Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Stuff Pretentious People Like Hipster Edition: Bacon

This post was originally going to be longer and about the ironic love that dare not speak its name: hipsters' ironic love of anything that is from Middle America (which includes but is not limited to bacon). A friend of mine pointed out that the reason for the fairly recent bacon re-introduction is because hipsters like to latch onto anything that might be normally considered beneath them, which typically describes most of the people, places and things invented in the Midwest. This entry will be briefly singling out that lovely, salty pork product that hipsters (those that aren't clinging to veganism for dear, smelly, sickly life) seem to have rediscovered.

I prefer to understand the bacon phenomenon by looking at the status message updates of the most extreme hipsters I see on Facebook, because they are the only way I really can keep my finger on the pulse of what is hip and happening, and also because Facebook is quickly becoming a more reliable "RL" news source than the New York Times. Below is a tiny collection of status message updates and wall photos from the past week to illustrate the bacon-sation that will likely not die soon:

"... knows you don't make friends with salad, but that certainly isn't the case with bacon."


"... doesn't know what's wrong with people that don't like bacon."

"... 'Mmm … unexplained bacon.'" (You need to recognize this as a Homer Simpson quote; he is a huge part of why bacon and greasy decadence is cool again.)

"... will f**k for bacon."

And, the "Bacon Explosion" that everyone cool and yer mom (as long as she's from Wisconsin, and mine is) seems to be coveting:


Next up: "Why TREET Will Soon Be on More T-Shirts in Williamsburg Than SPAM."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pretentious People Prefer Not to Be Associated with America


This is likely going to be a very short rant about a subject that is very important to pretentious people: nationality. Pretentious people (and really, specifically, pretentious "Americans") enjoy asking about and also listing all mutty components that make up their heritage. One of the typical conversations on a first date between hep, young cats usually goes a little something like this:

Person 1: "So, what are you?"

(NOTE: The fact that everyone knows how to answer this question and doesn't say, "female-male post-op," "human," "an astro-physicist," "an under-employed screenwriter" or "professional grifter" is proof of the American cultural crisis.)

Person 2: "Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, Greek, Scottish and 2% Irish." (Everyone is always at least 1% Irish, which is particularly relevant on St. Patrick's Day so that person can justify joining in the revelry without guilt.)


Pretentious Americans love to be tourists in their own country. That way when we get dissatisfied with things happening here, we can threaten to expatriate and go back to Europe (or wherever else our ancestors came from that has a more socially-acceptable government, cooler clothes, or a nicer language than our own), and other pretentious people can think we are awesome for taking a stand ... by running away.


I have definitely been guilty of the "percent-what" game, but newsflash to us all -- we are all American. Yes, it's great that our country was built on immigrants, but that was centuries ago; we're in it for the long-haul now, like it or not. (Apologies to anyone reading this that was BFF with George Washington; you can ignore this.) If I went to Norway, for example, I would probably be beaten to death and left for dead on the fjords within the first 24 hours, particularly if I declared myself to be Norwegian in English.

Oh, and maybe if we're a little less apologetic about the fact that this is what some of us would call a "cultural activity" ...


... we wouldn't have to put those Canadian flags on our backpacks the next time we go to the Louvre.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Part II: Bad Mood Bears -- A Case for Aquaman!

Yesterday and today are days for bad moods; everyone seems to be fairly stressed about things. Actually, I was in quite the stressy rage yesterday and earlier today, but feel surprisingly fine despite having stayed up until 6 a.m. working this morning (a 7-hour project turned into 30, all of which I've worked in the past 36 hours or so) and still being not done with my task list for the past two days (but probably having to be "done" because I am not super-human, despite my own false beliefs sometimes). But, truth be told, everyone gets to be grumpy sometimes or whenever without being labeled a jerk. I was a bigtime jerk last night/this morning, and I'm sure I'll get there again. Sometimes it's cathartic and absolutely necessary to be completely jerkish and just let the mood stick to you like dirty flies on fly paper in order to get your world in gear and get things done. Sometimes it just feels good. Regardless, I feel much better today and refreshed because I just let myself be self-centered for a night and tune out the world (save small, welcome pieces of it) so I could get what I needed to get done finished to the best of my ability. It mostly worked, though I think I failed to do exactly what I expected, but not because I didn't work hard.

Now that I have my little ramble complete, I bring you some further thoughts and details about my earlier conversation.

Aquaman has a sort of ridiculous main picture in the Wikipedia entry. I always think I should like Aquaman because of his connection to water (and the fact that I too have a way with it), but then I realize he is rather lame. Besides stinking royally of fish, he truly does stink as a superhero. Even the Green Lantern is better, and that's saying a lot, I think.


Firstly, he has an absurd name. Arthur Curry? At least "Clark Kent" (with whom he started, of course, in Superman form) consists of two brusk first names. Both are pretty strong-sounding names, too. And of course, the power of "Superman" goes without saying. But, I don't know any "Arthur"s and certainly not many "Art"s that are very manly. When I think Arthur, I think short, slightly bumbling and drunk British men or aardvarks on public television. I do not think of mysterious might-be superheroes. And, his last name makes for a delicious dish, but again, it sort of makes my stomach hurt (I have a bad curry story about a trip back to London from the Lake District on a bus when I was living there at 19 that still gives me the Willies). I guess maybe as Arthur Curry he could work in an Indian restaurant and probably do pretty well ... but he wouldn't be able to turn into Aquaman very readily because he'd have to wait *at least* 30 minutes before entering the water, and I think, truthfully, a lot of cute and chirpy dolphins would probably die rather than be saved at the hands of Aquaman in this scenario.

That being said, I guess I just don't get his whole "deal." He does have some pretty interesting powers. The heightened senses, including the vision in the dark of course and the telepathic communication are by themselves fairly radical. But, I guess I don't know enough about Aquaman, because I don't really get exactly how universal or necessary his existence is (or why he quit his day job to superhero full-time). How does he pick a side and decide what things are evil underwater? And why does it matter? For example, I might be okay with him dispensing of all sharks, but I still realize they do have a purpose in the pecking order and are a necessity (a little bit like spiders in the insect community). The underwater world is pretty self-contained, so how far could that concept carry? And I thought Superman could go just about anywhere too, so ... why do we need a special underwater guy?

(I probably just checked my imagination at the door today.)

This part just seals my opinion, really: "Outside of water, Aquaman will gradually dehydrate and his physical abilities and energy will waver in response." So, basically, a lot of the world -- or at least the part with actual other people in it -- is his kryptonite. He would have to be in a water bubble to live outside. I realize a lot of the world must be his oyster (perhaps even literally), since most of the planet is covered with water ... but I'd think he'd get pretty lonely talking to fish (and where would his "fun" happen?), and of course, would stink to high heaven (not that he could go there).

Apparently someone realized his retardation later on, judging from the following statement: "The modern Aquaman has become a darker and more powerful character, often portrayed as angry and righteous. He is also more self-assured -- and even arrogant -- in his role as king."
So, I guess there's a moral that comes out of that for superheroes worried about their lameness (and maybe even regular people accused of acting ridiculously or pretentiously). The moral even sort of relates back to the first part of this discussion: When you think you're getting too lame for words, just rule arrogantly and be ultra-righteous (aka, when you start to worry that you might be sucking hard because you aren't getting as much done as you'd like, a la me earlier today, be totally cranky). You'll be wildly even more unpopular than you were when you were lame, but at least no one will mess with you.


Part I: Aquaman Stinks (An Introduction to a Future Thought)

I wanted to write a very snarky blog about Aquaman, but I just don't have the time.

I was recently in an "argument" with someone about Aquaman. I brought him up because said person was talking about being able to see in the dark, and I was pretty convinced that was one of Aquaman's super powers.

Needless to say, I was scoffed at liberally and told that I was wrong and eventually that "Aquaman stinks." I am not sure if originally this comment was meant as a commentary on his actual smell or an expression of his lameness as a superhero, but the former concept was definitely where the discussion veered afterwards. You try being in the ocean for over 50 years and see how great you smell. The ocean just isn't as clean as it used to be, folks. Couple that with a diet probably consisting of brine shrimp and other seafood, and you get something pretty fishy and wet-smelling. You are what you eat, after all.


What I want to say is that I found out, thanks to a brief skim through Wikipedia, that I was right about in-the-dark-seeing as being one of Aquaman's abilities. So all that chastising was truly for nothing. I guess I retain even more useless information than even I expected. It's fun to be right sometimes, even if briefly; it doesn't happen often, so I try to enjoy it, even when it's about the little things.

I want to do some investigative reporting to find out more about Aquaman and write about it later, but, there's work to do.

You can clearly expect some pretty exciting things from me in the future.

Pretentious People Should Like Aquaman

While browsing through some old things I'd written in what I thought was my non-Pompous-Pilate voice, I realized I had written more than one short, non-fiction essay dedicated to a pretty heavy analysis of the underdoggish superhero, Aquaman. Starting out as a nerd that could not survive in many normal human environments but somehow blew up into a cocky bastard, I started to see how Aquaman really is the perfect superhero for the most self-righteous and pretentious among us.

Aquaman may in fact be one of the first modern hipsters.

Therefore, I present a slight departure from the usual "Stuff Pretentious People Like" format in the form of two pieces about the mysterious, winter-kill-smelling force that is Aquaman.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Pretentious People Enjoy Baffling You with Their Facial Hair

An evening out at a crowded hipster joint on Saturday night convinced me of one thing that will make for a pretty short blog post: pretentious people love sporting facial hair patterns that defy the laws of physics. There is no doubt in my mind that they believe the more socially awkward their beards and moustaches are – and the more they can make you uncomfortable by giving you the “Blue Steel” (TM Zoolander) gaze when you look at them (because obviously any lingering glance is because you feel confused, but ultimately humbled by their great creative growth accomplishment) – the more successful they will be at being quirky, which will hopefully make it okay for them to be lawyers instead of musicians, artists and writers … or make it acceptable for them to say they are musicians, artists and writers without having to actually “create” anything tangible.

The following are three of my least favorite combinations:

The Modified Tom Selleck


This one is basically characterized by the absence of a beard, and the presence of a mustache with neither rhyme nor reason. It didn’t even look good on Magnum P.I., and women secretly wanted to boff him in spite of it … not because of it. We know better now.



Mutton chops have been around forever, but “choplets” are what happens when there is no moustache or attention paid to anything that surrounds the mutton chops. In this scenario, the hairy chops appear as though they’ve been vomited out by the rest of the hair. Often this look accompanies “ironic” pattern baldness.

The ZZ Topless


This look is basically what happens when a person with no hair grows an absurdly long beard. It can be seen with or without a moustache, and often is accompanied by a trucker hat or a derby.

And here’s a taste of what you’d really be doing if you weren’t thinking so hard about it, and genuinely were a true beard-or-stach-trepreneur:

The Spaghetti Bowl


The Hepa Filter Handlebar


The Dusty Cradle


Gratuitous experimentation with facial hair began as an ironic experiment in shocking others. I have not proven this hypothesis beyond a reasonable doubt, but it is my fairly educated opinion as a person that has mingled, often undetected, amidst the awkwardly bearded in New York City for almost a decade. However, I believe that now these pretentious many that have learned to so expertly manipulate their own hormones are so lost in their own irony that they are drowning in a sea of their razors’ worst decisions.

This blog post was brought to you by the World Beard and Moustache Championships (which is the next level you could achieve if you stopped simply competing with yourself or the homeless people in Williamsburg).

Monday, January 11, 2010

5 Conversation Topics Pretentious People Will Be "All Up Ons"


Whether you’re going out for some PBR/Old Kentucky Gentleman whiskey shot drink specials after work … or some cosmos, you can bet you’re going to run into some pretentious people you need to keep occupied that are attached to your boss, co-workers or your new significant other and need to be kept busy and impressed.

The following five topics will make you acceptable unto the self-proclaimed high-and-mighty set and will surely start a heated debate that will last well into the morning after hangover. (Most likely, this topic will be revisited in the future until an endless list is created.)

  • “What are the empirical differences between The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre?” Note: Skinny jeans and Converse must be in the equation before broaching this topic. Also, be prepared with song titles, as this topic may erupt into a chronological list of each band’s entire catalogue.


  • “Is it true that left-brained people, ie., artists, musicians and writers are incapable of holding down a job, doing their own finances, or being responsible, not unlike the mentally challenged?”Photobucket
  • “What’s your biggest guilty pleasure? And do you like [insert guilty pleasure here] because you actually, legitimately like it or because you ironically enjoy it?” Note: Don’t believe any answer. Most pretentious people are in such denial about irony and so confused about its true meaning that they have stopped being able to distinguish between what they actually like … and what they have just convinced themselves they like ironically or otherwise in order to have something interesting or mildly amusing to talk about in mixed company.
  • “What’s your favorite iPhone app?” I only say “iPhone,” because those iPhone people tend to be much more apps-focused than Blackberry or other Smartphone users. This one will also give everyone an excuse to do the texting and status message updating they’ve been putting off doing for all of 10 minutes while getting acquainted. You get secret bonus points if you get someone to “meta” update their status message, meaning the person posts about posting a status message update or posts about an app while using the Facebook app, which was just declared to be the person’s favorite.


  • “How long does fashion take to get to small Midwestern towns … like Chicago?” Note: Being from this “small, Midwestern town” they call Chicago, I was asked this question by a native New Yorker (who it turned out was not really a native New Yorker after all, actually hailing from Cape Cod and Tampa, FL in equal parts) that claimed to be rather worldly. This question is an excellent test to see just how deeply rooted someone is in his/her own bull, and how much the educational system failed the person, especially when it comes to lessons about geography. To use this conversation starter IN Chicago, eliminate “small Midwestern towns.” Everywhere else, adding a statement involving the phrase “nothing but cheese, corn, sausages and fat people” will really get things going and show you’re well aware there is no discernible difference between Chicago and any town in Wisconsin.


Warning: Check the nature of your company before starting any of the above conversations. For example, young Brooklyn hipsters are going to be less likely to believe that phrenology can prove that artists/musicians/writers are genetically lazier than MBA’s and lawyers. In fact, you might get hurt (at least emotionally) if you suggest it, or more likely set off a 3-day pot and “skiing” binge that will also cause an extraordinarily positive revenue shift at Union Pool/Don Pedro’s.