Monthly Musings: 4 October 2021

This month I watched a Kiwi cosy crime series, read a book about modern romance, and listen to podcasts on the same theme.

Dear Subscribers, 

This month I watched a Kiwi cosy crime series, read a book about modern romance, and listen to podcasts on the same theme. 

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I have a weakness for the cozy crime genre, something I am sure I have written here before. To my surprise, the Kiwis have done a good job of it with the series “Brokenwood Mysteries” which you can watch now on ABC iview. 

As is the nature of the cozy crime it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The main characters include Detective Inspector Mike Shepherd a classic car driving country music enthusiast, the sensible second in command Detective Kristin Sims, the not-so-tough guy Detective Constable Sam Breen, and the eccentric Russian medical examiner Dr. Gina Kadinsky.

What makes the show endearing is that the detectives are not the only characters that return show after show. The usual cozy crime format (think Midsommer Murders) has a repeat cast of detectives, their families and their colleagues, but the suspects and witnesses change in each episode. Whereas the ‘small town feel’ of Brokenwood is created by having a recurring cast of neighbourhood characters from the charming and mischievous Jared, gossipy older woman Mrs Jean Marlowe, and Frankie "Frodo" Oades who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The publican, defence lawyer, pharmacist and reverend are all returning characters as well. 

Have to give it to the Kiwis, they have taken the British genre and done it justice. I would recommend this series to anyone with a fondness for a cozy crime.

I have been reading a book by #Metoo-ed comedian Aziz Ansari - “Modern Romance” - ironically enough. It is somewhat out of date, even though it was only released in 2015. This space has moved so fast. The trends found in 2015 have accelerated since then and then accelerated even faster recently as COVID-19 has made online dating the online form of dating. 

That is another thing that has changed since the book was written is the sheer number of apps available. In 2015 it was Tinder that was the app. But now there are other hugely popular apps such as Bumble and Hinge. All these apps have a slightly different focus but the selection by swipe has remained. 

It also touches on different cultures and how a change in social norms and technology has impacted them. The most noteworthy, and well known, example is Japan and the so-called Herbivore men:

“Going in, one of the notions I was most curious about was the “herbivore man.” This is a term that has become ubiquitous in Japan over the past few years to describe Japanese men who are very shy and passive and show no interest in sex and romantic relationships. Surveys suggest that about 60 percent of male singles in their twenties and thirties in Japan identify themselves as herbivores.”

Japan in many ways could be the future if some of the pandemic romance trends keep trending. Where real-life opposite-sex interactions (particularly of the spontaneous variety) go the way of the dodo. The over-reliance on apps to meet our match is troubling both for men and women as many of the statistics play out - something I have written about at length in the first issue of Mathilde Magazine. 

The other aspect of technology is that it gives new avenues for which all the problems of past relationships can manifest - but on a massive scale. Instead of comparing yourself and your relationship to all the ones in your village, Instagram serves up an infinite amount of photos of the best alternative partners (or your replacements) and the happiest relationships from all over the world. 

I have been listening to the FreshnFit podcast to keep on the pulse of the manosphere as I tend to be interested and writing a lot in this area at the moment. I can’t help but think that a lot of the crap advice is simply a blunt instrument to defend against modern dating problems. Take the advice in the video below on how to tell if a girl is long term material, one of which is that she will delete her social media accounts for you. 

Everyone is lost navigating the norms between the sexes when they change so rapidly and the interaction tools are constantly being upgraded. This leaves a lot of room for people to sell ways to exploit or game the system. Some of these are useful, some of them not so much. 

Personally, I am more inclined to the view expressed by Brett and Heather that perhaps we need to just resurrect things from the past that worked but update them to a modern context. 

Men and women have been getting together for thousands of years (else none of us would be here) it can’t be quite this difficult, yet we have, in our hubris, done away with many tools that help previous generations like partner dancing, or thinking about love as companionship or classical ways rather as a quest so import and that the person you marry has to be ‘the one’. 

This week it is James Bloodworth as both podcast host and guest that is my pick for this week. He hosts a podcast called The Modern Dating Economy, which can be accessed here:

https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/the-modern-dating-economy-james-bloodworth-1JM7NDohO_I/

But more recently he was on the Modern Wisdom podcast on the same topic:

This discussion is a nice addition to the book as it explored how things have progressed in the past 6 years (since the above book was written) and how dating apps have changed everything when it comes to dating - not least as the name suggests - suddenly dating is quantifiable and data-driven.

One of the episodes on the James’ podcast that stands out is the one on incels (https://podcastaddict.com/episode/125409821) and how just ‘just lift bro’ is bad advice. In general, so much of the advice (and also the problems) of yester-year are becoming out of date.

If you have some spare time and want some background on what is happening on these apps this conversation between Jordan B Peterson and Rob Henderson is a must listen.

That’s this month’s musings.

Best wishes,

Dara