Now, hipster-bait is basically someone like Shia LeBouef: something for people to talk about over a craft beer. Somewhere in between James Franco (who I think is more malicious and just all round creepier/douchier) and Justin Bieber (who I think is unfairly maligned/scapegoated) and certainly not Kanye West, who is doing important work and who we like and will always defend. Bieber needs a hug, Franco needs a slap. But someone like LaBoeuf? Maybe they can use a sandwich.
An important part of what makes someone hipster bait is that elusive quality of ‘putting it on’, that is, having fun with their fame like a real wanker because they can’t accept just being a regular famous person. Not to say there isn’t an honourable hint of true madness in many hipster bait celebrities – including LaBouef – not including Nicolas Cage, in my humble opinion – including Crispin Glover. Also, Bill Murray is not hipster bait at all. He’s just a dude doing the best he can.
There’s a lot of controversial fun to be had around hipster bait. Obviously, debating whether or not someone’s personal darlings and saviours are, in fact, hipster bait (Miranda July? Chevy Chase?); but also, hipster bait as a respectable move, for instance, Chuck Lorre’s Vanity Cards: I see them as a kind of meta-narration of his mediocre and very lucrative comedy. An almost Matrix-like, lifting-of-the-curtain moment: “Hey, here’s the big name behind the last twenty minutes of light entertainment! I’m plodding through, money hasn’t brought me happiness, but at this point you didn’t really expect it to did you? No I don’t do this strictly out of love for the craft. But I still think I’m lucky to get to do it, despite some dark days, anyway, nice to speak to you, hope you had some fun watching this”. Surprisingly, vanity cards haven’t become a terribly well-known thing, they remain an uncomfortable curiosity for most. Think about that for a moment, it is worth noting. The world will discuss Shia LeBoeuf maybe once, two times a year or so? And consider Nicolas Cage ‘weird’, but so far I haven’t seen anyone do much about Chuck Lorre’s Vanity Cards. It’s not impossible that they hit too close to home. In a funny way, that gives me hope… a bit.
Hipster bait can just be what any of us would do if we were famous: we’d use the public’s attention to support our pet causes, we’d enjoy subverting expectations, crashing parties, indulging in whimsical hobbies. The fact is I can’t think of a single celebrity who hasn’t had their hipster bait moments, and that makes me realise it is more important to analyse our reactions to hipster bait than it is to analyse the motivations behind it. Be honest, how annoying would you and your friends be if you were Hollywood stars? How many of you are vegan, or 9/11 truthers, or refuse to wear a standard costume for Halloween, dressing up as cereal boxes or controversial religious figures instead, or have an unusual pet, or have a mantra tattoo you regret?
A special case I would like to discuss is Steve Buscemi, who as far as I can tell is just a genuinely good actor who happens to be funny looking. I once asked Jack in an e-mail what he thought about Steve Buscemi ("I can't believe I've never asked you this!") and he wrote this in return: “I like him. I like when he dressed up as a fireman for 9/11 (SUCH A HIPSTER-BAIT STORY). Also, he's rocking out male pattern baldness, and he's just made looking weird very cool. He made a career out of looking weird! And he's always looked the same age. I like people who manage to mess with the fabric of time like that. If he were French, he'd be the biggest French actor, you know what I mean? I can imagine French people, French hipsters looooovvve Steve Buscemi. You can just hear them pronouncing his name all French.”
What I would like you to take away from this is: Have compassion with the hipster baits of this world, but also try not to waste too much time with them. For they are just like everyone. People are like that, well-meaning, but with much less to say than they think. Maybe hipster bait has the power to reflect us back to ourselves. Hopefully, hipster bait will inspire us. Its social function is to expose the reality of making things, which is that everything is either pathetic or sterile, with very few options in between short of being one of those kooky Italian church painters. At its best, hipster bait is a celebration of both the pathetic and the sterile. And if you think about how Elijah Wood has over 4,000 records in his collection and still says his favourite band are the flipping Smashing Pumpkins (everyone’s third or fourth favourite band when they’re 14), you’ll realise that all he’s doing, all that anyone is doing, is getting up in the morning, then moving around, then going back to sleep; that no matter how grandiose the things you do might feel, they’re still just happening one after another in-between bursts of hunger and tiredness, that it will always be difficult to focus. There will be the task at hand, and there will be disorientating, conflicting impulses swirling around inside of you, always. You’ll realise that existence is much more circular than linear, and maybe your world will feel a bit simpler, and you’ll feel a bit more relaxed.
[Talita: In the good days when we had Airbnb-quality cable, we got into a groove of watching KUWTK every morning. I had to leave for work about 15 minutes into it, so Jack would text me the episode's highlights during my commute, which was nice.]
So I've begun watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I'm getting quite involved with it now. It's my Game of Thrones. It’s a bit like how I imagine Persona by Bergman to be. All of them seem to come close to blending into one person & then they diverge into these fragmentary personas but not quite whole people. It’s hypnotic. And then all these various guys who just sit there looking jaded. They all seem like parodies of masculinity. Like stunt-doubles for real boyfriends, all doomed in their own way: Kanye West - narcissist, Scott Disick - alcoholic, Rob Kardashian - depressive fat failure, Corey Gamble - dating a 60 year old woman who looks a bit like Kim Kardashian, Lamar Odom - ex-basketballer, has to hang out with the most annoying sister when he could be smoking crack with hookers. But the most compelling relationship is Kris & Caitlyn Jenner – formerly known as Bruce. Because no-one seems to have noticed that Kris is also looking more & more like Caitlyn. And then there are all of these cut scenes full of music & life rushing around; but then it cuts away, & these people are still floating languorously in the hills, talking about ‘feelings’ and thinking of what to do next.
1. Highlights from KUWTK in Cuba: They went to a rum and cigar tasting. It's called a sobremesa. Kanye said that he was enjoying the experience "because I like fire and I like alcohol." Kanye West has a young artist following him around filming his every move with a giant VHS camcorder. I found him! Julian Klincewicz.
Then Kim and Kourtney and an unexplained third person - a woman who looked like she'd come out of the Matrix, all cyberpunk dreads and fishnet vest - visited Hemingway's house. Kim and Kourt both read Old Man and The Sea at school.
Things Kim and Ern have in common:
Everyone keeps saying they're excited all the time. Kanye West is genuinely excitable. They're driving in that car, Kanye shouts "Viva La Cuba!" really loud and the taxi driver looks touched, gives him a thumbs up. Then Kanye West leans over and does a syncopated honk on his horn for ages, looks really pleased with himself. "You ever played the horn like that?" Driver looks piiiiiiissed!
Scott Disick is in LA, annoyed he's not in Cuba. He's really intense and always shouting, hard to tell if he's happy or angry, everything is go go go, and his face is blotchy, needs to borrow some of that gold face paint that's going around...
How they speak - maybe it's social media - it's like the Letterman irony, this very slow way of speaking. Everything sounds condescending, like they're talking to children. I call it 'broadcasting of emotions'. It's very lowest common denominator, nothing subtle is allowed.
Their actual little children all look genuinely terrified of being film, getting their picture taken etc. They hate the smartphones. Are these the children of generation Y? Almost. Perhaps they will save/murder us all.
Khloe Kardashian loves how the Cuban people don't have access to social media and so just stare out of windows instead of constantly checking on their boyfriend who may or may not be smoking crack
Kanye West is the best.
Was just reading a list of 12 things you may not know about Kim Kardashian's assistant: she once had to search all of San Francisco for the Cards Against Humanity game because Kanye was "obsessed."
2. Scott's birthday: Scott Disick is sitting next to Kourtney at his birthday drinks in Vegas. He keeps flirting with her. By flirting, I mean asking her to fuck him. Someone suggests they go to the chapel in Vegas, Scott Disick breaks out in maniacal laughter.
Kris 'the hottest 60 year old' goes to see Rob the unmotivated fat failure of the family. Everyone's on a journey, even Rob. Kris knows this. Sometimes people don't know they're on a journey & they need to be reminded. Kris is there to remind us all. She looks like she's going through a wind tunnel. Now I'm thinking about deep fried sushi. Maybe all those wild transition sequences every 5 mins in the show are there to remind us of the journey: incessant, pointless, like being a bee or any other insect.
"A man on house arrest is the perfect man." Khloe K. on the perks of dating an ex-felon. Kendall's back. Khloe's having a birthday now. This evil doppelganger for Scott Disick has appeared and he's talking about paradise and honey. He's their PR guy. Jonathan.
Scott's still around and brooding. He's like a wild cat or something, a lynx. I reckon people have tried to apply makeup to him before shooting and he was like "GET THE FUCK OFF ME!" The PR guy is called Jonathan Chaban. "People like visual."
Scott seems to hang around alot with Kendall. He's suggesting jelly wrestling for Khloe's birthday. I'm surprised none of them are scientologists. Khloe is talking about energy and the atmosphere a lot. I reckon she's into law of attraction stuff. Kanye and Scott are at Khloe's birthday party. That'd be a great buddy movie. Scott's eyes are all bleary. Blac Chyna turned up. Blac Chyna is INSANE!!! She is like Wario to Kim's Mario.
3. Back to the episode before last: I think Rob is going to be an okay dad. He's chubby and calm. He might be neglectful but not OTT.
Kris's absence has created a power vacuum. Kim is the natural heir but she's not quite there yet. Rob & Scott have taken over a kids' day centre. All the kids are crying. Scott is sitting there with his feet up, not doing anything. All he says is, "I've been in this game for years." Disick is a wise teacher. He says Rob has the 'heart of a dad.'
Somehow Scott is back hanging with Kris. I think they're seriously trying to fix those two up or something.
There's a trailer for the next season. Got a cool montage of Kim's robbery, Caitlyn, Kanye West's breakdown, Scott being found with a prostitute in his bathroom! Powerful scenes. It ends with them all sitting around the table in silent prayer (without the prostitute).
Everyone has now gone to Miami. Jonathan Cheban is here. He's causing trouble. But then SD turns up and all seems well. But he's drunk at the meal. Scott is acting wild like a Lynx. He's digging at Kourtney a lot, putting her down. It's a shame. I think he's doing that thing some guys do when they like a girl and so are mean to her, especially in front of their pals. I blame Jonathan Cheban.
Kourtney: "Kids are the future." Scott, laughing, "The fuck does that mean? What else could they be?" I think we should allow that zinger as it was very funny and delivered with impeccable timing.
Khloe has a new bf, Tristran: Pisces, Jamaican, B-ball player.
Cheban has such a weird crew: dirty old hairy dudes and skinny gay guys. He just brings a bad energy. I reckon they do some shady shit.
One of the things I like about KUWTKs is how they throw different people together, like they have a really inefficient carpool system or something.
I think I've become stuck in a timeloop because we just finished the episode with the floating Kanye stage thing. Jonathan Cheban is so cheesy, always wearing these distressed Guns n Roses tshirts. Kourtney is trying to stop SD hanging out. Now I'm back where I started except for one major difference... there's a dog in the house! I've never seen it before and no-one seems to notice it and it looks lost and scared. I feel like this could be a Mandela alternate reality.
4. Kendall's stalker: So, Kendall feels compassion for her stalker. Could be a cool romantic twist. No-one's sleeping. If we think switching off the internet at night makes us sleep better, imagine how much crazy waves are going around that house.
Kim heard someone coming up her stairs who didn't respond to her cries of "Hello?" ...it was Kanye! Kanye can't hear after concerts (?!?!?!)
I think he needs to get that checked out.
Another intruder is after Kendall. This episode is mad.
Corey Gamble, so long a mute onlooker, jumps into the mix! He calls someone, tells them to get into a TRUCK and "check out the neighbourhood." What the hell does that mean? Apparently he has a security background. He could have a cool tagline, something like: Gamble don't take no risks!
Cuts to Kendall's house. Caitlyn Jenner is stalking around Kendall's house lol, shouting "Kendall?" Great security they got. I really like how Caitlyn's dropped the voice, she sounds like Groucho Marx. "No-one's after me!" oh Caitlyn.
Corey Gamble's pushing for Kris to get a gun! "Why won't you go to the range wit me?" America's dilemma encapsulated.
It's now Kim's birthday. How many fucking birthdays do these people have? The combined sisters singing happy birthday is a thing of unbridled horror. I wonder who, if any of them, has ever tried out a singing career.
For some reason, I like Kylie less than Khloe now. Kylie doesn't do anything.
Khloe is launching a new line of jeans for average sized women.
Another intense transition. I swear they take up 20% of the show's runtime. I'd love it if one day one of those transition things just never ended and that was the entire episode.
Kim's talking about leaving "this planet." Maybe she's Heaven's Gate or Raelian.
Rob is rediscovering his Armenian roots, talking about teaching his kid "Armenian values" Haha! He wants an Armenian BBQ. "Isn't that just a BBQ?" "Yeah but with Armenians!"
Final insight: Khloe looks like Drew Barrymore as a CIA agent going undercover. A bit like how Will Ferrell and Tom Hanks have sold their souls to spend their afterlife on Brazilian telenovellas.
Also: Drew Barrymore's funny, no-one really knows what she looks like. She looks like a combination of loads of leading ladies' faces. Like the focus group perfect face to market a film.
Paul Ridges, Ridge Racer
A baked bean tin pot dictator
Save the legumes for later
Wake and bake off and here’s the moderator
Berry Mary in Sandi’s Field
ing to the Wood bring Holly it’s a No-el thing
Taking the piss and
The grass is always yellow
On the other side of this pissy fellow
Belly soft like a marshmellow
Breath harsh like a rare breed of hog
The kind of log you can’t flush
No flash in the pan
Just a pie and mash man
With a sharp vermilion tan
Sharp like a shooting Star
Lyrics a bit smarter than your average Bar
Need some more greens in your diet
Or you’ll find you can’t climb
The stairway to heaven
Heavier than heavenly Kurt Co-B
Got more greens than Jeff B-E-Z
Oz like the Wizard
My skills make you
Greener than a lizard
Make you more green
Than my cars make revvin'
And rivers make Severn
Star Wars years
If Berlin ain’t Germany
These Germans keep telling me
Then how come they talk so much
Absolute Double Dutch
How come they smoke so viel
Jokeless broke potent zeal
Still feeling like a target
Man for all these bros
Like a target’s been drawn on me
But that’s my cross to bear
My X to carry
Nought to do with Chris Cringle or Barry
Ivan the incredible storytelling Larry
And my targets less like a crosshatch
And more like a baldpatch
Cross Hair, Who Care?
I’m still happy as LD
When Seinfeld channels Gary
Shandling from beyond the G-R-A-V-
E Get me?
Rest in piss
Or buried at sea
On charges quite speedy
Merely enjoying some class b
that me thought was class k
but turned out to be
mark e’s gurny mouthed
Sure he’s looking on heckling.
Spinning fidgets in double digits
Spun by well-paid little people
The sequel to the prequel
You can’t equal my segways
As I amaze on my segway
And speed away
Like Gob Bluth on a good hair day
We're currently playing a fun game called Cultural Revolution. You have a few categories of things you'd change if you suddenly became installed as a Mao style dictator. I'm sure Jeremy Corbyn plays it all the time. The idea is to implement your measures as soon as possible. You have no time to think. They're looking for you to change things, so impulsivity is key, go mad with power!
People to be executed: 98% of current Brazilian government officials, scream punishment mentality all you want, some people are just evil. Shoot them all. Assholes.
People to be sent to Greenland for reeducation: People who hate Comic Sans, People who say "Have you heard of Eckhart Tolle?", Every single art student, People who say "Have you heard of CBT?", Anyone who likes Dragon's Den for reasons other than it's funny to watch sometimes, Professional bloggers, Women that refer to other women as a "badass", Circus enthusiasts, Interior designers, People who defend their interest in fashion because it's an art form, sure it is, but why do you have to pick the art form that's about constructing self-glorified personas and ruining the world?, People who dream of living in a tiny house, People who throw Game of Thrones viewing parties, Most academics (we know the good ones when we see them, we know that most of them are wankers)
Articles to be incinerated or publicly burned: Cosmo magazine, Everything for sale on Etsy under the categories: Clothing & Accessories, Jewellery, and Weddings, Pinterest, Everything shiny, Everything dangly, Coconut rings, High-heels, Nylon magazine
Articles to be lauded: Disposable cameras, sandwiches, public libraries, laser domes, ferries, menstrual cups
Illegal activities: Taking up knitting as a new year's resolution. That's it.
People to be promoted to positions of power/prominence: Miley Cyrus, nice nursery teachers, interactive fiction writers, high school dropouts, cool hackers.
People to be executed: Call me a wuss, but I still can't think of anyone I hate that much.
People to be sent to Greenland for reeducation: People with noserings, Men under 40 with tattoos, People with dreamcatchers, Food critics (including amateur instagram food critics), Anyone who talks about restaurants as part of their holiday story, People who think the comments section on Youtube should be disabled, anyone who pines for the 'good old days', People who think they know the 'truth', People who complain about something they read on the internet, people who give those overly strong handshakes thinking they're cool, anyone who likes the apprentice or thinks business is interesting, anyone who talks about their job and knows it's boring but won't admit it and pretends it's grown-up, Piers Morgan, people who write bullshit motivational or lifestyle entries on websites such as Thought Catalog or Mental Floss, with titles like '15 Things you must do before...' '12 Ways you know...', anyone who is a lifestyle coach or variations thereof, anyone who's been on a gap year or travelled from West to East to 'find themselves', anyone who considers themselves an authority.
Articles to be incinerated or publicly burned: Kindles, Apple Watches, those energy bracelets, Ray Ban sunglasses, Netflix, Acoustic guitars, Top Knots, Amazon (website not jungle), all cars except for smartcars and those built before 1990, all bikes built after 1990, DJ decks, phones built after 2010, any shoes that are neither trainers nor smart but somewhere in between, 85% of the internet.
Articles to be lauded: Wrap-around microphones, bluetooth headsets, phones built before 2010, those hoverboards that people go around on, mountain bikes, scooters and motorbikes, big shops, train stations big and small, croissants.
Illegal activities: Sitting on the floor, smiling too much, taking group photos with drinks in hand, possessing and/or publishing over 200 photos unless a professional photographer.
People to be promoted to positions of power/prominence: Tom Cruise, Victoria Beckham, Bus drivers, Breakfast chefs at cheap places, the nice people who work at McDonalds, anyone who is homeless because they genuinely fucked up.
Talita: I made this video inspired by the Purple Noise movement, almost six months ago in a frenzied Sunday morning. I don't think I'd ever edited a video before, apart from a few experiments with Windows Movie Maker when I was a kid - I wasn't even aware that my Mac had a video editing tool, I just downloaded the first one I found on the internet and yeah, it turned out to be paid and a jerk because it would let you edit your video, but it would plaster that ridiculous watermark on it after you'd done all your work and then ask for like 80 pounds for the "feature" of removing it... I kept telling myself I'd make it all over again and edit it on iMovie, but never recovered the momentum. I still think it's pretty funny, so I decided to put it here anyway. Maybe the watermark even adds a certain something.