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CHEAT SHEET: FAKE YOUR WAY TO A CULTURAL CLUE

HOW TO QUELL THOSE BACK-TO-SCHOOL “OH, PLEASE, LET ME BE COOL” JITTERS

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Drip 1. Don’t say you worked in the grunge department at Sears. 2. Don’t bring anything with the words Jurassic Park on it. 3. Don’t say you did karaoke, singing along to tunes from the Bodyguard soundtrack. 4. Don’t say you read The Bridges of Madison County. Twice. 5. Don’t say you saw Sleepless in Seattle and cried. 6. Don’t say you ran into Conan O’Brien at the dermatologist. 7. Don’t bring a CD-ROM. 8. Don’t say, ”I slept with Juliana Hatfield.” 9. Don’t say, ”I saw Eric Nies naked at the MTV beach house.”

Hip 1. Do say you went on the road as a Guatemalan-bag merchant for Lollapalooza. 2. Do bring your customized Barney doll. 3. Do say you caught a Fugazi show and sang along to ”Smallpox Champion.” 4. Do say you read every book by Raymond Carver and Dorothy Allison. 5. Do say you saw the John Woo movie Hard Target and laughed. 6. Do say you interned for Dave Letterman. 7. Do bring a stereo turntable and actual vinyl. 8. Do say, ”I dissed Duff when she hit on me at WOMAD.” 9. Do say, ”I saw Lemonhead Evan Dando swimming at L.A.’s Chateau Marmont.”

Hip is so ephemeral: What’s def one day is phat the next-then one day it’s def again. Yet you must keep that essential edge, or risk exile in dweebville. Would you be caught dead in a Bart Simpson bootleg T-shirt this year? (Pee-wee Herman, on the other hand, is just about cool again.) To combat this eternal problem, we provide the pop-literacy tip sheet above-nine things to say and do that will guarantee instant street cred, plus nine musts to avoid. And because hip is a different state of mind in every state, we also polled the student bodies of 18 colleges across America for , their cultural-survival guide. Their answers follow. -Heather Keets, Michele Romero, Jessica Shaw, and B.J. Sigesmund

Brown University Providence Student rep: Deeply left-wing Glam quotient: Student on Life Goes On thought about going to Brown; footage from a Brown admissions video was shown TV fix: 90210 Cult video rental: Reservoir Dogs Must-carry tome: Backlash by Susan Faludi Coolest local band: small factory (indie pop) Grooviest road trip: Boston Kitschy/kick-ass alum: J.F.K. Jr. Recent speaker: Ted Turner Pop-culture course: ”Popular Culture in the United States” Local radio’s heavy rotation: Belly, Spin Doctors, They Might Be Giants What’s underground: Train Tunnel party (pagan/acid celebration) Hot dorm poster: Pink Floyd’s The Wall Ubiquitous T-shirts: Peter Gabriel, Cypress Hill Junk food of choice: Buffalo wings from the Truck Weirdest body adornment: Pierced eyebrows

University of Wisconsin at Madison Student rep: Zany partiers Glam quotient: Back to School filmed here TV fix: Late Show With David Letterman Cult video rental: Anything by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa Must-carry tome: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller Coolest local band: Cup o’ Joe (Spin Doctors-ish) Grooviest road trip: Skiing in Northern Wisconsin Kitschy/kick-ass alum: Daniel J. Travanti Recent speaker: Phyllis Schlafly Pop-culture course: ”History of Broadcasting” Local radio’s heavy rotation: Porno for Pyros, Dinosaur Jr What’s underground: Raves Hot dorm poster: Cocktail-mixing chart Ubiquitous T-shirts: Suede, Pearl Jam Junk food of choice: IHOP (24-7-365) Weirdest body adornment: Tattoo-free skin