To celebrate the release of Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts, we’re posting some of history’s greatest fakes, frauds and flimflams all week long. Today: The Great Grunge Hoax of 1992.
Cob nobbler. Wack slacks. Harsh realm. Lamestain. Swingin’ on the flippity flop. These were all printed in the New York Times as a lexicon of grunge-speak–the slang of those crazy kids up Seattle. They were all fake, though, a delightful invention by a wary employee of Caroline Records. It was revealed to be a hoax in the great and feisty journal The Baffler. When the Times asked for an explanation, The Baffler replied, “We at The Baffler don’t really care about the legitimacy of this or that fad, but when the Newspaper of Record goes searching for the Next Big Thing and the Next Big Thing piddles on its leg, we think that’s funny."