Re: RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled as hip

From: Jeff Vorzimmer (
Date: 25 May 2006

I also read this and enjoyed it. Interesting take on a variety of hip subcultures. I didn't always agree with his ideas, but the book was entertaining. I remember I read it about the time the Bob Dylan documentary came out and it dovetailed nicely with that. He seemed very knowledgeable about hard-boiled crime fiction.


> I recently read HIP: THE HISTORY, by John Leland (2004), which is about
> hipness: hip as in Bird, Diz, Monk, Lou Reed, etc. He goes to Wolof for
> the origin of the term, from "hepi" (to see) or "hipi" (to open one's
> eyes). Hip is about knowing and being aware (digging), he says: "an
> undercurrent of enlightenment, organized around contradiction and
> anxieties." Cool is the mask hipness wears to stay reserved and
> understated. These are hard terms to define, but he does a good job.
> Even if you don't like them, you know what they words mean, anyway.

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