At first, we thought this funny post would be about casting your favorite actor in your favorite movie … even if they were never in it originally. So, not that I’m a fan of The Sound of Music or Marylyn Manson, but the potential of having him replace Julie Andrews cavorting around the Alps wearing a drapery might somehow make SOM one of my new favorite films of all time, almost beating out Plan 9 from Outer Space. Well, now it can be done! Then, as I watched the video, I became super disturbed. Especially when they had George Bush’s words coming from Hillary Clinton’s mouth which, frankly, looks and sounds less absurd than we had thought it might. The revisionist implications flooded me like a wall of ripe sewage. Umm … recasting movies … no problem .. fun! I can see this becoming a HAWT new PS4 thing to do at parties. The contest becomes to pick a movie and then pic non-sequitur actors .. all fun .. ironic .. Wizard of Oz: The Next Generation with Data as Tin Man …
A truly hipster evening! But then I began to think how this could be used to change the past, or even the present. BTW, as a result of this post I came up with what I thought was a new word.
Anyway, all I know that using this technology to mess with heads and wallets and facts has McLuhanian (<—hell, two new words (kind of) in one post!?! This must be HAWT) implications, and that makes it HAWT NEXT.
VR is HAWT! With viewers like Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift covering both ends of the income spectrum, it looks like virtual reality has sliced its way out of the geetk-tech gestalt and into the main stream. Basically, it uses binocular vision and your phone to give you a new perspective (actually two new perspectives) on the world around you. This is magnifying-lens-on-an-ant HAWT right now. Given that it’s just re-purposing an ancient (meaning pre-television) technology called stereoscopy, and that it has a hand held form factor, this absolutely satisfies the conditions of the Gilderman Hypothesis and therefore hip. As a mater of fact, it’s pegging the trend-o-tron right now, interestingly with Finland in the lead for regional search interest. We cannot yet determine if this means that Finland is a hipster hawtbed or that the Finnish are so depressed in “real life” that they are obsessed with virtual life. Both could be true.
Anyway, when a trend is peaking, it’s OVER! So what’s HAWT NEXT? Well after we’ve explored virtually all of reality, the only thing left is surreality. Don’t worry, this can be achieved easily. Seeing as binocular vision is about bending light, VSR (yes, Virtual SurRealism ™ ) is a perfect next logical step.
Surreality is when Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself” –The 20th-Century art book. (Reprinted. ed.). London: Phaidon Press. ISBN0714835420.
As with all good hipster-tech, this is based on some gadget which causes the user to become more and more isolated from others, leading an insular life in the name of hyper-connectivity and “social engagment.”
So here’s what you have to do.
Get as much odd bits of cardboard and a hot glue gun as you can. Toilet paper and paper towel tubes are a must! Now, with all the cubist verve you can muster, put together a whack ass pair of goggles. Tin foil, lenses from old glasses (the bigger, the better) all at odd angles will complete this infernal contraption. Make sure to create some way to strap it to your head so you can wear it later as you barge in to the tea house and stand in the middle of the room, hopefully interrupting a planning meet-up for Kale fest, and begin to gather images for your surrealist photo sphere. For added retro panache, use a bit of flash powder left over from when you were learning parlor magic as a hobby and have an assistant flash each time you “expose” a frame. That’s about 24 times so they’ll love this and get ready for some awesome facial expressions in your high tech futurist art master piece. Toss in some mutterings like “…mmm, melty…” or “…Zang Tumb Tuuum!” to put the icing on the cake as you stuble around the room bumping into things trying to walk wearing your Virtual Surreality headset.
“I don’t own a phone” you’ll remark coldly when that one barista named Flora finally asks you for your number. At first she’ll cock her head in slight confusion. She’ll quickly try to hide any lack of understanding and say “I get it.” You’ll nod in the affirmative as you gaze longingly out of the artisan coffee shop window and deliver the line that makes it all worth it: “I just feel like we all need to unplug.”
No-phoning is a very new trend that will never reach a high level of popularity, which is perfect. Additionally, not having a phone will enable you to explore other unique and envy-worthy communication techniques. You can try your hand at breeding and training homing pigeons. This is a classic example on how to multi-trend because telling people that you’re a pigeon fancier is Chernobyl-hot right now. Imagine the wonderment in Flora’s baby blue eyes when she receives her first pigeon-gram… you asking her out to see a private screening of an obscure silent film in your friend Theo’s basement that he has converted into a 1910-era moving picture theater.
String up some telegraph wires between local hotspots like the artisan coffee shop and that old book store that people stand around in front of. You can send coded messages that will require your friends Ike and Matilda to use a WWII Enigma machine to decode. After spending a solid 7 minutes of turning rotors and typing on something called a plugboard (awesome) they will receive your message: “Heading to the old book store that people stand around in front of, see you in about 7 minutes.” Just as they finish reading the message you will ride up on your Honda Hobbit and bask in hipster stardom.
You did it before. Remember when your folk-metal trio recorded that 3 song EP on Audacity, burned it to a CD and mailed it to yourself thinking, “There, Nine Inch Nails can NEVER STEAL THESE TUNES!” Well, you can use all the same labels and packaging again when you mail your own DNA to yourself. Uber-Mega_Agri_Corps like Monsanto and Sony are out to own your individual genetic fingerprint, you better get the jump on them. Do it quick before the GMO corn accidentally used to make your Stacy’s Tortilla causes your fingerprint to devolve and become a footprint. Seriously, the next time you are getting a new gauge for your ear gap, take the disc of unused flesh and put it in a zip lock baggie. Drop that in an envelope and then another envelope (for the lawyers), include your 23andme reports for ultimate bases covering then ride your fixed gear bike to the post office and send it yourself via registered mail. When it comes, put the envelope in your freezer next to the free range rabbit carcass that you hit with your Chevy volt the other day and sit back knowing you are … one step ahead of the Man(santo).
UPDATE (06/13/13) See, this is how we roll. If you didn’t take our advice the day we give it, YOU ARE ONE OUT OF LUCK HIPSTER. You snooze, you loose! We’ll work on getting the info out sooner but, the onus is on you to stay on top of the NEXT HIPSTER TREND!
Everything old is new again. Except for technology, which is why hipsters so adore old tech. It will never be new again and that will keep it out of the grubby little hands of the normals, with their Samsung Galaxy S4s. From Polaroid cameras to giant 1980’s boom boxes, we love to show people just how much we admire the craftsmanship of aging silicone-based mechanisms. But why have we stopped there? There’s a whole world of possibilities. Today’s focus: retro web browsing.
There’s multiple levels that you can take this, but to get the edge on other readers I’d recommend taking it to the only level elite hipsters know. The NEXT level. The ultimate primer here is, of course, the only true computer authority of consequence in the 90’s: Stewart Cheifet, host of Public TV’s The Computer Chronicles. Any and all references to this show are your instant pass to uber-hipster-geek-hero status. Thankfully, The Internet Archive has lovingly preserved many episodes. It’s imperative that you watch all of them. Added bonus if you can organize a viewing party at a local sports bar. After you’ve bathed yourself in wave after wave of mid 90’s tech terminology, you’ll be ready for the next step. The hardware. You’ll still need to be portable (so people can see you using it and ask you about it), and it still needs to be able to run Windows ME (to be ironic). But it needs to be oldish, something from either Compaq or Tandy would be ideal. Never rock an IBM as that practically screams that you’re a corporate sellout yuppy dink. If you can get your grandpa’s Osborne to surf the web, you will shame even the most ancient and venerable paleo-hipster techguru. You’ll probably also need an acoustic coupling modem.
Now that you have a new old notebook (never call it a “laptop”) and an operating system that boasts 37% uptime between bluescreens, you’re ready to proceed onto selecting a web browser. Now your first inclination is going to be to jump right into Netscape Navigator 1.0. Wrong. Kevin (to remind new readers, he’s like an OVER detector), is already running that with pride on public transportation, playing a web-based emulation of Oregon Trail. So lame. But I digress, Kevin just gets under my skin. You need to jump right to Netscape Communicator. It’s old enough to be interesting and different (which you love) and new enough to actually work. If you have the initiative to dive further into obscurity, which I’m sure you do, because you’re here, maybe try your hand at earlier browsers like mosaic, lynx, and the ultra-niche web alternative gopher.
Next step, get to the nearest cybercafe. The problem here is that wireless high speed internet is ubiquitous, so there are no longer places that refer to themselves as cybercafes. So basically, just go to any cafe. Stride determined to the barista and ask loudly, “is this a cybercafe?!” She’s likely a millennial who has never realized that there was a time in humanity’s past that there wasn’t fast, free, wireless internet everywhere, so she will look at you like you’re from outer space. Awesome. Carefully explain that you need to get hooked up to the “world wide web” (use quote fingers for added flourish) with a baud rate of at least “14.4k” (use those exact words) and inquire where the jack is for you to connect your modem. Once you’ve booted up go to the Internet Archive’s wayback machine and furiously start clicking your roller ball mouse. As soon as you are sure everyone is looking at you, pull out the retro phone handset from the modem and bathe them all with loud hideous squealing. Wipe the phone quickly with a moist towelette and jam it back into the modem. Next, pull a vintage dot-matrix printer from your rucksack and loudly print off an ascii art portrait of Spock. Ripping off the holes strips on the side of the freshly printed masterpiece, tack it (never staple) it to the faux painted wall next to you. After that, open up Eudora and punch out a couple of hurried electronic mails (don’t call them emails) to a few of your retro brethren. You are at the summit of hipster nerd power.
By now a crowd has gathered and the questions will start streaming (ha) in, which you’ll love. “Why don’t you just get a tablet?” Throw up your hands in disgust. “Right! Like I’m going to line the pockets of of the mega-rich corporate thieves turning out technology from child slavery camps** in Taiwan when there’s perfectly good stuff out there on ebay!” They will be shocked by your hostility. Perfect. “My phone has 2,600 times the transistor count of your ‘notebook’,” a smug half-hipster wearing orange non-prescription glasses will snap back. Don’t give him an inch. “This is a 486 DX! It has a math co-processor! It’s pre-pentium!” He will tilt his head quizzingly and realize there’s no point in arguing with you. And he’s right. Because you’re right. Even if you don’t know why.
We here at NHT sometimes like to step back and try and spot the trends in our trends, it gets us all scotch-bonnet hot when we are able to see a major trend influencer from the 30,000 foot level because we’re so often in the trend trench, mustache wax under our finger nails, that we miss the big picture. For quite some time we’ve been talking about this serious meta-trend from many different angles. Music, Books, Food and even sun glasses that might fit over other glasses, we’ve seen how things that your grandpa and grandma did or liked are a central component in many hipster trends. Hipters want to be just like really old people, even though they’ll never hire them for jobs they might be well qualified for, but they want to look and act just like them. Is it a harkening back to simpler times or is it a total lack of original thoughts and ideas? As we all know, it’s probably both. Yes hipsters love nothing more than buttoning on the suspenders, starching the collar and heading out to folk dance in the community center, it makes them feel like they’re in the TV shows they grew up with. And that’s OK, because remember, the gods gave us television to show us how we should want to live and if hipsters want it to be the Hallmark channel, that’s just “Honkey Dorey.” Awareness of this really hit me last weekend when I was invited to become part of a weekly bridge club. Now remember, being invited to any kind of single themed “club” that meets at someone’s home or apartment is the highest honor a hipster can bestow on anyone. It started with books and knitting but now, hipsters being the eternal seekers, it’s moved into artisinal pastimes like pickling and candle making. While there are many examples of how to adopt old timey ways, we’re going to focus on the ancient realm of geriatric table games.
To be clear, this does NOT include board games, especially ones involving miniatures or small cardboard “chits.” Games like Settlers of Catan, Stratego, Power Grid or any of the Avalon Hill series of bookshelf games are so proto hip that they too far out on the hipster horizon for any but the most advanced bleeding edge hipsters, leave these to the Nerdsters for a bit longer, but keep your eyes on this soon to be emerging trend.
If you want to really ride the Oldey train, which is steam powered of course, it’s time to hit the deck, the card deck that is. Nothing has the dusty reek of times gone-by like any of the Whist based games like Wendellhead, Tarneeb and Contract Bridge. If you haven’t been so lucky, like me, to have been invited to an already existing card coven of bridge playing hipsters, you’ll have to get one going yourself. This is good, because this will give you a chance to prepare in advance and do some self promotion, you will love this. Advertise with a poster, hand screened of course, designed by your graphic designer friend. Have the little tear off parts of the poster take interested hipsters to a blog you’ve already made to post images and scores and crap. Next require that all players in your uber-exclusive bridge club, called the “Tricksters” read Hoyle’s “A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist.” It was published in 1743, if that isn’t Olde Timney-ey enough to be impressive, your friends are not hipsters, they’re D&D players. Get as far away from those loser nerds as possible. Now, you wont be playing Whist, so just claim that they have to “understand our roots.” The most important item of a good bridge game night is the table. It’s got to smell like your grandma. The next time you’re at an estate sale, which is like every Sunday morning, find the moldiest smelling folding table and chairs you can. It’s got to smell like cologne from the 50’s. Wrap it in plastic so the moment you pull it out at Bridge club night it sends a waft of stale baby powder and Milk of Magnesia at your assembled gamers. And so, your adventure into the hipster dementia domain begins. Don’t forget to make everyone drink piping hot really weak coffee. Enjoy, you’ll be here for years … and years.