NABOKV-L post 0022206, Tue, 29 Nov 2011 12:18:00 -0500

Is “Lolita” his favorite book? ...

Five Ways to Expose a Pseudo-Artist (Or, Alternatively, Hipster)
Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Harvard University is composed of people who excel at many things, but particularly at self-promotion. Our student body is full of trumpeted musicians, heralded journalists, and lauded dancers. Thus, it might be tempting, nay easy, for one to feign expertise in order to impress your fellow Annenburglars, for how do they know you aren’t truly the artistic prodigy of your generation? Anyone could do it—so here are five incredibly simple ways to tell if your companion really is a true Artist or merely a poseur.

1. Does she like the bathroom decor at Café Pamplona?

You can pepper your suspected pseudo-intellectual/hipster with trick questions that lead her to support something unforgivably stupid (Protip: Café Pamplona doesn’t have a bathroom). My favorites: “Do you think that ‘Les Miserables’ accurately represents the French Revolution?” “Why aren’t coffee and cigarettes a suitable lunch?” or “Do you think that Banksy is attractive?”

2. Is “Lolita” his favorite book?

You can’t lose with this one. If he defends his “hipster cred” by saying that Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” is indeed his favorite book, then he is not a hipster; he is a poseur attempting to be controversial by liking a book about pedophilia. If he says Vladimir Nabokov’s “Ada” is his favorite book, then call him a liar because “Lolita” is better written. If “Catcher in the Rye” is his favorite, challenge him to a duel (if he declines, you can be sure he is a phony).

3. What is her concentration?

If she is concentrating in anything that doesn’t prompt queries of “What does one do with that concentration?” or the ever-pitiful “I guess you can always teach,” then she is not a true Artist. The acceptable Artist concentrations include Visual and Environmental Studies, Literature, any of the Languages (bonus points for more obscure fields such as Celtic), English, Philosophy, and Folklore & Mythology. Unacceptable Artist concentrations are Government, Economics and anything that has a class in the Science Center.

4. Does he loudly bash artists such as Justin Bieber, Rebecca Black, and Robert Pattinson?

If he laments the five-adjective masterpiece of “Twilight” or the odd musical obsession with ranking the days of the week, then he is not an Artist. It’s much more artistic to be contrarian and say that Bieber Fever is the greatest cultural contagion since the Unhealable Boils of Exodus or that Rebecca Black’s simple proclamation that Friday is the best day of the week is indicative of a societal emphasis on the values of Norse God “Friga” who oversaw love, beauty, and sex. It’s boring just to be a hater.

5. Does he chew ice?

If he chews ice and eschews spinach, then you can be positive that your subject is neither a Hipster nor an Artist. This means he has anemia, and it is a qualification that all true Artists must have highly oxygenated blood. I guess you could say this is because they must be ... ironic.

—Christine A. Hurd is the incoming Movies Editor. She measures the success of her day by how high her heels are.

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