Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Why I'm not hip

This is a hard thing to admit but… I’m not hip.

And worse – I’ve never been.

When I was a teenager and everyone was gravitating towards FM progressive rock I still liked Top 40.

Everyone loved Janis Joplin. I loved (and still love) Karen Carpenter.

I miss TV opening titles.

When I went to UCLA and wanted to get into the film department I was summarily turned away because I wanted to do comedies.

I found Cheech & Chong to be hit or miss.

I eat red meat.

I would rather watch old Looney Tunes than any new animated series.

Analytics will kill baseball.

I watch vintage game shows.

Hip trendy bars tend to be too loud.

I write at home not at Starbucks.

I don’t have a Tesla.

I eat Gluten.

I can’t tell you who all the current cast members of SNL are.

I liked the NBA better when the coaches ran the teams and not the players.

I stopped watching THE DAILY SHOW when Jon Stewart left.

I didn’t watch RENT on Fox (okay, nobody did).

I like 5 GUYS over IN N’ OUT.

I didn’t see most of the nominated Oscar movies. Nor do I care.

I still love Marv Albert.

What’s the big deal with Avocado Toast?

I’ve never been to Coachella. But I’ve never been to Woodstock either.

I don’t wear a Fitbit.

I’d rather see a Neil Simon play than one by Eugene O’Neill.

I miss Walter Cronkite.

I ask for straws.

Tetris is still my favorite computer game.

Sean Connery is still my favorite James Bond.

I don’t know how to access original programming on Facebook.

When I go to rock concerts I want the bands to play their hits. And not fuck with them.

I still write a blog.


Kosmo13 said...

>>I can’t tell you who all the current cast members of SNL are. <<

Are they still making that?

DARON72 said...


Paul Blake said...

Hip, I think, is quite overrated. And I agree with just about every item you posted!

Jeff Alexander said...

I'd still rather READ the story in the newspaper than watch a video on the web site or listen to a podcast.

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm not hip either, though I did listen to prog rock
I miss TV opening titles.
I eat red meat.
I would rather watch old Looney Tunes than any new animated series.
Analytics WILL kill baseball.
I watch vintage game shows, especially What's My Line.
I can’t tell you who all the current cast members of SNL are.
I miss Walter Cronkite.
I still write a blog. 13 years, almost 11 months.

I'll ADMIT watching Trevor Noah, and if you might find his take on reparations interesting.

Rock Golf said...

Don't worry. It's hip to be square. I just heard that on a recent hit.

DrBOP said...

'Yer scarin' 'da yoots!

Dana King said...

You're not alone. Of the 33 things you listed, we agree on 22, disagree on 5, and there's no common bond on 4. (Example, I never paid much attention to either Janis Joplin or Karen Carpenter. I was a jazz guy from an early age.)

I think we're about the same age. That's probably it. Of course the true test of whether you're hip is, "Do you like Tower of Power?" If that answer is yes, then you are. Nothing else matters.

Lemuel said...

As long as you don't say It's Hip to Be Square.

VP81955 said...

Turned away from UCLA film school for wanting to make comedies? The lady in my avatar plans a visit to Westwood for some haunting.

BTW, a campaign is underway for Carole Lombard to appear on a U.S. postage stamp. Find out more at https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/985588.html

Lorin in Minneapolis said...

YES to Karen Carpenter. Alas, I am not hip either.

Stephen Marks said...

That list doesn't make you not hip, it just makes you exactly what you are.....60 something.
What you are is "cool". Cool for embracing new technology like podcasts, cool for revealing personal stuff about yourself, good and bad, on your blog, cool for your legacy and, oh, cool for not deleting what I'm about to say next, which may offend some people.

The next James Bond film will be Daniel Craig's last so they will have to search for the next Bond. Now there has been a lot of talk the last couple years about diversity in film and hey I'm all for it, but not in this case. Please diversity people don't fuck with this franchise. Sorry folks but I don't want a black James Bond, I don't want a female Jane Bond, I don't want a Punjabi James Bond and I don't want James Bond in a wheelchair. Although I preferred Pierce Brosnan over Ken's pick, they were basically the same. White, handsome, strong men who saved England while delivering those one liners looking great in a tux.

A gay actor portraying Bond? Wouldn't bother me in the least, bring it on. Just don't make the character gay. James Bond loved chicks! Keep it that way. And don't give me a Bond with "feelings". Remember that Aussie guy who played Bond in one film, they had him crying while holding his dead wife, almost killed the franchise. And don't have Bond being played by an American. An American actor like Cruise or DiCaprio or Burt Reynolds and Tom Sellick back in their prime would just look at the camera and give us a big shit eating grin.

Look, I've prepared myself for a Bond who drives an electric car, eats healthy, doesn't drink or smoke and has safe sex. I don't like it, but I'm ready for it. I may not like a Bond who loves cat videos, Ellen, Justin Bieber and half way through Bond 23 stops to help Ted Danson and Mike Farrell save an ocean, but I'll accept it if I have to.

You know what I like in a Bond? Go back and read the list in today's blog. The author of that list should be the next James Bond. KEN LEVINE should be the next James Bond. And guess what? THAT MAKES HIM FUCKING HIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

I can't fit an avocado in my toaster either!

brian t said...

If you were really hip, your favourite Bond would be George Lazenby. As it happened, though, Ian Fleming was so impressed with Connery as Bond that he actually changed the character in the his last two books - giving Bond Scottish parent and a sense of humour!

Glenn said...

I must not be hip either, because I agree with this list entirely, except the following:

I love both Joplin and Carpenter.
Cheech & Chong have always been ‘miss’ for me.
5 Guys is lousy (must be an east coast thing…maybe they do it better in LA.)

Paul Duca said...

"What is hip today
Will tomorrow be passe"

Mike Barer said...

Do you ever worry that it might be hip to not be hip?

Sean Farren said...

Can't agree more. Especially with Looney Tunes, Connery and Five Guys.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

People who write at Starbucks and ride Teslas aren't hip. They're either hipsters or sheep looking for the next shallow trend.

You wrote Homer Simpson scenes. That alone makes any writer instantly hip.

JMG said...

Dear Mr. Levine: There has never been a time when NBA coaches ran their teams instead of the players. The history of Wilt Chamberiain proves that.

kent said...

Hip isn't even hip. It was originally hep, short for hep-cat, but unhep people like you and me didn't know any better so we morphed it into hip.

JR Smith said...

I miss late night television where the interviews were long enough to inform and/or entertain. Today they are all designed to be less-than-a-minute viral videos. Sometimes, it even feels that they are trying too hard to be viral fare. But that's just me and I ain't hip either.

VincentS said...

Maybe I'm consoling myself, but I believe "hip" is being yourself. I love classical music, am a morning person, never watched an entire episode of FRIENDS, never got Prince or Elvis, haven't seen a Marvel Universe movie in years, never binged-watched anything on Netflix and am proud to say that. I think the best example of what I mean is Jeff Goldblum. I call him The World's Coolest Nerd.

Pat Reeder said...

I'm younger than you, and I not only agree with most of your list, but when I was a kid, I collected silent movies and loved the Marx Brothers, Abbott & Costello, W.C. Fields and the Andrews Sisters. I was never hip, but I've always been hep.

Peter Aparicio said...

What's hip is being yourself.

TroyDeVolld said...

If it makes you feel better, Ken, I only listen to television theme tunes in the car. They make me happy. My current jam is the McMillan and Wife theme.

Frank Beans said...

Regarding The Carpenters--they were popular before my time, but I still grew up knowing their songs. I also think that of my generation, hipsters are very into them.

And obligatory fact that many people don't seem to know--Karen Carpenter was a first-rate jazz drummer, and could keep up that amazing voice at the same time.


YEKIMI said...

I NEED a new hip. I eat red meat even though my cardiologist yells at me about it and says it will eventually kill me. Screw 'em. After the first quadruple bypass he said I'd be good for 10 years, maybe more. After behaving myself and eating right, 3 years later he said one was plugged up, one was half plugged, the other two were fine. So I said screw it, I'm eating what I enjoy.
I love the Carpenters, especially Karen. Every once in a while I plug in their greatest hits while showering and sing away.
When I was a teenager, I was always listening to the oldies [50s & 60s] in high school, taking shit from all the assholes that thought listening to Heavy Metal made them cool.
I miss TV opening titles also. Now they're about as long as a fart after eating Mexican food.
Cheech & Chong.....thought some of their stuff was funny but the stoner routine got old fast.
Looney Tunes forever!
I watch vintage game shows but love the more recent vintage ones, like Match Game [and why don't they ever show the 1960s Match Game shows with A Swingin' Safari as it's theme?]
Don't drink anymore and I'm losing my hearing so I stay out of loud bars nowadays.
I've been in a Starbucks once and that was just for a hot chocolate.....how anybody can afford to drink their crap more than once a week is beyond me.
I don't have a Tesla. Hell, I have a vehicle that barely qualifies as a car.
Never watched the Daily Show because I don't have cable. Didn't watch Rent on Fox, since TV switched to digital there are some stations I can no longer pick up. Leave the government to fuck up a perfectly good analog system. So what if I can pick up 728 digital sub-channels nowadays, I've already seen what they're showing back in the 60s and 70s ND 80s when it was first new.
I like 5 Guys but wish there was one near me.
WTF is Avocado toast? I like my toast the good old fashioned way, lightly burnt and hot enough to melt the butter when spread on it.
I don't wear a Fitbit either. Should wear a Fatbit so it can tell me when my weight is reaching bridge destruction levels.
I miss Walter Cronkite also. Hell, I miss Huntley-Brinkley, Frank Reynolds, Howard K. Smith, etc.
Sean Connery as Bond.....meh, I can take him or leave him.
Also want to hear the hits when I go to a concert [which are few and far between anymore] but don't mind if they play some songs off their albums that I may not have heard before or some new stuff they have that radio NEVER plays.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Adding an item: I say I'm not hip rather than I am not a hipster.


Diane G said...

I am clearly not hip either as I agree with almost everything on your list. Please stay just the way you are Ken. It's what makes reading your blog one of my favorite things.

DougG. said...

Wow... I could have written about 75% of what you wrote but I've never been hip anyway. I didn't go to Woodstock either, but then I was born 5 years after the event so that's my excuse. I have some of the Looney Tunes on DVD which is interesting because they have a lot of commentary tracks.

Artie in Sin City said...

Thank goodness! You are me and I am you...

Plus we still love the 60's in the SFV...Right?

Stay frosty old man...

Todd Everett said...

Shel Silverstein's right with you.

Mibbitmaker said...

As a teen, I went from Top 40 to - gasp! - disco (the music, not the scene). The WHCN Comedy Hour, Dr. Demento, and the fact that there were some songs on Album Rock stations that that had a similar "sound" to what I was listening to elsewhere. By my early young adulthood, I got into Album Rock radio (esp. the classics), as well as oldies.

If a new or newish cartoon show appeals to me, I can get into it. I discovered that I liked a show I just knew the name of before when my nephew was watching, Phineas & Ferb. That wasn't until 2011, though. I did like a lot more new stuff in the '90s - but, yeah, there's nothing like Looney Tunes and their contemporaries, esp. from the 1940s.

I do watch ONE vintage game show fairly regularly: the '70s Match Game. I'm back into daily watching right now as GSN is playing the Watergate era Match Game '74. (still love Euell Gibbons jokes - how's that for unhip?)

Since SNL is my all-time favorite TV show, naturally I know the current cast, which is a great cast right now. My favorite is Kate McKinnon, and newcomer Heidi Gardener is amazing, esp. with her Weekend Update characters.

I think I straddle between hip and unhip, most notably with comedy. I was into the "new comedy" satirical types, but also loved the "old school" I saw as a kid. More notably, I often overlap with the nerd culture, even though I'm not in that group overall. Star Trek and Wars are fine, not into Dr. Who, and comic books are a medium for me, not a genre. And I feel like I feel like I'm welcoming them into enjoying Monty Python, not the other was around.

In any case, I'm 57 (!), so... unhip.

Wallis Lane said...

Analytics is killing all the sports, not just baseball.

Looney Tunes forever.

Trevor Noah has really grown into the job, and I like him now just as much as I did John Stewart.

Five Guys IS better than In n Out, but Fatburger is better than both of them.

Anonymous said...

And I'll add one: Haven't watched the Tonight Show since Carson left. Janice B.

Gary said...

I miss good lyrics, melody and harmony in popular music. The Beatles had more talent than all of the rap singers who ever lived combined.

I also miss the days when at least a few republicans had integrity.

Peter said...

"I watch vintage game shows."

Just don't watch the clip on youtube of serial killer Rodney Alcala appearing on The Dating Game and actually winning. It's creepy as hell. He had already committed several murders by the time he appeared on the show.

Luckily, the date never happened because the woman who chose him told producers she got a bad vibe off him backstage and didn't want to go on the date. Phew!!

Peter said...

My favourite James Bond is Timothy Dalton. I don't know if that makes me unhip, hip, or a minority of one. Licence to Kill is for me still the best Bond movie.

Gary Benz said...

I don't like journalists interviewing other journalists and passing it off as news programming.

Saburo said...

Strikeouts are killing MLB.

PolyWogg said...

Studio notes:

Seems repetitive. Couldn't you just say: I love Karen Carpenter, baseball, and sitcoms.

Nobody goes to plays anymore.

You mentioned Facebook. Is it also linked to your Myspace page?

At least you have a podcast to fall back on.


Jeff Boice said...

No way I could ever be hip. Grew up so far out in the boonies that by the hip trends were already passe by the time they reached us. Local top 40 radio played the Supremes, but James Brown and Otis Redding- no chance. First time I heard "Papas Got a Brand New Bag"- as an oldie one night on a distant big city station- my jaw dropped in astonishment.

Anonymous said...

There has never been a time when NBA coaches ran their teams instead of the players. The history of Wilt Chamberiain proves that.

Tell that to Red Auerbach.

iamr4man said...

Excuse me Ken, but I sure would like to live in a world where Progressive Rock is “hip”. My wife likes it though, because when I take her to see King Crimson she doesn’t have to wait in line to go to the restroom. In fact, the last time we went to a show ther were a large group of men waiting in line to go and a woman was in line with them thinking it was all one line. My wife pointed out she could just walk past the men and go right in to the ladies room. “It’s your night honey” my wife said and the woman happily walked past the men to the near empty ladies room.

Tony Tea said...

I loved Status Quo and my fave post-Beatles song is Magneto and Titanium Man. I'm so unhip, my leg are barely connected to my torso.

Astroboy said...

I too really miss TV opening title sequences. I was rewatching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the very leisurely title sequence runs almost two minutes! Those days are gone.....


Paul B said...

I'll buy all but Janis Joplin. Saw her at the Fillmore East for my one and only rock show. Bill Graham literally carried her back on stage for one last encore. Couldn't wait for opening act to leave, some band from San Francisco no one heard of, the Greatful Dead.

Unknown said...

Damn. 90% of your list matches mine. Am I, consequently, a lemming following you? Or an admirer who wishes he were writing a blog and wrote the list before you did.

AlaskaRay said...

YES... my kind of guy. But you already knew that. Also, I miss the burgers and the lobster bisque at the Hammie in Westwood.

MikeN said...

> I would rather watch old Looney Tunes than any new animated series.

What about the new Looney Tunes, where they put in a longer plot?
I thought the one with Daffy goes with Porky to try and break up the wedding of Jessie Hog was hilarious.

tavm said...

I love Looney Tunes, Fleischer/Famous Popeye, original Hanna-Barbera Tom & Jerry, '40s Woody Woodpecker, and Lee Mendelson/Bill Melendez Peanuts cartoons scored by Vince Guaraldi. I've watched virtually all seasons of "SNL" since the last few shows from The First Five Years so yes, I willingly suffered through Jean Doumanian and tolerated Dick Ebersol because of Eddie Murphy (and Joe PIscopo). My first experience watching James Bond in a theatre was Moonraker when Roger Moore was playing him. I liked him just fine and while I can say Sean Connery was better, Moore wasn't a bad replacement. I wished "Mork and Mindy" had the same cast after the first season but all four are tolerable because of Robin Williams. I miss Casey Kasem as the host of "American Top 40" and I loved pretty much all Top 40 music of that time during the '70s, even The Carpenters and Barry Manilow. Yeah, today's TV show themes can't hold a candle to those of "Gilligan's Island", "The Brady Bunch", "The Beverly Hillibilies", or "All in the Family". If there's anything I think is better today than "back in the day", it's the way superhero movies are made by Marvel and DC compared to those made after the Christopher Reeve Superman one. DC, at least, finally seemed to get a foot on with their movies of Wonder Woman and Aquaman and their Shazam! also looks like another of a good one from them...

Ron Rettig said...

Hip trendy bars were also too loud when we were young adults, we just don't remember that could barely hear each other over the pulsing music back then.

ScarletNumber said...

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it anymore and what's it seems weird and scary. It'll happen to you!

--Brent Forrester

Stu R said...

I'm so hip my favorite radio station growing up was 710 KMPC...Station of the stars.

Jahn Ghalt said...

In my book a DJ/comedy-writer/director/show-runner/baseball-announcer/blogger/podcaster/playwrite is very cool - even (especially) if he doesn't give a shit about cool/hip/"woke"/whatever.

Prog Rock was cool - I was too young to have followed Janis.

Karen Carpenter's hits are mesmerizing.

Did you (or Isaacs) EVER find a screenwriting class (as a student) where the prof (or the T/A's) had a clue about evaluating scripts?

Looney Tunes was the standard - it rarely tried to be "hip". Bullwinkle was satiric - and was so self-assured that "hip" was never a factor for them.

Your objections to analytics - a good topic for a post all its own.

"The Shift" - this would be great topic (along with a general baseball discussion) for a podcast. I'd love to hear why so few lefties bunt vs. the shift. At spring training I saw a lefty shift with ewer than two out with a runner "on third" (actually a big lead). Seemed to me a perfect invitation for a squeeze play.

My "kids" are now 22 and 24 - both learned coffee drinks in high school (which is cool if not hip) and between them have thousands in tips for thousands of shots. They would be amused at the notion that Starbucks is hip.

Ask Paul Westhead if he "ran" the pre-Showtime Lakers.

Marv Albert is a pro's pro.