Of course, anybody with even the most rudimentary talent for sniffing these things out will surmise that Vice Dos and Don'ts falls well within the often nebulous boundaries of Hipster Culture. As such, it is expected to walk a wobbly, boing-boing tightrope, simultaneously embracing this status (via its snark and in-the-know elitism) and deprecating it too, because an objet de hipsteur must ipso facto shrug off conspicuity lest it become the target of a more willfully deprecated, inconspicuous, and therefore ultra-super-duper-elite hipster culture (not to mention a punchline for mainstream culture).
The politics of hipsterism are thorny and labyrinthine, if I may mix my metaphors into a hearty, nourishing stew.
In principle, I have no problem with a twentysomething NYU undergrad wearing a vintage t-shirt ironically, listening to Arcade Fire or Of Montreal or whatever, and trying generally to look like an emaciated nerd on crack. In fact, I think most of that is pretty neato compared to some of the alternatives, like being a gun-toting racist ignoramus in teal Wal-Mart sweatpants listening to Tim McGraw or an oily-haired business goon in an ultra-WASPy Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit. (Everything I hate about upper class, aspirational America is writ large in Ralph Lauren magazine ads. Oh, these Aryan McMansion types who want to play croquet and watch polo matches and wear seersucker jackets and burgundy cravats, like it's fuckin' Edwardian England...! But I must pull back the reins before this digression gets too far afield.)
Where I have serious problems with Hipster Culture is when (like other countercultures) it gradually, almost imperceptibly, becomes a miniature reproduction of the mainstream culture it purports to counter, just with different uniforms and cultural reference points.
Then, I pick up a book like Vice Dos and Don'ts, and I suddenly don't care about these quibbles, qualms, and sociological conundrums. This is just fucking funny stuff, no matter who you are -- or, more pointedly, what you are.
It epitomizes the nth-degree decadence of hipster culture, in which anything and everything sacred is fair game for caustic, pitiless insults. Even the Fashion Dos are often liberally maligned here. Infants, the homeless, and the obviously mentally ill are all fodder for excoriating put-downs, so if you're scrupulously sensitive to propriety (i.e., terminally P.C.), you'll probably wanna scoot on over to some feel-bad literature of oppressed minorities post-haste, to salve your conscience 'n all. Maya Angelou may be the anti-this-book -- spiritually speaking. (If we must speak spiritually.)
What is the book? It's a compilation of 'street fashion' 'critiques' from the previous ten years of Vice magazine. But 'street fashion' and 'critiques' are misleading -- in that they lead you to believe this is, like, the edgy (but serious) stepchild of Vogue. Not at all! These are mainly just snapshots of people (mainly total freaks) on the street in various cities being ridiculed -- or occasionally praised -- by Gavin McInnes, the author of the column.
Some of my favorites to follow. (Please know that these lose a lot without the benefit of the accompanying photos! So mitigate your judgment!)
Photo: A child, maybe three, viewed from behind, in tiny purple sweat pants, a silver puffer jacket, and a red knit hat; each of her hands is being held by a (presumed) parent. Critique: 'Nice fucking purple track pants, you fat bitch. What are you, the fucking Michelin Man? Nice gay hat, too, you fucking little loser bitch.'
Photo: Fat man with long curly black hair (and bald spot) wearing a denim shirt which reads, 'Banging Is My Passion.' He's holding hands with a jean-jacketed suburban mom type. Critique: 'Right on! You know what my passion is? Being forced to picture a gigantic, sweaty Greek man in black socks bouncing his hairy brown balls against this poor woman's ass for hours and hours and hours. On behalf of everyone fortunate enough to walk behind you, thanks!'
Photo: Really fat guy wearing super-tight khaki shorts with a white shirt and suspenders and what looks like a bad at-home haircut. (A FloBee malfunction perhaps.) Critique: 'And the winner is... this chief. Up until he was 29, his mum was his best friend. Then she died of ovarian cancer and now Nigel turns to her dogs Noddy and Big Ears for camaraderie. Don't worry about him, though -- he gets to fuck them.'
Photo: Random photo of overprocessed nightclub douche and douchette in messenger caps. She's wearing a strategically torn-up t-shirt that says 'Tits' and a studded belt. He's wearing a gold jacket with no shirt underneath. Critique:'Look at these turds. Could they be bigger pieces of human waste please? Look at them! They're just two big pieces of genitalia with ridiculous hats on. They're not even worth diarrhea-ing on.'
Photo: White, uptight postcollegiate couple on the dance floor -- in Polo oxfords. Critique: 'Normal people just keep getting weirder and weirder to me. Sure the guys are hairy, obtuse mama's boys that read sports, piss on the lid and dance with an overbite, but the women are just as shitty. She doesn't even know what a fucking butt plug is.'
And so on...
Clearly, this book is not for the easily offended (a.k.a. the hopeless, humorless dullards). But everyone else should order a copy as soon as possible. Or if you go to a bookstore -- a real, live bookstore -- to purchase it, make sure you look good and aren't dressed like an elderly gay Italian retard because, mark my words, someone will take a picture of your patchwork-jacket-and-pegrolled-stonewashed-jeans-wearin' ass and send it in to Vice. And then we'll be laughing at what a total fucking jackass you are and paying $17.95 plus state sales tax to do it. (A bargain, I might add.)
There are no words to express how much I adore this schadenfreudian orgy, or my undying devotion to Vice magazine and Gavin McInnes, even though he is clearly a dangerous, drug-addled, unbelievably mean prick, and did you hear that Vice finally kicked him out? Which is totally fucked, since he was one of the founding members and all that. Anyway, this book makes me HOWL with amazement, every goddamn time I read it. Please go buy it, then you'll understand.
In case you haven't seen this book or the magazine, I just want to give you a taste of it. I realize that it's a little silly without the photos, but I will try to describe.
WARNING: If you are easily offended, please fuck off to another review.
* DON'T [a pic of a skinny girl in real low jeans, viewed from behind, with the whole top of her thong undies showing:] The only guys that are into thongs are the guys that still think girls don't poo. The rest of us are like "get your fucking shit rag out of my face lady." Why don't you wear some used tampons as earrings while you're at it??
* DO [pic of a clean-cut guy in a black v-neck sweater over a pink button down:] Now we know what Outkast were talking about when they said "so fresh and so clean." You almost have to be a virgin to rock a matching pink belt and tie, but he's probably not. He probably gets a bananas amount of blow jobs.
* DON'T [pic of a guy in a jaunty hat, biting his bottom lip & looking upwards:] Professional dancers have got to go. They're always wiggling around like they have to go pee, even when they're at the dinner table. Then "Ring My Bell" comes on and they lean over going, "I don't know how you can sit still like that." Get the fuck away from me, snakey man.
* DO [pic of a cute girl with red terry-cloth shorts & a cut up black t-shirt:] These 70s high school shorts are going to be the death of all Western males this summer. Terry towel ones, Howe lee sheet. Can you invent some split crotch ones so we can do it without you taking them off?
* DON'T [pic of a chubby guy in a red t-shirt with a yellow lightning bold on it, holding a tiny white dog:] Guy, The Flash was the fastest man alive. You're a fat pig with a faggy dog. Get a shirt with food on it or something. Right now you're a parody of how slow you are.
*DO [umm, girl in a weird face-hood, all black clothes but white gloves, and a cardboard stereo hanging around her neck:] You know when you get really baked and you do a funny dance around the living room that makes your sister laugh so hard she pees herself? Some people like that moment so much they decide to do it forever.
* DON'T [woman listing dangerously, prob about to fall over:] Not since the alchemists has one group of people tried so hard to defy science. Dear junkies: You cannot sleep standing up!
This really is one of my all-time most favorite book ever. Or wait, that can't be true. Can that be true? It might be true. Should I hate myself if that's true? I don't think I care.
hipster jackasses critiquing and praising various hipster and non-hipster types. i should probably hate this for the smug lameness of it all BUT IT IS TOO FUCKING HILARIOUS! ah well, can't win em all. you won this round, hipsters! i bet this will be even more fun and heartwarming 20 years from now, when all the fashion do's and don'ts and all the snark have acquired a quaint retro feel. ah, hipsters....aren't they just adorable? don't you just love their floppy hair, skinny jeans, long-playing records, and fixed gears? plus they apparently know everything about everything!
Vice is one of my favorite magazines and I savor every single issue, but I ALWAYS save the Dos & Don'ts pages for last - just like I save the frosting on a piece of birthday cake for last, 'cause, you know, that's the best freakin' part. I like to read them out loud to my old man and then we laugh and laugh. Having page after page of these little gems to enjoy is better than having a whole jar of frosting that you ain't gotta share with nobody.
Not exactly a "proud pleasure" - honestly, Vice Magazine's So-Over-It-We're-Under-It editorial tone would have cut more ice with me back a good decade or so when I considered my own opinions to be unalterable laws. That said, this book made me laugh. A lot. Even sans the crudely hilarious commentary, the parade of the misguided and the beguiling (misbeguiling?)contained in these photographs is enough to give the most inveterate fast-forwarders pause.
Funniest damn thing ever put to paper. This guy is a self proclaimed bastard, but he's great at what he does. I've been paging through this on a very regular basis for the past year or so and it still makes pee.
Probably the best coffee table book apart from any Taschen art book. If you're not familiar with the magazine then, well, you need to be. Vice is now an empire, but they are still one of the only groups of people who will, let's say, join the KKK just to write a review.
Their 'Dos and Donts' section is the most popular with its scathing captions (which are some of the best writing I've EVER read) to pictures of the most foul, beautiful, looney, impossible, etc. pictures of people walking down the street ever. I guess this is only cool to people like me who ADORE people watching.
This book is a good coffee table/bathroom book. You never know what each page will bring, except for a series of off-color remarks about outfits you never dared to try. It shoots holes in what you might think a fashion magazine might be, and produces enough laughs to fill a comedy club. However, eventually you can't help but feel a little bad for some of the people.
This is a collected anthology of Vice Magazines street fashion critiques. There is a whole section captured at SXSW so you may be in there. It makes me laugh so hard that for the entire first year that I owned it I kept it in my bookcase headboard only allowing myself to read it in little candy-coated doses when I really needed a laugh. Prozac on page and I was sad when I finished it.
this might actually be my favorite book ever. it provides more comfort than codeine cough syrup during cold season, it's good late at night when you got the spins, and it is amazingly spill resistant. i know the shit has been cool for over ten years and the ride has to end some time, but i'll go ahead and say it, yes, gavin mcinnes might be a fucking genius and i won't ever get enough.
Absolutely hilarious and strangely self-esteem boosting. It's nice to hear from a guy who has relatively little tolerance for perfect, model-looking girls, and can find many, many things hot about regular chicks. The scathing criticisms, on the opposite side of the fence, are uproarious. One of my favorite books.
I'm not exactly Vice Magazine's target audience, but I picked this up at Tower Records once, and within about two minutes of opening it I was laughing so hard that my stomach hurt. This book is mean, but oh my goodness is it funny. The only thing is, now if I see someone wearing snow pants, for example, or a shirt printed with flames, it's really hard not to laugh out loud.
VICE magazine is ultra funny. I had just broken up with my boyfriend and was feeling weepy and open and this book allowed me to laugh at the expense of strangers and get back to my normal, wry self. For that I am so grateful.
so funny its not even funny. har har. aaaaanyway. good coffee table book. fun to just pick up and read a few pages at a time here and there. oh, good for the bathroom then! is that gross to say that? meh, whatever
Dos and Don'ts have been (and are) the only really good thing about vice magazine. This book is fucking hilarious and you will never have more fun sitting on the potty if you place this next to your toilet brush.