Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time Out New York, Where Do I Begin?...


I have a few cardinal rules I try to live by, and they are easily rationalized if broken. This is not by coincidence, but by design. Here's a sampling:

1. You shouldn't eat falafel more than twice a day.
(But they are only three dollars!)

2. Don't make out with your professor/ boss/ attorney/ friend's father.
(It was a "life experience.")

3. Always brush your teeth before bed.
(But I was too drunk!)

4. Don't be a hater.
(But Time Out New York continues to publish inane dribble and send it to my home!)

That latter bit I asked for because I am a subscriber, and though I cringe, shout, punch, and kick whilst reading on the subway, I cannot cancel my subscription because I get a perverse satisfaction out of such a publication and because I occasionally find a good reading or exhibit or sex dungeon or whatever. Totally kidding.

So for those of you savvy enough to avoid said rag or not live in this pork barrel of a city, Time Out New York is a magazine that provides listings of concerts, talks, and other cultural events. If only they would just stop there. This provides a timely service, an entree into a city teeming with places to make lists about. But alas, they cannot help themselves. They do not stop there, in fact they offer you a quasi- lifestyle (I believe the lifestyle demographic base is "Slightly overweight bisexual Hampshire College grad living in Astoria working in publishing while parents foot bill") guide on all things sex/ dating/ living blah blah blah. After enduring their "insider info" for a year and change, I have complied the subsequent list which outlines the reasons why Time Out must go:

1. They do not seem to grasp the concept of gentrification.

Yes, the "G" word, or the movement of Caucasians into neighborhoods that do not want them. This is a real push- button topic for the magazine, and one on which they are quite conflicted. I went to a talk sponsored by the magazine last year as a part of the the Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York exhibit, in which panelists discussed whether New York has lost its soul. Quite a question to ponder, and the reps from Time Out largely bemoaned the influx of Starbucks, Duane Reade, etc. etc. into our fair city. These come largely at the expense of the small cafes and restaurants in the first wave of gentrification in a developing neighborhood. After working in a neighborhood in the Bronx for two years which will someday be penetrated by the fashionably poor, unwashed huddled masses of hipsters yearning to drink PBR, I can pretty much guarantee that the neighborhood's original inhabitants would take a Dunkin' Donuts or a Dress Barn any day over a Chez Bistro or an Ironic Showroom or whatever.

But what the magazine doesn't seem to acknowledge is that it actually is gentrification. In its latest issue entitled "Your New Apartment," it gives tips for infiltrating "cheap" neighborhoods like Bushwick and Bed- Stuy. But beyond that, it's forever listing places far- flung in the boroughs for people with the gumption and a metro card to scope out. This irony seems to be lost and then some, but moreover...

2. They cannot decide how they feel about Williamsburg

HIPSTERS! So loathsome, so detestable in their ill- fitting costumes that looked cobbled together by a four year old and a cowboy junkie. Oh, their scowls and scrapes and saturation in this northern Brooklyn neighborhood. Time Out cannot seem to reconcile their conflicted feelings about this post- apocalyptic wasteland of thrift store malaise and stung out, slouched constitutions. While they love to use Williamsburg smugly and knowingly, as a synonym for the tragically hip, like 75% of its restaurant and bar recs come from this burgeoning hotbed of pale nasty.
I live in Williamsburg, and I'm reconciled: I hate it.


3. Julia Allison

I know, I know it is almost too easy to hate on this third- rate Carrie Bradshaw who lacks the style, girlfriends, and punnery of that who she emulates. Gawker has done a far superior job at outing her as the self- aggrandizing, pseudo- expert on anything that she claims to be, but let me just say this. In Time Out's latest issue they have a snarky little quiz to determine if you are a "true" New Yorker. Number one on my list? You recognize Julia Allison as a jappy asshole.

4. The Sex Issue

Truth be told, I am a highly repressed New England- bred WASP who gets queasy at any sight/ discussion/ thought of anything other than conventionally attractive people having vanilla sex out of true love. But last year's sex issue made me want to, like, never have sex again. Highlights included one reader's rape fantasy and a pictorial of unconventionally attractive people in the nude. Until my politics catch up with my personal preferences, I would like to see only conventionally attractive people in the nude. Thanks.

Oh, such vitriol, Ms. Zenaida! From whence doth such malice spring?! Well, I'll rationalize this hateriffic deluge by assuaging myself that at least I am taking out this nebulous rage on an unseemly source , rather than small animals or service workers. And now I'll be off to my fourth falafel of the day.

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