Grunge Speak – #81 of 100 Top Hoaxes

In the 1990s, grunge was growing in popularity. It was a counter-culture, stripped-down, angsty musical genre out of Seattle that would heavily influence rock music throughout the nineties.

In November 1992, the New York Times printed an article describing how the Seattle grunge scene was developing its own lexicon. Some examples:

  • cob nobbler – loser
  • harsh realm – bummer
  • lamestain – uncool person
  • swingin’ on the flippity-flop – hanging out
  • tom-tom club – uncool outsiders
  • wack slacks – old ripped jeans

A few months later, The Baffler (a Chicago-based magazine), revealed that the lexicon had been a hoax, made up on the spot in an interview with the Times by Megan Jasper. Jasper was a sales rep for Sub Pop records, who fooled the reporter in resistence to grunge becoming more mainstream.

Although the words didn’t catch on, people still used them satirically, to the chagrin of the Times. Some were printed on t-shirts as jokes, and the term “harsh realm” even became the title of a science-fiction series about a group of people caught in a virtual reality world.

See a list of hoaxes counted down so far after the jump.

100. Bridezilla Freaks Out About Her Hairdo
99. The Joe Schmo Show
98. The Crying Indian
97. Ivar’s Underwater Billboards
96. Well to Hell
95. Great Comics Switcheroonie
94. American Cannibal
93. Nacirema Tribe
92. Indian Rope Trick
91. Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe
90. Republic of San Serriffe
89. Sydney Iceberg
88. Donald Crowhurst
87. Forgotten Silver
86. Procter & Gamble & Satan
85. Mel’s Hole
84. Institute for Human Continuity
83. Taking the Onion Seriously
82. Bonsai Kittens
81. Grunge Speak

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