Haters Gon Hate
Have you ever seen Wonder Boys, the movie based on the book by Michael Chabon? In the first scene, it takes you inside a grad school fiction workshop, where various students undercut each other through passive-aggressive critique. It is utterly painful and also rings true (as far as we’ve heard, having never experienced the masochistic impulse to seek out graduate studies, let alone the studies themselves). Inevitably, one student will be more successful than the others, and the others will no doubt, in most instances, begrudge them that success. Of course, it is uncouth to publicly begrudge one success, so most people will just go about this in the most passive and cowardly way possible.
This time last year, The Observer looked at the bicycle mania seizing the city, which seemed to be the last great culture war of a transformed, civilized, infantilized New York. Even Woody Allen hates them.
Perhaps we gave the cyclists too much credit, as none other than Bicycling magazine is pointing the finger squarely at the two-wheeled set for many of the on-street whoas engulfing the city.
Mental Health Week
An antiseptic departure for shock jock David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method is a psychological tug of war between the father of modern psychiatry, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortenson), and his disciple Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) over the mind and sex of an overwrought mental patient named Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a mad Russian with a craving for spanking. Whacking her on her naked bottom must have worked. She ended up, years later, analyzing patients of her own. Too bad she didn’t also analyze this movie. It would have saved so much wasted time.
A grim 1912 period piece set in a mental clinic in Vienna at the dawn of 20th century enlightenment, the movie flirts with the peculiar relationship between novice Jung and mentor Freud while they both flirt with the same patient, but aside from Ms. Knightley’s lurid whupping without her panties on, nothing ever happens. The “dangerous method” in the title refers to the experiment by both analysts to radically treat the same female patient by taking her to bed. Not very scientific, but very, very talky.
Recently, a woman entered taxi driver Marc Preven’s cab just outside of FAO Schwartz on Madison and East 60th with her “son,” a Jack Russell terrier. “She tells me, ‘It’s his birthday,’” Mr. Preven recalled. “Then she says that every year on his birthday she takes him to FAO Schwarz to pick out a toy. This year the dog picked out a Paul Frank plush monkey. But you know, that’s not even weird to me anymore—it’s like, don’t all dogs get to go to FAO Schwarz on their birthday and pick out a birthday toy?”
In 1936, Karen Horney, a Neo-Freudian psychoanalyst who once had an ill-fated affair with pioneering social psychologist Erich Fromm, published what was then the definitive work on neurosis, The Neurotic Personality of Our Time. Naturally, she was a New York City resident at the time. (Brooklyn, actually.)