Reiser: The Ins and Outs of 2011

By Becky Reiser

2010 was a pretty bad year. A lot of people died, a lot of people were unemployed, and the Black… 2010 was a pretty bad year. A lot of people died, a lot of people were unemployed, and the Black Eyed Peas reworked that song from that movie with the formerly big-nosed girl who won “Dancing With the Stars.”

It’s time to get the taste of 2010 out of our mouths. We need a rebirthing where the cool gets wrapped in a snarky, fresh-faced, new media Snuggie — in-then, out-now, likely in again. It’s time for an Ins and Outs list for 2011.

None of this is based on any evidence except the most anecdotal. However, I fancy myself a pretty keen social observer. Seriously, I even went to New York recently. I saw “Black Swan” and read a couple of Jonathan Franzen novels over break. I’ve done the work and am ready to disabuse you of your backward world view (Note: I am not trendy nor do I fancy this a trendy list. Trends are out — circa 2005 and “I Love the 90s”).

Irony: Out.

2010 was good to irony. After the mid-decade boom that climaxed into “I Love You, Man” and “Bromance,” 2010 was the year when irony broke the mold. Sarcasm and childhood cartoons: All of these were made to seem sincere by the ironic onslaught that was 2010. We had rat-tailed fashionistas wearing animal hat-scarves called Spirit Hoods. We had fair-trade tea shops that hosted “Decision Points” readings. This article was drafted. Black rappers got a lot whiter (Kid Cudi), and every college party I went  to in Oakland played both Wu-Tang and “Juicy.” (Note: There were very few black people at these parties)

Ever since Jon Stewart did that serious episode and helped those Sept. 11 first responders, irony has been on the downturn. Calling your parents, reading books that were written in the  ’40s, medium-sized glasses frames, watching better-than-average films from the ’70s and cargo pants are finally in fashion. This year is the year of trying because not trying went out with “Garden Groove” and trying too hard went out with 2010.

Football coaches: Out. Literally.

In case you haven’t been reading the news — and let’s be serious, no one has over break, mainly because there has been little news — Michael Haywood, Pitt football’s newly appointed head coach, was fired after he was charged with felony domestic battery in the presence of a child. This was the second Pitt football coach to leave within the last month — Dave Wannstedt “resigned” in December.

Rooting for Pittsburgh sports: Out.

You know how I know when the Penguins lost a game? It’s the only time my news feed on both Twitter and Facebook goes absent of Pens references. Fanatics posts about how much they love Evgeni Malkin or how much better Sidney Crosby is than Alexander Ovechkin are abundant and overused every time the Pens win a game. Same goes for the Steelers. We get it already.

Four Loko: In.  But maybe for the first time since it’s been out.

Like an autumn squirrel to acorns, the college student has diligently hoarded enough Four Loko to survive a brief apocalypse. Drinking post-prohibition, Four Loko is as cheap and dangerous as ever, but now it also carries a sexy air of disobediance. You’re getting drunk, but you’re also a revolutionary.

1000-piece puzzles: In.

Putting puzzles together has always been something I’ve associated with nursing homes or kindergarten. Now, puzzles are back with a vengeance, taking up space on toy store shelves and hipster coffee shops. Not only are they cool again, but they don’t require an outlet, making this pastime convenient for eco-friendly readers or during a snow-in.

Cupcakes: Out.

I love sugary confections as much as the next girl, but food trends tell us that our favorite birthday treat is definitely out. With the inception of the hip Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore., doughnuts are the new cupcake. Unlike cupcakes, it is socially acceptable to eat doughnuts for breakfast, and with multiple Dunkin Donuts popping up in Pittsburgh, they are convenient and cheap, perfect for the nearly-broke-until-parents-give-allowance college students. Carrying around a cupcake is messy, and doughnuts get the job done without the wrapper.

Open-source software: In.

Anyone that already knows what this is knows that it’s always been in. For those of you who aren’t familiar with open sourcing, think of it like you think of a free food sample at Costco. Patrons are eager to help themselves to a product, but then are also likely to turn around and make something with it. In essence, the world becomes a better place when things don’t require expensive copyright licenses, or in a Costco shopper’s case, a full-price block of artisan cheese.

E-mail Becky with your own ins and outs at [email protected].