April 19, 2016

"Hi, sir. Bye, sir. Your kind are not welcome here. Read the sign. Out!"

Says Hermie (Colin Quinn's character) on the "I Love You Baby" episode of "Girls" that aired on HBO this week. The sign — in Ray's Coffeehouse — says no "man buns." And Hermie is blatantly, vocally enforcing the shop's new "hipster hate" theme. Shoshanna (the Zosia Mamet character) has very enthusiastically devised this theme and put up the signage and gotten the NYT interested doing a style-section piece on the place: "They love the hipster-hate angle." Hermie's interpretation of the theme is overt refusal of service. Shoshanna reacts:
"Hermie, Hermie, we cannot actually turn people away. That's discrimination. We just have to, like, you know, glare at them and make them super-uncomfortable and bully them until they leave of their own volition."
Hermie reacts:
"From now on, anybody walks through that door with a bun on top of their head or tattoos that were not acquired on a naval adventure on the South Pacific, we treat 'em like a hippie at Disneyland in '68. This is a haven for normal people — working men and ladies... We're taking back the night. You're either with me or against me."
Shoshanna seems to have come up with the hipster-hate theme as a marketing gimmick to counter the competition from the extremely hip coffeeshop across the street (Helvetica). She's following the "lean in" advice Hermie found in that book by Sheryl Sandberg. Later, Hermie tells her he needs her to "lean out" a bit, because she's too intense. But he likes the money that's been coming in under the hipster-hate branding, which the NYT and some of the customers might think of as ironic, but Hermie is an older guy — the actor who plays him (who I remember from the old MTV quiz show "Remote Control") is 58. Hermie seems to be getting excited by the theme unironically.

The interplay between these 2 characters is wonderful. Is Hermie some kind of stand-in for Zosia Mamet's father David? In the final scene, closing the coffeehouse for the night, Hermie and Shoshanna dance to the evocative old voice of Frankie Valli singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." I had to puzzle over whether that counted as sexual harassment in the workplace, but I backed off — influence by retro-ishness and my idea that Hermie and Shosh were like David and Zosia — into the view that they were like a father and daughter at a wedding. Isn't "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" an iconic wedding song?

As for those hippies in Disneyland in '68... like many of the things we remember from the 60s, it happened in the early 70s:
August 06, 1970. A bizarre occurence takes place at Disneyland when 750 "Hippies" and "Radical Yippies" infiltrate the park, and take over the Wilderness Fort. They raise the Vietcong flag and pass reefers out to passersbys. Later, they march in a Main Street parade, and sing their own lyrics to "Zipadee Doo Dah" ("Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Mihn is going to win..."). More conservative park guests try to drown them out by singing "America the Beautiful." Before the confrontation can heat up, a platoon of Anaheim Police officers in full riot gear pour into the park from backstage areas! A riot is adverted and Disneyland vice president of Operations Dick Nunis orders the park closed at 7:10 PM. For many years afterward Disneyland will selectively enforced a "dress code" at the park, occasionally refusing admission to "long-haired hippies."
Look at the ads in the NYT next to the story about the great hippie invasion:



What a fabulous moment in movies: You've got the iconic hippie movie, "Easy Rider," the iconic racial comedy "Watermelon Man," the iconic military movie "Patton," and — tucked in there cozily in the corner — "Rosemary's Baby" (7 years before Roman Polanski committed rape) and "Tales for Males" (2 decades before Hollywood began making its movies about gay men).

46 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There was an episode of Cheers where the regulars conspired to keep out the gays.

Hilarity ensued.

Gabriel said...

Hevetica

Sure it's not "Helvetica"? That would make more sense as a "hipster Ariel" reference.

(Why does Ariel insist on being called Helvetica? Because on Linux systems the analog to the "Arial" font is "Helvetica".)

Bob Boyd said...

Wow.
'Girls', of all things, striking out against hipster-ism, just as National Review embraces Pajama Boy as the new model for conservative American males.

tim maguire said...

Remote Control was an awesome game show, but I remember him best from Tough Crowd With COlin Quinn, an all comedian talk show during the Clinton to Bush transition. Quinn was one of the conservative comedians (along with Dennis Miller, Drew Carey, and a few others) who had their heyday then.

I still remember the time he had Janeane Garofalo on. She kept rattling off acronyms (CIA! FBI!) as though they constituted an argument. All I could think was, "dumb as a post."

Franklin said...

All those 60s/70s references made me feel the same confusion as when I try to read teenager text slang - "OMG Z is here rn! FML tbh fam :eggplant emoji: :peach emoji: :splash emoji: :splash emoji: :rolling on floor laughing emoji:"

Also, Girls is most-assuredly not hip. Even pseudo-ironically. Though the backlash to the backlash against Lena Dunham has jolted its popularity a bit.



Ann Althouse said...

"Sure it's not "Helvetica"?"

Yes, thanks. Just a typo. Sorry to botch the humor of it. Fixed.

dbp said...

"the iconic racial comedy "Watermelon Man,"" Iconic? I never heard of it. Patton and Easy Rider are iconic by any measure though and Rosemary's Baby is a classic--though I didn't spot it on the page.

virgil xenophon said...

@tim maguire/

Agree. Remote Control WAS awesome. I luuuve, luved it. Don't understand why they took it off. With that format they could have gone on forever. Ken Ober as host was perfect also--made for that role.

Sebastian said...

"This is a haven for normal people" Too late, Hermie. Cut the nostalgia shtick. In Prog America, there's no such thing a 1. "normal" people (except that all Others are now normal) and 2. "havens" (except that Prog-approved Others now deserve safe spaces) and 3. any right to associate freely (except for Others previously excluded by mean white men).

HoodlumDoodlum said...

They raise the Vietcong flag and pass reefers out to passersbys.

But but but Americans rejected Communism, remember? Unpossible!

Jonah Goldberg's wrong about a lot, but he's right when he points out that the Left is always the aggressor in these "culture war" battles. The Right gets the blame, though (terrible, brutal riot-gear cops!).

I didn't realize Colin Quinn was on Girls. Good for him. His Twitter is a performance-art masterpiece.

EDH said...

Colin Quinn used to be the Weekend Update anchor on SNL for a time.

As I've said repeatedly, "Girls" is a great show and one of the fairest to the conservative viewpoint on television.

CWJ said...

"As for those hippies in Disneyland in '68... like many of the things we remember from the 60s, it happened in the early 70s:"

I have always maintained that the "60's" as a era, rather than as a calendar decade, actually began with JFK's assasination and ended with Nixon's resignation.

Char Char Binks said...

The 60s didn't really start until 1972.

MisterBuddwing said...

"the iconic racial comedy "Watermelon Man,"" Iconic? I never heard of it.

"Iconic" may be overstating it, but I've certainly heard of it. I've even seen parts of it on TV. Godfrey Cambridge plays a white, bigoted insurance agent who wakes up in the middle of the night to discover that he's been inexplicably transformed into a "Negro" (to use the term of the era). Considering his reaction (and the reaction of everyone around him, including his wife, Estelle Parsons), he might have preferred turning into Gregor Samsa.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC_rYYnD05s

MisterBuddwing said...

I have always maintained that the "60's" as a era, rather than as a calendar decade, actually began with JFK's assasination and ended with Nixon's resignation.

I agree about JFK (innocence lost), but I personally maintain the 60s ended in 1973, when the United States withdrew its combat troops from Vietnam and the main impetus for college campus protests vanished.

holdfast said...

"The 60s" started in 1968.

Roughcoat said...

"Tough Crowd" was hilarious. Colin Quinn is an unrepentant, unreconstructed conservative. Irish-American, blue collar, very smart, and very, very funny. I saw him perform his award-winning one-man show in Chicago and laughed til my sides literally hurt. A rare conservative voice crying out hilariously in the liberal entertainment world wilderness. For belly laughs check out his two "Lenny the Lion" routines on YouTube (from Saturday Night Live).

The Gold Digger said...

the 60s ended in 1973, when the United States withdrew its combat troops from Vietnam and the main impetus for college campus protests vanished.

I thought the impetus for the protests ended when the draft ended. Yes, I understand the timing of the two events coincides, but would the protests against the war have happened if there hadn't been a draft?

Roughcoat said...

Tim Maguire:

Glad you got "Sabres of Paradise." Bet you'll enjoy it immensely. Let me know.

Mr Wibble said...


As I've said repeatedly, "Girls" is a great show and one of the fairest to the conservative viewpoint on television.


I've said here and elsewhere that if you wanted to make a show that parodied urban liberalism, how exactly would it differ from Girls?

Roughcoat said...

Tim Maguire:

When you read Blanch's portrayal of Nicholas I you'll see the model for Shaddam IV and, for that matter, the model for the Emperor Palpatine as well. Also note the Daghestani use of sietches, chakobsa battle language, edged weapons, tribal structure (like Fremen) etc., etc., etc.

MayBee said...

Hippies were so incredibly annoying.

MisterBuddwing said...

I thought the impetus for the protests ended when the draft ended.

Point taken. But the withdrawal of troops really seemed to spell the end of the conflict as far as the US was concerned.

Old Camera Guy said...

Yes, an amazing year for movies. Also noticed 'Joe' on the left-hand side of the movie ads. What a great drive-in double-feature that would have made: Joe followed by Easy Rider. I can imagine the road-side marquee: "It's 'Kill The Hippies' night at the Sunset Drive-In!"

I'm un-ironically trying to think of something to say about the whole "ironic vs. un-ironic" theme running through the culture. But the whole thing feels like cutting the world down to fit the view and attention span of a sarcastic 13-year-old.

Roughcoat said...

60s: Kennedy assassination - Nixon resignation: the majority view of cultural historians. I was a 60s teen and turned 20 in 1970 and I remember thinking that was the case when Nixon resigned. It was one of my few instances in those years of being lucid and perceptive.

virgil xenophon said...

@CW J?

Not in the South. Post JK the long 50s extension (modified by the Beetles and the "British Invasion" beginning in '64) carried on for another couple of years until sometime between '66 & '67. I always put the beginning as the '67 "Summer of Love" in SF. (Are you going to SF?) The "sixties" ending somewhere circa 71-73. By 73 baggies, knick-knicks and thin belts ruled and music and the zeitgeist had moved on...

virgil xenophon said...

"Post JFK"

Michael said...

Sign in a barber shop in Atlanra: "Man buns professionally removed."

dbp said...

Lesley Blanch was an interesting character. She got around to remote parts of the planet due to her marriage to Romain Gary, who was a French diplomat. I could not determine if her marriage was a result of shared interest in foreign places or if she discovered exotic climes just from being married to a diplomat.

She wrote a number of books and considered her best one to be The Sabres of Paradise. The book recounts the struggles of a messianic Muslim leader to fend off 19th century Russian imperial rule in Chechnya (not Czechia). Gary ended up leaving Blanch for Jean Seberg. It is unclear how they met; the actress lived in Paris like the Garys but all of them had Hollywood friends too. In a final twist, considering Lesley Blanch' interests, Jean Seberg's "suicide" was associated with her liaison with a sketchy Algerian named Ahmed Hasni.

If Blanch harbored any animosity toward Seberg, she had plenty of time for a last laugh--Blanch lived on for another 28 years, making it just shy of 103.

MadisonMan said...

As it happens, I'm growing out my hair at the moment -- last haircut was in November.

I will never have a man bun however. If a coffeehouse owner asked me to get out, I would politely ask him if there was a coffeehouse nearby that was anxious to take my money.

I'll go to Crescendo on Monroe Street -- they know me.

Roughcoat said...

dph:

Properly speaking "Sabres of Paradise" is more concerned with Dagestan and the Dagestanis than Chechnya and the Chechnyans. It is a distinction with a difference and if you don't believe me ask the Dagestanis and Chechnyans (and then run for cover). The Imam Shamyl was a Dagestani Avar and Imam of both Dagestan and Chechnya. Both groups fought together against the Russians in the Caucasian War but in his lifetime he was not popular with the Chechnyans.

Romain Gary wrote "Roots of Heaven," also a very good novel (and a very bad movie).

eddie willers said...

I'll go with Kennedy Assassination / The Beatles through Nixon Resignation / KC and The Sunshine Band.

Ficta said...

I haven't watched this season yet, but Girls, much like The Wire, just by being totally committed to its story and characters can support a conservative reading just as easily as reality can. Dunham's public persona seems to be a bit of a nut, but I'm not sure what to make of that, and it doesn't have much relevance to my enjoyment of the show (David Simon's a bit of a lunatic too).

I thought it was interesting that when Adam got his first role on Broadway (two seasons ago?) it was in a George Bernard Shaw play. Shaw, too, was a meticulous observer of his times writing comedies of manners. Shaw was also a dyed in the wool, true believer socialist, but he was always ruthlessly fair in his plays: everybody got their say, and, as far as I'm concerned, the conservatives frequently won the arguments.

dbp said...

Roughcoat,

Good point about Dagestan, when I came across the term I figured it was an archaic term for Chechnya and could not bother to check.

One part that was an exact match in terms of Dune and Sabers was the word Kanly--as a vendetta or blood feud.

Char Char Binks said...

The Gold Digger said...
"...would the protests against the war have happened if there hadn't been a draft?"

No. Most people didn't give a shit about the war as long as only other people had to fight it.

MisterBuddwing said...

And yet, the absence of conscription didn't prevent protests against US military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bill Peschel said...

Only when Bush was in office, MisterBuddwig. After Obama was elected, they vanished like fairies in the mists.

Heck, Obama sent our boys into Libya and Uganda and other places without Congressional authorization, and not a peep out of Code Pink. Coincidence?

mikee said...

Protests since 2000 against war are directed uniquely against Republican presidents during wartime.

The giant papier mache puppets disappeared as soon as Obama was elected. Yet the war continues, 7 years later, without mass protests.

John Henry said...

Sheltered life that I live I had never even heard, or at least noticed, the term man buns until I read it hear. I had to search it to see what it meant.

I didn't realize it was a hipster thing.

John Henry

Birkel said...

Firefly was largely conservative, even though Joss Whedon, a liberal, was directing. I did not have to think about him because he was not seen.

Mel Gibson's acting career imploded after his personal shit became public. People were distracted and suspension of disbelief became harder.

Lena Dunham suffers the Mel Gibson effect.

CatherineM said...

Colin is from Red Hook. Watch his "comedians in cars getting coffee" to hear his take on the hipster Brooklynites. At one point at coffee he says he just wants a diet coke, but bets Jerry they won't have coke, but something pretentious. Sure enough, the only have home made Ginger ale. His face. I am sure his thoughts on Brooklyn today has been discussed on set and worked into the show.

I don't know how you came to that conclusion for the characters Hermie and Shosh. The song played over all of the characters at the end of the show too. Sure Hermie is fatherly or at least the grumpy uncle, but he's like that with all of the employees (when they all worked for him).

Colin Quinn is a long time well known stand up, and wrote a few one man shows including award the Broadway hit long story short. Besides anchoring the SNL update segment, many Episodes of Tough Crowd are on YouTube if you are interested to see his comedic roundtable of comics discussing current events. Miss that show and frequent guest Greg Giraldo (whose tense moments with the insufferable Denis Leary was one of my fave episodes).

CatherineM said...

Birkel, she doesn't suffer like Mel. Mel is vilified. Lena, a rich kid with very connected NY artist parents, who has "made it," and gets pages and pages of adoration in the press.

Hoodlum - the best part of the Twitter feed is how many don't get the joke.

What I don't like about the Hipsters is that they have been here 5min yet say, "I am from Brooklyn." Like the characters on Girls, none of them are from here. Greenpoint is so hipster! A friend who is from Alabama last weekend told someone who asked where she is from said "the East Village." I said tell them where you are from! I think you're interesting (and adorable and funny). She just shook her head. She is not a hipster and I love her, but THAT is the East Village today. I need to asked her why (it wasn't right in the moment). It's weird. I mean Astoria is being flooded too with foreigners from far off places like Indiana too. Astoria!!!

😶

Unknown said...

Long Story Short was great, CatherineM, I remember that one well. I thought his last one, Unconstitutional was so-so, but still had some funny bits.
My favorite character of his was Joe Blow on SNL: Joe Blow w/the local news

I watched almost every Tough Crowd back in the day and remember liking (though rarely agreeing with Giraldo) and being annoyed by Patrice O'Neal. I went back recently and watched a bunch of O'Neal's standup and was surprised at how good he was--I even listened to some of his interviews on Opie & Anthony (I think he was a regular-I don't normally listen) and he came across as a very funny, thoughtful guy. It is nuts that both Giraldo and O'Neal are dead.

JamesB.BKK said...

You also have an article about concerns with the food industry being dominated by Kellogg's, General Mills, and General Foods, whereas today the financial press and others have been cheerleading price fixing of petroleum products - in hopes of increasing oil prices! - by those scoundrels that make up OPEC.

Brando said...

"I thought the impetus for the protests ended when the draft ended. Yes, I understand the timing of the two events coincides, but would the protests against the war have happened if there hadn't been a draft?"

They certainly wouldn't have been as widespread. In '65, when we had a smaller number of troops in there, there were some protests but they didn't get massive or shut down colleges until '67-'68 when we had a half million men in Vietnam and there was a much better chance of being sent there. Protests began tapering down after '70, even though there was still a draft and the war was still unpopular, and this was because Nixon was pulling a lot of troops out and the chances of getting sent there were dropping.

There were a lot of protests over the Iraq War, and a large part of this was due to all the reservists being called up (when for many when they joined, the expectation was that it was a weekend gig with no real chance of seeing combat, as had been the case from '73 to '01). If there was a draft on, the war likely would have been a lot less popular. Much of the protesting died down after '08 because (a) our troop levels and casualty rates began to drop, meaning you had less of a chance of your reserve unit being called up and less chance of getting shot there, and (b) Obama. Leftists got it in their head that the Nobel Peace Prize winner was a dove, even though he's been quick with military action, and they give him a pass they didn't give Bush.

mikee said...

Brando, the giant puppets and giant protests disappeared on November 04, 2008.

Tell yourself all you want that the protests were rational, not political. Don't bother peddling that BS here.