The Literary Hipster’s Handbook — 2004 Q2 Edition

“con-fuse”: When an author uses his reputation to offer an overlong and unedited book, thus conning his audience into buying or reading it, and eventually lighting the reader’s fuse. (Or: Neal Stephenson‘s Baroque Cycle.)

“Dale Pecker”: An unpleasant asshole at a literary cocktail party who claims erudition, but who will never shut up. The distinction between a Dale Pecker and a socially maladjusted person is that the latter still has a love of literature, while the former does not. Term expected to fade into obscurity before summer. Use sparingly. (Ex. I was shooting the shit with Bill over China Mi鶩lle’s upcoming New Crobuzon book, when this Dale Pecker came up and wouldn’t shut up about Ted Chiang.)

“get Doctorowed”: To be booed at a literary gathering, often when one blusters about politics. (Or. E. L. Doctorow) (Ex. He had the audience in the palm of his hands, until he got Doctorowed after referring to some obscure and apparently evil legislative acts against potatoes.)

“Laura crown”: Generally used when a person has repeated the same point in 35 different ways over the course of an hour. A term sometimes punctuated with a pantomine gesture that causes the person to which the phrase is being directed to bow down and become donned with an imaginary crown of laurels. Reported inspiration: Laura Miller.

“niggerati”: Out of style. A failed effort to sound politically incorrect in the comic style of Richard Pryor, but a term that ultimately sounds silly and serves no purpose save through contextual mocking of the term’s originator. Source: Alice Randall, Pushkin and the Queen of Spades, discovered by Old Hag

“to Rushdie”: To read a literary book that is too long and not very good and slip into a despondent state. Also, used in the context of flashy marriages and writing — the latter, more specifically applied to anything Salman Rushdie has scribed from The Moor’s Last Sigh onwards.

“swink away”: To become thoroughly rapt with a hip literary magazine like Swink or Pindelyboz, only to be found in a semiconscious state under the docks days later, magazine clutched tightly in hand.

“wonketting off”: Disparaging. Used when angry bloggers express jealousy over the possibility of other bloggers getting book deals, even if the book deals in question are not forgeone conclusions. Often used by paranoid types who have too much spare time and believe the blogosphere is out to get them. Sources of grief: Ana Marie Cox and Daniel Radosh “Talk of the Town” piece.


  1. The Devil’s Dictionary now has competitionget Ralph Steadman to illustrate.

    My six pack abs (okay, that’s bullshit) are aching from laughter (this is true).

  2. Dear Birnbaum: Did you see Q1?

    Bondgirl: Ted Chiang does indeed rock, but that’s not the point. Don’t tell me that you’re one of the Dale Peckers!

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