At Home

Summertime discourse

The Beast made two dinners last week: both were meat salads. The first was grilled wild trout with roasted potatoes and this dressing (if you don’t have cilantro, use mint, parsley or a combination of all three), overtop of mixed greens from the Sorauren Farmers’ Market. The second was grilled flank with all the same ingredients. I could eat variations of this meal all summer long.

We watched Tiny Furniture, Lena Dunham’s first feature film. I really enjoyed it. But it left the Beast in the most peculiar state. I think it was the sex scene near the end of the film, which I won’t detail here in case you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t appreciate spoilers. Suffice it to say, it took place in a playground and it wasn’t terribly romantic.

Slightly drunk, on the patio finishing our drinks, me trying to get the Beast to explain why he was so visibly disgusted with the film and the Beast not wanting to talk about it, insisting that he’d only sound like an asshole if he did.

Foodie: Come on man! Why do you think that scene was so disgusting?

Beast: Fine. You really want to know? Why isn’t it disgusting? The whole thing, the whole movie: It’s about awful people living awful lives. It really captures a disgusting generation perfectly.

Foodie: That’s your generation.

Beast: You’re the one who’s using a fucking iPhone to record a conversation right now.

(I was.)

Beast: Look at you: recording this to put it into your fucking blog. Do you realize that somebody had to invent that feature on your phone where there’s a lens in the front and a lens in the back so somebody can take a picture of themselves? Do you realize how disgusting that it? How monumentally disgusting that is? That there’s more technology in that phone than they used to send a man to the moon? And basically the one great feature about it is that you can take a picture of yourself and see that you’re in frame doing it. It’s disgusting. I’m truly disgusted right now.

Foodie: With just that scene or the whole movie?

Beast: Everything. It was just truly awful.

Foodie: Because it was truthful?

Beast: Not for me, it wasn’t. There is nothing relatable about those men in her movie. Look, it’s an awful generation: a generation without values. It’s unfortunate that a girl with that kind of ear and insight has nothing more to document than this absolutely despicable condition that we’re living in.

Foodie: I think I know what you mean, kind of. But that’s what we do! We document our lives. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years now.

Beast: We are living in a wasteland, from the vacuous art that her mother makes to the YouTube video. Period. The sex just happens to the be the rawest part. And I felt sorry for her because she’s getting taken advantage of by a total fucking shitbag.

Foodie: I think this movie has affected you more than any other film we’ve watched together.

Beast: That’s not true. Barry Lyndon always gets to me. We are living in hell. You know what that movie is? Just a really well-made advertisement for suicide. I’m not joking around. If that’s it–the depth of your experiences that you’re going to take and turn into art or commerce. You should just hang yourself, from a little tiny armoir.

Foodie: Huh? Oh yeah, Tiny Furniture. Good one. Do you get disgusted with me every time I check Twitter or Facebook or Instagram on my iPhone?

Beast: Yes. because I think the technology ennobles things that should not be ennobled right now–and I don’t even know if “ennoble” is a word. The democratization of those truly disgusting experiences that eveyone must live through should not be something to be celebrated. You and I should be ashamed.

Foodie: (silence)

Beast: We live in the most technologically advanced period in the entire history of human beings. And it’s so fucking bleak. It’s an awful world. I have nothing against her. I’ve said it. The girl is a genius. But she’s documented a way of life that doesn’t deserve to be documented with anything less than absolute ridicule, and derision. Don’t you want to kill yourself after watching that?

Foodie: No. It just made me want to make something.

Beast: Because if that’s it, don’t you just want to die? No, you want to Tweet about it. She is a genius. No dispute. It’s just dark and disgusting. Do you want to take a picture of yourself taking a picture of yourself so you can fully document this conversation?

Foodie: Nah. (Pause) Maybe I’ll just Instagram it. There’s this thing that you can do where a part of the photo comes in focus and the rest is all blurry and it looks so cool!

A few nights later, we met up after work to see Moonrise Kingdom, followed by dinner at Banh Mi Boys, a new Vietnamese sandwich shop that’s opened up at Queen and Spandina, a corner of this city that can be bleak or full of character, depending on your outlook.

I got a pulled-pork sandwich, the Beast got one with pork belly and we shared an order of kimchi fries.

Foodie: How your sandwich? Mine’s amazing.

Beast: It’s incredible , and so are the kimchi fries.

Foodie: I think everyone in line has ordered them. Did you notice? To be honest, I’m not crazy for them. I think I like my fries straight up. Or with gravy. Or with vinegar. Sometimes ketchup.

Afterwards we got ice cream from the Film Buff and walked home.

Foodie: I really liked Moonrise Kingdom.

Beast: It was really touching. Really lovely. Hey, did you notice that Bob Balaban played a cartographer again, like he did in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? I bet that fuck Wes Anderson did it on purpose.

Foodie: That’s so true! Hold still, I think I want to Instagram this tree. Which filter should I use?

Beast (looking at the filter options): Don’t you think it’s interesting that all these filters give you the option of making your photos look like they were taken using a technology that’s so much older than the technology that you’re using, even though the technology exists to create something new?

Foodie: Yeah. Like, the technology is there to make something new but they use the technology to make it look old.

Beast: Things gain the status of authenticity by making reference to something that’s endured from another generation.

Foodie: Kind of like Moonrise Kingdom?

Beast: Yes, but I think it referenced an imagined past, as if the past could be perfected. (Pause.) That’s the saddest thing about thinking about the past: it’s not that the past is gone, it’s thinking about a possible future that didn’t come true.

2 replies »

  1. Living, as I do, surrounded by the detritus of abandoned projects and the tools of half-learned skills, I am pretty sure any contemplation of “possible futures” would void the warranty of my smartphone. “Sir, did you attempt to film yourself crying in the midst of an existential crisis?” “[Sob] Yes.” “Your tears went into the speaker hole. There is nothing I can do for you.”

    I am sure I am not the first to notice the similarities between Das Beast and Adam, the hero of Lena Dunham’s hit show “Girls”. They are both highly alert to the phoniness of modern life, and share an interest in honing their physiques. Frequently shirtless (and wouldn’t you be?) their reclamation of manliness without making a big deal about it is quite inspiring.

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