Just as The Official Preppy Handbook exposed wearers of Lacoste polos and drinkers of Bloody Marys, Lanham's new book delves into the lives of those who deem themselves too cool for school. Hipsters, he says, are the ones you see around town smoking European cigarettes, wearing platform shoes and reading biographies of Che Guevara. Lanham, editor of the site FreeWilliamsburg.com (Williamsburg being a favorite New York City hipster enclave), does his best to dissect the personality types, the hangouts, the colleges and even the facial hair of the modern-day Hipster. There's no main narrative per se, rather a prolonged pastiche of sarcastic observances and witty asides. And in a clever marketing gimmick, Lanham compiles a raft of lists detailing crucial Hipster music (including the Beastie Boys record Paul's Boutique) and literature (Nick Hornby's High Fidelity), which are sure to spark debate. Topping it off is a questionnaire, to suss out whether or not you could qualify for Hipsterdom (e.g., if you subscribe to Wallpaper, you're in; if Maxim's more your speed, you're out). The truly hip wouldn't touch this with a 10-foot pole, of course, but they aren't really Lanham's target.
Reviewed on: 02/03/2003 Release date: 02/01/2003 Genre: Nonfiction