quiddities and agonies of the ruling class - a rolling new york times thread

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

not photoshop

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 May 2009 22:55 (ten years ago) link

Noticed that earlier today. My heart was not immediately bent.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 14 May 2009 22:55 (ten years ago) link

is this thread sponsored by gawker

s1ocki, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:01 (ten years ago) link

The only problem was money. Having separated from my wife of 21 years, who had physical custody of our sons, I was handing over $4,000 a month in alimony and child-support payments. That left me with take-home pay of $2,777, barely enough to make ends meet in a one-bedroom rental apartment. Patty had yet to even look for a job.

Found it very hard to read past this paragraph for the reason of my head being filled with visions of these two idiots burning in an eternal lake of fire.

naturally unfunny, though mechanically sound (Pancakes Hackman), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:01 (ten years ago) link

the best part of that photo is the kid on dog in the background

ultra-generic sub-noize persona (Matt P), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:04 (ten years ago) link

little orphan annie back there

ultra-generic sub-noize persona (Matt P), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:05 (ten years ago) link

^yea srsly i didnt even notice that at first

johnny crunch, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:05 (ten years ago) link

guys do you realize what this means? the economic crisis is even affecting rich people! this means it is really newsworthy!! it's like when straight people started getting hiv!!!

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:35 (ten years ago) link

what's a quiddity?

Philip Nunez, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:36 (ten years ago) link

think of the barefoot girls laying on dogs on the porches of brick homes in silver spring, md. x-post

ultra-generic sub-noize persona (Matt P), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:36 (ten years ago) link

“I feel as if I am finally at home,” she exclaimed as soon as we moved into the house. She could settle down and do the things she had always been best at: making a new home, nurturing her children and loving me.

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:38 (ten years ago) link

But eventually:

The frosted-crystal shade on a beloved Italian floor lamp was cracked. The dog had gnawed the leg on her Biedermeier chair.

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:44 (ten years ago) link

The Khaki Class

man, i love collages (J0rdan S.), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:44 (ten years ago) link

Thread of ;_;

Dom P's Rusty Nuts (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:46 (ten years ago) link

I can't really join in on any rich-people schadenfreude here, because it sounds to me like this guy is not of some far-distant social class, and the $4k alimony/child-support + take-home of $2.75k equation actually does sound pretty rough to me -- what's weird about it is to read the contention that this felt like a natural situation to wind up falling into; I suppose at that age and social situation it might, but of the many people I know who take home around that much money a month, I can surely tell you that not that many of them expect homes on it, and I'm not even just talking about the ones in New York.

nabisco, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:52 (ten years ago) link

I mean, judging by that equation we might estimate an income in the general neighborhood of $100k a year, which is certainly pleasant but not some sort of distant class of wealth and privilege whose travails I might comfortably laugh at.

nabisco, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:54 (ten years ago) link

On one hand -- ugh, fuck this guy.

On the other hand, I have to give him credit for a little reality check. I just paid off the last of my credit card debt and I have a fixed rate mortgage, so I need to quit waking up at 4 a.m. and worrying about money.

On the 3rd hand, nice work of him to pull his story together and sell it to W.W. Norton.

resistance is feudal (WmC), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:56 (ten years ago) link

you've got three hands? surely you can swing a book deal out of that.

macaulay culkin's bukkake shocker (bug), Friday, 15 May 2009 00:04 (ten years ago) link

it's true, nabisco - he never really was that rich, especially by the standards of the new york times - but he sure lives and writes like he is. which is of course where the trouble started. getting a monthly keelhaul from the ex didn't help, either - i wonder if he writes about that in his book? - but i think this man's most basic problem was imagining that a take-home of $2500 monthly was enough to buy a half-mil pile. it's enough to make a casual reader think that the financial crisis really is a result of damn fools like him. in any case, this thread isn't for schadenfreude per se - but don't let that stop you - it's a record of what kinds of voices the new york times tends to lean on.

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 00:44 (ten years ago) link

i'm struck by his weaselly evasion of responsibility - despite the mea culpa undertones, he makes his wonderful new lady friend sound like a spendthrift bitch and says that his total lack of financial awareness was a symptom of the "same infection" that brought low the titans of industry. fat chance, ed.

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 00:47 (ten years ago) link

i think this man's most basic problem was imagining that a take-home of $2500 monthly was enough to buy a half-mil pile

not enough OTM in the world for this

butt-rock miyagi (rogermexico.), Friday, 15 May 2009 01:22 (ten years ago) link

loooool @ tracer hand: voice of the underclass

(Palm) springs sprungs (Lamp), Friday, 15 May 2009 01:26 (ten years ago) link

I had assumed we would start by renting a house or an apartment, but it quickly became clear that it was almost easier to borrow a half-million dollars and buy something.

languid samuel l. jackson (jim), Friday, 15 May 2009 01:28 (ten years ago) link

n.e.way: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/garden/14aaron.html

ny times does seem to have a thing for pictures of the sprawled daughters of the leisure class in front of their itlianate mansions

(Palm) springs sprungs (Lamp), Friday, 15 May 2009 01:29 (ten years ago) link

sorry Lamp i missed the part where you had a point

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 09:16 (ten years ago) link

my takeaway from this article is that our "elite" journos are often just as ignorant and greedy as the rest of us humps -- not to mention that i feel a bit smug seeing how shitty the media's coverage of the whole real estate/subprime mess was.

Pull Slinky and Make Me Fart (Eisbaer), Friday, 15 May 2009 14:40 (ten years ago) link

The Khaki Class

lol South

"the whale saw her" (gabbneb), Friday, 15 May 2009 14:45 (ten years ago) link

i don't know crap about this guy, nor do i care, BUT

when i was 22 i dated this very cute but not-very-smart guy. it was long distance, so we wrote a lot of letters (this was in the lol 90s). in one letter he told me that being with me made him feel "quidity". i smugly laughed a little because i figured that he meant "tranquility" and wow was this guy adorable for not being able to use a dictionary. then i looked up the word "quidity" and realized that it was real (although not what he meant, i am 100% sure)

this thread is the first time i have ever actually seen anyone use this word. the end.

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Friday, 15 May 2009 14:46 (ten years ago) link

maybe he was like "wow she thinks my made-up word means something.. what a dim-bulb"

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 15:08 (ten years ago) link

what do you think he actually meant?

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 15:09 (ten years ago) link

pretty sure he meant tranquility, like comfort (i remember this from context, but really this was a long time ago and i can't remember much about the situation aside from this strange misused word)

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Friday, 15 May 2009 15:14 (ten years ago) link

Megan McArdle on the piece. Judge for yourself.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:19 (ten years ago) link

Actually I kind of like her points?

But not someone who should be dead anyway (Laurel), Friday, 15 May 2009 16:28 (ten years ago) link

ya i mean... not really sure why this piece is as contempt-worthy as some are making it out to be. it's kind of brutally depressing.

s1ocki, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:29 (ten years ago) link

It is in a 'there-but-for' sense for sure. Not that I was ever going to try and be an economics reporter for the NY Times, but as time has passed I'm beginning to think the soundest piece of advice I've ever received in regard to writing was something J. D. Considine told me years ago -- 1993 or so -- in response to a random e-mail or two I sent him. He pretty much said, "Freelancing and journalism is very hard work and you should only pursue it on a full-time basis if you are willing to stick to that level." I'm honestly glad I heeded that and I think what you see in both pieces, regardless of whatever else feeds into their respective situations, reflects that.

At the same time, I'm trying to put my finger on what still jars about McArdle's response and it seems to be this sense of keeping up with the Joneses as paramount driving factor/potential excuse. At what point is leisure travelling to Europe, for instance, a 'minimum necessity' -- and I speak as one who's been there a number of times now. Still, I realize it's a sliding scale, says the person who has participated in a CSA thing with a local farmer for some years now.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:37 (ten years ago) link

Literal translation: quiddity = whatness

anatol_merklich, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:43 (ten years ago) link

Ned, I read her response as being more about the foolhardiness of ever thinking ANY of those things are necessities. She seems to be (gently) chiding that whole tendency?

But not someone who should be dead anyway (Laurel), Friday, 15 May 2009 16:50 (ten years ago) link

Yah... she's just sayin' that you hang with people for whom this is true, you wake up with fleas

butt-rock miyagi (rogermexico.), Friday, 15 May 2009 17:17 (ten years ago) link

I think maybe something to add to McArdle's response is that we have this general cultural tendency to view attention as somehow related to money, a connection that really falls apart when it comes to writers of all sorts -- it's very easy to withhold sympathy from people writing about their woes in public, as if they're coming from a position of privilege or just courting attention, but in plenty of cases they don't have much concrete privilege and writing about their experiences is just, you know, work.

he never really was that rich, especially by the standards of the new york times - but he sure lives and writes like he is. which is of course where the trouble started. getting a monthly keelhaul from the ex didn't help, either - i wonder if he writes about that in his book? - but i think this man's most basic problem was imagining that a take-home of $2500 monthly was enough to buy a half-mil pile.

Yeah, exactly -- although if I had to summarize a problem here it would basically be that a middle-aged family-man homeowner with a decent salary expected to continue living like a middle-aged family-man homeowner with a decent salary, even after a divorce that meant the bulk of his income was going to support a family home occupied by other people. This is an unrealistic and dumb expectation to seriously act on -- you'd think that $4k would be a good monthly reminder that situations done changed -- but I can totally have sympathy for the situation itself; that would suck. It would be painful to have to support the family home you used to live in and have to support yourself and your new family on a fraction of what you're earning.

nabisco, Friday, 15 May 2009 17:47 (ten years ago) link

The other thing is that -- while he can't and doesn't come out and say this directly -- his one list of charges makes me suspect a bunch of money was getting borrowed to maintain a certain lifestyle for the kids

nabisco, Friday, 15 May 2009 18:00 (ten years ago) link

I thought he said that very directly just by listing all those expenses! (I note though that he does seem to say even more directly that his wife did that too.)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 15 May 2009 18:02 (ten years ago) link

Haha yeah, I guess the unsayable "direct" thing I had in mind was like "these KIDS were bankrupting us (that's right, Alex, I'm talking about you)"

I was going to jump past boggling at the beach house rental and wonder about the $700 at J. Crew, but I guess if you needed, like, one good suit and some decent sweaters for Christmas presents ... the world really does hold you to your socio-economic status, doesn't it -- even beyond nobody wanting to be the guy who gets divorced and suddenly has to start showing up to work in cheap suits, it'd be tough to be the guy making $100k who's like "I got you a candy bar for Christmas!"

nabisco, Friday, 15 May 2009 18:22 (ten years ago) link

yeah the erm narrative here is anyways at least partly "but banking professionals who should be my Friends and Advisors assured us it would be alright!"?

However fishy such blanket blame is in general, I'm not sure it's entirely misplaced re how things rolled out this cycle. At one point around 2006, I momentarily had a crazy amount of money in my account due to family property reorg stuff, and was by phone promptly invited to an "advisement meeting" with a dude at my bank, who tried to convince me he had the correct %ages I should place my assets in (all mediated by said bank, obv). (I still was in net debt though!) I was all very cynical and noncommittal, which is not due to my deep insight or anything, just because my current boss worked in a bank in the early 00s and has spilled much shit on how those outfits operate(d?). (My fave morsel: the guys who construct the deals don't actually inform the salespeople abt all potential downsides and builtin fees, as this may hurt their sales!)

I don't think this guy deserves much point-and-laugh, btw, though it is obv somewhat funny he writes on economics.

anatol_merklich, Friday, 15 May 2009 18:55 (ten years ago) link

I don't know that that's a big surface narrative, given the "I wasn't duped" and the bit about how a banking professional's refinancing maneuvers actually worked to carve down some debt

nabisco, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:00 (ten years ago) link

it's about even someone who should have known better made some really dumb mistakes, which is always a story worth telling imo

s1ocki, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:11 (ten years ago) link

Literal translation: quiddity = whatness

A weird thing about "quiddity" is that the first definition, "essence", seems to be the opposite of the second definition, "a trifling point". So it can either refer to the essence of something or a minor, trifling detail? Confusing. I have a feeling that it's a word that's rarely used correctly.

o. nate, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:13 (ten years ago) link

my point is that there are hundreds of thousands of people with stories just like this who don't write for the new york times and have six-figure salaries who are perhaps just a leeetle more representative of the mortgage fallout going on right now - my pointing and laughing is at the editors, not this poor schmuck

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:17 (ten years ago) link

well, they wanted a personal, first-perosn story, so going with a new york times writer... kinda makes sense, no?

s1ocki, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:19 (ten years ago) link

he will die at some point

cool app (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 15 May 2009 19:22 (ten years ago) link

That whole thing reads like a sad parody. Also $25/hr for whatever a marketing intern for HR consulting is, is pretty good.

Yerac, Tuesday, 17 July 2018 21:24 (one year ago) link

she seems a bit parasitic at age 21, sure, but think of the valuable contributions she'll soon make to society as a HR marketing consultant

mick signals, Tuesday, 17 July 2018 21:24 (one year ago) link

yeah 25/hr is nothing to sneeze at...

k3vin k., Tuesday, 17 July 2018 21:33 (one year ago) link

xp shit I'm 29 and still use my parents' netflix accounts etc...also I have no income right now

k3vin k., Tuesday, 17 July 2018 21:34 (one year ago) link

I guess I'm starting to think maybe that piece was made up by someone in order to troll rich interns

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 17 July 2018 21:46 (one year ago) link

Can someone explain to me what you possibly get from a $210/mo gym? I pay $60/mo for a NYSC membership and I can go to any club in the area, take a variety of classes if I want, always get the equipment I need, and some locations have nice pools and basketball courts. WTF is worth more than 3x that amount? Do you get a personal masseuse?


no poors.

beard papa, Tuesday, 17 July 2018 22:18 (one year ago) link

ohhhh-oh
i'm conservative
vegan and conservative
i'm a whiny shit in new yorrrrrrk

a Stupendous Leg of Granite (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 23 July 2018 14:50 (one year ago) link

Ms. Porter, who is against abortion rights, was moved.

jmm, Monday, 23 July 2018 14:59 (one year ago) link

(cont.) “I couldn’t believe how inconsistent my belief systems were. I opened the refrigerator and saw milk in there, and I was disgusted,” she said.

Yerac, Monday, 23 July 2018 15:32 (one year ago) link

lol bg

This is a total Jeff Porcaro. (Doctor Casino), Monday, 23 July 2018 15:44 (one year ago) link

The groom in this couple is not only a conservative vegan, he's a conservative vegan from a sufficiently religious family that his parents wouldn't show up to see him marry a Catholic.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 23 July 2018 15:57 (one year ago) link

lmao owned

devops mom (silby), Monday, 23 July 2018 15:58 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Jeet's threadin' again

1. Let's talk about what a cesspool of corruption the New York Times op-ed page has become under James Bennet.

— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) November 22, 2018

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Thursday, 22 November 2018 17:08 (eleven months ago) link

two months pass...

The duo arrived late in the summer, with a rent in the low $4,000s and their parents on the lease. The amenity fee was waived.

there it is, saved for very close to the end - the nyt is such a tease

“I'm the sexy gorilla and I'm going to hell“ (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 24 January 2019 16:02 (nine months ago) link

i love that they just have to be walking distance from Juilliard

(•̪●) (carne asada), Thursday, 24 January 2019 16:06 (nine months ago) link

i think my favourite part is the caption under the picture of their dolls-house-sized living room which reads 'The apartment came with big windows, a kitchen peninsula with seating, and a surprisingly large bathroom'

YES BUT IT COSTS FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH

also the caption omits the kicker from the same line in the story itself, which admits they bisected the living room to make a second bedroom

“I'm the sexy gorilla and I'm going to hell“ (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 24 January 2019 16:12 (nine months ago) link

That reads like such an advertisement for The Max.

Yerac, Thursday, 24 January 2019 16:19 (nine months ago) link

In the winter, they brave the wind whipping from the Hudson as they walk to school. “It is not the best scenic route,” Ms. Pineda said. “But we dancers love walking because we love to find any way to work out and warm up.”

truly they are
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb4C7vSByMM

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 24 January 2019 16:25 (nine months ago) link

seven months pass...

(Not the New Yorker but) they're squeezing some real crocodile tears out of me here:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/sep/19/american-airlines-aairpass-golden-ticket

The Pingularity (ledge), Friday, 20 September 2019 08:11 (one month ago) link

i read the first part of that and i was like 'lol there's no fucking way i'm ever gonna feel sorry for a bear stearns exec who spent a quarter of a million dollars on an infinite amount of an indefensible form of travel and then another $150k to add a second traveller'

“It took away my mobility. It took away my hobby. I thought that I could go to Sweden for the weekend in July and pick up flowers when I was 70.”

“And now?” I ask.

“I can’t do that, can I?”

The Ravishing of ROFL Stein (Hadrian VIII), Friday, 20 September 2019 11:11 (one month ago) link

Ugh I just read that whole thing.

I wonder what % of AirPass purchasers were women. And if they tried to pull any of the entitled shit that guy did.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 20 September 2019 12:02 (one month ago) link

waaaaahhhh i can't go pick flowers on the other side of the world using a form of transport that will all but guarantee there won't BE any flowers there by the time my grandkids are my age waaaaahhhhh

i mean if i'd made a few mill working for gordon gekko in the 80s i could see this happening to me. at a much lower price point, moviepass demonstrated how quickly i might reorient my entire lifestyle if something normally expensive became effectively free. that piece is a slog though - i remember reading one of the exposes a few years back, finding it fascinating, and also it not taking half an hour.

weird ilx but sb (Doctor Casino), Friday, 20 September 2019 12:10 (one month ago) link

xxp I mean tbf this prick was legitimately, literally "entitled" to that ticket and anybody who has ever had to deal w/ American Airlines knows they are straight sinister

the question is were there any women who felt empowered enough to preserve this same absurd entitlement

no good guys here

The Ravishing of ROFL Stein (Hadrian VIII), Friday, 20 September 2019 12:24 (one month ago) link

Idk the whole piece is literally “man relies on airline employees more than his own family and is shocked when the airline realises its a business”. Not only the thing with the flights, but phoning agents up to talk for hours on end?!

gyac, Friday, 20 September 2019 13:50 (one month ago) link

idk, I mean here’s a guy who worked his way up from the bottom of the wallet business his dad bought and now he’s lost everything

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Friday, 20 September 2019 13:52 (one month ago) link

The entitled thing I mean is the shot like booking an extra seat under a falw name so he didn’t have to suffer the insult of a seat mate. In first class.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 20 September 2019 18:17 (one month ago) link

Shit not shot

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 20 September 2019 18:17 (one month ago) link

I mean he was clearly gaming the system, two courts affirmed this, and now he and his family are handwringing that he was robbed of his identity, meaning of his life, etc. also he can obviously go to the Netherlands for flowers on his birthday by buying a ticket, duh. He hasn’t been banned from flying.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 20 September 2019 18:21 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

finally got around to reading this and yikes

mookieproof, Wednesday, 23 October 2019 20:21 (three weeks ago) link

the author is, of course, a tantalizing and refreshing avant garde performer of spoken word poetry who has been mesmerizing audiences for years

mookieproof, Wednesday, 23 October 2019 20:50 (three weeks ago) link

I just feel like complaining somewhere about having been clickbaited by this.

It’s Time to Take Down the Mona Lisa in order to give it its own space

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/06/arts/design/mona-lisa-louvre-overcrowding.html

jmm, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 18:46 (one week ago) link

this doesn't really fit here because certainly the writer is in on the silliness

Don't Excite This Brain
By NELLIE BOWLES

SAN FRANCISCO -- Everything was going really well for the men of Tennessee Street. Women wanted to talk to them, investors wanted to invest, their new site got traffic, phones were buzzing, their Magic: The Gathering cards were appreciating. This all was exactly the problem.

They tried to tamp the pleasure. They would not eat for days (intermittent fasting). They would eschew screens (digital detox). It was not enough. Life was still so good and pleasurable.

And so they came to the root of it: dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in how we feel pleasure. The three of them -- all in their mid-20s and founders of SleepWell, a sleep analysis start-up -- needed to go on a dopamine fast.

''We're addicted to dopamine,'' said James Sinka, who of the three fellows is the most exuberant about their new practice. ''And because we're getting so much of it all the time, we end up just wanting more and more, so activities that used to be pleasurable now aren't. Frequent stimulation of dopamine gets the brain's baseline higher.''

There is a growing dopamine-avoidance community in town and the concept has quickly captivated the media.

Dr. Cameron Sepah is a start-up investor, professor at UCSF Medical School and dopamine faster. He uses the fasting as a technique in clinical practice with his clients, especially, he said, tech workers and venture capitalists.

The name -- dopamine fasting -- is a bit of a misnomer. It's more of a stimulation fast. But the name works well enough, Dr. Sepah said.

''Dopamine is just a mechanism that explains how addictions can become reinforced, and makes for a catchy title,'' he wrote in an email. ''The title's not to be taken literally.''

On a recent cool morning, Mr. Sinka and his start-up co-founder Andrew Fleischer, both 24 years old, were beginning their fast while Alberto Scicali, 26, another founder, managed the start-up from his bedroom.

Mr. Sinka, who has a mop of curly hair, was wearing water shoes and a cable-knit sweater as he did light morning stretching. Mr. Fleischer was reading a book.

A dopamine fast is simple because it is basically a fast of everything.

They would not be eating. They would not look at any screens. They would not listen to music. They would not exercise. They would not touch other bodies for any reason, especially not for sex. No work. No eye contact. No talking more than absolutely necessary. A photographer could take their picture, but there could be no flash.

The number of things to not do is potentially endless.

The ultimate dopamine fast is complete sensory deprivation, like maybe floating in a dark water tank or locking oneself in a closet. But the dopamine fasters of San Francisco do hope to keep existing in the normal world.

''Any kind of fasting exists on a spectrum,'' Mr. Sinka said as he slowly moved through sun salutations, careful not to get his heart racing too much, already worried he was talking too much that morning.

Mr. Fleischer was looking through a textbook of images of chemical compounds and then writing some of them down in his notebook.

''I like to find patterns in chemical compounds, and so I'm going through my books and finding quite a few,'' he said.

That is how he would spend his morning. Later he would move outside to sit and feel the air for a while.

The three of them graduated recently from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where they met and started working together. Their start-up was going through evolutions every few months. It began as a coffee extraction company that turned into a cannabinoid extraction company (much more profitable) that turned into a cannabinoid synthesis for sleep aid that turned into, now, sleep coaching.

Their job is to put their clients in various sleep gadgetry -- the Dreem sleep headset, Oura sleep ring, Withings sleep mat -- and test interventions.

Their apartment is clean and modern with an empty wine fridge and few decorations, save for a ''Breaking Bad'' poster.

Their usual schedule of all day, every day hacking away on different projects was too much. Investors and clients had demands. Their start-up iterations had turned into a real job.

''I'd never thought about fasting work,'' Mr. Sinka said. ''Once there was pressure around work, though, it became less fun, and I thought maybe we'll try fasting work.''

Like a weekend? No, he said, they don't have time to not work for that long.

But fasting from work got them thinking more about fasting everything.

Throughout that day of their dopamine fast, they wandered slowly from room to room. They read. They put on more and more sweaters. The food fasting makes them cold. They went on walks, though these are tricky because they have to avoid needing to ask for anything like water or bathrooms.

''I avoid eye contact because I know it excites me. I avoid busy streets because they're jarring,'' Mr. Sinka said. ''I have to fight the waves of delicious foods.''

Silicon Valley is not the first group to discover that moderating emotions or spending periods trying to feel less can lead to happiness. In their quest, they are moving toward two very old groups: those in silent meditation and the Amish.

Steven Nolt, a professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and the author of ''A History of the Amish,'' said parts of the dopamine fast do echo elements of Amish life.

''Compared with many of the rest of us, you would find Amish emotion to be more muted,'' Dr. Nolte said. ''The idea of limits on life, that there should be limits and yield signs, is a pretty central Amish assumption.''

But ultimately the Amish would not approve of the dopamine fasters.

''They don't have a great deal of confidence in individuals on their own making good decisions,'' he said.

Karen Donovan, who is developing a new Vipassana silent meditation center in Silicon Valley, said she sees this trend as moving closer to the ultimate dopamine fast: sitting on a dark floor with eyes closed for 10 days.

''There's a growing self-awareness of what in Vipassana terms we would call suffering,'' she said.

As the day wore on at Tennessee Street, Mr. Sinka, now wearing a thick vest, continued to hang out at home doing basically nothing.

''Your brain and your biology have become adapted to high levels of stimulus so our project is to reset those receptors so you're satiated again,'' he said.

Mr. Sinka returned to resting.

''Yeah, man, drop down that cortisol,'' Mr. Scicali said as encouragement.

After the fast, Mr. Sinka finds that everyday tasks are more exciting and fun. Work is pleasurable again. Food is more delicious.

''Biology can get hijacked,'' Mr. Sinka said, noting that ''early homo sapiens'' didn't have much in the way of sweets -- blueberries and the like.

Sometimes it is hard or upsetting for people who encounter the Tennessee Street men while they are fasting.

The other day, Mr. Sinka ran into an old friend but had to tell her they could not continue speaking.

''I hadn't seen her in six months, and it was extraordinarily exciting, super-stimulating, and I could feel how excited I was,'' he said. ''So I had to cut it off and I just said, 'Listen, it's not you, it's me, doing this dopamine fast.'''

ت (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 7 November 2019 23:49 (six days ago) link

Cool, tech bros invented the silent meditation retreat.

Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z), Friday, 8 November 2019 00:00 (five days ago) link

Some of them should try that thing where Buddhist monks mummified themselves while alive.

Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z), Friday, 8 November 2019 00:00 (five days ago) link

What is Tennessee Street referring to? Is it metonymical like Wall Street? Is it the name of a company?

mick signals, Friday, 8 November 2019 00:15 (five days ago) link

it's a street that runs through Dogpatch in SF, maybe it's where the start-up is located

Dan S, Friday, 8 November 2019 00:22 (five days ago) link

Cameron Sepah, the quack behind dopamine fasting, is currently throwing a hissy fit in the comments section here (he's "goactualize"): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21478759

Dan I., Friday, 8 November 2019 18:24 (five days ago) link

Actually, that's putting it too strongly, sorry. I got my hackles up

Dan I., Friday, 8 November 2019 18:30 (five days ago) link

he gets sonned a couple of times in there

ت (jim in vancouver), Friday, 8 November 2019 18:33 (five days ago) link

that writer is bari weiss’ gf. speaking of being in on jokes

maura, Saturday, 9 November 2019 17:54 (four days ago) link

feel that rates a heyyooo but i'm on dopamine fast

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Saturday, 9 November 2019 21:51 (four days ago) link

kidding aside this is basically just Stupid Mindfulness right?
which given that Mindfulness is already Stupid Mindfulness just ugh wash them all into the sea...

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Saturday, 9 November 2019 21:52 (four days ago) link

this is surely of a piece with restrictive diets/fasting, no fap, and the like as well? there's a christopher lasch style book or something here to be written about the protestant ethic (asceticism) adapting to a culture of abundance. almost a desperate attempt to rescue a sense of ego or control in the fact of the mounting evidence that we are not in control of our everyday behaviors, let alone our lives in general.

ryan, Sunday, 10 November 2019 16:36 (three days ago) link

disappointing results here
https://hairshirt.com/

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 10 November 2019 16:39 (three days ago) link

great now you've got my dopamine on overdrive

https://hairshirt.com/images/webtuxedo2.jpg

maffew12, Sunday, 10 November 2019 16:56 (three days ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.