December 6, 2010 § Leave a comment
“Think about the typical, brief ‘village-green’ conversation: ‘Hi, how’re you doing?’ ‘Fine, just off to the shops — oh, how’s your Mum?’ ‘Much better, thanks’ ‘Oh, good, give her my love — see you later’. If you take most of the vowels out of the village-green conversation, and scramble the rest of the letters into ‘text-message dialect’ (HOW R U? C U L8ER), to me it sounds uncannily like a typical SMS or text exchange: not much is said — a friendly greeting, maybe a scrap of news — but a personal connection is made, people are reminded that they are not alone. Until the advent of mobile text messaging, many of us were having to live without this kind of small but psychologically and socially very important form of communication.”
From Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox (p. 87)
Although I think there’s something to be said for the mobile-phone version of the “village-green” conversation occasionally getting in the way of meat-space conversations (we’ve all been sitting across from someone who was too engrossed in their text conversation to have a proper chat with us), I tend to agree that texting, and mobile phone use in general, is filling a personal-connection void that exists, particularly in big cities like the one where I live. That’s a comforting idea amidst all of the doom-and-gloom analysis of our mobile culture.
August 23, 2008 § Leave a comment
My favorite line of the New York Times story about Igor, the infamous Toronto bike thief:
As the police gathered the mounds of bikes, they also found cocaine, crack cocaine, about 15 pounds of marijuana and a stolen bronze sculpture of a centaur and a snake in battle.
Because even heartless bike thieves appreciate the finer things.
May 12, 2008 § Leave a comment
Have you ever considered, while watching … well, basically any commercial that’s marketed to women, the ridiculousness that is the “commercial lady dance?” She sways, she twirls, and if she’s really loving whatever crap the commercial is telling us we’re not good enough without, she throws her hands up in the air and really breaks out the smooth moves! It’s hilarious and cringe-inducing at the same time. In that spirit, Current TV and infoMania bring us an ode to the yogurt commercial.
October 25, 2007 § Leave a comment
June 23, 2007 Comments Off on Married to the Benjamins
I’ve been waiting for an investigation like One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, by Rebecca Mead, to hit the mainstream since Ian introduced me to White Weddings a few years ago and I began to really think about what having a wedding would mean to me.
Despite the eye rolling brought on by Mead’s writing style, which includes what Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post calls “some of [the New Yorker]’s oldest pet tics, in particular an excessive use of the reportorial first-person singular,” she makes some truly chilling points about the expectations associated with getting married in the United States today.
Mead contrasts the real history of the American wedding with the wedding industry’s rewriting of it in a chapter called “Inventing the Traditionalesque.” She cites a 1939 study from the American Sociological Review called “The Cost of Weddings,” which reveals that a third of brides at the time did without an engagement ring and that the average cost of the wedding was the 2006 equivalent of $5,700 — a pittance in comparison to the $28,000 that the “American Wedding Survey’s” selectively chosen brides (mostly the readers of Condé Nast’s wedding magazines) are paying today on average.
Mead follows up this revelation with a hilarious, but also cringe-inducing, reminder of the wedding industry’s stake in our collective memory of nuptial tradition:
The traditions of not having an engagement ring or a bridal gown or a wedding reception or a honeymoon are those that the wedding industry has been more than happy to see whither away in the seventy years since the Timmons’s survey was conducted. The industry’s definition of a traditional bride is one who embraces the trappings of Bridezilla culture with enthusiasm, and her less enthusiastic counterpart is, understandably, a problem. When Vows magazine, a trade publication for wedding-dress retailers, featured an article on the “non-traditional bride,” it noted that such customers “don’t always make ‘good’ brides because they’re often uncomfortable starring in the role of ‘girl in the big white dress'” and warned retailers that the nontraditional bride was dangerously apt “to forget the wedding and prepare for the marriage.”
One Perfect Day, page 56
If that’s what it means to be nontraditional, sign me up.
May 31, 2007 § Leave a comment
I just finished watching Charlie Rose’s interview with Al Gore at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, which reminded me of why Charlie Rose’s show is awesome — I loves me some rational dialogue. It’s free from the link (as opposed to $0.99 on Google video), but I’m not sure how long they’ll keep it up on the Y site.