In the early nineties Grunge was the musical fad of the moment: greasy-haired, lumberjack-shirted garage bands playing punk-metal guitar rock. Groups such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney epitomized this new Seattle-based sound.

On November 15, 1992 the New York Times published an article analyzing the roots and evolution of the grunge movement. It theorized that Grungers had embraced greasy hair and lumberjack shirts as a way to rebel against the vanity and flashy style of the eighties. The Times also reported that, just like any self-respecting subculture, the Grungers had developed their own lexicon of "grunge speak."

Grunge terms, according to the Times, included literary gems such as Cob Nobbler (a loser), Lamestain (an uncool person), Wack Slacks (old, ripped jeans), and Swingin' on the Flippity-Flop (hanging out).

Three months later, a small, Chicago-based magazine called The Baffler revealed that the Times had been the victim of a hoax. The grunge terms didn't exist. Megan Jasper of Seattle-based Caroline Records, whom the Times had used as its source for the glossary, had simply made the words up.

The Baffler gloated that, "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."

As if to rub it in, members of the grunge band Mudhoney began using the fake terms during interviews. The New York Times sniffily dismissed the prank as 'irritating.'

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