Not a photo of the pseudonymous Carles, author of Hipster Runoff
Perhaps, like me, you had heard of Hipster Runoff but never actually read it. The site is a sort of parody of mp3 blogs, but to describe it that way is like describing Andy Kaufman as a wrestling comedian. Hipster Runoff is written by Carles, a fictional character whose style is defined by A) relentless use of chat jargon and B) a proliferation of scare quotes, which he seems to put around any concept he does not feel totally comfortable with. Here’s Carles on the vexing question of what he calls bubblegum indie:
What if MGMT’s “KIDS” had come out in 2011? Would they be able to morph into an intriguing ‘indie’ buzzband. When analyzing their ‘success’ in the context of a bubblegum indie MP3 that propelled them to super-mindie stardom, it is easier to understand their ‘drastic change in direction’ for their second album, just to attempt to get rid of some of the entry-level fans who ‘liked’ them 4 the ‘wrong reasons.’
I guess really those are scare apostrophes, but you get the point. Irony of ironies, all is irony. Besides the hilarious conceit of wondering how everything might have been different if it happened, like, three years later, something is being expressed here. What Carles means by “bubblegum indie” is never clearly defined, and he winds up applying it to pretty much every popular-and-then-too-popular hipster jam of the decade. That’s his point. Hipster Runoff is a blog about the existential bugbear of hipsterism: authenticity.
The weird thing is that no matter which eye she uses, she still sees you on the right.
The good news about the roiling pot of oversteamed irrelevance that we call a national discourse is that there is pretty much always, through sheer mathematical imperative, one news story going on that is completely hilarious. For the last week it has been Sarah Palin’s and Rush Limbaugh’s public argument over the words “retard” and “retarded.” As is usually the case when a news story centers on something you’re glad the president didn’t do, this one originated with Rahm Emanuel. Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal ran this news analysis piece about liberal resentment of the chief of staff, including the revelation that, back in August, he dismissed a plan to run attack ads against senators opposing health care as “fucking retarded.” First of all, I sincerely want to believe that if you come to Rahm Emanuel with some idea that turns out not to be so great, he will immediately call you retarded and send you back to your desk. Second of all, everyone can stop accusing the WSJ of conservative bias, because the chief of staff saying “retarded” in a private meeting six months ago has turned out to be hot news. In a Facebook post titled “Are You Capable of Decency, Rahm Emanuel?” Sarah Palin called on the president to fire his chief of staff, saying that “Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities—and the people who love them—is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.” By “God’s children,” she was generally interpreted to mean her own personal child, who—I don’t know if you’ve heard this—has Down syndrome.