The Hipster Elite and Their War on You by Greg Gutfeld online for free (2024)



How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage




Copyright © 2014 by Greg Gutfeld

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Crown Forum,

an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group,

a division of Random House LLC,

a Penguin Random House Company, New York.

CROWN FORUM with colophon is a registered trademark of Random House LLC.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Gutfeld, Greg.

Not cool : the hipster elite and their war on you / Greg Gutfeld.

pages cm

1. Conduct of life—Humor. 2. Elite (Social sciences)—Humor. I. Title.

PN6231.C6142G88 2014

818′.602—dc23 2013050828

ISBN 978-0-8041-3853-6

eBook ISBN 978-0-8041-3854-3

Jacket design by Michael Nagin

Jacket photograph by Mark Mann


To Jackie and Elena



Other Books by This Author

Title Page




An Introduction

Unctuous Occupations and Popular Pursuits

The Pitiful Ploy of the Bad Boy

The Deep Creep

You Pray, They Decay

Treating Crazies Like Daisies

Addiction to Accolades

How Mike and Carol Crushed the Feral

Doing the Wrong Thing

Killer Cool

The Cool’s War on Warmth

How Heathens Become Hip

A Magazine for Murderers

Sonnets for Tsarnaev

Pure Idiocy

The Deadly Do-Rights

Nuking the Nuclear Family

The Guilty Parties

The War on Warriors

Bling Before Balls

Southern Discomfort

The Rebels of Romance

The Carnal Carnival

Gunning for Attention

Homages to Homicides

The Orientation Express

The Rebel Bootlicker

The Rise of the Free Radical

Conclusion: Axing the Appetite for Adulation

Dankon! (That’s Esperanto for “Thanks!”)


The longer I live, the more I’m convinced the world’s just one big high school, with the cool kids always targeting the uncool.

—ME, The Joy of Hate, November 2012

Yes, I just quoted myself. Someone has to. But that quote also explains every thought I have about our existence on this silly orb called earth. The world is a high school, only more cruel, more reckless, and certainly more expensive. The lockers became apartments, the teachers our bosses, the guidance counselors our bartenders. Gym class has been replaced by health clubs, with Pilates now a substitute for climbing that horrible, horrible rope. The bathroom wall—a stinky billboard where grubby teens etched limericks and crude boobs—has morphed into the anonymous world of message boards, populated by cruder boobs.

Who runs the high school we all live in? The cool: people who consider themselves rebels and tastemakers for all that’s edgy. They are now in control of defining the “conversation”—of deeming what is good and what is bad. Their power is drawn from their self-appointed cool—and a world that gladly forfeited character for an illusion of it. But it’s all BS. In fact, if you scratch the surface of their cool veneer, you’ll find that they’re about as counterculture as a toupee, and not even remotely as useful.

My mission here is to provide the remedy to this vast world of pretension, envy, and hate, to write the guidebook on how to deal with the bullies and creeps who currently exercise free reign over us. This book contains a blueprint for those authentic Americans naturally inclined to rebel against the cool culture so lauded by pop culture, media, and academia. I speak of people I consider the Free Radicals—the true nonconformists who reject the lockstep cool that has become our society’s most damaging fetish since autoerotic asphyxiation. Not that I’ve ever tried. I have an irrational fear of being discovered dead, contorted, and naked by concerned neighbors.


Beliefs the cool use to enslave you:

If you don’t agree with them, no one will like you.

If you don’t follow them, you will miss out on something great.

If you don’t give in to them, you will die alone, and unwanted, possibly eaten by your army of starving cats.

Fifth grade was when life changed for me. It was during that sweaty, chaotic phase of life I realized there was something far more important going on in the world than saving to buy a speedometer for my Schwinn. It was a time of accidental boners, persistent pimples, and abject fear of, but endless curiosity about, the opposite sex. But it soon became something far more sinister.

It happened one morning, as class began in my suburban Catholic grade school in sunny San Mateo, California. A group of classmates showed up that day with a brand-new attitude and a mysterious excess of dangerous energy. It was as if they discovered a drug, one that tapped a keg of pure idiocy, disguised as higher consciousness.

Previously engaged and impressed by good humor, friendship, and grades, my classmates had changed, their demeanors replaced by something else. Something foreign. Something loud. Something stupid.

Apparently, the night before, they, like millions of impressionable kids around the country, had watched an episode of Happy Days, the landmark sitcom about life in the late 1950s or early 1960s, when people still had parted hair and said things like “Sit on it” and “It’s a war wound.” This particular episode’s plot involved gangs. I vaguely remember it, but I’m fairly certain Pinky Tuscadero makes a cameo, Potsie whines, and Ralph Malph cackles like a colicky, freckled rodent. There might have been a Hula-Hoop in the mix, and somebody somewhere in there got “frisky.” I think it was Al.

After they watched the episode, it dawned on my classmates that creating a gang was the thing to do. This decision would instantly elevate them beyond the mundane sweetness of middle school, a time usually spent carving initials into desks and fighting spontaneous arousal with a double coat of underwear (a tip from the always helpful newspaper column Ask Beth). It turned them into rebels.

I think they called themselves the Sharks. And they spent that day, like “sharks,” charging around the playground, running into other, smaller students, all while making idiotic wheezing noises they assumed sharks would make if they survived on oxygen. After instinctively dismissing this unruly new activity as silly and trying to organize some sort of alternative activity (nude four square), I became the target of their bullying. When I tried to reason with them—as much as a fifth-grader with acne can actually reason—I was banished.

And I’ve been there ever since.

This was my first encounter with the destructive superficial charms of cool: middle-schoolers who discovered a brand-new universe where achievement was not required to elevate esteem. This universe, it seemed, didn’t value the actual success you might get from hard work. An animal name and a pack of friends gave these kids the sort of cachet they never had before. They adopted a new anti-life that had its own rules, and as silly as they were, it was just so much more interesting than everything that came before it. Plus, the girls thought
it was neat. Suddenly all of the things that seemed pretty good before—companionship, Wacky Packs, exceptional schoolwork, nude four square—became “stupid.”

It was now cool versus everything else that wasn’t cool. The new world had begun, and I wasn’t on the invite list. Fifth grade had just discovered the velvet rope. And it was held by lowbrow illiterates with snot on their sleeves. (Boogers were a major food group back then.)

From that first time that I found myself ostracized from the gang, I forever learned to beware of anything that smelled of manufactured, attention-seeking behavior. Everything from modern impractical fashion, to hip jargon that means nothing, to contemporary activism that helps no one but the activist sets off my anti-cool alarm.

For all cool was then and all it still is now is a different form of conformity. The more a group of people try to rebel, the more they are trying to fit in. And it is always at the expense of others. Cool is identified only by defining others as uncool. The velvet rope excludes before it invites.

Left and right. Good and evil. Republican, Democrat. Most people see the world split into two chunks. It’s all we can handle. Two things. If you add a third, it gets weird. If you add a fourth, it becomes an orgy. And orgies are messy, from what Bob Beckel tells me.

In the last four years, these divisions have become more prevalent. Feminists versus religious institutions; black conservatives versus white liberals; gays versus churches (never the mosques); taxpayers versus redistributionists; public breast-feeders versus people who’d rather not see your breasts (unless there’s a vacancy); clams versus oysters.

I believe this duality is unavoidable, but one division is wider and more pernicious. And it dwarfs the other divisions and wreaks more havoc than all of them combined.

That duopoly is the cool versus the uncool. And it’s the coolopoly, the monopoly of cool, that seeks domination. Pick a political, cultural, or moral universe, and in each one it’s the cool who seek to punish, mock, or thwart the uncool. They do this freely and without much resistance, for exacting cool revenge is so common that the uncool let it happen without a fight—a sort of cultural Stockholm syndrome. Even as the cool put out ads condemning bullying, they spend the rest of their time turning persecution into an art form. The cool are just bullies with stylists and publicists.

From here on in, when I say “cool,” I am referring to those people who, generally liberal, pretend that the predictable, acceptable choices they make are actual risks. They pat themselves on the back for making decisions that are cheered on by a media and pop culture who already agree with them. It’s the engine driving so much pointless activism. The cool think, “If I embrace marching against war and capitalism, then I will be embraced by the famous people who also march against war and capitalism. Maybe I’ll meet John Krasinski!” Their “rebellion” is a way to be liked and a way to be accepted by people they admire. And so the phony cool assume the mantle of edginess and contemporary cachet while mocking the dreary lives of the worker bee, the businessman, the religious family structure, the nonartistic clerk with a job he cannot brag about, the housewife, the occupant of a neighborhood considered drab, the man who enlists, the woman who rejects feminist fads, and me.

And if you’re reading this book, most likely, you.

This bigotry toward the bland is neither harmless nor slight, but results in actual suffering, and even death. The desire to be cool overwhelms the most basic elements of logical thinking—sending morality from a vertical plane to horizontal. Instead of good triumphing over evil, they now exist side by side in a relativistic universe judged solely on the merits of being cool. In a world structured by phonies in Hollywood and elsewhere, good and evil take a backseat to Bonnie and Clyde. Being hip not only excuses the heinous—being heinous makes you hip. An ugly terrorist is a terrorist. A boyish one? Cool. Put him on the cover of Rolling Stone. He looks like a long-lost, slightly dazed Jonas Brother. He could be Jann Wenner’s new intern. An intern with privileges.

We live in a time when a man who spent years as a prisoner of war after heroically defending his country is beaten handily in a presidential campaign by a young inexperienced senator who previously was known for organizing communities for purposes no one seems to remember. I mean, on the ladder of achievement, community organizing ranks slightly below selling celebrity toenails on eBay. But not anymore.

Was that simply an ideological and political battle, or was it something else? Perhaps Obama was a better candidate, but why, really? Only in the modern era can a bona fide war hero be depicted as a doddering old coot. And unless you’re Keith Richards, you cannot be cool once you’re over fifty-five. Once you qualify for the cover of the AARP magazine, you’re toast. Might as well just get the Shirley Temple box set and a Hoveround. I have both, which is why the ladies love me.

In the McCain-Obama election, as in the one that followed, the variable that swayed the electorate was something new entirely. And that something new was the heightened culmination and demonstration of coolness. For many, voting for Obama was your entry to the cool club—a rejection of the same old faces and same old pasts. I mean, McCain probably didn’t even have an Apple ID! It was better to elect someone whose face was not only new, but whose past was almost undefinable. Plus, he was young and black. I get it. If I were black, maybe I would have voted for him too. But I’d like to think qualifications also mattered.

In fact, in any place where something isn’t cool, you will see these three words strung together: “old white men.” Whether it’s a clunky news editorial on gun control or a withering analysis of a Republican debate, the media will dismiss it with that handy cliché—they’re just “old white men.”

But the haters of the old white male forget that it was a hardy group of old white men who created this country … as well as a lot of amazing products that saved the lives of a whole bunch of other men (and women, black, white, and pastel). Sure, they were okay with a lot of other really crappy stuff (i.e., slavery), but compared with the rest of the awful, pitiless world, they were—literally—revolutionaries.

I have, throughout most of my life, veered toward the opposite of what’s considered cool. A look at my yearbook photos reveals as much. My appearance veered between Greg Brady and a suburban Iggy Pop. When people had long hair, I preferred spiky. When crew cuts were in, I looked like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. When kids embraced disco, I steered toward punk. And when punk became cool, I moved to metal. Now, as I am slightly older and a little less gorgeous, I listen to obscure, noisy electronica and doom metal that, at times, could clear the killing floor in a slaughterhouse. I enjoy stuff that accelerates my own exclusion. But it’s not for effect. I do like the stuff. And I like being alone. (Which is lucky—the rest of humanity seems only too willing to oblige.)

My avoidance of mainstream entertainment isn’t reactionary. I just tend to move away from stuff that bugs me and toward stuff that surprises me. It puts me on the outside of a lot of things, including the hip. It’s how I became a conservative and, ultimately, a libertarian. My politics are simple: Leave me the hell alone, and take your definitions of cool and bullsh*t exclusionary language with you. My next step, I imagine, is to become a monk. (I actually am kind of serious. I toyed with making fruitcake, and own a number of hooded robes that I stole from hotels.)

Now in middle age, I’ve come to realize that avoiding cool will no longer suffice. For it has poisoned everything I know to be enjoyable and interesting in life. The concept of cool takes precedence over everything these days—from politics to personality, from food to fashion, from sex to safety, from climate to Colt 45s. Coolness is a replacement for a strong ego and operates as a safe, ambivalent response to evil in the world. The result: We are left with a dreary planet of self-esteem sponges more interested in capturing the approval of phonies than actually doing something real or positive with their lives. It’s an attitudinal apocalypse. It’s killing us, and we don’t seem to mind.

The aftereffects of the cool r
evolution can be felt everywhere and are reflected in everyday behavior. We used to consider the right thing to do; now we consider the cool thing to do. In fact, the stuff we were once expected to take part in suddenly becomes cheesy, a waste of time. We’ve abandoned veterans’ parades for divestment sit-ins and courtship for hanging out. Pop culture has replaced principle.

Instead of helping your parents through tough times, it’s cooler to adopt a tiger through the World Wildlife Fund. Rather than quietly engage in traditions that keep a family together, it’s just cooler to waste your money on a trip to Burning Man to find yourself. Rather than empathize with victims of terror, write a poem about the terrorist. Rather than visit an old folks’ home, camp out in a city park and call the most liberating country in the universe a police state.

The end result? At the minimum, wasted lives. At the worst, death and destruction for the greatest nation ever. Cool is a path to nothing at all pleasing or constructive in the long term, a path that has paved over fine traditions—traditions that, in better times, were substantial activities that represented actual caring. When a teen decides to pierce his nipple, it’s not just to make his nipple look like a different, cooler nipple. It’s a middle finger to the people who loved and cared for him. He chose cool over them. I hope his nipple gets gangrene, falls off, and ends up in an omelet eaten by Liev Schreiber in an East Village diner.

Because, when it comes down to it, being cool means not caring. And not caring means inevitable decline. What cool does is tell people that decline is actually kind of awesome (if it’s done with the right amount of ennui—see France), while acting mature and aging gracefully are quaint. And before you know it, you’re that fifty-year-old idiot, sitting in the corner of a local bar, dressed like a Beastie Boy, your faded tattoos stretching over mottled fat like Satan’s Saran Wrap, as you try to convince yourself that the worn-out chick with the gray Volvo eyed you up a second time. To actually give a damn about manners and elegance makes you a target of mockery.

The Hipster Elite and Their War on You by Greg Gutfeld online for free (2024)
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