Friday, July 7, 2017

Wry and Ginger

Via Freaking News.

Looks like nobody wants to have a drink with David Brooks after he finishes the column on Thursday afternoon ("The Golden Age of Bailing"):

All across America people are deciding on Monday that it would be really fantastic to go grab a drink with X on Thursday. But then when Thursday actually rolls around they realize it would actually be more fantastic to go home, flop on the bed and watch Carpool Karaoke videos.
Told him you were really swamped with work, did you? He knows better than to believe that. Who has work to do at 5:00 on a Thursday? Oh, really?

Bailing is one of the defining acts of the current moment because it stands at the nexus of so many larger trends: the ambiguity of modern social relationships, the fraying of commitments, what my friend Hayley Darden calls the ethic of flexibility ushered in by smartphone apps — not to mention the decline of civilization, the collapse of morality and the ruination of all we hold dear.
See, Hayley Darden (a Wheaton graduate, says Dr. Google, nonprofit social entrepreneur and changemaker, August wedding registered at Bed Bath and Beyond) had a drink with David Brooks, and she got a shoutout in paragraph 2! That could have been you! Too late now, sadly.

Bailing begins with a certain psychological malady, with a person who has an ephemeral enthusiasm for other people but a limited self-knowledge about his or her own future desires. In the abstract, the offer to meet up with an interesting person seems great, or at least marginally interesting. The people pleaser wants to make everybody happy so says yes to every invitation, with the unconscious knowledge that he can back out later.
He's handing you the insanity defense. The limited self-knowledge defense anyway. The regret for missing an appointment with this celebrated and fascinating and INFLUENTIAL man will probably poison your life forever. Don't worry about it. Really, his feelings aren't hurt at all. Don't give it a second thought. He's not brooding or anything. He's super-busy himself. In fact he's really glad you cancelled.

And it’s true that sometimes bailing doesn’t hurt. I’m delighted half the time when people bail on me. They’ve just given me an unexpected block of free time.
He's just worried about you. And your moral tone, you know:

There was a time, not long ago, when a social commitment was not regarded as a disposable Post-it note, when people took it as a matter of course that reliability is a core element of treating people well, that how you spend your time is how you spend your life, and that if you don’t flake on people who matter you have a chance to build deeper and better friendships and live in a better and more respectful way.
There is nothing worse than David Brooks taking a break from weighty observations on politics, morality, and social theory to his idea of lighthearted comment on contemporary manners. But it gives me an excuse to post this palate cleanser:

Driftglass finds something to say about this pathetic pool of reproachful tears (in his archives, from 12 years ago, when he had a similar feeling one Friday), but really, please.

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