression makes me cranky.
She's the cutest resident of the Uncanny Valley.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:17 AM
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I think you can do anything and still be a hipster as long as you can appear not to care about whatever it is. Pomplewhatever do this while actually performing.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:21 AM
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the Uncanny Valley

Which can be viewed as a product of the narcissism of small differences along a different dimension.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:24 AM
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I hate the original "Single Ladies", and their cover improves on it every way.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:25 AM
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20.1: I still go to Spider House even though it's already hip! That's how hip I am.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:27 AM
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I think you can do anything and still be a hipster as long as you can appear not to care about whatever it is.

That defines John Entwistle and Billy Zoom.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:28 AM
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23: sort of the small differences of narcissism, really.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:28 AM
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Also I was just sitting her daydreaming about the uncanny valley (and googling bunraku puppet videos) and here goes JP. It really is all about me!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:28 AM
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+e if you don't want to make the dumb joke


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:29 AM
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it's basically the only way for a struggling and/or ascendent band to make more than a survival wage

Moreover, I know of several struggling bands who are actively seeking/courting promotional song-placement deals while being very, very chary of any medium- to large-size record labels. The former deals usually allow complete creative control; the latter, not so much.

Anyhow I think it's a little bit strong to claim Pomplamoose is doing something useful.

I said creative *or* useful.

(The Hipster Handbook was published in 2003, by which time we have a well-established and well-mocked thing).

For those of us without our supplied copy handy, what was that thing?

It also assumes "hipster" cannot be anything but pejorative, an idea with which I also disagree.

I want this to be true, but I don't have any evidence for it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:30 AM
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"Hipster" is used pejoratively by hipsters, and descriptively by anybody else who happens to us it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:35 AM
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I actually hadn't realized that it was that pejorative. I sort of think of anyone noticeably younger than I am who appears to be, um, fashionable in an urban, kind of at least trying to look intellectual kind of way as a hipster, and thought that was a pretty neutral term for them. Like, I hate to name names, but Stanley? You're not a hipster?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:38 AM
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Like, I hate to name names, but Stanley? You're not a hipster?

Feeling uncomfortable being called as much may have featured heavily as a motivational force behind the OP.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:43 AM
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28 I was introduced to the concept of the uncanny valley (and the delicious but unsettling salad dressings made at the ranch there!) because of the bunraku puppet in Anthony Minghella's production of Madama Butterfly.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:43 AM
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33: But you don't need to feel uncomfortable about it, Stanley! Old folk. at least, aren't using it as an insult.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:45 AM
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Is there a non-pejorative term that I don't know for the people I think of as hipsters? Not that there has to be, I don't have a social-group identity that I'd embrace beyond 'dullish'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:46 AM
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'Cool cat'


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:49 AM
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To give a UK perspective, the fanzine Shoreditch Twat, which popularised the notion in England, was started in 1999. Similarly the fictional hipster (or wannabe hipster, anyway) character Nathan Barley first appeared in Charlie Brooker's TVGoHome in 1999.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:51 AM
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31: by anybody else who happens to us it.

That Freudian stuff can be subtle.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:51 AM
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I think I'm too old and cranky to be a hipster but I do like (some of) the beard and mustochios.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:51 AM
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31 gets it right.

Of course bands should be doing commercials these days. "Selling out" through doing commerials was a viable pejorative term when bands could hope to make money through album sales. Now that the record industry essentially doesn't exist anymore bands should get their money where they can.

Also, "pomplamoose" is a horrible band name.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:53 AM
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I sort of think of anyone noticeably younger than I am

It's funny how these kinds of labels are so relative to the labeler. Tweety's mom calls us foodies, seemingly because we sometimes find recipes on the internet and try them out.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:57 AM
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If Heebie wants to see hipsters in Austin, pretty much any night at Beauty Bar, Rio Rita, the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In, Thunderbird Coffee, Spider House, or Shangri-La will do it.

Oh, those people? I thought they were just homeless.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:57 AM
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If 31 is right, then 'hipster' is a nice illustration of the 'I am rubber, you are glue' principle in action.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:58 AM
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Also, "pomplamoose" is a horrible band name.

And there's that, yeah.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:58 AM
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43: That reminds me of a certain period in the 90s when groups of college students would sit on the sidewalk to talk.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:01 AM
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42: Many of the people here are certainly "relative hipsters*" compared to me.

*Non-pejoratively used.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:01 AM
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Do people still use the term "dragworms" in Austin for the punk looking kids who hang out on the drag? It seems hostile toward the homeless in a way you'd think people wouldn't be comfortable with, but I used to hear it all the time and probably said it at some point. The assumption seemed to be that they were playing at street life and their mothers showed up from Westlake to pick them up at night, so what you were actually mocking was pretense, but that's pretty presumptuous.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:05 AM
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What's wrong with being a hipster? I aspire to hipsterdom!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:05 AM
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For those of us without our supplied copy handy, what was that thing?

Basically, an extended Onion article:

http://www.hipsterhandbook.com/


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:06 AM
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42: Well, I think there probably is an objective year-of-birth for hipsters, I'm just not exactly sure when it is. People born after 1975? Later than that? There are certainly people my age (39) and older who partake of the hipster esthetic, but it's not the bulk of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:06 AM
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48: Crap, there was some term, but I don't think I heard "dragworm". Dragrats, maybe? There's definitely some Draganimal phrase that I've heard. Or maybe that's the clothing brand where everything matches already.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:07 AM
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Are any of the words on this page actual slang used by anyone?

Seriously, that kind of thing I can usually identify what's being made fun of, but I don't think there's a word on that page I've ever heard used.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:09 AM
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48 and 52--in Berkeley in the 1990s, these people were called "gutterpunks", which isn't very nice I realize now.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:13 AM
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24 I hate the original "Single Ladies", and their cover improves on it every way.

Racist.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:17 AM
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53: Is it a hoax like "grunge speak"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grunge_speak


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:20 AM
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I don't have any strong feelings about the Pomplamoose version of "Single Ladies", having heard it only once. But I will state for the record that the original Beyonce version is a strong contender for the title of apostropher's very least favorite song in the entire history of pop music. It produces the same reaction in me that that Lady Lumps song did for everybody else whenever it was on the radio.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:24 AM
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53.--I've heard "deck." Otherwise I would think that the authors were messing with the readers (a "juicer" is a ladies' man? really.).


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:25 AM
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Here, the fake-pan-handling kids seem to be called "trustafarians" which seems to unfairly lump the goths in with the hippies.

Oh, I guess "crusty punks" is used, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:28 AM
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In defense of the Austin Dragrats, I think many of them are authentically homeless.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:29 AM
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So, hate on Pomplamoose all you want, music-wise.

I had thought it was more-or-less impossible to hate on Pomplamoose, music-wise. Apparently not.

24 is correct. I am still cracked up by the fact that she sings about omitting some of the objectionable lyrics of the original.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:34 AM
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Not "crustpunks"? That's in pretty wide circulation.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:41 AM
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Also, I like the new Sonatas. Eye-catching.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:41 AM
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I think we can all agree that you're all monsters if you don't do the book-donation thing on the band's behalf. Or maybe! To spite them. You know, donate ironically.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:41 AM
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I think we just said "crusties."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:46 AM
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I'm hip! Because it's hip to be square. Huey Lewis and the News: the best!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:53 AM
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I call my good friend Kristin "Chrusty".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:54 AM
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To give a UK perspective, the fanzine Shoreditch Twat, which popularised the notion in England, was started in 1999. Similarly the fictional hipster (or wannabe hipster, anyway) character Nathan Barley first appeared in Charlie Brooker's TVGoHome in 1999.

However, I'm not sure either of these sources actually uses the word, IIRC, although both prefigured the backlash pretty much exactly. Also, there was hardly anyone who read either who wouldn't have been instantly identified as a hipster.

So the UK perspective is that we had the backlash before we had the thing. This continues to this day - there is a character who wanders around the East End with their £400 Canon DSLR taking photos of people they identify as fashion-obsessed and posting pictures to their blog, "Hackney Hipster Hate". I submit that there is no more canonically hipsterish activity than taking pictures of people in Hackney because you find their dress sense remarkable and then posting them to your blog, and suggest that they replace their blog with a mirror.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:58 AM
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64: The more obstinately you try to learn how to donate the book with the goal of doing so ironically, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 10:00 AM
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...except, possibly, for reading it. Or bitching about on (of all the conceivable blogs) Unfogged.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 10:01 AM
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However, I'm not sure either of these sources actually uses the word, IIRC, although both prefigured the backlash pretty much exactly.

True. Arguably, the London term for hipster is simply Shoreditch/Hoxton twat.

Also, there was hardly anyone who read either who wouldn't have been instantly identified as a hipster

Well, I read TVGoHome avidly at the time and I'm pretty unhipster, especially when it comes to dress sense, or my lack of it. Though I did live near Shoreditch for a while.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 10:08 AM
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"Single Ladies" is exactly the kind of song I hate (overproduced, danceable) but for some reason I adore it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 10:46 AM
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I had thought it was more-or-less impossible to hate on Pomplamoose, music-wise.

Wait, what? I don't think my household got that memo.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 10:56 AM
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Are any of the words on this page actual slang used by anyone?

At the time, no. It was some sort of self-reflexive joke about circles of Hipsters inventing slang no one else understands. Of course, Hipsters being Hipsters, certain of them started adopting the fake slang with knowing irony after publication.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 11:09 AM
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I was thinking it had to be like that. It's hard not to be exposed on some level to slang if it's real, and I was drawing a complete blank on all of that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 11:10 AM
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On the "selling out" question, I originally had a whole paragraph anticipating someone bringing that up, but I edited it out and wondered how quickly it would come up. I've had several arguments with musicians who deem themselves punkier than thou who absolutely despise bands that go in on any sort of commercial relationship. Their mantra seems to be "Just keep playing shows. Just keep playing shows."

Probably worked back in the day, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 11:21 AM
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But I will state for the record that the original Beyonce version is a strong contender for the title of apostropher's very least favorite song in the entire history of pop music.

Huh. I basically look to Apo as my music spirit guide from the imaginary world of the internet(basically, whenever he finds something and says it's awesome, it really is incredibly awesome), but I don't mind Single Ladies at all. Certainly it's way better than about 10 zillion pop songs that have come out since the vocoder/Autotune boom.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 11:25 AM
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musicians who deem themselves punkier than thou who absolutely despise bands that go in on any sort of commercial relationship

That kind of thinking hurts my soul. But I'm also one of the few people in the world who feels sad that the world has lost its store of A&R men.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 11:28 AM
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Their mantra seems to be "Just keep playing shows. Just keep playing shows."

Which are totally not a commercial relationship at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 11:30 AM
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the original Beyonce version is a strong contender for the title of apostropher's very least favorite song in the entire history of pop music

I would come kick your ass for saying that, but Taylor made me promise not to. But I know where you live, cracker.


Posted by: Kanye West | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 11:34 AM
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The author of the letter linked in 13 is quite the opinionated hipster grandma.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 11:46 AM
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if theres anything i pride myself on, its my ability to look homeless.

http://textsfromlastnight.com/texts/page:3


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 11:49 AM
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it's way better than about 10 zillion pop songs

Maybe the difference is that I pretty much never hear (or maybe I just don't notice, hard to say) the other 10 zillion pop songs, but circumstances conspired for me to hear "Single Ladies" nearly everywhere I went for months on end. It was like the Christmas music experience, but distilled down into a single, grating song.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 12:17 PM
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re: 77

That's because Apo is ur-SWPL:

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/11/18/116-black-music-that-black-people-dont-listen-to-anymore/

[me too, fwiw]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 12:18 PM
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77, 84. Me too. But I feel OK about that because I also listen to White Music that White People Don't Listen to Any More.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 12:31 PM
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83 was me.

ur-SWPL

Heh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 12:40 PM
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The link in 82 sets off my workplace's Net Nanny. Boo.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 12:41 PM
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re: 85

Ditto. In fact, right at this very minute I have Sylvius Leopold Weiss' Lute Sonata no. 52, cranked.

I jump back and forth between classical music [pre-Mozart, or 20th century usually],* jazz, soul/RnB, and whatever 'hipster' music is currently flavour of the month. And a lot of guitar music.

* I can't really be doing with pre-20c symphonic music.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 12:48 PM
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I try to only listen to '70s Palestinian songs of protest.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:00 PM
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87: Sorry! That site is in bad taste.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:02 PM
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89: But fail miserably and wind up listening to 60s show tunes?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:03 PM
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89: Pfft. Speciesist. You should stick to the birthing songs of the humpbacked whale. (Or maybe Hatebeak and Caninus.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:05 PM
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Oh man I love me some Hatebeak.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:06 PM
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I'm actually lying; I had the opportunity to buy a CD of '70s Palestinian protest songs not two weeks ago and I turned it down.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:19 PM
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Zionist!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:22 PM
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I know. I also turned down a CD of pre-WWI Tuvan throat singing. I hate to think what that marks me as.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:24 PM
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I was listening to Kanye today, so I have the necessary authenticity to authorize you to hate on "Single Ladies".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:24 PM
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95: Only true if he stole the CD and recorded Klezmer over it.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:25 PM
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97: My roommate was listening to the new Kanye the other day. I quite liked what I heard and subsequently happened upon five simoleons.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:27 PM
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I have the new Kanye on my iPod but haven't listened to it yet, because it went on with a whole bunch of other music I've been listening to instead.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:29 PM
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97, 99, 100: Well, I heard about the new Kanye. I'm cool too, right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:31 PM
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101: You're totally deck, peep.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:33 PM
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102: Thanks, Stanley! I worry sometimes that I'm turning into a fin frado.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:37 PM
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I spent a delightful five minutes the other day deleting from my Google Reader every feed containing a recent mention of Kanye West , because I am racist.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:40 PM
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Kanye's backup singers on that "Power" track are tight.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:40 PM
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Oh no, a post from Stanley that I don't agree with! I really don't think the classic hipster does nothing creative or useful; there are thousands of bearded Brooklynites producing hand-crafted liqueurs (that I'd gladly drink) or what have you and I'm afraid I'd still call them hipsters. As others have stated, it's not necessarily a pejorative term, although I've certainly used it as such.

K-sky linked to a great article on hipsterdom awhile back, which identified two main waves - the first, which did emerge out of the late 90s and involved the PBR-swilling, trucker-hat wearing hipster; and a second, that was much more consciously crafted around what the author called....primitive? or something like that aesthetic (more back to nature-y), in the mid-2000s. I felt that it pretty clearly lined up with what I've seen, as someone who is into a variety of "hipster-ish" things without actually resembling one. The author did have things to say about not producing goods....something about merely chasing trends of consumption...ok, now I have to just go look this up.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:41 PM
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The hipster Ngram.

Tops out in 1960.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:48 PM
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I found the article, and it would seem our very own Nosflow critiqued it quite interestingly in the comments. I still think it's engaging, if you want to engage in a pointless debate of definition.* Money quote from the article, which is amusing but probably too glib: "The hipster moment did not produce artists, but tattoo artists. It did not yield a great literature, but it made good use of fonts." Read for yourself here.

*Which I clearly enjoy.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:52 PM
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"Single Ladies" is exactly the kind of song I hate (overproduced, danceable) but for some reason I adore it.

This is me, too.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 1:57 PM
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108: Making a distinction between "serious art" and tatoos and between "great literature" and "good use of fonts" is dreadfully fin.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:00 PM
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111

104: Is it actually because of your secret love for Taylor Swift or your secret admiration for George W. Bush?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:01 PM
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"To me, the consummate hipster doesn't do anything. Nothing. Specifically, nothing creative or useful. That's the defining characteristic. Period."

No, no, no, Stanley. A thousand times no. There's plenty of people who don't do anything creative or useful. If that was the defining characteristic, Don Cherry would be a "hipster."

"Hipster" is just in the process of becoming one of those irregular nouns: I have good taste in clothes and music, you are a pretentious twit, they are hipster doofuses. I submit that we are witnessing, in real time, the gradual replacement of the "hippie" by the "hipster" as iconic scapegoat of (North) American inadequacies and bullshit for those who don't want to think too much about the people who are really fucking them over.

The more neutrally definitive trait would be "someone on the cusp of a trend," or several trends. Which Pomplamoose certainly are; their career arc is indicative of what most musicians are likely to be doing for a steady living in the near future, their sound epitomizes the twee trend (to which hostility is understandable in some degree but usually overblown), their lead singer is even that specific kind of Zooey Deschanel-esque cute that's currently de rigeur.

Now of course these sorts of people can be douchebags from time to time. For example, many members of the TweeVerse seem way too enamored of doing cute, super-whitebread covers of hip-hop and R&B tunes in a way that indicates they don't really respect the source material. This is getting old, and decidedly un-hip, very quickly. Cf. the Pomplamoose cover of Single Ladies (which is a perfectly good pop song, you certain crotchety old curmudgeons whose pseudonyms begin with "a"), where she actually mocks the lyrics in one part of the song instead of singing them. "Why the fuck are you covering the song, then?" one might ask.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:10 PM
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110: Yeah, it's a cheap shot and not well thought out intellectually, but damn if doesn't make me laugh.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:10 PM
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There's plenty of people who don't do anything creative or useful. If that was the defining characteristic, Don Cherry would be a "hipster."

Jazz or canuck-hockey Don?

I submit that we are witnessing, in real time, the gradual replacement of the "hippie" by the "hipster" as iconic scapegoat of (North) American inadequacies and bullshit for those who don't want to think too much about the people who are really fucking them over.

Maybe, but I doubt it, because "hippie" has (probably wrongly, IMO, given most actual hippies) a connotation of left-wing politics, whereas "hipster" is apolitical.

I also liked both that "What was the hipster" piece, and Nosflow's criticisms. Come to think of it, there's a fair amount of what might reasonably be pegged as hipster art, some of which might seem pretty good in 30 years time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:21 PM
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which is a perfectly good pop song

It was, until I got bludgeoned with it for months on end (and during a period where I didn't even have a functioning radio in my car or home, to boot). Similarly, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" is a perfectly good Christmas song and "Stairway to Heaven" is a perfectly good classic rock staple, but if I never hear either one again that will still be about a million times too many each.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:21 PM
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Hey, Tweety: can you build a robot that makes a mash-up of "Single Ladies", "White Christmas", and "Stairway to Heaven"? I bet we can get the apo to say bad words.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:24 PM
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There's a lady who's sure
She hears sleigh bells in the snow
And she's buuuuuuying a ring for
Her finger.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:27 PM
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114.last: I am suddenly feeling the need to stifle my urge to Facebook stalk. I enjoy piecing together identities on Facebook way too much. (And I'm always amused when friends from disparate places know each other in ways I can't figure out.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:27 PM
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I've thought for a while that the distinguishing trait of the hipster was a sort of parody display, more narrowly described as self-indulgent abdication: cf. vinyl, eye-bruisingly-colored corduroys, pre-safety-razor beards, Ivy League graduates-turned-CSA farmers, M/tth/w Ygl/s//s advocating the widespread renunciation of power and privilege exceeding the power and privilege of M/tth/w Ygl/s//s, etc.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:36 PM
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116: Deep in the Uncanny Valley or not so much?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:38 PM
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This is mostly off-topic (and nsfw), though I was reminded of it by various references in this thread. Hipinion forum discovers RealDoll forum, extracts the highlights so you don't have to.

RealDolls: 2011's trucker hat and PBR?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:48 PM
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re: 119

Vinyl? As in records? That's not really a hipster thing. Music nerds have always bought vinyl; it's more or less immune to fashion. Go to any second hand record shop and the number of hipster types will be vastly outnumbered by dorky music fans of all types.

FWIW, just purely on the hipster thing, I like some of the music made by bands that look like, well, as Ginger Yellow mentioned above, Shoreditch Twats. DS is also probably right about the irregular verb aspect.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:51 PM
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112: Your argument falls down on the fact there is nothing good about "Single Ladies". It completely deserves the Pomplamoose treatment in the way that "Beat It" (say) does not.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 2:55 PM
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The link in 121 is slowly stealing my soul away, but I can't stop looking.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 3:29 PM
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Here is the hipster/beatnik battle:

http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=hipster%2Cbeatnik&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

they go neck and neck to about 1960 when beatnik lays the smackdown.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 3:57 PM
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I was surprised somebody like her got on tv, but I'd never heard of the band. The commenters on "Single Ladies" call her a "lesbian Justin Bieber." Hipster was always floating around as a category, just like there were preppies long before anybody wrote a book about it.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 4:09 PM
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somebody like her

Meaning what, exactly?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 4:11 PM
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Meaning the sort of face that doesn't usually show up in car commercials.

Hippies vs. punks

http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=hippie%2Cpunk&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 4:13 PM
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114: Jazz or canuck-hockey Don?

That would be St. Rock-em-sock-em-hockey Don, of course. The jazz Don created Neneh Cherry, which alone qualifies him for semi-divinity by association.

123: Your argument falls down on the fact there is nothing good about "Single Ladies".

Single Ladies is like a skip-rope chant turned into a radio single. If you are the sort of person who hates children and kittens and sunshine and beauty and would have made a fine villain on The New Adventures of Scooby-Doo, then I can see hating it. (Though it disappoints me to learn this about you, Walt. Leastways apo had the plausible "endless repetition" reason to hand, which although it reveals the damning fact that he regularly listens to top 40 radio -- hopefully against his will -- is otherwise comprehensible.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 4:23 PM
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I can see how some people might want to replace "Miranda July" with "Nataly Dawn" in this enjoyable rant:

http://badadvice.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/05/im_normally_not.html

"


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 4:36 PM
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No more masturbating to Captain Beefheart.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 6:02 PM
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In attempting to do some Internet research on the shifting meaning of "hipster" I came across this fabulous obituary by Robert McG. Thomas from the NYT in 1998. And although it applies to the meaning of the term from an earlier era it supports Stanley's view of the defining characteristic with a vengeance. (This is the entire piece)

Anton Rosenberg, a Hipster Ideal, Dies at 71
Anton Rosenberg, a storied sometime artist and occasional musician who embodied the Greenwich Village hipster ideal of 1950's cool to such a laid-back degree and with such determined detachment that he never amounted to much of anything, died on Feb. 14 at a hospital near his home in Woodstock, N.Y. He was 71 and best known as the model for the character Julian Alexander in Jack Kerouac's novel ''The Subterraneans.''
The cause was cancer, his family said.
He was a painter of acknowledged talent, and he played the piano with such finesse that he jammed with Charlie Parker, Zoot Sims and other jazz luminaries of the day.
But if Mr. Rosenberg never made a name for himself in either art or music -- or pushed himself to try -- there was a reason: once he had been viewed in his hipster glory, leaning languidly against a car parked in front of Fugazzi's bar on the Avenue of the Americas, there was simply nothing more he could do to enhance his reputation.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 6:37 PM
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This is mostly off-topic (and nsfw), though I was reminded of it by various references in this thread. Hipinion forum discovers RealDoll forum, extracts the highlights so you don't have to.

Wow. Just ... wow. If you feel the need to simultaneously laugh and cry, you really ought to check out that thread. It's ... it's beyond everything.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:17 PM
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132: In attempting to do some Internet research on the shifting meaning of "hipster"

Keyword "attempting". Has Google groups search gotten so fucked up that I cannot really see all the results? Or is it me? Or do I need to use freaking Chrome or something. I'm only seeing the first page with nothing obvious to click to get the rest.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 7:30 PM
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||

Tonight while running, I was wearing a black hoodie (with flashing lights and a reflective armband on) along with one of these masks. I came up behind some dude and clearly startled him. He reared back to throw a punch and quite nearly did.

Note to self: get some more colorful running clothes.

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:05 PM
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Note to self: get some more colorful running clothes.

Well, that's one solution. Or you could ditch the lights and just go for the preëmptive throat strike.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:13 PM
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136: Heh. When I told my roommate about it, he said (jokingly, of course), "Guilty conscience. Guy knew he deserved to be punched, and you're an asshole for not doing it."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 8:25 PM
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Did DS allege upthread that Don Cherry did nothing creative?

If Emerson were still around he'd have an aneurysm.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:20 PM
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I found the article, and it would seem our very own Nosflow critiqued it quite interestingly in the comments.

I only remember doing this on facebook, and, hm, maybe one other place. The comments on nymag?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:27 PM
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||
Somehow seems to belong here.
|>


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:28 PM
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You'll get to 129 eventually, nosflow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:29 PM
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There's only one Don Cherry.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 9:40 PM
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My internet research found this surprising cover http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3EGljZ-N_Y
Duran Duran does Public Enemy.

I know hipsters when I see them:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlCKoy_6Qtc


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 12-17-10 10:43 PM
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DS, your defense of "Single Ladies" has already killed Captain Beefheart. Stop before you kill again.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 12:21 AM
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Via a timely post at Crooked Timber, a nice picture from 1948 of Harry the Hipster. According to Wikipedia, In his autobiography, Gibson says he coined the term hipster some time between 1939 and 1945, when he was performing on Swing Street and he started using "Harry the Hipster" as his stage name.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 8:02 AM
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This was a very brave post, Stanley.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 8:57 AM
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Don't tempt me, old man. Or I'll post once again about running. I'll fucking do it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 9:26 AM
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old man

Next you'll be telling me that you're a lot like I was.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 9:32 AM
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neb, I'd be interested to hear critique if you're willing to thumbnail it. I found the article well observed for the first page or so, but thought it went off the rails somewhere on the second page.
I became cranky with it for fairly nerdish reasons, having mostly to do with its recapitulation of a lazy Thomas Frank/Baffler-style critique in which everything is given a single political valence and a sub-culture is imagined out of completely unrelated bits of of culture and media.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 2:26 PM
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139: I was referring to the Facebook comments; I wasn't particularly clear about that, sorry!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 2:29 PM
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I submit that we are witnessing, in real time, the gradual replacement of the "hippie" by the "hipster" as iconic scapegoat of (North) American inadequacies and bullshit for those who don't want to think too much about the people who are really fucking them over.

Concur. The distinction is in part that one is a rural aesthetic and one is an urban aesthetic. Note that the 'baggers have integrated urban planning into the paranoid structure.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 2:59 PM
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Also, just read the Rosenberg obit. Conclusion: what do you mean, he didn't amount to anything? He mastered a couple of arts, ran a business, raised a family who loved him, and died with dignity. If his name was Antonia Rosenberg, everyone here would have slaughtered anyone who suggested this didn't amount to very much.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 3:05 PM
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Pull my finger.


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 3:21 PM
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||

Someone here linked that Wired piece about underseas cable, right? Aboard one of the boats. (Bonus: I like when the narrator gives away the video's provenance by explaining that a bit of cable is enough to run "from Toronto to Saskatoon!")

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 4:20 PM
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enough to run "from Toronto to Saskatoon!

The Scoonses were from Perth--the other side of Australia. Bella always measured distances by comparing them to the trip to Kalgoorlie. The distance from London to Paris was to Kalgoorlie and back. The trip to Berlin was "To Kalgoorlie, and back, and back again to Kalgoorlie." Moscow was seven trips to Kalgoorlie. And once I heard her mumbling, working out the distance to Irkutsk, in Siberia, and I heard her finish, "and back to Kalgoorlie."

-- Paul Theroux, Riding the Iron Rooster


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 4:33 PM
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http://boppin.com/anton.html

The full obit . . . lifelong heroin addict, supported by his wife.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 4:35 PM
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She'd say, "Can I be on top?" and he'd just shake his head "no." But the way he shook his head kept her coming back for more.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 4:41 PM
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At a dance hall. Drunk. Remind me that i shouldn't sleep with the recently ex. Schnell bitte.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 5:20 PM
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Unfoggederseits gibt es soweit keine Billigung Ihrem Vorhaben, mit dem Ex zu schlafen.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 5:30 PM
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o fick dich


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 5:37 PM
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I was just at a punk-rock show where an ex- was present, and I left without sleeping with her. I feel great! Do that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 5:41 PM
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Don't. Be nice. She might think that means you're going to get back together.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 5:43 PM
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better!


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 5:43 PM
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I farted!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 5:52 PM
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I was once at a punk rock show where The Ex were present, and I left without sleeping with any of them.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 6:06 PM
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Ok sorry too late. Going to make bad decisions. Appreciate the attempt. Its not u its me.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 6:29 PM
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Honestly, X.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 6:34 PM
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Nor did I sleep with any of them after I left.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 6:34 PM
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I think reasonable people can agree that X. Trapnel is making a bad decision, but it's making me feel mildly better about my decision not to be better prepared for the GRE, which I took today with a result of Not-Very-Good.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 6:49 PM
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Look, if noöne else is going to do it, I suppose it'll have to be me:

x., don't have sex with your ex
It will make your life complex,
My x., baby, take it easy
x., don't have sex with your ex
It will knock you off your legs
Oh, x., stay cool and just relax

Note the confluence of required advice, name of recipient, the bad pop earworms theme, and Germany. No, please, don't thank me.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 6:52 PM
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but it's making me feel mildly better about my decision not to be better prepared for the GRE

How about your evident decision to apply to graduate schools in the first place?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-18-10 7:32 PM
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171: Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. One bad decision at a time.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-19-10 9:26 AM
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This is going to sound like a god honestly stupid thing to say, but making bad decisions (well, relatively) is what being in your late 20s or 30 is all about. Or rather, the stakes get higher later, the bounce-back is tougher, and even though you may come to mildly regret these late-20s-ish things some day, you don't want to be risk averse prematurely!

Shorter me: eh, x. isn't going to make a *habit* of this, right? And Stanley, can you take the GRE again?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-19-10 11:41 AM
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Stanley, can you take the GRE again?

I could. I probably won't, as I did fine, really, just not genius-level great. I also haven't seen my writing score yet.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-19-10 11:47 AM
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