NTMP 78: Bear People
Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah HAT MAAAAAN
New-to-me Phrases, August 6, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
This week, we have more than one variety of TFG, a great salutation, a “conned by cow poop” story, and more.
But first, poll results!
Here are the results from the July 2023 poll, where readers like you chose your favorite phrase from July:
Let’s get to it!
1. United States v. Donald J. Trump
I have little to add to this except to say that this was the only phrase I jotted down for last week. That’s pretty rare; I think it’s only happened once before. Therefore, the rest of this week’s phrases are from earlier this year that I didn’t have space to include before now.
While this is not the first indictment for TFG, it is the first time I’ve bothered to look at the indictment, which the NYT has helpfully annotated. There’s also this Twitter thread unspooled; this is only half of the thread, but it’s written an attorney and it’s hilarious so it’s worth your time.
In re: TFG - Friends and I refer to him as This/That Fucking Guy, or TFG in our Slack convos. You can find two great uses of this phrase on Grace and Frankie (when Grace’s young granddaughter starts repeating this phrase after hearing adults use it) and the What We Do In the Shadows TV show (it’s a favorite phrase of Nandor’s). Oh, here’s a compilation that includes a cut where you can see Paul Reubens as part of the Vampiric Council. RIP to a real one.
2. Hat Man
Have you read about this, or seen it on TikTok? I had not, but my inroad was a mention somewhere online of an apparent mass hallucination of a tall, thin man wearing a fedora that is reportedly commonly experienced by people who abuse Benadryl.
TikTok has taken Hat Man in new directions, theorizing that he’s an “interdimensional being” or some sort of “shadow person.” Sure. Why not? And look, I get that this stuff is fun to speculate on, but if you were an interdimensional being, would you be creeping around houses watching people sleep? Hard to tell, as a non-shadow, unidimensional boring person. I guess I’d look for snacks, or go see the seven natural wonders of the world or something? Catch a game, or go see Taylor Swift for free?
Anyway, here’s a Rolling Stone article about Hat Man if you want to learn more. Sleep tight!
2. Guys, gals, and nonbinary pals
This was the opener to an email from Mercury Stardust, aka the Trans Handy Ma’am, and I love it so much.
Each year, Mercury does a TikTok-a-thon for trans healthcare, with proceeds going to Point of Pride, a nonprofit that offers financial aid and direct support to trans people who need healthcare.
By the way, Mercury has a book coming out about home repairs called Safe and Sound: A renter-friendly guide to home repair (pre-order here), and she’s doing a book tour around the U.S. I love her tagline at the end of her videos:
“You’re worth the time it takes to learn a new skill.”
Just this week, I saw this phrase on Instagram via my pal Tom, too so maybe it’s catching on, or maybe it’s been here a while and I’m just noticing it.
Pedantic sidebar: I will point out that delightful as it is, this is technically this is a blog or social post salutation not an email greeting, because emails go to individuals, not groups. This is a pet peeve of mine and a hill I WILL die on, along with my frequent reminders that the ONLY correct and acceptable spelling of the word we use when either amazed or trying to stop a horse is “whoa,” NOT “woah.” A hearty fuck you to the NYT crossword for occasionally referencing the abomination that is “woah” as a modern variant. It’s a misspelling, you toads! Knock it off and go tell your bosses to quit it with the transphobia.
I saw this word a while ago, via my friend Angie, who shared an Instagram story by author and illustratorwho writes The Enthusiast on Substack.
As Montague tells it, in 2017 author Alexandra Rowland wrote on Tumblr:
The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk. Pass it on.
“We’ve all been mean and petty and cruel,” she later explained, “but (and here’s the important part) we’ve also been soft and forgiving and kind. Hopepunk says that kindness and softness doesn’t equal weakness, and that in this world of brutal cynicism and nihilism, being kind is a political act. An act of rebellion.”
Montague calls it “scrappy hope,” that “acknowledges struggles and shows up anyway.”
Between 2016, the insurrection, COVID, climate crisis (I could go on), hope has been hard to come by for many people I know and for me. I think that hope can sometimes be mistaken for toxic positivity, magical thinking, or bright-siding—but hopepunk feels like a response to this, an affirmation that we can still hope and we can still show up and be kind even when things are shitty and terrible. I don’t know about you, but I could sure use some of that.
4. Person garden
I’m not sure where I found this one but it’s awesome:
Fun (?) fact: When Twitter started sliding into the abyss that is now X or whatever the fuck TOFG1 thinks he’s gonna call it now, I started getting screenshots of tweets (or whatever they’re going to call them now) containing new-to-me phrases. Here’s a link to the original tweet, for however long that lasts.
My notes say my pal and Atrocious Poet Jessica shared this on IG a while back. According to Wikipedia, fierljeppen is Dutch canal pole vaulting (WHAT), where people run up to a canal toward a long pole planted in the ground beneath the water, and they CLIMB the pole while vaulting to the other side.
Here’s a video explainer and demo, but older footage is way wackier. Not to be an ugly American (impossible to avoid, however), but this looks BANANAS and it sounds like a much more fun thing to do when you’re bored than tripping balls on Benadryl.
According to DutchReview, fierljeppen has been around since the 1200s, when farmers would use long sticks to jump over water in their fields.
6. Cow dung scam
Now here’s a headline (via The Guardian):
A load of manure: man gets prison time for years-long cow dung scam
The reality is a lot less fun - a dude grifted people thinking they were investing in a green energy initiative involving processing cow dung into methane gas. Would this be . . . brownwashing? 😎
That’s it for this week! Remember to remain furiously curious, and please don’t abuse Benadryl. It’s okay to be bored and to feel your feelings. Really, I promise.
You may have seen this one going around social, but just in case, here you go: “Our bears are real, a Chinese zoo says, denying they are ‘humans in disguise’”
This/That *other* fucking guy