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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  512 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Case for Hanging Out

    Sheila excels at hanging out, and that’s not purely a matter of extroversion—it’s not only about the accident of personality. Despite the drinks we’d consumed, it’s not about the lowering of inhibitions either. She works at it—she puts effort into this seemingly effortless phenomenon. Sheila and Dave have constructed a schedule, a way of viewing the world, and even a home that’s conducive to hanging out, because to be a person who cares about hanging out means building a life that nurtures this passion. It means making space in your day to day for hanging out, sometimes at the expense of productivity.

A formative book in my life:

This is not a book about making movies, or writing movies, or selling movies. This is a book about turning yourself into a mercenary starfucker, a how-to manual for self-SammyGlickification. It includes endearing strategies such as:

- never drink tap water

- always hang up first

- if someone else is on their cell phone at the table, you damn well better also be on your cell phone

- have a favorite table at a favorite restaurant and always tip well so that you will always be seated there

- Spend whatever rent you would have for somewhere nice on a car that looks impressive

- never show anyone where you live

The fundamental argument is that nobody in LA can actually afford a life, therefore you must do what is necessary to portray yourself as someone who looks like they can afford a life. This was 23 years ago, mind you.

I rejected this advice wholesale. First apartment I had in LA had room for people to sit. It was a shithole in North Hollywood. The ones I let my wife live in, though, were great for entertaining. The ability to have people over counts for a lot and we did it all the time.

But everyone has roommates now. And nobody has any space. And houses are out of reach. And all our friends are online. So any actual in-person gathering has become a ritualized, formalized affair in neutral territory.

let's go older

    RELIGION. Religious affiliation is by far the most common associational membership among Americans. Indeed, by many measures America continues to be (even more than in Tocqueville's time) an astonishingly "churched" society. Yet religious sentiment in America seems to be becoming somewhat less tied to institutions and more self-defined. The 1960s witnessed a significant drop in weekly churchgoing--from roughly 48 percent in the late 1950s to roughly 41 percent in the early 1970s. Since then, it has stagnated or (according to some surveys) declined still further.

    UNION MEMBERSHIP. For many years, labor unions provided one of the most common organizational affiliations among American workers. Yet union membership has been falling for nearly four decades, with the steepest decline occurring between 1975 and 1985. By now, virtually all of the explosive growth in union membership that was associated with the New Deal has been erased.

    PTAs. The parent-teacher association (PTA) has been an especially important form of civic engagement in twentieth-century America because parental involvement in the educational process represents a particularly productive form of social capital. It is, therefore, dismaying to discover that participation in parent-teacher associations has dropped drastically over the last generation, from more than 12 million in 1964 to barely 5 million in 1982 before recovering to approximately 7 million now.

    VOLUNTEERING. Next, we turn to evidence on membership in (and volunteering for) civic and fraternal organizations. These data show some striking patterns. First, membership in traditional women's groups has declined more or less steadily since the 1960s. For example, membership in the national Federation of Women's Clubs is down by more than half (59 percent) since 1964, while membership in the League of Women Voters (LWV) is off 42 percent since 1969. Similar reductions are apparent in the numbers of volunteers for mainline civic organizations, such as the Boy Scouts (off by 26 percent since 1970) and the Red Cross (off by 61 percent since 1970). At all educational (and hence social) levels of American society, and counting all sorts of group memberships, the average number of associational memberships has fallen by about a fourth over the last quarter century.

    The most whimsical yet discomfiting bit of evidence of social disengagement in contemporary America that I have discovered is this: more Americans are bowling today than ever before, but bowling in organized leagues has plummeted in the last decade or so. Between 1980 and 1993, the total number of bowlers in America increased by 10 percent, while league bowling decreased by 40 percent. (Lest this be thought a wholly trivial example, I should note that nearly 80 million Americans went bowling at least once during 1993,nearly a third more than voted in the 1994 congressional elections.)

    The rise of solo bowling threatens the livelihood of bowling-lane proprietors because those who bowl as members of leagues consume three times as much beer and pizza as solo bowlers, and the money in bowling is in the beer and pizza, not the balls and shoes. The broader social significance, however, lies in the social interaction and even the occasionally civic conversations over beer and pizza that solo bowlers forgo.

(the book was originally a very short article)

Articles like these bring me a melancholy joy because on the one hand, yeah, hang out more. On the other hand, they make you feel guilty for not just hanging out more without acknowledging that "hanging out" is economically and logistically untenable and has become more so with every passing year.

    I can’t be the only one for whom memories of ages 16 to, say, 25 consist mostly of sitting around bedrooms, crappy dorm rooms, and crappier apartments, doing nothing much at all.

The bedroom is now shared with Nana, the crappy dorm room is part of a $20k/yr experience and the apartment is $1800/mo.

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