We’ll warn you now: This song will get stuck in your head. But the laughs will be well worth it.

First, some background. Last week, a technical glitch resulted in The Seattle Times sending out email alerts that contained filler text rather than the intended verbiage describing a news story.

Filler text is supposed to provide an idea of what a design will look like once it’s filled with copy. It’s typically in Latin — you may have seen some that starts with the words “Lorem ipsum,” which has been used for decades — but the bottomless creativity of the internet has produced other versions, including beer ipsum (filler text created entirely with beer-related words) and TV ipsum (lyrics from television theme songs).

The Seattle Times’ email alert templates use hipster ipsum, so what readers saw was: “Letterpress freegan twee quinoa. Messenger bag chambray celiac vice seitan, tbh ugh bushwick hoodie woke. Raclette woke fashion axe next level hot chicken. Jianbing blog tumeric drinking vinegar street art biodiesel before they sold out. Fashion axe beard salvia gastropub, unicorn trust fund readymade waistcoat.”

This resulted in a bit of good-natured mockery on Reddit, where jokes in a comment thread inspired Seattle software developer and musician Tom Jones to create a catchy, hipster parody of “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

“Everybody was saying, ‘This is hilarious,’ and someone said the filler text reads as a new version of Billy Joel’s song,” said the 37-year-old Greenwood resident.


So Jones, who moved from Florida to the Puget Sound area to study at DigiPen Institute of Technology, went home that night, spent about four or five hours working on his version and posted it to the thread.

“I was entirely inspired by the Reddit thread and the escalation of a joke: how the Reddit thread created this sort of ‘chain of inspiration’ that led to me to work within particular constraints to take the joke to the next level,” Jones wrote in an email to The Times. “So, in essence, a small flub on your part resulted in a chain of jokes on some internet forum that can culminate in new piece of ‘art.'”

Jones later refined the song and posted his revisions on YouTube and Instagram.

He said that while parody isn’t his usual genre, he’s relatively proud of it as an example of how funny comments and the feedback loop on social media can lead to a satisfying “high-effort” joke.

And even if nobody else ends up loving it, he won’t be too disappointed. It’s brought some laughs to him and his friends, and it had his longtime girlfriend howling.

“She loves it; she was cracking up,” he said. “It’s been a fun escalation of a silly thing.”


Here are the words to his version:

[Verse 1]

Kombucha La Croix mumblecore / Freegan bitters, locavore / Portland unicorn YOLO / Actually XOXO

Cold-pressed helvetica / Vinyl fam man-bun tilde / Farm-to-table, raw denim / You probably haven’t heard of them

[Verse 2]

3 wolf moon, paleo / 4 dollar toast, cornhole / Photo booth meditation / Godard flexitarian

Viral beard, fanny pack / Celiac Thundercats / Raclette, tumeric / Gluten-free, Put a bird on it



We didn’t stoke the fire / It was always burning since the world was turning / We didn’t stoke the fire / No we didn’t start it and we didn’t fight it

[Verse 3/4]

Normcore intelligentsia / Shabby direct trade chia / Cardigan, bahn mi / Vexillologist ennui

Trust fund kinfolk TBH / Copper mug, readymade / Quinoa cleanse, gentrify / Shoreditch chicharron lo-fi

DIY retro kitsch / Kickstarter, kale chips / Direct trade, chillwave / Vaporcore chambray

Try-hard AF ethical vice / Small-batch bicycle rights / Polaroid 8-bit mixtape / Post-ironic, hella cray


We didn’t stoke the fire / It was always burning since the world was turning / We didn’t stoke the fire / No we didn’t start it and we didn’t fight it