The Week’s Internet Shit Talking in Review

Getting in on the action last week were hipsters, HTMLGIANT, Bookforum, Wyclef Jean and Sean Penn, The Optimist and of course, Tao Lin.

1. The Optimist/ Roxanne Gay v. Hipsters @ HTMLGIANT, The Optimist
2. Gabe Durham v. the internet @ Gather Round Children
4. Wyclef Jean v. Sean Penn @ Hot 97’s “On Da Reggae Tip,” Larry King Live
5. Gawker/ Hipsters v. Hipsters @ Gawker
6. Joshua Cohen v. Tao Lin @ Bookforum

In a passive method of shit talking, in which one does not do the shit talking, but points others in the direction of a piece of information that ‘does the shit talking for them,’ Pank Magazine‘s Roxanne Gay led HTMLGIANT readers to this anti-hipster propaganda poster on The Optimist. It has a few juicy pieces of worldview-warring:

A Hipster’s trendlust knows no bounds… They seek, consume, and destroy… Hipsters need to manufacture their rebellion, because underneath all of their cheap signaling, they are indescribably normal. Isn’t that sad? Doesn’t that explain your savage desire to drive wooden stakes through their impossibly thin T-shirts?

Reading this piece, one wonders how the writers over at The Optimist have concretely suffered from hipsters’ “trendlust,” and how they’ve been concretely affected by their seeking, consuming and destroying. They must have, for only true agony and suffering would, I guess, call for a hate-speech-generalization such as this.

This week over at variety blog Gather Round Children, writer and editor Gabe Durham talked shit on the entire internet. In a parody titled “The Time I Tried to Defend Jonathan Franzen to the Internet,” Durham meets the internet on a street and talks literature and penis enlargement with it.

Among other funny things, the internet vomits a number of times, stabs itself in the face repeatedly, and pushes Billy Collins into oncoming traffic. Generally, Durham’s piece indirectly talks shit on shit talkers who have perhaps irrational views on topics such as people that are more famous than them, like Jonathan Franzen and Tao Lin. Here’s an excerpt:

The internet interrupted me to barf everywhere once more.

“You okay?” I said.

He shrugged. “I’ve got a hyperbolic stomach. But back to Franzen. I guess when I say, ‘What a dick,’ I’m talking more about his books and sentences and his stupid face. I mean, Time Magazine? You know who should be on the cover of Time Magazine?”


“Rhett Faber.”

“Never heard of him.”

“Exactly,” the internet said. “You know why you’ve never heard of Rhett Faber? Because dick-ass pretentious dicks like Jonathan Franzen are taking up all the oxygen.”

In a post over at HTMLGIANT, called “On hipsters, hoodrats, and fitting in,” novelist Lily Hoang unwittingly prompted a deluge of hipster bashing from the HTML hoards in a relatively mild write-up on her perceived differences between ‘hipsters’ and ‘hoodrats.’

“But the truth of it is that I’m guilty of calling people hipsters out of jealousy. I mean, I don’t have the style to be a hipster, nor do I have the money or general sensibility,” Hoang wrote.

In this thousandth caricature of hipsters that has been made since Adbusters and New York Times began to cover them and internet-traffic-driven-bloggers and journalists realized that writing about hipsters caused commenters to flock en masse to their particular article to ridicule hipsters, which is good for securing advertisers, Hoang begins her post with the much agreed upon and internet-accepted anecdote “If it’s one thing hipsters hate, it’s being called a hipster.”

Shit talking on hipsters, predictably, started immediately, and eventually drew in a robust 141 comments.

Defense came from writer Joseph Young, who wrote that the term ‘hipster’ was just “…a way of classifying a bunch of individuals not as individuals but as a group based in external similarities. that is, a prejudice. like ‘redneck,’ it’s mostly socially acceptable.”

But Young was quickly shot down with talk of Orthodox Jews, the Holocaust, and comments containing the words and phrases “repudiate,” “ontological weight,” “fluid interchange” and “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.”

From there, an argument quickly ensued, complete with line-by-line take downs, references to Borges and an accusation toward shit talking veteran Steven Augustine that he “comes off more ignorant than cultured.”

Hoang added, deep in the comments section, “To be fair, this post was not anti-hipster. At all. If anything, my post did nothing but expose my jealousy towards those I deem “hipper” than me.”

Apparently butt-hurt over being rejected by Haiti, Wyclef Jean shit talked Sean Penn this week at some concert.

Penn had remarked on Larry King Live that Jean never really did anything to help Haiti when the earthquake destroyed them. To this, Jean responded “I got a message for Sean Penn, maybe he ain’t see me in Haiti because he was too busy sniffing cocaine,” which technically wasn’t a message “for” Sean Penn, but a declarative statement aimed at his audience. It was talking shit, nonetheless.

Last week Gawker sensationalized a study done by some sociologists that came to the conclusion that even hipsters hate hipsters. Gawker‘s article represents another in the slew of “Hipsters are retarded” posts over there.

In a relatively disdainful and comprehensive shit talk over on Bookforum, Joshua Cohen took on Tao Lin’s Richard Yates, offering the same shit-talk-on-Tao-Lin that’s been regurgitated by every Internet journalist covering him since Eeeee Eee Eeee. Cohen focused, among other topics, on Lin’s ‘gimmicry,’ his ‘trickster pranks,’ his use of Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning as names for his main characters, his characters’ ‘vapidity,’ his use of quotes, etc. Don’t even know why I’m explaining it as you could go to almost every review of Richard Yates and find the same thing.

However, there were odd things about this shit talk. In a confusing and vaguely troubling gesture, Cohen offered the IRL Dakota Fanning’s email address to anyone that would PayPal him $5.

Cohen also meta shit talks, in a sense, writing “The situations [in Richard Yates] fairly sweat verisimilitude, being as mundane and relentlessly torpid as the afternoon I’ve spent writing this review.”

This strategy is a rarely used yet effective way in which the shit talker not only shit talks the subject but further goes to point out that the subject is so shitty that the entire afternoon spent shit talking the subject has been made shitty because the shit talker has spent the entire afternoon crafting a shit talk about the subject. TC mark


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  • The Well-Read Wife

    Gabe Durham's piece sounds pretty funny.
    Cohen offered IRL DF's email address? That is beyond fucked up.

    • Justin RM

      Eh . . . I took that to be a less than subtle jab at Tao Lin's blog [etc.] where he often offers personal items if you PayPal him x amount of dollars. And I suppose it’s this kind of flimsy attention to detail that Cohen is bemoaning as well. How ironic.

      • The Well-Read Wife

        You might be right about that.

  • brittany

    “Cohen offered the IRL Dakota Fanning’s email address to anyone that would PayPal him $5.”

    yeah, that really got me. what a douche.

  • Steven Augustine

    1. Lily's piece was a subtle response to Reynard S.'s use of the term “hoodrats” in the following sentence, which some of us took to be racist (unconsciously, on RS' part, or not):

    “hood rats like fashion as much if not more than the next arbitrary grouping of people, i.e. paris is burning and hip hop in general”

    I mean, given the sentence, it's not too far a semantic stretch to use “jungle-bunnies” in place of “hoodrats” there

    So you're sort of reporting out of context on that and

    2. Wait: you quote an anonymous anger-muffin taking a random flame-war jab at me? Is this column even *pretending* to be “objective” or do you want to make me cry because I “shit talk” Taobers? Why not link to the thread the jab is taken from:

    September 3rd, 2010 / 3:28 pm Steven Augustine—

    That’s right, you could never generalize about, say, the musical tastes of Goths or Deadheads or anything. Of course someone who’s dressed like Marilyn Manson is very probably a Bebop aficionado. And fleeting, optional style choices are perfectly equivalent to Gender/Religion/Race issues. Yeah.

    September 3rd, 2010 / 3:43 pm Stu—

    “And fleeting, optional style choices are perfectly equivalent to Gender/Religion/Race issues. Yeah.”

    Holy sarcasm Batman!

    What, no smart-ass comments about suburban white kids? You know you wanna do it, Augustine, DO IT!

    September 3rd, 2010 / 4:15 pm S teven Augustine—

    “What, no smart-ass comments about suburban white kids? You know you wanna do it, Augustine, DO IT!”

    I guess you’ve never seen a Black Hipster, Dude. I’ve even seen a few in *Berlin* this year. Don’t be so provincial.


    September 3rd, 2010 / 10:03 pm Stu—

    Provincial? Oh, Augustine, is there a dig you can’t leave out? What do black hipsters have to do with anything? I’ve seen Asian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Fat, Skinny, and Old hipsters, too… is that supposed to mean anything or is this just another way for you to sneak in the fact that you live in Germany– again? Yes, what an anomaly! A black man in Berlin! A bohemian black man!

    I’m bored already.

    I was simply making fun of the fact that your idea of devaluing something seems to be labeling it the child’s play of “suburban white kids” as if that were a genuine, eye-opening critique.

    I’ve got news for you, Augustine, you come off more ignorant than you do cultured.

    September 4th, 2010 / 3:11 am Steven Augustine—

    “What do black hipsters have to do with anything?”

    Uh, because you were expecting me to make a default smart-ass comment about white suburban kids just because Hipsters were under discussion?

    Hey Stu, I love it when pissy little things like Stu take a swipe at me and then react badly when I swipe back. Maybe I didn’t get the memo about the no-fly zone around your tricycle.

    Also, next time: stop typing *before* you complain of “boredom”… wouldn’t that make more sense?

    • Brandon

      1. feel like my lead in to the shit talking incited by lily's post as well as my coverage of the actual shit talking that occurred on lily's post was appropriate and relevant to internet shit talking, so i'm unsure how my coverage might have been out of context

      2. you've made yourself one of the more visible players in the running saga of shit talking on htmlgiant, just using you as another angle bro

      • Steven Augustine

        Where's my complimentary Shit Talking swag bag, Brandon?

  • Thefuzz04

    i am black

    i am black

    i am black

    i am black

    black vs. black

    adbusters black the dead end of civilzation


    i am black

    tao lin: black_lit


    jealous of black ppl, for being “blacker” than me

    i have a blog

    i am black

    • Steven Augustine

      Gus Grissom was black. They don't tell you that.

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