The Great Grunge Hoax
Grunge was huge in 1992 — and in the wake the surprising success of Nirvana's Nevermind, the mainstream media descended upon Seattle, hoping to gain insight into this new "pop phenomenon." The New York Times was no exception; the paper ran a piece that November called "Grunge: A Success Story," which also included a helpful lexicon of cutting-edge grunge slang terms like "Lamestain" (or uncool person), "Harsh Realm" (bummer) and "Swingin' on the Flippity-Flop" (hanging out). Unfortunately for the paper, the lexicon turned out to be a complete hoax; it was later revealed that a Sub Pop Records receptionist — who, like many denizens of the Seattle music scene, had become increasingly annoyed by all the outside attention being focused on their city — made up the "slang" on the spot while being interviewed by a Times reporter. Harsh realm, dude!