On Friday night I went to a small event at UCB hosted by Aziz Ansari and Sociology Professor Eric Klinenberg. If you haven’t watched Aziz Ansari’s most recent special, Buried Alive, it’s mainly about Ansari’s experiences with dating, and specifically how weird dating is now that we’re always connected all the time. I’ve written about my thoughts on certain modern cultural depictions of dating here before, but what I find really interesting is the pairing of Ansari and Prof. Klinenberg. I went to NYU, and though I didn’t study with Klinenberg, I have always been really interested in what he studies - to me, the urban influence on interaction and socialization is especially fascinating. I definitely think that our environment affects our behavior. I frequently tell my friends who ask why I live in the LES when I spend most of my free time elsewhere that I love being surrounded by life even if I’m not a part of it. (Plus, have you ever been in my ‘hood on a Friday night? It is… horrible.)
In that vein, I think that people who are naturally inclined to observe tend to gravitate to modes of interaction that allows them a degree of separation from their environment. (Oh hi there, dear reader. Hope this looks good through your monitor…) Hence, it makes sense to me that a comedian - a single, successful, good looking guy in his 30’s - would turn his attention to the weird world of dating in the 21st century.
At the UCB show on Friday, Ansari read the texts of some audience members both male and female. It was hilarious to see our shared behaviors thrown in our faces. When you’re on the grid, it’s hard to avoid the horror stories of bad first dates, awkward text conversations, unsolicited dick pics, etc… I - thank god - have never received the latter (no, that’s not an invitation! unless you plan on sending me a photo of Richard Nixon, which I have definitely sent my female friends before), but I definitely have heard some crazy stories. Think back to the 90s, when “the olds” of us were on AIM and would IM strangers. HELLO BEST MOVIE EVER, YOU’VE GOT MAIL! The internet has been facilitating meeting strangers since it was just a seed in Al Gore’s brain. However, it still carries a stigma, and we laugh because not only is human interaction horrible and hilarious, but it’s funny because it’s true.
This stigma, or the easing of it in today’s millennial culture, is what intrigues Ansari and Klinenberg. They’re writing a book together about it that’s coming out in a few years, and I can’t wait to read it. Our shared cultural experiences around dating in the 21st century are fodder for comedy, but it also feels like we’re at a juncture in terms of social behavioral norms. Maybe this time will be looked back upon as a watershed? Think for a moment about Spike Jonze’s upcoming film, Her. Critics are lauding it as one of the best films of the year and it’s about a guy who falls in love with his computer’s sentient-ish operating system! Of course, that’s a tad reductive and I’m not getting into a film review, but we’ve leapt from movies about the “you’ve got mail” guy as a messenger of love letters to straight up falling in love with the medium itself. The way in which we find and express connections fascinates me.
I personally think that part of the stigma of the online/texting thing is that those mediums are odd simulacrums for intimacy that technology gives us, but isn’t in and of itself entirely intimate. You can meet someone at a book store and instantly feel if there’s a connection. You can keep seeing that one friend at parties and decide to give it a go. You can message 5 people and kind of play it by ear but I’m busy all week and you were cuter in that photo and stop talking about BSG ok I’m out. See? Non-committal connections, easy as one click. In the time it takes you to order a book you’ve decided to go on a date with two girls. My feeling about it all is much like Tina Fey’s philosophy on writing: it doesn’t always end up great - sometimes you get gold nuggets, and sometimes you get shit nuggets. I think we all endeavor as to find our happiest ending, and who’s to say who is doing it wrong? I, like Ansari and Klinenberg, am increasingly curious as to why getting to that place is so complicated. So you hope you get some good stories out of it, and maybe one day the story sticks.
All this is to say: ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.
The fish section at Zabar’s is where Jerry first told me he loved me way back when, so that area always chokes me up.everything about this sentence makes sense. Please read Jessica Seinfeld’s Grub Street Diet and feel the envy/love - Sunday is the best day to “Jew-out.”
I’ve been on a Bob’s Burgers bender for a while, and if you haven’t caught the show yet, I’d recommend it highly - it is fantastic. The writing is sharp, the animation is adorable (look at Gene in his bathing suit!), I can’t say enough good things. I told my friend about this and he said to me that this was proof that I’ve really hit rock bottom, but if this is how rock bottom feels, I love it. (Teddy!) Anyway, I came across this awesome site where a guy is cooking his way through the Bob’s Burgers special of the day. Stay tuned. In the meantime, please listen to this. and this.
the packaging for marou chocolate gives mast bros. a run for its money. (I really wish the company that made this was run by a guy named Kobayashi. Also, yes, I know it’s maru, but just grant me the ‘o’ for the sake of my dreams.)
everybody seinfeld 2000 made a music video.
I’m a big fan of the AV Club’s TV section, and yet somehow I managed to miss their series, 100 Episodes. It’s a really interesting look into series that have reached the elusive and grail-like 100th episode (hello syndication!), and the impact these shows have left on tv history.
Todd VanDerWerff mainly writes them, with a guest-writer every once in a while. If you’re into tv-ology, you should definitely peruse these. I have most enjoyed the 30 Rock and Good Eats essays, but there’s something for everyone!
ll bean, very specific nymag writer, very specific male friend, string cheese, straight hair.the unrequited love hierarchy.
Refinery 29 loves to put together a slideshow. (Honestly, who doesn’t?!) They’re low-stakes Power Point presentations. Anyway, apropos of calendar matters, they listed The Ides, a bar in the Wythe Hotel, as one of the “cool places” you can hit up before Thanksgiving. Here’s the thing about The Ides, though: wariness is built into the name! Why would I go to a bar that has the following guidelines on the website (and nothing else):
- ENTRY IS FIRST COME FIRST SERVE
- FOR LARGE PARTIES WE CAN TAKE A LIMITED NUMBER OF RSVP’S
- WE DO NOT HAVE A DRESS CODE
- WE DO NOT OFFER BOTTLE SERVICE
- FOOD IS ONLY SERVED DOWNSTAIRS AT REYNARD
- PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT PERMITTED
To me, this clearly stems from having a clientele (read: people who go to the Wythe) who show up (dressed like
idiots hipsters) demanding bottle service, wanting overpriced apps, and instagram everything they do. To be fair, I think that Reynard has good food and a decent selection of wines, but it’s just so high on its own ego that I rarely enjoy hanging out there. I also think it speaks volumes for the type of experience you can expect to have at a bar when they have to warn you about these things in ALL CAPS. It’s like going to Le Bain at The Standard: overpriced and overrated. If you’re looking to relax with your buds in NYC for Thanksgiving, go to your local dive bar, you’ll be welcome and won’t have to overhear anyone asking if they “do bottle service, bro.” Happy Turkey Day!
The turkey that loses should be eaten. Has Obama not read the Hunger Games? Unless both turkeys agree to a suicide pact to protest the injustice of The System, there can only be one victor.
My friend’s very sleep-deprived analysis of the White House Turkey Pardon website. I love that it’s a pseudo-reference to the Highlander and Hunger Games and it also makes no sense. (Much like this ridiculous website.)
I said to my friends that I wish the presidential turkey pardon were more like that scene in the West Wing when CJ has to choose between Troy and Eric.