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Hipster Handbook [NOOK Book]


hip•ster - hip-stur (s) n. One who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool. (Note: it is no longer recommended that one use the term "cool"; a Hipster would instead say "deck.") The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces ...
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Hipster Handbook

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hip•ster - hip-stur (s) n. One who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool. (Note: it is no longer recommended that one use the term "cool"; a Hipster would instead say "deck.") The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream. A Hipster ideally possesses no more than 2% body fat.

Clues You Are a Hipster

1. You graduated from a liberal arts school whose football team hasn't won a game since the Reagan administration.

2. You frequently use the term "postmodern" (or its commonly used variation"PoMo") as an adjective, noun, and verb.

3. You carry a shoulder-strap messenger bag and have at one time or another worn a pair of horn-rimmed or Elvis Costello-style glasses.

4. You have refined taste and consider yourself exceptionally cultured, but have one pop vice (ElimiDATE, Quiet Riot, and Entertainment Weekly are popular ones) that helps to define you as well-rounded.

5. You have kissed someone of the same gender and often bring this up in casual conversation.

6. You spend much of your leisure time in bars and restaurants with monosyllabic names like Plant, Bound, and Shine.

7. You bought your dishes and a checkered tablecloth at a thrift shop to be kitschy, and often throw vegetarian dinner parties.

8. You have one Republican friend whom you always describe as being your "one Republican friend."

9. You enjoy complaining about gentrification even though you are responsible for it yourself.

10. Your hair looks best unwashed and you position your head on your pillow at night in a way that will really maximize your cowlicks.

11. You own records put out by Matador, DFA, Definitive Jux, Dischord, Warp, Thrill Jockey, Smells Like Records, and Drag City.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Are you a hipster? Do you possess tastes and social attitudes that fellow hipsters can recognize from a distance? Do you consider yourself an artist but haven't quite found your genre? If so, you can relate (if only condescendingly) to The Hipster Handbook, Robert Lanham's tongue-in-cheek tribute to that neo-bohemian lifestyle. Trend-setting hilarity.
Publishers Weekly
Just as The Official Preppy Handbook exposed wearers of Lacoste polos and drinkers of Bloody Marys, Lanham's new book delves into the lives of those who deem themselves too cool for school. Hipsters, he says, are the ones you see around town smoking European cigarettes, wearing platform shoes and reading biographies of Che Guevara. Lanham, editor of the site (Williamsburg being a favorite New York City hipster enclave), does his best to dissect the personality types, the hangouts, the colleges and even the facial hair of the modern-day Hipster. There's no main narrative per se, rather a prolonged pastiche of sarcastic observances and witty asides. And in a clever marketing gimmick, Lanham compiles a raft of lists detailing crucial Hipster music (including the Beastie Boys record Paul's Boutique) and literature (Nick Hornby's High Fidelity), which are sure to spark debate. Topping it off is a questionnaire, to suss out whether or not you could qualify for Hipsterdom (e.g., if you subscribe to Wallpaper, you're in; if Maxim's more your speed, you're out). The truly hip wouldn't touch this with a 10-foot pole, of course, but they aren't really Lanham's target. (Feb. 18) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Welcome to the esoteric world of the well-read and well-educated, where all things are either deck ("punk rock," cool) or fin (over). The hipster's answer to the Official Preppy Handbook, this volume, when spot-on, is almost embarrassingly funny: imagine that the avowed anti-conformists still conform to roughly ten different types? The authors brilliantly capture the nuances of the hipster culture: nobody hip still likes the Strokes or Radiohead or, if they do, won't admit it. Even when it doesn't ring quite true, this book is still very funny, and its tongue-in-cheek humor is certainly deck. Of course, my qualifications for judging are dubious at best: according to a test at the back of the book, my hipster quotient is poseur owing partly to my ownership of the decidedly fin Gateway computer (Macs are deck) and my penchant for brushing my teeth with gel instead of regular paste. Who knew? A fun but optional choice for larger public libraries.-Tania Barnes, formerly with "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"The Hipster Handbook. . .proves that behind every goatee, shaggy hairdo and baggy blouse, there's still a lot of preening."
The New York Times

"The Hipster Handbook is your official guide to the language, culture and style of hipsters young and old…. There's even a dating guide for various hipster combinations." –Los Angeles Times

"Describes everything cool–the slang, the dress code, the career path, greetings and (of course) taste in music kids from the Inner Mission to Williamsburg ascribe to—in pitch-perfect detail…. [T]his guy clearly has some insider information himself. Gently teasing and hilarious." –Philadelphia Weekly

"The Hipster Handbook is The Official Preppy Handbook for people who wear Atari T-shirts." –Esquire

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307485946
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/26/2008
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,219,970
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

About the Author

Robert Lanham is the author of the romantic series known as The Emerald Beach Trilogy which includes the works Pre-Coitus, Coitus, and Aftermath. This collection of novels was recently called “a beach towel classic” by Redbook. Robert has a great body and often drives shirtless in his Camaro. He brushes his teeth several times daily, but is nevertheless prone to cavities. He is currently the Editor of FREEwilliamsburg, which can be found online at He lives in Brooklyn, New York and works at Foot Locker on the weekends.

About the Art Director

Bret Nicely's theories linking artistic practices with sandwich making buttressed much of the cultural output of the early 21st century. His work "Post-Structuralist Beer n' Brat" won the 2002 Turner Prize and was named a "Best One Dish Meal" by Gourmet Magazine. Bret began working with Robert Lanham through their shared interest in falafel, and in 1999 became the Chief Creative Officer at FREEwilliamsburg. He lectures widely around the world and currently lives in Brooklyn.

About the Drawer

Jeff “J-dawg” Bechtel grew up on the cruel streets of Richmond, Indiana. As a teenager, he battled an addiction to glue and took up drawing to escape the thug life. He was recently called "the greatest Drawer of his generation" by Phil Donahue. His work has appeared in Dutch, Maxim International, and Family Circus. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Everything That Once Was Cool Is Now Deck

You've seen them all over town with their mop-top haircuts, swinging retro pocketbooks, talking on cell phones, smoking European cigarettes, shading their eyes behind bug-eyed lenses, and strutting in platform shoes with a biography of Che sticking out of their bags. They come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and nationalities. Beck is one. Jack Kerouac was one. Meg from the White Stripes is one. And the girl at work in the Jackie-O dress is one too. You may even be one yourself. From New York to New Zealand, Hipsters are everywhere. Welcome to The Hipster Handbook, the first guide to what it means to be a Hipster.

Since Hipsters are a vital part of the international social fabric, this book is for everyone. If you are a Hipster yourself, carry it in your back pocket or in your purse. Excuse yourself to the bathroom during that important party and brush up on the correct lingo by consulting our glossary. Even Hipsters need a refresher course from time to time, and you wouldn't want to be throwing out dated slang like "grody" or "wicked" when mixing with other Hipsters in the know.

If you are not a Hipster, but want to learn more about this ubiquitous genus, this book is for you too. We will teach you how to spot Hipsters, how to interact with them, and how to better understand their unique culture. If you are a parent with Hipster children, this book will help you understand and maybe even talk to your children. You'll also become just a little more deck in the process. If you are a scientist, we hope you'll use our anthropological studies as a starting point to document the phenomenon of this emerging human archetype. Our research garnered us a nomination for the Margaret Mead Award in 2001.

And finally, this book is for those among you who want to become Hipsters yourselves. Anyone can become one with the proper education. Study this book and complete the questionnaire at the end and you will be on your way.

But perhaps we are being too kind in saying this book is for everyone. Some people are clearly hopeless. If you are a neo-Nazi and accessorize with an automatic weapon, this book is not for you. If you have appeared in the Girls Gone Wild video series, this book is not for you. If you go to tanning salons, this book is not for you. If you listen to Slipknot and have ever been to the Warped Tour, this book is not for you. And perhaps most important, if you are wearing a sweatshirt that has a Disney character on it, this book is not for you.

For everyone else, we present the long-overdue documentation of what it means to be deck-or, depending on your age, groovy, nifty, fresh, chic, savvy, fly, bodacious, jazzy, cool, righteous, hip, and hep. This is the motherfucking Hipster handbook.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Table of Contents

Everything That Once Was Cool Is Now Deck 1
11 Clues You Are a Hipster 2
11 Clues You Are Not a Hipster 3
Who Says "Tubular" Anymore? 4
Phrases and Terms Avoided by Hipsters 11
Core Elements of Hipsterdom 12
Hipster Personality Type: The UTF (Unemployed Trust-Funder) 14
Styles Hipsters Avoid 17
What About Indie Rockers? 18
Hipsters and Non-Hipsters in History: Separating the Deck from the Fin 20
Hipster Personality Type: The Clubber 26
Dining, Diet, and Dinner Parties 29
Hipster Personality Type: The Loner 32
The Cosmopolitan Cosmopolitan: Choosing a Bar 35
The Perfect Bronson 39
Finely Brewed for Greasers: Beers Hipsters Avoid 39
Deck Chowder: Hipster Cocktails 40
Midtown Happy Hour: Cocktails Hipsters Avoid 41
Gotta Light? Hipster Cigarettes 41
Hipster Personality Type: The Schmooze 42
Hipster Grooming: More Than a Matter of Style 46
Follicles, Pores, and Flubber: Grooming, Makeup, and Surgery for the Hipster Female 49
Hipster Hairdos for Men 52
Hipster Hairdos for Women 54
Hipster Personality Types: Maxwells, Carpets, and CK-1s 56
Tattoos: They've Gone Suburban 61
Pierce Wisely 64
Metal as Fuck 65
Hipster Personality Type: The WASH (Waitstaff and Service Hipster) 66
Waddup Bitch?! Hipsters and Their Greetings 69 and Other Deck Sites 77
Hipster Magazines 78
Hipster Personality Type: The Neo-Crunch 79
A Day in the Life (Slacker Style) 83
Hipster Personality Type: The Teeter 90
Indigenous Zones of the Hipster in the United States and Canada 93
The Ivy Leagues for Hipsters 93
Hipster Personality Type: The Polit 99
Working for the Man 102
The Job Interview 110
Hipster Personality Type: The Bipster 112
Hipster Music: I Want My MTV Disconnected 116
Hipster Literature: If You Haven't Read These Works, at Least Pretend You Have 126
Hipster Cinema: Rolling Out the Red Carpet, or The Oscars Suck Ass 132
Matters of the Heart: Dating a Hipster 137
Some Common (and Uncommon) Pairings in Dating 140
Dating a Non-Hipster 148
The Aging Hipster 151
The Questionnaire: Are You a Hipster? 160
Behind the Scenes: It Takes a Village 167
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Interviews & Essays

Q: What is a Hipster?

Hipster is someone who is fashion conscious and a connoisseur of music, art, and fine cuisine. Though Hipsters have always been around (Flappers, Beatniks, and Hippies were earlier forms), today's Hipster experiences being bohemian by shopping at thrift shops, by denouncing something's credibility should it become mainstream, and by striving to be ironic. Hipsters generally consider themselves to be artists who lean to the left politically. Republican Hipster is an oxymoron. In a nutshell, a Hipster is someone who is up on all the latest trends.

Q: A girl walks into the room. What are three sure-tell signs that she's a Hipster?

Since Hipsters have so many different styles, it's easier to discern who is a Hipster by identifying who is not. If a girl walks into a room wearing a Tasmanian Devil sweatshirt and carrying a take-out bag of Popeye's chicken, chances are she's not a Hipster.

Q: How many types of Hipsters are there?

There are 10 main types of Hipsters and they are outlined in detail in the book. To name a few there are UTFs (Unemployed Trust Funders) who get a little cush from their parents and dress in second hand clothes to appear bohemian. There are Bipsters (blue collar Hipsters) who own pit bulls, work as bike couriers and carpenters, and have no patience with art school pretension. And of course there are Loners, Hipsters who are more interested in collecting imported German records on limited edition vinyl than in being social.

Q: Why did you write this book? Do Hipsters need a handbook?

I wrote the book for money and chicks.

Hipsters secretly readTimeOut and watch "Friends," though they'd never admit it. They'll do the same thing with this book. Preppies, princesses, and snowboarders have handbooks, so why shouldn't Hipsters?

Q: Are today's Hipsters different from past Hipsters? Who were some of the great Hipsters in history?

Today's Hipsters are obsessed with kitsch. They wear John Deere-style mesh caps and have Loni Anderson posters on their walls. This obsession with kitsch is unique to our time in history.

Some iconic Hipsters are Jack Kerouac who epitomized what it meant to be cool by making his own rules as an artist. Sappho was another especially deck Hipster in history. She was the daughter of royalty and had a trust fund that provided her the freedom to be an artist on the isle of Lesbos.

Q: Is deck really the new cool? What are the latest Hipster words we'll be hearing?

There hasn't been a good slang word for cool to come around since "fly", back in the eighties. The term "cool" just seems very Fonzie, so I was glad to hear people using the more current-sounding "deck" in casual conversation. Some other favorites are "frado," which is an ugly guy who thinks he's good looking and "piece," which refers to a Hipster's cell phone. Overall, Hipsters use a myriad of slang, mixing up kitschy words from the past like "dope" and "groovy" with more current terms like "deck."

Q: You live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of the country's Hipster Meccas. What is it about Williamsburg that attracts Hipsters?

Hipsters began moving to Williamsburg, Brooklyn years ago due to a housing shortage and rising rents in Manhattan. The neighborhood is one stop away from the East Village and five years ago was an easy place to find a cheap loft space. Hipsters in Williamsburg now love to complain about gentrification while sipping coffee at the L Café. Unlike most neighborhoods, Williamsburg is amazingly without franchises. Hipsters feel at home living in a Starbucks-and-Barnes-and-Noble-free environment.

Q: Once a trend catches on, Hipsters flee the scene. Is Williamsburg still deck? Or is it over?

Hipsters like to claim that Williamsburg is passé, while looking though the classifieds for a Williamsburg apartment and drinking a pint at a Williamsburg bar. The bottom line is that Hipsters consider what is deck to be esoteric knowledge. Once something catches on, they are quick to diss it. Most Hipsters still dig Radiohead, but would never admit it.

Q: Outside of Williamsburg, where are there other Hipster hot spots?

Hipsters are everywhere, but here are a few of the hot spots:

Manhattan — Lower East Side
Seattle — Belltown
Richmond — The Fan
Washington, D.C. —The U District
San Francisco — Inner Mission
Cleveland — Coventry
Chicago — Wicker Park

Q: Can aging Hipsters still be deck?

As long as they don't work in a store that sells comic books and Lord of the Rings action figures or wear tight T-shirts with decals that say Porn Star.

Q: Music is an integral part of the Hipster's life. Who are the new deck bands?

I'm biased being from Brooklyn, but I think a lot of great talent is coming out of this borough. The Rapture, Metro Area, and The Liars are some of my local favorites. I secretly like Ryan Adams too, though I wish he'd stop doing Gap ads.

Q: What does it mean to be midtown?

In New York, midtown is filled with Starbucks, Disney Stores, and people who wear hairspray. To be midtown is to be the type of person who goes to TGI Fridays on the weekend to eat poppers and drink Bahama Mamas.

Q: Finally, people will want to know: are you a Hipster?

I consider myself more of an anthropologist. My next book will be a sociological study of white baby boomers who dress like Native Americans.

George Bush and John Ashcroft would probably say satire is un-American, so I guess I should avoid defining the book as such. But of course a true Hipster would never admit to being a Hipster.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2004

    This book rules!

    This book is hilarious. Lanham has a talent for satire.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2003

    Funny, because it's true.

    Very funny stuff. Look forward to another edition of this handbook.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2003


    Ok, ok.... Do Hipsters really need a Handbook? Aren't they the originators of cool, or should I say "deck." I was a naysayer when I heard the title, but I must confess, this book is hilarious. Written by Lanham almost as an anthropological study The Hipster Handbook merges highbrow and lowbrow comedy with a dead-on eye for the nuances of Hipsters. The glossary of terms is hilarious and the illustrations alone make this a must own for the square and hip alike! I'm still laughing at this very funny read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2003

    dead-on and drop-dead funny

    The best birthday present I've received in years! At dinner parties/cocktails/etc open to a random page and everybody cracks up or says, "that's totally me!" How very rare to find social commentary that is both dead-on and drop-dead funny. I predict that this will be *the* coffee table book for years to come.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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