The Woman Who Tricked Journalists Into Thinking Fake Grunge Slangs Were Actually Real
Before parody e-zines like The Onion and professional actors fooling mainstream media to report bogus news, there was Megan Jasper. She was an office worker for Sub Pop, which had ushered grunge bands like Nirvana, Sound Garden, and Mudhoney into the bubbling Seattle alternative rock scene.
Back then, the mainstream media was run by baby boomers, who were keen to define and label this new subculture, but the artists and record labels in the Seattle underground felt pigeonholed and mislabeled and did not like giving audience to the media. With her experience, Jasper was well-versed in this subculture, sharing its disdain for authority.
Jonathan Poneman, the co-founder of Sub Pop, knew this very well about Megan Jasper. On the day he received a phone call from Rick Marin, a freelance reporter for The New York Times, who was looking to report on the new grunge sub-culture, more specifically its body of slang terms for its mainstream audience, Poneman gleefully referred him to Jasper.
And that’s how the whole plot started.
And Jasper obliged. She conjured words and phrases ascribing mundane meaning to them! Here are some of the hilarious examples:
Lamestain: an uncool person
Swingin’ on the Flippity-Flop: hanging out
Cob Nobbler: a loser
Plats: platform shoes
Wack Slacks: a pair of tattered jeans
Believe it or not, the reporter swallowed it whole! When another mainstream magazine published the list of slang, the general public actually started believing that the words were real.
By that time the truth was out, the ‘Jasper terms’ had become an inside joke in Seattle with swag and merchandise to boot. Megan later rose to become CEO of the Sub-Pop label.