Monday, July 4, 2016

News You Can't Use: Everyone Secretly Hates Going Out, Study Says

The outside world is bad. Highly reliable statistical analysis has proven that this is where the majority of crime occurs, that there's this hot ball thing up in the sky for some reason and that guy bumped into me and didn't apologize. It's clearly far safer and healthier to live an isolated and deeply alienated existence viewing glowing screens and patiently awaiting the chilling embrace of death. If you don't believe me maybe you'll be more inclined to trust a hack writer from some b.s. clickbait site who is probably a few weeks away from being permanently replaced by image slideshows of thong disasters and celebrities at their worst and so forth.

There has never been a more unrealistic show on television than Friends.

The hallmark of quality writing is to open with a reference to something that's lost all cultural relevance via the passage of time and will need to be completely explained to your audience of generation nothing droolers and then top that off with some wildly inaccurate hyperbole. Yeah, that nighttime area show had nothing in the unrealism department on Ross and Rachel.

The fantasy it sells its audience on—that six people in their 20s can get together regularly without any sort of apparent planning—is a bald-faced lie.

Fudging "Let's all meet up after we finish our jobs!" how does it work?

Can you imagine the group texts, the email chains, the interlocking commitments, the sheer complexity of organizing a six-person gathering at a coffee shop? 

Well, that or it could just be your regular thing everyday. I know, crazy, but it is one possible explanation for why large portions of the urban comedy half-hour weren't devoted to "texting," something that didn't actually exist in any meaningful way for most of the show's run.

If it wanted to make any effort at realism, Friends should have been a show about six people calling each other, leaving messages, and making excuses so they could stay in their apartments and watch TV.

This would have been the greatest show ever. On tonight's episode everyone makes phony excuses and ends up weeping in front of the idiot box. Laughing yet, young person?

Last week, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the American Time Use Survey, an annual look at how people spend the precious minutes of their short lives.

"Remember thou art mortal!" declares someone who works for a website dedicated to cat pictures and broad-brush sensationalism.

Mostly, people sleep (almost nine hours a day on average), work (just under eight hours on days they work), and watch TV (a bit under three hours).

Those "You got to LIVE, man" posters just flat-out aren't working.

A scant 41 minutes of each average day are spent socializing in person with other humans, a number that's fallen by 9 percent over the past decade. 

Well, that teevee ain't gonna watch itself.

Maybe something darker is at play here: Maybe Americans aren't hanging out because we're all hiding in our apartments and inventing elaborate lies about why we can't come out.

I guess almost anything is possible.

That's the conclusion of a recent study by something called Yelp Eat24, which I guess is like Seamless but run by Yelp? 

This sentence has all the formal elements of a joke but I'm sitting here stone-faced wondering what the hell I just read.

"It may be that FOMO—the Fear of Missing Out—has run its course, as a new survey identifies the power of POMO... the PLEASURE Of Missing Out."

My life is an empty spiral toward cold oblivion, but it feels so good.

According to the study, almost 30 percent of people are disappointed by nights out, more than a third are stressed out and anxious by them, and hangovers and arguments are also common side effects.

Then they made me drink booze and joke around, it was horrible.

Now, obviously spending time with your partner and children is a pretty good reason not to go out, and chores have to be done, but "listen to music" is not generally an activity that takes up an entire evening.

Honestly, you should be able to get that Ninth Symphony done in like one commercial break if you really lean on the skip button.

No matter what you think of "going out," this is kind of grim stuff.

Let's rail impotently against a massive societal trend we have absolutely no power over. Then go have jello shooters, assuming you're not gonna listen to music all night alone or what-evs.

Why can't I be alone in front of screen right now?

And apparently we're all lying to cover up that fact, spinning tall tales about needing to work out when really we're getting shithoused in front of Call of Duty.

Social awkwardness and uninspired first person shooter fandom...coincidence or something more sinister at work?

Your laziness, and your inability to be honest with others (and probably, yourself) about what your life has become, is not a personal problem, it's a symptom of a broader malaise. 

This is why it's important you vote for the evil old lady currently being charged with various high crimes.

That's why I'm not coming to your party, because society is slowly sliding into lethargy. I'll try to make the next one! 

Yeah, we're all rooting for you, dudemar.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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