The Huffington Post has declared Hampshire College as the #1 hipster school in America. Um, is that a complement? What is a hipster anyway? The Urban Dictionary defines it thusly:
Listens to bands that you have never heard of. Has hairstyle that can only be described as "complicated." (Most likely achieved by a minimum of one week not washing it.) Probably tattooed. Maybe gay. Definitely cooler than you. Reads Black Book, Nylon, and the Styles section of the New York Times. Drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon. Often. Complains. Always denies being a hipster. Hates the word. Probably living off parents money - and spends a great deal of it to look like they don't have any. Has friends and/or self cut hair. Dyes it frequently (black, white-blonde, etc. and until scalp bleeds). Has a closet full of clothing but usually wears same three things OVER AND OVER (most likely very tight black pants, scarf, and ironic tee-shirt). Chips off nail polish artfully after $50 manicure. Sleeps with everyone and talks about it at great volume in crowded coffee shops. Addicted to coffee, cigarettes (Parliaments, Kamel Reds, Lucky Strikes, etc.), and possibly cocaine. Claims to be in a band. Rehearsals consist of choosing outfits for next show and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Always on the list. Majors or majored in art, writing, or queer studies. Name-drops. May go by "Penny Lane," "Eleanor Rigby," etc. when drunk. On Pabst Blue Ribbon. Which is usually.
Was I ever a hipster? Sort of. To be gay is in some sense to be instantly cool. However, Pabst Blue Ribbon was considered an old man's beer when I was in my twenties, the secretly cool uncool beer for us was Budweiser. It was considered uncool to smoke anything with a white filter, so Parliaments were out. I smoked Old Gold, which for some reason were cool for the same reason that Pabst was not - only old people smoked them. Never expect logic in fashion. Tom Devine in his 20's was most likely to be found wearing Converse sneakers, tight jeans, no shirt and a baseball cap, which was popular among queers long before the straights turned the baseball cap into our national hat.
Anyway, whatever a hipster is, apparently the Huffington Post considers our own Hampshire College to be its ultimate expression:
Typical Hampshire College students.
At Hampshire, anything goes. The alma mater of Ken Burns, Jon Krakauer and Elliott Smith is famous for its lassiez-faire approach to education -- students are not bound to a core curriculum; their main requirement for graduation is a year-long in-depth project on a subject of their choice. Popular campus activities include Students for Justice in Palestine and the radio station, which is housed in a building called "The Yurt."
The temptation of course is to laugh. However, in the comments section a former student named Julie Dole defended the Hampshire experience.
We used to call it Hamster College. I'm not an alum but I took a few classes there - I remember my physics prof used a clock that went backwards. Its stripped-down campus was a haven for rich kids, since (at least at that time) the school offered little financial aid.
But I think the real advantage Hampshire had over more conventional schools was that its lack of structure forced students to motivate themselves - no one else was making students meet deadlines. That's a much more realistic model of how life is, after graduation.
So congratulations Hampshire College, land of the Hipsters!
Meanwhile in the land of politics the prestigious Rasmussen poll has its latest poll out on the Massachusetts governor's race.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in Massachusetts finds Patrick has gained some ground in his Job Approval ratings but his support for re-election remains in the mid-30s.
Patrick earns 35% of the vote when matched against former health care executive Charlie Baker. Baker attracts 27% while Democrat-turned-independent Tim Cahill runs third with 23% support. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. Baker’s support is down slightly from a month ago.
Patrick’s other prominent Republican opponent, businessman Christy Mihos, continues to struggle. Given that match-up, 38% of Massachusetts voters opt for Patrick, with Cahill a close second at 33% and Mihos a distant third at 15%. Undecideds total 14%.
Deval Patrick has been campaigning hard in recent weeks, apparently trying to remind voters one on one of why they used to like him in the first place. Charlie Baker is finding his past ties to the healthcare industry a burden, but Tim Cahill has revived his once flagging candidacy by becoming the anti-Obamacare candidate. Christy Mihos may yet make a comeback if Baker continues to fade.
However, not even registering one percent support in that poll was the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. I'll bet she would get at least that much in Western Mass, where Stein is shown at a rally last month in downtown Northampton.
She also chose longtime leftist activist Rick Purcell of Holyoke as her running mate. Here's Purcell in Holyoke at the announcement of his candidacy.
At the UMass library recently I ran into Kevin Noonan, whom I've known since the Dan Yorke Show days.
Here's Damon on UMass radio the other day.