When Hipsters Are Alone…

It’s a question that has haunted minds for a long time now; when hipsters are alone, far from the ears of commoners to belittle and impress, what do they really listen to? All my best efforts to find out have failed–America’s in a sad state when, “I’m doing research for a blog!” is no longer an excuse for breaking and entering. So, if I can’t give you what hipsters really listen to, you say, what the hell is this post about?

And I respond: Screw you! because I’m bad at taking criticism. But since I can’t give you something you want, I’ll give you something you can tolerate, which is what I listen to. Once a month (or whenever I feel like, honestly, but probably once a month), I’ll publish a list of all the songs I’ve punch-brothers-the-phosphorescent-blues-450x409recently bought or especially liked for you perusal–these songs won’t all be especially “hipster” (although some certainly are) but will instead be just the music I’ve been listening to. Each playlist will include a little summary or other notes, and link to a YouTube playlist.

To begin arbitrarily, the first edition will be for April, published in late March. (By the way, what’s with magazines doing that? Like, if it’s published before April even starts and it’s called the “April” Issue, how do you know what’s going to happen in April? Why not call it the March Issue?) Hopefully you enjoy sifting through hours of someone else’s music just to find the two songs you’ll kinda like.

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Hipster Record Clock

Do you need to tell time? Do you need to do it really inefficiently and without any precision whatsoever?

Then you need this:

All projects fueled by PBR and fair trade coffee.

All projects fueled by PBR and fair trade coffee.

The above is my own attempt. It’s surprisingly easy and, as I proved, extraordinarily difficult to mess up. You can learn how to make your own here. Never has it been easier to so perfectly display your craftsmanship, interest in vinyl, and apathy towards time in one object! There also hasn’t been exactly a need, but who cares? You can do it.

 

 

5 Lessons Learned From Mad Men

With hipster culture’s fascination with vintage, and of course its deep roots in the 1960s’ hippie movement, it seems only inappropriate that Ironic Poncho discusses AMC’s popular television show Mad Men. Please note this is entirely a interesting quasi-analytically extrapolative piece, and not at all an attempted justification of my watching all six and a half seasons over the course of a weekend. So while I’ve spent the week fielding questions like, “Do you have a life?” and “Did you, like, go to the bathroom at all?” you can reap the benefits of my sacrifice by reading the post to learn all the priceless items of life advice I gained from my Mad Men filled weekend. (There might be spoilers, and while I’ve been advised that a “Find the Spoilers” scavenger hunt is not the best way to find them or endear myself to you, too bad, because I ain’t gunna be part of your system!)

Disclaimer: I understand the creators of this show did not intend to present these messages, and if anything intended to promote the opposite of what I say. This is honestly more of a humorous critique of all the 1960s, with Mad Men stuck in the title to shamelessly capitalize on the show’s popularity.

1. I can’t believe I used to think women were equal, intelligent and indistinguishable from men except for certain psychologically unrelated physical characteristics! Thanks Mad Men, for reminding me that women are just like any other object–except you can have sex with them!

2. If you’re not drinking right now, you have one X chromosome too many. Cocktails, bourbon, whiskey, it doesn’t matter if you can’t taste that scotch anymore and’ve thrown up six times. You drink because that’s what men do. 

3. Why work when you have a couch in your office?

4. Taking a long draw on a cigarette before and after anything you say instantly makes what you said 100 times cooler and more intelligent. (Taking a draw on a joint before speaking makes you doubly enlightened, that is until you actually start talking.)

5. Wow, how could I forget our media’s over-dramatization of everything? I knew cigarettes weren’t dangerous. Would tobacco companies lie to me to sell cigarettes? I don’t think so! Keep on smoking kids, that lung cancer is caused by the harmful neurotoxins released by Communists or listening to the Rolling Stones.

In all honesty it’s a fantastic show you should watch, if only so you and that other person who watches it can obnoxiously summarize your favorite episodes at parties.

Why Get Into Vinyl?

Well, why the hell not?

As the aspiring hipster, the iPod or other radio is not sufficient to play your unique music tastes (or obnoxiously present them to your mainstream friends). How do you cover the gaping hole of inadequacy offered by modern music players? Obviously by going back to 1957. That is, vinyl records, LPs and turntables.

Vinyl is making a comeback. If you were born well after the CD, or can’t remember when songs weren’t available instantly on your JavaGoogles for immediate download or whatever you kids do with computers these days, “record players” (the term is turntable) are as current as flint spearheads. But trust me–just like you may see flip phones or hunting wooly mammoths in a nostalgic light (demographics research is all over the place–we’re trying to cover all our bases), many see the turntable in the same way. The sound provides a warmth removed by the sci-fi-esque dominant digital music, possesses a sound quality audiophiles will rant to you about until you question what else you were expecting when you decided to attend an audiophile convention.

Seriously, it’s a better sound. And you don’t have to go to antique stores either — Amazon has a terrific selection of affordably priced turntables and LPs (but for records I prefer Insound as it has a great selection of modern groups cheap.). And with record of the month clubs like Vinyl Me, Please, you can grow your music collection without leaving the house.

The pretentious connotations are so well entrenched that I don’t even need to go there. Although with the rising popularity of turntables, you may want to get really alternative, and get into cassettes.

Ironic Poncho Renaissance

At long last I have returned from my unannounced approximately two month long pilgrimage to India, meaning so too have Ironic Poncho posts returned. If you’re wondering if I found enlightenment amidst the slums and smog-choked cities or by bathing in the Ganges (sacred river and garbage dump? Those Indians sure are thrifty), the answer is no, so in the future interpret any other extended periods without posts as my continued search for spiritual progress elsewhere and definitely not as my ability to now watch seven seasons of a TV show over a weekend. God bless the internet.

Well I hope this was satisfying enough for you after your months of Ironic Poncho withdrawal, because I’ve conveyed everything I needed too. Although now that I consider it, “Yeah I’ll be posting again,” would have saved all of us quite a bit of time.

 

Do you even…

It’s that time of year again. Millions of obnoxious American children find themselves with Christmas money still leftover, even after buying that Lamborghini in the right shade of Pacific Atoll Blue. What to do with the surplus? Invest it? Charity? Give remarkably generous tips? Of course not. That money would be better spent on Che Guevara t-shirts.

Wouldn’t I be so totally groovy (or whatever the kids are saying these days) in that shirt? No. No you would not be so totally groovy. I’m willing to bet more than half of those who wear the shirt even know his name, even less know when he lived, and close to no one knows his beliefs, and if they did, certainly wouldn’t wear the shirt. Wearing that Che shirt, then, is like imitating a cough of someone else’s cold with the belief that that will make you sick. The high blood pressure I get every time someone attempts to be “counterculture,” is a genuine medical health risk. Therefore, in order to spare the sanity of thousands, and possibly my life, I’ve composed a guide on when it’s acceptable (but mostly when it’s not) to wear a Che t-shirt.

Are you a Communist-sympathiser, or at the very least believe in certain socialist principles, and admire the pragmatic methods Che took to implement them?

You should be embarrassed at thinking of supporting that mainstream capitalist oppression with your consumerist buying of mass-produced t-shirts. 

Do you think Che is his first name?

Might I suggest a plain gray t-shirt instead?

Are you a middle-class American? Do you like to think of yourself as “counter-culture?” Do you pride yourself on a standardized rejection of your parent’s socio-economic mores, without regard to these mores placement or compatibility within  your, “ideology?”

You’re what’s wrong with America.

Do you like his face?

It’s probably okay for you to buy it. 

He does have nice eyebrows...

He does have nice eyebrows…

There–the first comprehensive guide to when wearing an Ernesto Che Guevara t-shirt (note: your learning of his first name in no way qualifies you to wear the t-shirt). Please, the internet’s access to endless world markets, and consequent availability of Che t-shirts, should not be used to endorse quasi-Marxist revolutionaries you know nothing about.

Are You a Hipster?

Judging from their faces, I just lost my key demographic.

“‘Incapable of understanding?’ So we’re stupid? You just lost your Uzbekistan audience.”

The first rule of being a hipster is: Don’t talk about being a hipster. For those who haven’t seen Fight Club: “The first tenet of being a hipster can be explained with Scripture, for it is written: “They shall know you are hipster by your subscription to vinyl of the month clubs.” Certain portions of my demographic (namely, southwest Uzbekistan) are incapable of understanding either of those references, so I’ll state it bluntly: You are not a hipster if you say you are. In fact, the true hipster, that shining model of alternative perfection, that god of vinyl, that king of pretentiousness, will never once utter the  self-description of hipster. It just doesn’t happen. Indeed, they’ll even deny it vehemently, waving whatever they were pickling last in anger.  It’s not that the entire city of Portland is in denial. No, 93.78% (the percent has a decimal, so you know it’s true) of the real hipster population is well aware of their hipsterness–they just won’t admit.

I was told there'd be organic coffee?

I was told there’d be organic coffee?

The trouble is, if you admit you’re a hipster, you admit that you are part of a relatively large subculture; a fact which inherently contradicts your individualism (your individualism basically is a carefully subscribed to set of rules defined by said subculture, but shh). However, if someone else describes you as one, you aren’t saying you’re a part of some arbitrary societal paradigm: they are. If you are “hipsterized” by someone else, then you’re only “falsely” grouped into that hipster paradigm by a product of mainstream society, a victim to the thoughts of the “totez un-deck” majority, but not a martyr-by-suicide like you would be if you  classified yourself as such.

Never, never, even upon pain of death, admit to being a hipster. The second you do is the second you no longer are one. To conclude, please enjoy the wisdom of that great Canadian sumo wrestler Oscar Wilde*:

“I want my food dead. Not sick, not dying, dead.”**

*fact checker on honeymoon.
**quote relevancy checker is the fact checker’s wife.

How to Succeed in Screenwriting Without Really Trying*

*any allusions to a certain Broadway show, even those deliberately meant to be allusions to that certain Broadway show, are entirely coincidental. Please don’t sue me.

Bad news for you: I’ve decided to abandon blogging in favor of a promising career as screenwriter. I have no “experience” in the traditional sense, but I did watch all the Rocky movies, which has to count for something. It doesn’t? Regardless, the following will cement me in the ancient and respected annals of the Screenwriter People Club-Thing.

1. Non-Linear Narrative Format. Sure the script is, at best, a community-theater-like amalgamation of cliches, filled with capitalization on  current humorous cultural events for cheap laughs, and awkward use of slang in an attempt to seem “modern” and “down to earth.” But the ending is the beginning? What? And the middle isn’t always in the middle? My God we need to invent awards to give it. So if I were to rearrange that script to be: capitalization on current humorous cultural events, awkward use of slang, and then a community-theater-like amalgamation of cliches, what would happen?

Yep. That would happen.

Yep. That would happen.

2. Modern Relationships. It doesn’t matter if it’s essential to the plot (the non-linear plot, of course), references must be made to the effect of, “we have an open relationship,” or, “it’s not serious,” or at the very least, should the protagonist’s partner be long-term, have him/her vigorously reinforce that, “we don’t need a piece of paper to know we love each other.”  These lines work even better in non-contextual situations.

"Hey how's you sal-" "Yeah so we're just keeping it open."

“Hey how’s your sal-“
“Yeah so we’re just in an open relationship, ya know?”

3. Using characters as  tools for espousing personal political beliefs. Has your Congressman angrily replied to all your letters? Voted out of Town Hall? If you feel powerless in expressing your highly opinionated voice, take up screenwriting. Abandon all effort at actually writing a good movie, and put the work into having your characters be ardent, text-book supporters of your cause, while portraying the villain or ignorant characters as the opposite of your beliefs. Why? Cause democracy.

4. Title Puns. If 500 Days of Summer taught us anything, it’s that you can disguise a mediocre chick flick with only a title pun and a cute line at the end with a breaking-fourth wall smile.

But is the glamorous life of a screenwriter, going to expensive parties and deep-sea diving and carrying messages to Tehran (I’m not really sure what screenwriters do), better than sitting at home in pajamas blogging, drinking coffee, and laughing at my own jokes? No. No it is not.

Have you heard of…

First, watch the video. Am I attempting to increase your enjoyment of this post with no comedic effort of my own but by merely appropriating the works of others? Yes. Now watch the video.

I can’t bring myself to classify these interviewees as “intelligent,” especially considering they agreed to have their faces shown on national television, but they provide a beautiful example of how not to feign connectivity and awareness. Now it is possible that in your extensive studying of Pitchfork’s archives and top alternative charts going back to ’05, you will have missed some groups. Because of this crucial unknown, it’s my advice that should you find yourself in a position like those in the video, or even just conversing with friends (who may be false-namedropping to bring your aloof alternative self down to their level of non-organic coffees and factory made goods), do not pretend you know who they are. Merely offer, “Oh no sorry I haven’t heard of them…you see I listen to good music.”

“If you haven’t heard them yet how do you know they’re bad?”

“Well, for one thing you listen to them.”

If you don’t feel like being that unkind, you can opt for a different strategy: internalized self-discovery. Just say “no,” as if your own personal, endless journey of musical enlightenment has not taken you in such directions yet, and are in fact extremely doubtful that that sacred road you walk would ever lead to such a low standard of “music.”

So go! Go with pretentiousness to reassert the hipster brand as knowledgeable and aloof, not the college drop-out, probably high one presented by the interviewees.