1990s · Ben Stiller · Comedy · Film · Journalism · Music · Social demography · Socie Dinner Party · Texas

Socie Dinner Party, Part II. Or, Michiganders ain’t Texans. Or, the healing properties of cinema . . . and Texas.

Monday, March 13 – Thursday, March 16, 2017
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Just another manic Monday  . . .

Last night, I attempted to debate the virtues and shortcomings of one of my favorite movies, Reality Bites. It’s full of great jokes and irony, but my conversational partner couldn’t see any of that. I think you need to have to: (1) have grown up in metro Houston, Texas (as I did); and/or (2) be non-cis gender; and/or (3) become a sociologist (social demographers count); and/or (4) become a comedian to understand what this movie sets out to achieve.

Here’s a couple diagrams I made to facilitate an intersectional analysis of Reality Bites (1994):


Figure 1. A rough sketch of the intersectionality of Reality Bites (1994)


Figure 2. A well thought out intersectional analysis of Reality Bites (1994)

Showtime 9:30 PM (UTO -5)


Conspicuous consumption is oozing like primordial slime throughout this movie. The movie is an enigma–you know, a Twinkie wrapped in a riddle. OK, maybe it isn’t an enigma, but it’s ironic. It’s Seinfeld-ing along right around the time that Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David premiered The Seinfeld Chronicles. This was before irony had been packaged for mass consumption. Know who else is connected to Seinfeld? Ben Stiller by way of his comedic genius father, Jerry. This was the year that Forest Gump cleaned up at the Oscars because . . . going full-retard used to be Oscar worthy. Speaking of which . . . going full fag and AIDSy at the Oscars does the same thing. No offense, Tom Hanks. E’eybody loves you.

It was also the year that reality TV took a foothold in the American subconscious. Remember Pedro from The Real World? He was living with HIV; something we’ve adopted about the brand of HIV/AIDs in 2017. AIDs wasn’t always small potatoes. It used to kill gay men by the tons (isn’t that how you measure a group of gay men? Tonnage, right?). It was called Gay-related immunodeficiency syndrome (GRIDS). Right around that time, the DSM still included homosexuality and recommended some wicked, fresh cures.

What in the actual fuck, U.S.? AIDs still kills. You know that, right? Dial into Botswania’s blogosphere sometime to see how people live outside of the U.S. Then, feel relief as you google Sweden and figure out that Swedes live for like ever. Also, they don’t have this little suicide problem that Asia and the U.S. have. What White Man’s Burden? This shit is so good.

Anyway, this is a feel-good movie right? I decided to try the conversation with Dylan once more. Doing it this afternoon; better brush my teeth soon.


Valedictorian Speech, indicates prestige, power, privilege (read: legitimacy)
Early 1990s, a simpler time–not really
Rice University, an overpriced liberal arts school 
Houston, TX (upward mobility due to oil)

High Rise Rooftop (conspicuous consumption)
Houston, TX





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