Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New York Detox

Second only to real estate on the New York-conversational-frequency chart is talking about what it would be like not to live in New York. This takes one of two forms, in much the same way that it would if you were talking about the same thing on, say, a tropical island. There's the arrogant way: "Can you imagine what it would be like to have to do without the coconut drinks and the dulcet sound of the tide coming through our window every night?" And there's the beaten-down, wistful way: "If you close your eyes hard enough, can't you just imagine what it would be like to look at something other than sand for a few minutes?" When the New York conversation follows the latter template, my friends and I frequently ask each other what it would be like to unplug from the media maelstrom. And even though we mostly agree it would be a good thing in the long run, we imagine the detox program would be a tough one. In this way, and many others, I don't believe the decision to leave New York could ever be accurately judged until at least a year after doing it, maybe two. Or five.

I've been running one experiment in this vein lately. I'm now more than a week into my Gawker abstinence program, and I feel really good about it. If you didn't see the interview that made the rounds a short while ago, in which Jimmy Kimmel grilled one of the site's editors about Gawker's habit of aiding and abetting casual celebrity stalking, I won't recount it here. It's easy enough to Google. Suffice to say, as hypocritical as Kimmel is to argue about what's tasteful and what's not (he co-hosted The Man Show, for God's sake, which wasn't very different than actively campaigning to repeal the nineteenth amendment), Gawker (through its editor) could not have come off worse. It's not that the site wasn't already a guilty pleasure, but I had convinced myself that its vapid, eye-rolling, trying-to-sound-superior-while-bathing-in-mud tone was a carefully constructed one. Turns out it's just how they are. This isn't surprising, really, but it allowed me to kick the habit and remove the site from my bookmarks, so I'm grateful. Ideally, this will make the transition to Saratoga that much smoother. If it doesn't, I figure the first gin and tonic after hitting a trifecta will do the trick.

By the way, I understand that such hypotheticals are frequent around here, and that they're likely to continue until I retire in Manhattan sometime in my 70s. Just keep indulging me. I ask so little.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you've inspired me. im kicking the gawker habit, too, and i already feel better for it. jz

7:43 PM  

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