A scrappy zine, pissed off with life and American Apparel, Urinal Gum offers some much-needed satire on the ultra-cool, yet totally self-conscious, V-neck-wearing, male, indie scenester. An open letter to Vice best sums up the clichés and contradictions in this netherworld: the writer thanks the mag for informing him on how to keep his cool well into his 20s and getting to bang the odd teenager. Some reviews of books and music, including Miranda July’s No One Belongs Here More Than You, and vulgar short stories balance out the rest of the zine.
At times, Urinal Gum sounds strikingly similar to Vice’s own haughty wit and acerbic sass. A faux help-and-advice column, where the writer dishes out ways to deal with an annoying sister-in-law, offers this: “With a little luck and some sleeping pills, you’ll be eating potato salad at her funeral in no time!” Funny, sure, but somehow Urinal Gum’s satire begins to eat itself as soon as it sounds too similar to its target. But this is all forgivable. From some self-mythologizing stories throughout, I gather that the writers have worked at American Apparel themselves and so inhabit the world they parody. Perhaps this is why the criticisms are so spot on. Plus, this devil-may-care writing style has become so wildly popular anyway that it’s impossible to eliminate its influence or appeal entirely. (Laura Trethewey)
zine, creator: James, #5, US$2, PO Box 1243, Eugene, OR 97440, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org, urinalgum.com