Times Writer Confused by the Mating Rituals of the Young and ‘Literary’

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Practically throwing themselves at one another.
Practically throwing themselves at one another. Photo: Ruslan Dashinsky/iStockphoto

Today, the New York Times' "Style" section has a piece on the twentysomethings behind a newish, "extravagantly brainy"  online journal called The New Inquiry, which Jonathan Lethem, a fan, described as "the precursor of this kind of synthesis of extrainstitutional intellectualism, native to the Internet, native to the city dweller." Translation: n+1 interns wanted their own magazine.

Anyway, these kids, most of whom are overeducated and underemployed, also host a literary salon where people read selections from authors like Ezra Pound and Guy Debord. Times writer Alex Williams found it disappointingly chaste. "Despite the fact that everyone was young and attractive, no one seemed to flirt or network," he writes.

Instead, they traded heady banter about the Situationists and reveled in an atmosphere of warmhearted mutual support; it felt like an oral dissertation mixed with a ’70s encounter group. 

At one point, a few debated, only half-ironically, whether a new bank in a former Dunkin Donuts nearby was philosophically akin to the French reactionaries’ construction of the Sacré Coeur basilica on the site of the Paris Commune’s insurrection in 1870.

 There is no way anyone who participated in that conversation was not there to get laid.