Saturday, April 10, 2021

The NYTimes discovers hipsters

While doing some research in the NYTimes archives online I came across this New York Times Magazine article from August 1957: For Cool Cats and Far-Out Chicks - Here is a lexicon for do-it-yourself hipsters of the newest jazz slang. Don't be an oofus, man. Just dig it!

I knew the term hipster had been around long before the Brooklyn scene, but I was surprised to see the term "hippy" in this lexicon, ten years before the Summer of Love. Other terms still around that are mentioned in the article include "gig", "the scene", "far out", "something else" and "hanging out."

But alas, gone by the wayside are "out sack" for an attractive dress; "go-it-all" for a car; and "the snake" for the subway. Meanwhile "oofus" has apparently transformed into "doofus" and the terms "bear" and "blow" have different primary meanings in most hipster social scenes these days.

Jazz slang would be Black slang but I notice the cartoon illustrations all portray white people, which I guess is what you can expect from 1957.