The Literary Hipster’s Handbook — 2006 Q3 Edition

“ALK”: An unexpected career move by a literary person in a non-literary endeavor. (Ex. I saw Frank cutting the rug in a ballroom last night, man, but it turns out he was teaching a dancing class! Talk about an ALK!) (Apparent Origin of Term: A.L. Kennedy.)

“Booker nod”: A literary event with tiresome results, often producing soporific qualities in the participant. Named after the predictable nature of the 2006 Booker Award longlist, but recently expanded to include bookstore events, boardroom meetings, and drab cocktail parties. A legitimate Booker nod must involve someone falling asleep, thus signaling to other hipsters that the event should be avoided at all costs.

“to Liesl”: To heckle a writer or litblogger without identifying who they are. Literary hipsters have adopted this cowardly behavioral technique instead of resorting to snark. Liesling involves a hipster sneering down at an opponent, but often running away from the room when the target of his insults arrives. Also referred to as Freemaning (rare usage). (Or. Liesl Schillinger.)

“Otto Penzler”: A bitter person with nothing positive or rational to say; often a has-been. Otto Penzlers are frowned upon in current literary society and are secretly ridiculed, often in mixed company, when they cannot overhear the conversation.

“pass the Günter”: To reveal a past sin unexpectedly, often near the end of one’s life. Originated by Günter Grass’s unexpected revelations that he was a member of the SS. (Ex. I always thought Grandma was a kind and generous soul, but when she told the family that she gave head to a Cocker spaniel in her college days, I suspected that she had passed the Günter.”)

“Sittenfeld”: A rancorous outburst that causes unrelated parties to fight in a silly and protracted squabble. The first known Sittenfeld was initiated on June 5, 2005, which spawned a series of online battles pitting literary fiction writers against chick lit writers. The person who initiates the Sittenfeld often absolves herself of responsibility, waiting for karma to kick her in the ass one day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *