1. Let’s kick things off with How To Make A Murderer. Spoiler alert: Don’t be upset when you realize that both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey were found guilty and are still in jail to this day. I googled it after the third episode because I remembered that disappointing feeling listening to Serial when we didn’t conclusively know anything more about Adnan’s guilt or innocence at the end than we did in the first episode. Turns out these documentaries — as intensely gripping as they might be — don’t all have happy endings like the courtroom drama films we’re used to. Go figure.
2. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the biggest sucker on the planet for these documentaries. I get so caught up with The Injustice Of It All! that I’ll spend hours discussing and debating the minutiae with anybody who’ll listen. But when I try to watch them with a critical eye (which is much harder to do than I would have imagined), I start noticing little things: The ominous music that plays every time the prosecutor opens his mouth, the closeups on characters’ faces that we’re supposed to sympathize with, the leading editing techniques used to crucify the villains… it’s all so fecking emotionally manipulative! They use all the techniques of fictional storytelling and we take it as gospel because it’s in the non-fiction section of Netflix. Maybe we’re more gullible than we realize.
3. On another matter entirely: Do you think that bloggers see the irony in their beautiful early morning Instagram posts of coffee and croissants laid out lovingly alongside The New York Times, when the page one headline reads: 17 Children Dead In Accidental Explosion? I keep seeing this happen over and over again and the head-scratching is real. THE HEAD-SCRATCHING IS REAL!
4. Meet David Coggins, a New York-based writer, exemplary beard-grower, and contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveler. My three connections to the man are that I did meet him once, at an event put on by Freemans Sporting Club in 2012, we’ve written for a number of the same publications, and we both shoot fairly regularly with @kat_in_nyc. Other than that, we’re strangers.
5. So. David Coggins wrote a list of 60 pieces of unsolicited advice for the young men of New York City, which was published on A Continuous Lean on January 4, and I can’t stop reading it. Some of it is brilliant, some of it is not, and some of it causes me actual anger. In other words, it’s the perfect clickbait column for somebody like me. He’s funny and pretentious and a man of the people and an absolute snob. For example…
6. “If your watch impresses people then you’re impressing the wrong people.” Brilliant!
7. “Pay for her cab home.” Puke! (I texted our mutual friend Kat about how much I hated this one and she said she thought it sounded gentlemanly. I argued that it sounded like you were paying a woman for her services.)
8. “If there’s a line outside and you’re not confident, think twice.” And, “You already know you should look at your phone less.” And, “If you can’t drive a stick shift you’ll regret it at the most inopportune time.” All good.
9. “A martini is made with gin, stirred, and served very cold with a twist of lemon. Start there before experimenting.” I understand that people think there is something glamorous or high class about alcohol. I do not. 12 of the 60 pieces of advice relate to bars and tips on drinking. It’s my opinion that anybody who feels the need to give tips or take tips about the correct way for a man to order a drink is The Worst. Talking about alcohol is about as interesting as listening to a vegan regale about carrots. Like I said, his column is on point. I’ve read it 18 times and I can’t stop thinking or talking about it. Chalk that one up as a win.
10. I, too, have an unsolicited piece of advice: If any of your 2016 resolutions had something to do with money, go pick up a copy of The Richest Man In Babylon. Its simple tips, if followed, might just change your life (and bank balance).
Bonus: Remember this song!?
I LIKE YOU!