THE RUN DOWN

One of the things I like to do on this blog sometimes is change the design and template from time to time. I get bored easily when it comes to a number of things in life, but my blog template is at least one thing I can change with relative ease. I have to tweak coding here and there to make it work, but it’s worth it.

A few months ago, an article in the New York Times was posted about how book choices influence your choice in partner. I can’t find the link right now, but it surprisingly spoke to me. I say surprisingly because, really, it smacked of elitist snobbery the moment I caught a whiff of its Upper East Side authorship.

Sometimes, The New York Times, I swear – if it were a person, it would be Scarlett Johansson. One minute, you’re mesmerized by what it/she represents and the infinite possibilities it/she invokes. The other minute, it/she only reminds you of how far away from that world you actually are, here in Beta-Class, Featureless-and-Formless, Passive-Aggressive Toronto.

Anyway, back to the article. Yes, that’s what I thought at first, the article was snobbery Writ Large. But I was wrong. It’s actually true. But not in the way the author intended, methinks.

It’s taken some time to really consider this, but the argument’s basically true for any kind of media a person enjoys. In order for you to really have a meaningful, long-lasting relationship with someone, you can’t connect on just touch or sentiment alone. That’s been understood for eons – the idea of sharing cultural interests to form a solid foundation with someone.

But what’s different about the idea of shared cultural interests now, as opposed to say, even 20 years ago, is the sheer depth and orders of magnitude culture produces now. It’s getting virtually impossible to find a prospective partner who fits your cultural make-up to a tee; nowadays, it’s almost becoming mathematical, even quadratic, in the relationship equation on the subject of culture.

Solve for X:
Me: Non-fiction books + science fiction (politics) = X
You: Fiction books (Reality TV) – horror = X

It’s an unworkable, if perhaps too literal, take on culture in a relationship. You have to almost find a Gladwell-esque Tipping Point in order to balance each other out.

If you really think about it, the more our cultural interests become atomized, self-directed, the harder it becomes to share a common bond with people. Some people might long for a simpler age.

When you’re young, it’s remarkably easy for people to bond on the basis of shared cultural interests. Music’s always the first thing to go when it comes to collective, broad appreciation. Then movies. Then television. And, eventually, books. Obviously it’s not the same formula for everyone. But it does beg some questions.

As the initial thrills of a relationship just blossoming eventually fade, can couples work past the cultural equations based on love alone? You know how relationships and love are about having something from someone that no one else can give you? Well, that may be true – but does it even apply to culture?

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