Bluff The Listener
Our panelists tell three stories about hipster trends.
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT, WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Alonzo Bodden, Luke Burbank, and Faith Salie. And here, again, is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. Right now, it is time for the WAIT, WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT, WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
SUSAN EISEMAN LEVITIN: Hi, Peter.
SAGAL: Hi, how are you?
LEVITIN: I'm great.
SAGAL: And who are you?
LEVITIN: I'm Susan Eiseman Levitin.
Hi, Susan Eiseman Levitin.
And I live in Worcester, Massachusetts.
SAGAL: You got some Worcesterites here.
LEVITIN: Yeah, well, but I grew up in Milwaukee, so I don't say Worcester.
SAGAL: You don't say Worcester?
LEVITIN: No, I do say Milwaukee without an L, but I don't say Worcester.
SAGAL: Miwaukee but not Worcester, I understand. Susan, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Susan's topic?
KASELL: I was into THAT before it was cool.
SAGAL: Hipsters specialize in declaring that what isn't cool is and then what is cool isn't. That's how they brought back handlebar mustaches and unemployment.
SAGAL: Well, they've done it again. Our panelists are going to tell you about three surprising new hipster trends. Guess the real story, you'll win Carl's ironic voice on your home answering machine or voicemail.
SAGAL: And hipsters all have answering machines with reel-to-reel tape.
SAGAL: All right. Ready to play, Susan?
SAGAL: First, let's hear from Luke Burbank.
LUKE BURBANK: It was a busy Thursday in Portland's Hawthorne neighborhood when 26-year-old Alissa Clevin was riding her bicycle - you know, the kind with one giant front wheel - to her job as a coffee stylist/deejay at Stumptown Espresso when she inadvertently plowed into Brian Buckaloo, a professional beard competition judge/small batch vodka distiller/deejay who was waiting to cross Burnside.
BURBANK: The grisly part is that the crash sent the contents of the Baby Bjorn that Buckaloo had been wearing all over the street. The less grisly part is that those contents were just some organic kohlrabi he picked up at the farmer's market.
BURBANK: Oh, this is what I carry everything in, said Buckaloo, referring to the fabric baby-carrying pouch that now hung slack around his tiny cutoff jean shorts.
BURBANK: Same with all my friends. We used to go see these secret shows at a Babies-R-Us where bands would, like, play just using the toy instruments. And my buddy, Atticus, he saw one of these Baby Bjorns, and he put it on, and he was all like, wouldn't it be funny if I wore this but, like, for real?
BURBANK: So 23 of us bought one.
BURBANK: Anyway, it's totally the new fanny pack, which was the new backpack. But we're going to have to stop wearing them, said a forlorn Buckaloo, picking up his produce. More and more parents are copying us by wearing them to carry, like, babies.
BURBANK: And I mean, totally unironically, what is happening to this neighborhood?
SAGAL: Hipsters using Baby Bjorns as their new knapsacks. Your next story about kids and their crazy idea comes from Alonzo Bodden.
ALONZO BODDEN: The latest trend amongst hipsters - not doing it yourself; that is, if you're talking about answering your phone. These days, you're no one if you don't have someone, that someone being an administrative assistant or what we used to call secretaries. Problem? Humans are expensive. The hipster answer is simply to assist each other. Go into any vegan cafe in Brooklyn and find a table full of hipsters. You'll notice all the phones are sitting in the center of the table. Listen closely and you'll hear them answering for each other.
BODDEN: Of course, problems do arise, like, when your friend/assistant isn't around or might even be working somewhere, who answers your phone? Well, a barista named Elisa told New York magazine, then you let it go to voicemail. I had my friend Dallas record a message saying we were all on a staff retreat. I have another phone, which I'll actually answer. And most of the time, I have Terry's phone, so I have to remember if I'm me or if I'm Terry's assistant. Then I have another phone, which I only use to answer Patrick's emails.
SAGAL: Hipsters taking turns answering each other's phone. And your last story about a ridiculous trend comes from Faith Salie.
FAITH SALIE: Being a hipster takes a lot of effort, not just to find new things to pickle or to sharpen your pencil artesianally or to name your twins Betty and Silas. A hipster must tirelessly stake out the new by embracing the old, which is why Bingo is the cool and hot pastime for hipsters too lazy for parkour.
SALIE: Just ask Billy Corgan, the lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins and owner of Madame Zuzu's Tea Salon in Chicago. But hipsters beyond the Windy City are also playing what's not your grandma's Bingo. There's Bingo and Bourbon, Drag Bingo and Cosmic Bingo conducted under black light.
SALIE: Why are hipsters attracted to balls in a cage? Corgan says, quote, "Our lives at this point are speeding up. It's so nice to go back to the way things used to be." Smashing Pumpkins bassist, Nicole Fiorentino, agrees that it feels, quote, "old-timey." Other old-timey things under consideration for hipster sanction include women pretending to wear pantyhose by drawing seams down the backs of their calves and wet nursing.
SAGAL: All right. Here are your three choices. Somewhere somebody in skinny jeans is doing one of these things. Is it from Luke Burbank, wearing a Baby Bjorn as a knapsack to carry around their artesianal food, from Alonzo Bodden, answering each other's phone to give the illusion that they're all busy and have personal assistants or from Faith Salie, playing Bingo but of course in a hip ironic way. Which of these is the real story of a hipster trend?
LEVITIN: Boy, I am torn between the Bingo and the phone answering because those I could so see the 30-somethings I know doing.
LEVITIN: I think that it's Bingo.
SAGAL: You're going to go for Bingo, Faith's story...
SAGAL: ...of the hip Bingo parlors.
SAGAL: Well, we actually spoke to somebody who was involved in this hip new trend.
BILL KURTIS: This is legendary newscaster Bill Kurtis with a new career as Bingo caller.
SAGAL: That's true.
SAGAL: Bill has been calling Bingo for hipster Bingo parties. Obviously, Faith had the real story, and you got it right, Susan, by picking her.
SAGAL: Congratulations. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home voicemail, whatever you got. Thanks so much for playing with us.
SALIE: Thanks a lot.
LEVITIN: Thank you.
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