A few days ago I was collecting a couple more CD catalogs to load onto the Big iPod, and started thinking about something…
I was trying to locate all the Bruce Springsteen discs (through Tunnel of Love only), and realized Bruce was hugely popular, yet still OK for hipsters to like. There aren’t many who fall into that category… because obscurity is one of the main things hipsters crave.
Sell a few million albums, you see, and you’re no longer a best-kept secret, and not attractive to the cool people anymore. The actual quality of the music doesn’t even matter at that point; it’s all about being plugged-in, and having more sophisticated tastes than the average shitkicker.
How do I know this, you ask? Because I’ve been to the dark side.
When I was in my twenties, especially, I was highly skeptical of popular music, TV, movies, books, etc. If the masses liked it, it pretty much had to suck, I thought. And how snobby is that?
Indeed, I dated a woman for a while who was even worse than I was. And we mostly just walked around with our noses in the air, dismissing everything.
Oh, she wouldn’t be caught dead reading a mass-market paperback, like they sell at Target or Wal-Mart. No, it had to be a hardcover (preferably battered) or, at the very least, a trade paperback. And the author had to be someone nobody’s ever heard of, or one of the approved writers, like Bukowski or Vonnegut.
A similar situation with movies… We hung out in pretentious-ass art houses, watching baffling foreign films, and unfathomable American independents. During that period of my life I witnessed more utter bullshit, passing itself off as high-cinema, than you can shake a clove cigarette at.
I remember one in particular, which featured a fat woman dressed up like a baby, sitting in the top of a tree and dropping feathers on passersby. …For upwards of thirty minutes!
After if it was over, I said something along the lines of, “what in the finger-snappin’ hell?,” and learned it symbolized man’s eternal struggle with love, war, peace, and God.
And we never ate at chain restaurants (good goddess, no!), it had to be some out of the way hole-in-the-wall with a romantic story attached to it. All the better if it was located in a damp cinderblock room in the middle of the warehouse district, or if customers were required to ride a rickety and terrifying cage-elevator to the top of an otherwise abandoned office building.
But, like I say, I was a willing participant; I can’t blame it on my ex. In fact, she was (and undoubtedly is) a nice person. We were just very young and very douchey.
I fully embraced that attitude for a year, maybe more, but eventually started missing the normal stuff. Like Stephen King, and Steely Dan, and movies with gunfire. And what the hell’s wrong with Applebee’s every couple months? Is that such an unforgivable crime?!
After a while I began mocking the movies openly (they were always the hardest part of it for me), and rebelling against the entire hipster code. I remember we got into an actual argument one night, because I came home with a Don Henley album under my arm. Heh.
But I just couldn’t do it anymore; we’d taken it too far. I felt like I was cut-off from the world, and wanted to go home.
At some point I just started liking what I like, without first running it through the prism of hipness. I became an unreliable rogue. And if someone had an issue with my non-ironic fondness for Beverly Hills 90210, or whatever, they could just go pound sand.
Sure, I’m still a bit of a music snob, but I genuinely enjoy seeking out new bands and underappreciated albums. I do it because it makes me happy, not for someone else’s benefit. And that’s the difference.
So, there you go. That’s what I was thinking about, while trying to find all the Springsteen discs. And, in case you were wondering, I located them all, except for Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ. I’m not even sure I own it on CD…
And how uncool is that?
Beyond Bruce, what else is/was hugely popular, but still hipster-approved? Let’s start a list.
Have you ever watched a large man eat roughly seven pounds of tightly-compacted spaghetti and meat sauce from a standard Cool Whip bowl? Since yesterday, I’m proud to announce, I have.
And last night I also discovered barbecued Fritos will completely dominate your burps and belches, for an impossibly extended period of time. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a “food” with such staying power. What do you think? Is there something that can beat it?
Yesterday I was cleaning out my gmail spam folder, and noticed a message with the following subject line: Britney tried to drain my scrotum. Just thought you should know.
And as I type this, Toney and the Secrets are within thirty miles of the Surf Report compound. Soon it will all be behind us, and the house will once again sound like a mental institution, in the late evening, during the patients’ “bad time.” And all will be right with the world again…
I’ll leave you now with a formal Question of the Day, in case that popular-but-hip thing doesn’t do it for ya. If you were on death row, for, say, killing a whore with a heart of gold, what would you request as your final meal?
I would probably go with a big honkin’ plate of spaghetti (not pressure-packed into a butter bowl), a tossed salad with thousand island and cheddar cheese, and several tumblers of sweet tea.
What about you? What would you choose as your final meal, before paying the ultimate penalty for your horrible crimes? We need to know.
And I probably won’t be able to update on Friday, but will try to write a short one over the weekend.
You guys have yourselves a wonderful day.
And I’ll see ya soon.
A salty charcoal grilled steak RARE with chili-cheesy steak fries.
Salad would contain:
eggs, bacon, corned beef, shredded sharp cheddar, bean sprouts, feta cheese, organic tomatoes, sunflower seeds and raisons.
Lightly complimented with real ranch dressing.
Can I get a hell-yeah?
Regarding the ex:
And then you married her sister?
Am I wrong?
Give me a plate of lasagna with tendorloin and deep fried morales, with a glass of dry cabernet. Followed by… a cold pack of Budweiser (so what, its popular and mass produced, but oh so tasty) with a few shots of Jack and tequila. Topped with a jar of shine and a rail 2 feet long. Finish with a J and as many reds as I can smoke before my heart stops. Ive prayed for death after many such a night, why not if its going to happen anyway.
J Shifty says
Uncle_Rickles, Funyuns are definitely near the top of the list of tastes that linger/repeat. And I also concur with Misselle’s fresh green pepper call.
And speaking of Stephen King, no matter how cool he shouldn’t be due to his billions of books sold to the general plebian populace, he was the man who introduced me to the phrases:
“a hammersmash of blood and brains and flying skull fragments”
“Weedeater! How long you been screwing your sister, Charlie?”
amongst so many other pithy and picturesque gems, so I am forever in his debt as a human being.
One or more specific parts of Misery were the only written words that ever made me physically and involuntarily flinch.
Take that, Philip K. Dick!
tony tony tony says
Final meal: Biscuits and gravy, hash browns, CBH (Corned beef hash), Sliders, 2 apples, prune juice, and 3 cheese coney’s from skyline.
I’d delay the execution (electric chair) until the last minute and then, after they wet the sponge, give me last rites, and let me say my final thoughts (as I’m trying to clench through leg restraints) I’d say “Have fun with this, boys. Power me up!”
And when the guy who had to clean my shit off of ‘ol sparky’ the next day quits, I’ll smile down from the potters’ field and laugh.
Hipster band + band I consider almost too big to like now tour in the fall:
Drive by Truckers and The Hold Steady
Fuck yeah. They are trading off headlining night for night like the truckers would do 8 years ago, fucking awesome.
Also, I think that yearish of being a snob really helped your outlook and comedy style. It gave you a good douche baseline.
Slugs and fishes,
Off to the St. Lou tomorree….pray for me.
jim britton says
I grew up in New Jersey.
I was a high school senior in 1979.
All teens in New Jersey in the late seventies had to worship at the altar of Springsteen.
Springsteen’s okay in small doses, but at that time I preferred Elvis Costello.
Willie Williams says
Four chili dogs from Hot Dog Heaven as an appetizer. The fried captains platter and a bowl of hush puppies from TwinLakes for my main course and a large sausage and pepperoni pizza from Deweys for desert. Finally, a bag of Frito’s scoops and a carton of cottage cheese as my follow-up snack.
The snob thing works both ways I spent the early 70’s only listening to obscure rock bands: the Edgar Broughton Band, ELO, Barclay James Harvest, Climax Blues band, looking like a Ramone living on Jack and secretly dreaming of a haircut, a Bob Seeger album and a glass of Merlot:) Second question last meal, only one answer: a bowl of Wonka’s everlasting gobstoppers!
Billy Bob says
Last meal: Prime rib with homemade mac and cheese, Grey Goose on the rocks, Canadian club whisky. Also a hand rolled cig. I would not eat the whore with the heart of gold. I dont think I’d have killed her either, maybe she overdosed on smack while I was rogering her. Would make a great movie….
How about Neil Young in the pop but still hip category? I like the boss, too.
Last meal, I dunno, maybe a big deli smoked meat on rye, from Swartz’s deli in Montreal, kosher dill, and lots of Keith’s IPA to wash it down.
You never really know which meal’s actually gonna be your last, so I generally have some of that IPA just in case.
Shiny Rod- I am on my way into NYC today, and although the idea of papaya juice makes me want to puke, if I see a papaya king I will give it a try, on your recommendation alone.
Do hipsters like Johnny Cash? I think the Man In Black has always been the epitome of cool. I’ve been a fan since I was a wee lad and his late 90’s revival doesn’t bother me one bit. As a hard rocker, I especially love his versions of Rusty Cage and Hurt…along with classics like One Piece at a Time and Boy Named Sue.
Last meal: I’d like to eat at the “Y’ of Estella Warren.
I am going to commit a sacrilege here but I hate Neil Young and his Mickey Mouse voice and always have. Especially those mournful dirges of his early days. As for his jumping around on stage while jamming on the same 2 or 3 notes I’ve had enough of. And he looks almost as bad as Dave Crosby.
Shiny Rod says
OK folks, #1 hiptser band. Van Halen (Dave Lee Roth days) definitely not the Sammy Hagar days.
Papaya king is NOT about the juice it’s about the Best Damn Franks in the World!!!!!!!!!!!
I’d like to change my last meal to three corn dogs and mustard. I’d eat and then I’d sharpen the corn dog sticks on the cinder block walls and kill myself by stabbing my jugular before they had a chance to carry me to old sparky.
Well, i didn’t get there, but I know where it is now- so next time I will have a juice AND a dog!
If I’m to be electrocuted then a couple of pounds of unpopped pocorn kernels, a tablespoon of salt and four sticks of butter.
I belch pastrami for far too long after one of those NYC 1lb pastrami deli sandwiches.
Marlee ~ says
Hipster hay day music…..in my ‘day’
Ramones, Frip, Eno ……..
Crazy times at their concerts …
The ‘Mosh’ pit experience ……………
last meal; center cut porkchops, real mashed potatoes w/butter,fresh corn on the cob,and a salad w/cucs,carrots,red onion,egg and italian dressing, top it off w half a gallon of cold milk and a pecan pie, worst food fhat hangs with you ;hamburger station onions,you burb them, sweat them,for a week but they are good once in awhile.
Brenda Love says
REM and the Beatles are still on any respectable hipster’s list, along with the inimitable Wang Chung.
Last meal? SPAGHETTIOS, with meatballs, of course. And a Sunset Passion Colada from Red Lobster to wash it down with.
Hey Jeff, just popping in to say I am loving the new website – you shoulda done it sooner! 😉
Rusty, you’re not the only one! I’ll think “Mickey Mouse” every time I hear Neil Young now!
a thick cut porterhouse steak. A salad w/egg, bacon, cheese,home grown tomato, onion, cucumber, sunflower seeds, carrots and home made ranch dressing, fresh corn on the cob, five crispy bacon strips, asparagus with lots of butter, buttercup squash, real mashed potatoes with country gravy, sweet strawberries, premium vanilla ice cream, ice cold coke, homemade bread w/real butter, and a huge lobster tail…whew!!!
and a great cuppa coffee to end it all.
cucumbers, watermelon and banannas give me a case of the winds
Jeff, are you reaching…making ‘light’ of people such as the mentally ill? July 4th update. The ‘Mental Hospital Patient attack scenario’ as I would attempt to call that glance at humor, and now this: ‘and the house will once again sound like a mental institution, in the late evening, during the patients’ “bad time.””
Let me illuminate your ignorance. When a person diagnosed with a severe mental illness has a bad time, it starts around adolescence and ends when they either end their own life or succumb to another issue like diabetes an average of 25 years earlier than someone with who has the brain chemistry of someone as normal as you.
Often they start in college, or a carrer and then begin having a harder time keeping up until, they have a “bad time” as you put it. They usually cannot continue, they may lose touch with friends and family as they can no longer relate due to unrelenting symptoms. They usually end up being hospitalized up to several times over the next part of of their lives, losing their hopes, aspirations of any normalcy (companionship. career, children.) The worst part you see of the illness is not hearing voices, mania, severe depression. No, the worst part is ignorance. People not hiring them as they attempt to join the workforce, poverty, lack of choice where to live and ignorant douchebags as you often call people that I would agree have it coming. Don’t be a douche Jeff, m’kay? If you believe civil rights was a mistake and treating people with shameless brutality was top-notch, then keep it up. Your treatment of the mentally has been strikingly similar.
Don’t mean to piss on the love fest. I’ll continue to read and laugh, just with reluctance to spread the word to those who know.
Joe T. says
brian, wow ,take a chill pill [as my kid tells me] jeff means no harm. if you stick around long enough you will learn its a way of painting a mental image of the old movies and the way mental people look and act. no way would jk make fun of you or anyone else.
Dave the Other says
Hey brian…some of the stuff here hit’s me kinda ‘funny’ sometimes. Either from the pool of reporters or just some topics or observations. I take them as just that and look for no harm here by anyone.
I recommended Jeff’s site to an old friend. I said “i’ts like recommending a restaurant to someone.” Everything on the menu may not appeal to you but it’s a really cool place all in all.
I have tried to ‘fit in’ my whole life without giving up Me.
I always say… “I walk a thin line.” Kinda funny I think.
We’re all crazy…avoiding the norm. Ah shit…I gotta go get more beer nuts.
Dave the Other says
Has anyone ever been last and first??
I may have been overreacting to Jeff’s posts. However, I work with the the mentally ill. I care about them. They are one the most taken advantaged demographics. Stigma like all prejudice should receive reaction.
I may again have gone too far. I’ve been reading Jeff’s updates for about a year and a half and have found much comic relief at the expense of individuals for this time. I would find it hard to laugh at a demographic. Call me a snob, if need be. I will continue looking forward to the updates and will not take a personal shot at Jeff again. Just had to provide some insight in to the world of the mentally ill (not mental patients, or mental people, that like saying the N word in the mental health field.)
Dave the Other says
Hey brian… compassion I think is what it’s called. Don’t lose. I Love it.
I’m glad I wasn’t last. -d
Ordinary Phil says
I’m late to this party, but without doubt the most ultra hip yet ultra popular with the masses things ever are Harley Davidson motorcycles. I don’t care for them, myself. I ride sporty rice. But there it is.
Okay, I’m way late (as always) and more than a dollar short, but whomever said that hipsters like Elvis is wrong, unless he’s talking about Costello, because we hipsters hate Presley.
Rusty – Amen! I friggin’ ate Neil Young or did you say Bob Dylan? Either one, I do not understand the appeal.
Re: Foreign films – I go semi-regularly (used to go all the time) and I’ve left many times laughing my ass off wondering why critics loved whatever film and shaking my head because I didn’t get it. So many are so fucking obscure and depressing.
Last meal: Damn, I have no idea, although Kenju’s suggestion of real mashed potatoes with garlic and lots of real butter would definitely be on the list. I’ve been craving that for a while, but I’m too damn lazy to actually go to a store. Of course, I wouldn’t have murdered the whore w/the heart of gold.
But since it would be my last meal, I’d have to forgo the vegetarianism and have alaskan king crab legs with melted butter – all you can eat, of course, and grilled asparagus with a drizzle of nicely old balsamic vinegar, and my uncle’s special potatoes au gratin (way better than regular). And a really nice IPA or two.
How about Frank Zappa for the hipster/popular musician?