Peaked: Stuff

These unwanted toys want you to stop your stuff addiction
These unwanted toys from a trash island floating in the North Pole want you to stop your stuff addiction … and kill Santa.

While it’s been happening for a while, people are starting to finally feel the hurt from the sheer amount of stuff we’ve created. The definition of the word itself is worth noting.

Stuff (noun)  – the material of which anything is made.

Given in that context, stuff has this building-block-of-the-cosmos ring to it. I like to think stuff is some kind of base element which can be reformed to make anything. When to need to refer to anything, you can use the word stuff. “Hey get your stuff out of my house!” or “I have the stuff, do you have the money?” Now, unless you believe in creatio ex nihilo, stuff is a perquisite for existence. According to Carl Sagan, “we are star stuff” which is a noble way to look at it and we’re currently up to our armpits with all our star stuff.

Sure, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and laws banning plastic bags for single item purchases are important examples of too much stuff but HWTNXT is all about making the obscure relevant so here are other ways to look at the stuff-splosion.

The rapid rise of self storage – According to the Self Storage Association,”Some 65% of all self storage renters have a garage but still rent a unit; 47% have an attic in their home; and 33% have a basement.” Many people just walk away, leaving their stuff to star in “reality” television.

On average, English kids own 238 toys but only play with 12 daily. That’s 5%! Now we know the secret truth about the origin of the heartbreaking and dysfunctional “Island of misfit toys” from the classic Rankin/Bass Rudolf television show. BTW, I’m the jelly shooting squirt gun!

How2HAWT: So what to do about this? Well, thankfully the Swedish have a good idea, it’s kind of an anti-Ikea idea,  Start repairing stuff.  In his misguided 1932 stuff-ifesto “Ending the Depression through Planned Obsolescence“, Bernard London advocates for making stuff cheaply to save ourselves. It lead to a institutionalization of disposability and the tragic death of the fix-it-men. Case in point, my Fisher / Paykel dual drawer dishwasher. I have steadfastly refused to allow this thing to give into it’s makers idiocy of design and potentially despicable intentional failures. I’m proud to claim that I’ve repaired or replaced every internal component of this Kiwi beast. I have accepted the greasy mantle of fix-it-man and I will not allow my dishwasher to be a testimony to the discardable.

 So DO YOUR PART! Grab those tools, set up a workbench, toss that lamp up on it and start fixing it. Thats HAWT!

Dark Side for the WIN?

Ren from Ren and Stimpy
Ren Höek
renSW
Kylo Ren

This one is from the could-a-told-ya-so-why-do-a-study-about-it department. Leave it to some Germans (actually Swiss psychological researchers studying Germans in some kind of unholy self fulfilling Teutonic kopf-spiel) to determine that in fact, narcissistic psychopathic Machiavellians are more “successful” at work. Go figure.

narcissism was positively related to salary, Machiavellianism was positively related to leadership position and career satisfaction, and psychopathy was negatively related to all analyzed outcomes.

The “Dark Triad” isn’t just a Hong Kong gang from a Jackie Chan movie, it’s in each of us. These insidious malevolences have been found to equate to the western sense of “success”, especially in Germany. Could this explain the VW emissions debacle?

Sie werden nehmen wertvollen Leitersprosse Platz für meinen Fuß !

So this all begs the question, how best to survive/thrive in the face of this darkness? We really can’t call this a “trend” in that jerks have always risen to the top of the corporate cesspool, but it’s still worth a teenser bit of exploration. To heighten the irony, let’s extract this from the glass and formica of the corporate world and inject some Sith into a bucolic bastion of nicey nicey, the next board meeting of your scavenged bicycle co-operative. Imagine the twisted countenances around the table at the bike cave when you show up, late of course, dressed in black and distorting your voice through a toilet paper tube covered in black duct tape. As a side note, HawtNext cannot stress enough the importance of having a large supply of cardboard tubes! Every dark sider has a distorted voice. Next, stand ominously at the head of the table and glare at the velocipedian neo-hippies. “I tire (sick humor is a sure sign of psychoapthy) of your inaction and timidity” you deeply intone with clenched fist in front of you. “The time for action is NOW!” What the action is, is unimportant, the importance is that you’ve made them feel feckless and ineffectual. “You!” pointing at the unicycle representative. “I admire your purity, align with me and we will control the streets!” Yes, your transition is complete, you are sowing discord and disarray playing factions against each other. Because the unicyclist is also a mime, he wont say anything when you pretend to air-squeeze his throat for hesitating to do your bidding, he may even pretend to wince because mimes like to play along. Now turn on the heel of your black keen sandals and leap on your bike (try not to get your cloak caught in the single fixed gear) and ride off cackling “I’ll get you and your little dog too!” None of this will of course work because the Freewheeler Co-op is an Anarcho-syndicalist collective and being a jerk at work relies on a hierarchical power structure.

By the way, if you are dealing with someone who is part of the Dark Triad (especially if it’s yourself), try some honesty and humility, a sure fire remedy for a case of the meanies.

Honey Boo Boo & Deepak Chopra = HAWT

tumblr_mpzsx0nkdx1qkfspko1_500Nothing makes us HAWTER than a bunch of academics doing an in-depth study of stupid people.

Some eggheads from the University of Waterloo used the New Age Bullshit Generator to see just WTF idiots are thinking … or not thinking … or whatever.  

They basically thought the tweets were just as profound as the randomly generated sentences, so they were equally bad at seeing the B.S. in both.’

 Then, of course, the Washington Post does a story about it. The staff at Hawtnext is entirely gung-ho about contributing to the meta-nature of this examination. We often use the Click-o-tron to make ourselves feel superior.

Interestingly, these people have actually stumbled on some ancient esoteric knowledge. What’s REALLY HAWT here is that the stupid people are masters of Zen Koans without even trying. Zen Koans are solution-less riddles used to reveal to zen students the ways of meaninglessness … or whatever.  But, much like in quantum physics, once an experiment has been observed, it doesn’t exist. So thanks Mr. Scientists for destroying the zen of these innocent stupid people. Of note, is that funding for this study was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

White Hot: Post-ironic Irony

wwfcapTen or fifteen years ago, in near-paleolithic hipster times, you’d see trustfunders in blue-collar foam domes and polyester work shirts with names like “Gus” or “Clement” embroidered on them. A PBR in hand, the most working-class of all working-class beers. And all of it was ironic, because these dudes had never worked a day in their lives, if you don’t count practicing with their experimental dronewave band as work. The girls were no different, piling on ugly sweaters and homemade smocks, ironically peering through granny glasses at their knitting, shakily riding coaster bikes with huge baskets on the front, crafting, baking, and basically doing everything their home economics teachers taught them to do in seventh grade, except, like, not for real.

Then something happened. Time passed. That money from the parents, which was never as much as one might have anticipated, ran low and fizzled out. Life happened. Those guys had to get jobs — pushing brooms, turning wrenches, carrying things, delivering things. Suddenly that ironic work shirt became pretty practical. On one’s own dime, saving money on cheap beer seemed like a good idea. Couples married. Children were born. Those girls who “like to knit” lost the quotation marks and became women who actually liked to knit. The granny glasses became actual bifocals. Crafting circles became a real social outlet. It still seemed a little punk rock to wipe that cake batter off of your sleeve tattoo, but the thrill of punk rock was nothing compared to the joy of baking a nice cake for your loved ones.

Irony, in these ancient circles at least, disappeared, replaced by a new, more humble, earnestness.

But that was then and this is now. That was them and this is you. You aren’t middle-aged. You sure as hell aren’t earnest. Swipe your ATM card: There’s plenty of money in your account. It’s time for a new hipster. A meta-hipster. It’s time for post-ironic irony.

Now listen up, because this is complicated and you should definitely not attempt this if you have any doubts about your ironic “abilities.” Where they zigged, you zig harder. Where they zagged, you zag like your life depended on it. Where they said, “Hey! Look at me! I’m a traditional American!” You say, “Hey! Look at me! I’m a pre-post-ironic previous-generation hipster!” And then you wink like your eyeball is about to fall out.

This is what makes it white hot: You’re going to have to step way outside your comfort zone. Seriously, you’re going to have to drink PBR. You’re going to have to dress like a buffoon, and not the good kind of buffoon but the lame kind of buffoon. You’re going to have to listen to Death Cab. It’s going to get ugly and dangerous.

But if you pull this off, you’re a hipster stuntman. You can do this. We know you can. And if you can’t, well, it was nice knowing you.

Emerging: Eating Alone, Thinking

Alexander Skarsgård Enjoys A Cup Of Tea
Table for one, one amazing dude

Everybody gets invites to lunch from friends. Cafes and restaurants of all sort are packed with full tables of 4-8 hipster buddies, writing hakius (only if it’s April), discussing Carl Jung, and mocking western medicine. So how does the hipest of the hipster culture react? Eating alone of course! For one thing, when friends ask you out to lunch you can say that you can’t because you really need some time to think. This will make them think that you’re really deep and focused, and even willing to sacrifice fun times with others so you can meditate on whatever world crisis is obscure right now. How about tribes clashing in Darfur over gum arabic production? When you get to the restaurant and the hostess asks you how many you can proudly proclaim “just me.” Because that’s who’s on top of the hottest trend right now, just you baby, just you.