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Together they ride, side by side 6:50 pm // Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Posted by jjb in advertising, amusing, hipster runoff, tao lin.
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Carles, for the first time, has mentioned the Smashing Pumpkins on his popular weblog Hipster Runoff:

Can’t believe the Smashing Pumpkins ’sold out’ and let VISA use their song in their commercial. jk. happy 4 them. Billy Corgan seems like a chill bro who has been through a lot [via 1979 tonight, tonight]. Kinda sad how we’re all getting older and music ‘that was cool during our youth’ is being used to encourage us to buy stuff with money that we don’t have. h8 marketing. sad on the inside. Need to buy a flat screen tv to cheer myself up. Might also buy ‘a wii’ and ’some marijuana/lean.’

He also ‘explains’ who he ‘is’:

This has been a music video recap by Carles. Carles is a full time student at a high level digital arts graduate program. He is also a Teaching Assistant for Digital Media 101:Lessons in Photoshop, InDesign, and iMovie.

And the author of the first two comments on the post?  Tao Lin.

HU asks: Who ‘is’ Carles of the popular weblog Hipster Runoff? 7:13 pm // Monday, February 23, 2009

Posted by jjb in analysis, art, blogging, hipster runoff, tao lin.
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Extremely attentive HU readers may have noticed that in recent weeks Jill and I have become avid consumers of Hipster Runoff, a blog worth blogging about.  HRO is operated by a sole blggr who goes by the name of Carles.  Carles recently consented to an instant-messenger interview with Rob Harvilla of the Village Voice, whose first question to “the Internet’s latest mystery man” was simply…

[Harvilla:] Who are you?

[Carles:] That’s probably the most difficult question you could ask. I have been pretty anonymous up to this point in terms of “who I am” and “my relationship with what I blog about,” but I think that is part of the conceptual execution of HRO.

Without presuming to ‘answer’ Harvilla’s question, we at HU — after indulging our curiosity [via the Googles] — have found the relationship between Carles and Brooklyn-based writer Tao Lin to be meaningfully close.  We’ll leave the exhaustive cataloguing of their nexus as an exercise for our readers, but here are three takeoff points to get yall started:

  1. Stylistically, Tao Lin blogs like Carles talks/blogs.  Compare the writing in this December 2006 (pre-HRO) post on Tao Lin’s blog with the script for Carles’s first HRO podcast, or compare this Tao Lin-made graph with these graphs on HRO.
  2. Tao Lin and Carles share similar interests.  One offbeat example is the clothing manufacturer American Apparel: Carles can’t stop making references to “Am Appy” on HRO, and Tao Lin’s forthcoming book bears the title Shoplifting from American Apparel. And while Tao Lin is an author and HRO is ostensibly a music blog, Lin told Largehearted Boy in 2006, “I almost always listen to music when I write. I’m listening to music right now.”  Asked to share a mixed CD with Largehearted Boy readers, he wrote:

    I will create a mixed CD that gives me the same kind of feeling I just described. I like creating mixed CDs. This will be a real mixed CD that will really work if you create it. I mean it will start at one song and go to the next song and sound natural and good, and then end with a good “ending” song, like a real CD. If you email me I will create this mixed CD for you, maybe, if I have a computer that can create CDs that I am allowed to use. I spent a lot of time on this mixed CD and feel good that I can share it.

  3. Tao Lin and Carles have an intensifying online friendship.  Tao Lin has, very recently, contributed poetry readings to HRO.  Several of Tao Lin’s most recent blog posts are in deep stylistic debt to Carles.  This past weekend, Carles staged a fake ‘hacking’ of HRO complete with an email conversation between himself and ‘the hacker’.  And in the last three days, Carles has several times tweeted @tao_lin and Tao Lin has several times tweeted amusingly @hipsterrunoff:

Regardless of all the preceding: I have never really accepted Carles’s claim that he is a ‘pretty standard bro’.  I personally think Hipster Runoff to be a work of genius, and I never use that term lightly.  It makes perfect sense to me that HRO would be the brainchild of an intensely creative and hardworking person, just as it has always made sense to me that the Smashing Pumpkins — and their success — are largely a product of Billy Corgan’s special talent and drive.  That Carles has been received by thousands of readers as a “quite possibly messianic figure” (Harvilla’s words) I think is no accident but is rather a testament to great work.  It’s, uhm, also no accident that I am about to order Tao Lin’s latest book.

UPDATE (2/25): Matthew Perpetua nicely summarizes what we’ve learned for New York magazine, which is that this post is mostly all wrong.


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