I haven’t been having the best of weeks… Monday’s episode of The Bachelor made me lose a measure of faith in what was a truly hideous portrayal of humanity; Tuesday’s State of the Union only compounded this feeling of malaise; and late Tuesday night it was confirmed that Mookie Betts was traded from my beloved Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a bag of baseballs and an IOU voucher good for a 15-minute back rub. Humph. What was interesting about my predicament however is that there was something else, something deeper that was plucking at my peace of mind, so I decided to take a more academic approach to unearthing what this sensation might be. The provenance, maintenance and extension of happiness is one of the most classically debated philosophical contentions. I think for brevity’s sake it will not be necessary to explore the full range of classical thought, however the work of Socrates has been particularly influential in my quest for clarity in the last several days. Here goes:
It was actually Plato who originally recorded the Socratic refrain that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” regardless, I heeded Socrates’s advice that humans cannot be truly happy without introspection of the soul, and began to self-reflect in the hope that I could uncover this mysterious metaphysical malcontent at the heart of my what’s been an interesting week. I reflected on what I had been eating… but surely three consecutive nights of drunken noodles and Tom Kha soup could not result in unhappiness?! It can’t have been a lack of exercise as Cody Rigsby’s XOXO rides have been a fixture in my daily routine. I then angled my reflective attention to this blog and it hit me like a baby (one more time.) Usually not much factual verification is required when making sweeping characterizations of the show’s protagonists, however when it came to Sydney’s sob story, I should have done my due diligence as some gentle digging would have unearthed a Pandora’s box of profligacy surrounding her claims. I blindly trusted her words. I made a spirited appeal to support an anti-bullying cause that would help remedy her fabricated circumstance. She was lying. I unknowingly spread her lies to my loyal readers. And just like that, the discovery that my last Bachelor blog was built on a foundation of falsehoods immediately settled my troubled Socratic soul. How do I remedy this situation moving forward? Yes, I need to check my facts a little better, but this blog also has a new North Star… the life and lies of Sydney Hightower explored. Sydney, you may not know this, but my nickname in high school was “the wildfire” and you better believe I’m coming for your Opera House, your vegemite sandwiches and your abnormally stumpy cans of Foster’s lager! (Koalas are off the hook don’t worry)
The personal sob stories on The Bachelor are an unsavory, albeit necessary part of broader character development that otherwise wouldn’t take place during Instagram influencer boot camp. Sometimes they are a little long-winded, but Sydney’s was very powerful in its simplicity and gravity. That is, until it came out that she hadn’t been bullied in high school and didn’t eat lunch in the bathroom every day as she had claimed… Oh yeah and she was the fucking homecoming queen!! Kelsea Ballerini got it all wrong when she said that “even the homecoming queen cries…” it’s becoming increasingly clear that even the homecoming queen LIES! I never thought I would quote an excerpt from Mitt Romney’s Senate Floor speech announcing his impeachment trial decision in a Bachelor blog, but here goes: “We’re all footnotes at best in the annals of history. But in the most powerful nation on earth, the nation conceived in liberty and justice, that is distinction enough for any citizen.” Sydney, you wouldn’t even make it into the footnotes of my Women, Food and Culture final paper; I am fired up that she’s going home, and in the indelible words of Demi Burnett (feat. The Munchkins): “ding dong the bitch is dead!”
Anyways…. Some other stuff happened in episode 2 of the week
*Insert Bachelor contestant here* can really fuck off, right? I don’t like any of them! That being said, the Bachelor is like pizza. When it’s good it’s good, and when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good, so I guess this season is living up to its billing! This episode got off to a very slow start. At least it’s nice to see that the wider group is still getting on like a house on fire! Starting a conversation with this group by saying: “let’s put this whole thing behind us and move on” is equivalent to dropping a brick of highly reactive Francium into a swimming pool… explosive. It inevitably prompts the re-airing of weeks’ worth of petty grievances and reminds the girls that a) they were fighting in the first place and b) it’s the only thing that makes them feel alive.
Finally, Hannah Ann got her one-on-one date which I was happy about until she started talking about it. “Today could change my life forever. Today I could potentially be falling in love with my future husband” is the kind of line that has bulls from across the country stampeding towards all of the associated red flags. Hannah Ann is doing an increasingly poor job at regulating her outward expressions of affection towards Peter. She did her best Harvey Dent impression, starting the date by saying “I want to save being in love until I find my person” and ending up having to do MAJOR damage control after a little Peter tantrum forced her to say she was falling in love with him. I was pretty disappointed to see Hannah Ann stoop to Victoria F levels and leverage her tears as a means to a rose, but I can only presume she was brushing up on Ovid’s Heroides before her date and took his words exitus acta probat (the outcome justifies the deeds) to heart. She clearly isn’t there to find love, and her seismic shifts in outlook reflect a girl who is developing her survival strategy on the fly.
I don’t know if Hannah Ann has ever had a job that has required her to answer a series of character-based questions (must admit I am not intimately familiar with the Sonic drive-thru recruiting process), but her responses to Peter’s probing questions could use some serious work. Admittedly, Peter needs to ask some slightly less run-of-the-mill questions than “what are your goals,” but Hannah Ann showed about as much agility in her response as Augustus Gloop trying to do the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. It is as if she Googled “how to show ambition in a job interview,” because the “you only catch minnows in the shallows so I want to go deep” line was about as canned as the tuna fish she claims to want to catch!
Quick aside, but is it just me or are most of the one-on-one dates just Peter and his date wandering around a city and then going to dinner? That’s a date that any random scrub could go on, but this is Peter, with an unlimited travel and expenses budget, I want to see some bungee jumping, or sky-diving, or taming komodo dragons with bloody steaks strapped to their bodies, or canvassing for Hillary Clinton write-in votes in rural Mississippi wearing a “sold out arenas you can suck my Prius” T-shirt; Just something that puts the candidates on edge and exposes them to a little danger! To this point it’s been all plane rides, swimming pools and tonsil hockey – need a bit more action!
Peter spends more time wandering around outside than anyone I’ve ever seen. What can he possible be doing out there after he ditches all of his dates? I have a couple of theories: he’s a closet cigarette smoker and is trying to get as many darts in before he has to start piloting planes again; he is an ectothermic being who needs to recharge his juices by basking in the sun/under heat lamps back stage; he hates the girls so much he can’t stand the sight of them for more than 10-minute bursts. Whatever the cause, he seems to take these extended hiatuses from both 1-on-1 dates and the group dates where he just goes AWOL for long stretches at a time. Puzzling.
The soap opera was an excellent group date, although I think that Kelley really stole the show with her hybrid accent, her very spicy Grandma outfit, and some really incredible lines. The accent was nothing short of horrific; like a newly patriated Russian who was forced to read Shakespeare aloud in class. Kind of brutal that they gave her the role of the grandma as well given her relatively old age, but I guess you can’t win them all. She did produce one of the best lines of the season so far in on off-screen interview after having solicited Pedro as his own grandmother. “At the end of the day I think I’m just going to say that incest is best on this one.” Don’t be surprised if Kelley ditches her legal career and becomes the host of the first ever season of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Cest.” Kelley is great. She is still quite a mysterious character, but this is because she doesn’t have an easy-to-remember sob story, and she doesn’t throw herself at Peter every chance she gets. She’s a grown-ass woman, I just sincerely hope she doesn’t end up with Peter or get stiff-armed onto The Bachelorette.
Thank god Victoria P finally got the business from Peter. I was left thinking that it kind of came out of the blue though… Generally, on The Bachelor there is a level of intrigue when it comes to the rose ceremonies but I feel as though this season there haven’t really been any shocking snubs. Victoria F also made a compelling case for getting the boot, although was once again rewarded for her indecision and emotionality with a fuckin’ rose! I can relate to Victoria F’s difficulties in trying to make difficult decisions about Peter on a deeply personal level. I face equivalent indecision every day only hers concerns whether to continue toying with Peter’s heart, and mine is about what to order for dinner when confronted with the seemingly bottomless rabbit hole of New York City Seamless. Chase Rice must be watching this and thanking his lucky stars he dodged the bullet on this one. Both of the Victorias espouse in me the words of German artist Max Liebmann, who remarked when he saw a Brownshirt parade under his window in 1933: “I could not possibly eat as much as I would like to throw up.” Little different circumstances obviously, but the point still stands that these two are highly unpleasant. I am very happy to see the back of Victoria P and hope that Victoria F and her trail of White Lives Matter tears isn’t far behind. (She claims it’s about helping Marlin conservation but how could she be so ignorant/stupid?!)
I wasn’t particularly enchanted by the whole Tammy-Mykenna drama, a feeling that was vindicated when both of them were unceremoniously dispatched at the end of the episode. There were a couple of nice soundbites (“It really makes me sick that people come in here trying to brand themselves,” “You’re not even worth my words girl,” “I’m more madly in love with who I am than anything”) but despite Mykenna self-identifying, through tears, as a strong and unflappable autosexual, nothing else really of note. These two were never going to win so as far as I’m concerned, keep that Ford stuck in the road, good riddance, and I hope you had the time of your life.
A blockbuster week of Bachelor drama. Hope everyone has enjoyed it! Til Tuesday!