Friday, September 15, 2006

"How come you having 'lamestain'? What it is, 'lamestain'?"

By 1992, the "Seattle scene" had exploded like a banana in a microwave. The intrepid reporters of the New York Times decided to embed themselves in the scene, to learn how it is that the grunge kids talk. So they phoned SubPop Records and talked to one Megan Jasper, asking her to pass on the secret grunge lexicon to the kids.

Thing is, there was no grunge lexicon. So practical joker Jasper asked the Times to simply give her some terms, and she'd translate them into grunge.

Here's what the Times printed:

bloated, big bag of blotation - drunk
bound-and-hagged - staying home on Friday or Saturday night
cob nobbler - loser
dish - desirable guy
fuzz - heavy wool sweaters
harsh realm - bummer
kickers - heavy boots
lamestain - uncool person
plats - platform shoes
rock on - a happy goodbye
score - great
swingin' on the flippety-flop - hanging out
tom-tom club - uncool outsiders
wack slacks - old ripped jeans

Left, the cruel, petulant prankster Megan Jasper. Top right, the victims of this heinous action.

We actually remember reading this grunge lexicon in Newsweek, who reprinted it not long after the Times piece. It was pretty clear to everyone that somebody had pulled the Times's leg. The Baffler first called public attention to the prank.

Wikipedia has a pretty decent article about "Lexicon of Grunge: Breaking the Code." Jasper tells the story herself in the movie Hype!

If you haven't already figured it out, we actually are a couple of lamestains.



Steve said...

Hey Lamestain --

Diamond Lie rules!

You guys should post that "Masters of War"cover by "The Freewheelin'" Mark Arm, and whatever the B-side was. I always wanted to hear those. Also "Coke Limo," if you have it.

BWT, Woodward and Bernstein wrote for the Washington Post, not the New York Times, but they probably would've fell for the prank too.

Later dudes -- Steve

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