Sex Degrees of Separation

We, Em & Lo, worked with and are friends with (and Lo was apt-mates with) Jessica Baumgardner, who married Irad Eyal, which is our connection to the new book “Sex Degrees of Separation.” Irad has just turned his unhealthy obsession with celebrity hook-ups into an exhaustive encyclopedia that combines the idea of “six degrees of separation” and the game “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” with an emphasis on romantic ties and bodily fluids. Any “Us Weekly” subscriber (that would be Em) will be awed and amazed by the scope of this book, which includes extensively diagrammed connections between everyone from Paris Hilton to Diddy to, yes, Kevin Bacon. The graphic designers must be relaxing in a mental institution after this complicated project, which Irad compares to untangling a thousand iPod headphones that have been in your bag for a week. Em knows what guilty pleasure reading she’s bringing to the beach this weekend.

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  1. LOL. Got it. Yes, there are some games that are better left played by professionals. At least they’re compensated for the infamy.

  2. Maybe I’m just riled up because of a traumatic memory:

    Back in high school a friend of mine had the bright idea to play “sex degrees of separation” with people in our class. The game built steam, and I was soon outed as having gotten a BJ from the most promiscuous girl in school, which, for some purile reason, I had lied to my girlfriend about. She was jealous and angry at me.

    I will try to examine this topic more dispassionately.

  3. You’re right about the Paris Hilton vs. State Budget knowledge but you could just as easily say that people know more about their nephews and nieces than they do about the Attorney General (quiz for readers– name him in 3… 2… 1…). Celebrities are part of our family. We root for them, we’re ashamed by them, and we’re in all their business.
    That’s what the evolutionary psych article was about. Since we’ve lost our extended neighborhood and familial connections, a celebrity is the stand-in we all agree to gossip about like our slutty aunt or uncle.

  4. Ok, touche. I’ve eaten chicken nuggets and liked it. But it’s an indulgence, not a vice. Unlike the average 250 lb American, I eat chicken nuggets once in a blue moon. Most folks subsist on it entirely. Take one look at Americans, and it’s plain to see: they don’t know what’s good for them, and have a strong preference for what’s worst for them. Same with celebrity gossip. I guarantee you the average American knows more Paris Hilton’s sex life than they do about their state budget, or their nation’s relationship to it’s allies and foes. I just have a problem with that. Although I guess other people’s consumption choices won’t be any of my business for at least another few years, when my fellow countrymen are too obese and dumb to get anything done and I have to move.

    As for ev psych, I consider it interesting in afor-entertainment-purposes-only kind of way. I take it about as seriously as, say, astrology. Seems people always bust that out when they want a genetically-supported excuse for low behavior. Like how seduction community guys say they cheat on their girlfriends because of their deep-rooted cave man impulses. I just don’t buy it.

  5. Johnny, admit that you’ve eaten a Chicken McNugget and liked it!

    Seriously though, your rant disguises an interesting question— why are we so into celebrity sex gossip? Evolutionary psychologists think we really care about celebrities having BABIES and that the sex is just the precursor to that. Check out this article:

  6. Ah jeez. As if Americans weren’t dumb and nosy enough already, now they can buy a book about the sex lives of people they don’t know. This is the intellectual equivalent of McDonald’s.

    I can’t for the life of me imagine why anyone would care about this, let alone spend money on it. For shame.

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