Sometimes The New York Times Fashion & Style section provides the funniest read of the day. Not knowing whether the humor is intentional or inadvertent is definitely part of the fun, and only leads to more exclamations of "WHAT!" "NO!" "Are they serious?!?!" Today, the Grey Lady may well have produced its most hilarious piece of all time. As tens of thousands of people in the New York area wait for temporary housing to arrive, a remarkable piece entitled "Sandy Five" was posted. It told the story of the amount of unhealthy eating that occurred during the storm, using the words of survivors to provide a first-hand glimpse into the horror.
The general formula for this, and the other articles linked above, is the writer finds a minute cultural trend that everyone is vaguely aware of, and then somehow tracks down and quotes people who either have an incredible flair for the dramatic or are simply incredibly apt at giving quotes that are fundamentally narcissistic and self-indulgent. As the reader, and with a little help from the author, it's quite obvious the subjects thought the wisdom of their words would echo through the canyons of culture, and a good laugh is had by all. Some choice excerpts below.
“'I can’t even talk about it — my jeans do not button,' said Emily Marnell, 31, a publicist who cited both boredom and anxiety as a reason she fell victim to odd, middle-school-kid cravings for junk food after her Gramercy Park apartment went dark. 'I went through Duane Reade and was grabbing Double Stuf Oreos, whole milk, Twix, Twizzlers, Sour Patch Kids,'” she recalled in horror."
"Amber Katz, a beauty writer who lives on East 23rd Street and made daily forays north for a shower and a hot meal, said: 'I have never eaten more fries in my life than I have during this week. It was every day. I had places to go during the day, but my friends uptown weren’t forthcoming with invites to stay overnight, even for one night. I was looking for comfort.'”
"'It was kind of like the movies,” [Amber] Lavinthal said, sheepishly. “What you eat in the dark doesn’t count. I’ve never been so grateful for my jeggings,' she added."
While talking about the Sandy Five, Alex Williams, the author, acknowledges that this is an unprecedented disaster that have left untold lives devastated, and I do think that the main goal of this piece is to find some humor and shallowness that we can all relate to amidst a spiral of bad news and misery. Some of the best lines are the author's own exaggeration of the bizarre and ultimately inconsequential situation: "Times Square, with its teeming chain restaurants, suddenly looked as intoxicating as Montparnasse to beleaguered residents of Chelsea and SoHo, so on forays there, they partied with End of Days abandon." But there is definitely truth in here about how the majority of people who didn't truly suffer felt during Sandy. No one knew when stores would open, or if the power would go out, or how long it would remain out. I tried to plan out four days worth of meals while shopping, but ended up eating all the jerky while it was still drizzling on Monday, and ran out of booze by Tuesday night. Perhaps the best part of this piece is that it holds up a mirror to ourselves, except instead of not liking what we see we get to laugh at others.