The subtitle of Greg Gutfeld’s latest book, Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You, pretty much says it all: the libertarian host of Red Eye and The Five on Fox News believes that today’s monopoly of cool (or “coolopoly”) is ruining America. But although he scorns skinny jeans and Girls (“the most demeaning thing to happen to women since Juicy sweatpants”) this isn’t actually a Jeremiad against hipsters, unless by “hipster” you mean “liberal.”
Which is exactly what Gutfield does mean. He admits early on that “the cool” are “almost entirely liberal by default,” and goes on to list some of the characteristics of the so-called “hipster elite”: they’re pro-choice, anti-religion, anti-military, anti-family, anti-capitalism, and anti-fracking (turns out Rosario Dawson isn’t a heroine of the Lower East Side, she’s a “dipstick”).
Gutfeld argues it’s the family men (and women), military types, and the suits who are truly cool, “even if they look like dorks drinking Scotch and doing karaoke poorly in a midtown bar.” They’re the ones who “build products and then brands, while those railing against them are as safe as soy milk.” He calls them the “free radicals” – people who eschew the “crap spawned by the coolerati” in favor of the things that made America great, i.e. “hard work, decent moral values, a viciously badass military, a no-bullshit analysis of the world around us, and a desire to understand the world without the assistance of style editors and root cause experts.”
If you’re wondering, Gutfeld’s list of heroes include black conservatives, the NYPD, “straight couples,” Margaret Thatcher, “the overweight and out-of-shape,” the military (“the only branch of government that works”), a snub-nose .38, Mike Huckabee, legal immigrants, and – more improbably – Gavin McInnes of Vice (at the end of the day, he’s a family man), Fred Armisen (Portlandia reminds Gutfeld that “even if I can’t stand some people, they’re still people. Well, barely”) and The Melvins, even though the band has spent its share of time in that hypocritical liberal bastion of Hollywood. (He argues that King Buzzo et. al. “work for a living” without worrying about awards shows, unlike “what the hip do with Strats and skinny jeans.”)
Of course, amid all the bashing of Hollywood and DC liberals, the book does contain the requisite put-downs of the more stereotypical Williamsburg and Lower East Side hipster. Here they are, with bolding added for emphasis.
1) “We live in a time when some products are cool while others aren’t. And this cool bigotry masks a different kind of bigotry, one directed at the non-intellectual: the guy who doesn’t watch Girls, shop at Whole Foods, or read Dwell on the bidet. This average dude is not interested in the healing powers of crystals, or windmills, or solar power. He’s just fine with natural gas – his own, and North Dakota’s.”
2) “Can you imagine a young college graduate announcing to his friends he is going to work for an oil company? Nope. He’s joining an improv group instead. As I write this, the labor department reports that only 40% of Americans have a full-time job. That’s because it’s hard to get full-time work as a maker of artisanal tricycles, or worse edible artisanal tricycles.”
3) “When a teen decides to pierce his nipple, it’s not just to make his nipple look like a different, cooler nipple. It’s a middle finger to the people who loved and cared for him. He chose cool over them. I hope this nipple gets gangrene, falls off, and ends up in an omelet eaten by Liev Schreiber in an East Village diner.”
4) “Everything done these days springs from a fear of dorkiness despite the fact that it’s the uncool dorks who make the trains run on time. There’s nothing more boring than a train schedule, but without it how would the hip find the right subway to that Williamsburg flea market where they can spend one hundred bucks on a T-shirt from a late-seventies Cheap Trick tour?”
5) “To them, the South is just the opposite of the cool and the hip. Unless, of course, the cool and the hip adopt the Southern routine ironically. You’ve seen it: shootin’ pool; drinkin’ cheap beer; growin’ a beard; wearin’ sleeveless T-shirts in Bushwick, Williamsburg, or any other hip enclave outside Manhattan.”
6) “The streets are flooded with asexual mopes who talk from the backs of their throats as they bowl in Brooklyn, ironically. How we get to a place where men in skinny jeans rank higher in achievement and status than men in military-issued camouflage is a mental journey beyond the limits of my simple, sodden brain.”
7) “It’s great that Mommy and Daddy did all that uncool work, so you could sit in your air-conditioned classroom and shit all over them, to the approving eye of your ponytailed professor. He’s just such a rebel. He writes letters to Mother Jones! (However, despite a distaste for tradition, the hip will pay thousands for a table made from salvaged, vintage “repurposed” snowshoes.)”
8) “We all can’t be artists, brunching in Soho, buying all of our goods at inflated prices from a chap named Sven in thigh-high leather boots, sporting a breast on his head. A truly cool person knows how superficial and fleeting cool really is, he finds something better to do with his time and his money. The great thing about America is that that person is usually rewarded for his hard work, which allows him to hire all these other miserable cool people to sell his merchandise. It might be the greatest reward of becoming successful: making an incompetent cool person work late.”
9) “In the south, in any restaurant, you might see a family praying before their meal. This is about as anathema to the New York hipster as watching FNC with an armed pro-lifer. All at once it’s laid out: an intact family, platters of fattening foods, affordable clothing worn without the requisite sense of irony. And religion. God, how uncool is that? Why can’t they all just go away and let us live our lives without them reminding us of all the things we’ve happily rejected in favor of ironic sideburns. Living in the south – unless it’s Austin – is the equivalent of attending Scarlet Letter U, for Uncool.”
10) “Crapping on the Boy Scouts is just way easier and cooler. It’s the in thing to do these days, along with dog tattoos, drinking coconut water, and drinking coconut water with your tattooed dog.”
11) “Why would anyone not be a liberal? Think of the rewards: you’re an eternal teenager, always in sync with the cool kids, never a target of scowls, a consistent beneficiary of invites to events involving lamb sliders, crab cake tacos, and desperate come-ons from Arian Grenier. You secretly feel superior to all those around you who have yet to evolve. You get to pronounce Pakistan as ‘pock-ist-aahn.’ You become an international walking guidebook for pretentious pronunciation. But you’re as rebellious as a seat cushion.”