A dude named Frank Bruni, human thinker and person who types words approved by the New York Times, recently wrote a very interesting article called The Land of the Binge, which cleverly uses the #blowingup of Netflix's "House of Cards" to make a bunch of poignant arguments about life in the 2010's. Bruni argues that life is scarily rooted in the extreme nowadays, and that it may be a good idea to starting listening to that Red Stripe guy a bit more, because Hoooray Moderation!**
**there is no clip for this. Nearly inexcusable. For those familiar with the mid-2000's Red Stripe campaign (played heavily on ESPN during "Around the Horn" and "PTI"), this is the one where the dude has a huge upper body, but twig-sized legs. Boo, too much of a good thing.
AROUND the time that Netflix released an entire season of “House of Cards” at once, so that viewers could gorge on all 13 episodes, a friend sent me a plaintive e-mail about the way that foodie-favored restaurants give her no option other than gorging.
She misses salads. (Yes, it’s possible. Really.) She’s nostalgic for healthy sides. In one place where she recently dined, she ordered kale, only to find that it was fried and, adding insult to artery, pummeled with candied pancetta. In another place, slivers of pastrami accessorized an unsuspecting salmon. She encounters bacon on brussels sprouts, bacon in sundaes and martinis, bacon, bacon everywhere, along with marrow and liver and lard.
I understand how this relates, but grains of binge salt. There's also a movement of healthy/shitty food fusion. Vegan and gluten free cupcake shops, those hundred calorie packs of hexagons that dare call themselves Chips Ahoy. Perhaps it's merely evolution. Maybe our bored as shit yet economically disatrous first-world has gotten so bored with Kale, the only thing left to do is to fry it.
I turned from her lament to the front page of The Times. It reported the accidental death of someone participating in the X Games, a magnet for “extreme athletes,” as the article called them. The word “extreme” stuck with me and struck a chord. We compete extremely (look at Lance). Work out extremely (look all around you). Eat extremely. Watch extreme amounts of whatever we’ve decided we love, which we love in extremis. Even our weather is extreme: superstorms, Frankenstorms, snowmageddons.
He's right. Also, please click on headlines from the internet. They are all the (insert the attention grabbing adjective, enhanced by the superlative) thing you will ever see.
Moderation. Remember that? It was once held up as an indisputable virtue, virtually synonymous with prudence. Don’t get too carried away with any one thing. Don’t become too set in your ways. That was the message from parents and teachers. That was the cue the culture gave.
Except that as Bruni somewhat says, Napster:
I BLAME the Internet. Well, that and social media and cable television, with its infinity of channels. In theory our hyperconnectivity and surfeit of possibilities have broadened our universes, speeding us to distant galaxies, fresh discoveries and new information. But in reality they’ve just as often had a narrowing effect, enabling us to dwell longer on, and burrow deeper into, one way of being, one mode of thinking.
Interesting how unlimited options are sometimes overwhelming, and make us stick to shit that we know. It'd almost be like living in downtown NYC with unlimited food options, and only going to one pizza place, one chinese, and one deli. The author of this post definitely does not do that.
Never mind studies that suggest that moderate exertion — less than 20 miles of running a week, not more, and at a stately pace — bodes best for well-being. A growing group of people want the more extreme experience of military-style boot camps and obstacle courses like those in the Tough Mudder program, whose adherents forgo the treadmill and its individual TV screen for the exhilaration of crawling under barbed wire and swerving around flames. Bye, bye, Jack LaLanne. Hello, “Full Metal Jacket.”
Valid point. To paraphrase what Jerry Seinfeld said in his recent appearance on Letterman, if you're thirsty for water it means you're too late--dehydration has set in, and you'll probably start crumbling into pieces.
And actual diets, by which I mean those aimed at superfluous chins, are flamboyantly ascetic, with solid food exiting the equation for three days, for five days, even for 10. The BluePrintCleanse, the Cooler Cleanse and other retail juice fasts have surged in popularity over recent years. Sales of juice extractors are also on the upswing. Even our self-punishment is indulgent. We binge on deprivation.
Yea. But if those sorts of things didn't exist, how would people be able to mask their motivational life theories behind their niche blog that friends would probably support anyway, but find it hard to do so because their reciprocity is more out of guilt-induced obligation?
The verb “binge” applies as never before to television viewing. What Netflix was acknowledging with its “House of Cards” release was the widespread habit of storing up hours of a favorite show or buying a whole season so that you can marinate for an entire weekend in Claire Danes’s twitchy dread. So that you can choose your one mood, your one note, and revel in it.
But when does a luxury become a rut? And if we each hunker down in some tightly proscribed burg, don’t we lose common ground? That possibility explains the fusty maxim of “moderation in all things,” which wasn’t so much a wet towel over passion as a caution against single-mindedness. And a warning about bacon.
1. Because of techonology, more people can talk.
2. Because more people can talk, it seems that most people are saying the same thing.
3. People that say different things are more scarce, so they gain more notoriety, and people are intrigued by what they have to say.
4. People like notoriety, because it makes them feel good, and because then they can say mundane shit on twitter and people will retweet it anyway.
5. But if you want to distinguish yourself in this world when everyone is talking, the different shit that you say has to be increasingly more extreme.
6. Do a juice cleanse and blog about it. Except don't just blog about it. Vomit up your bile, and write using that shit as ink.
8. If you just graduated, it's important to tell your friends that you work more than them.
9. I work hard AND play hard. Meaning that I maximize my experiences. Meaning that I am so fulfilled.
[H/T: New York Times]