Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Arts, entertainment, and more.
July 7 2006 2:50 PM

Weekend Cocktail Chatter

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

Slateoffers a quick and easy guide to help you fake your way through overly cultured cocktail parties this weekend.

People have been talking about Chris Anderson's "long-tail" concept ever since he wrote his famous article in Wired two years ago, but now that the book is finally out, there seem to be some rumblings that perhaps his theory's a bit too neat. Oh, and the idea has actually been around since 1980. But never mind—best-seller list, here we come!

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While everyone else at your gathering is debating the merits of Reeve vs. Routh, top them all by mentioning that you saw Krrish, a Superman-like movie direct from Bollywood. What's a good superhero movie without some song-and-dance numbers, after all?

Wear black and a 10-gallon hat to any parties this weekend in honor of Johnny Cash's final studio album, American V, which was released Tuesday; avoid looking at his possibly blasphemous MySpace page.

Pretend you knew who Amanda Congdon was before the news of her resignation-slash- firing from Rocketboom hit the papers. Sprinkle your conversation with words like "vlog," "MSM," and "convergence."

Watch the World Cup Final, if you must. But try to maintain a shred of dignity—avoid wearing team jerseys and/or wrapping yourself in a flag. Your barmates thank you.

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If anyone at your party is partially responsible for keeping the Times' Modern Love column about Shamu atop the most-e-mailed list, they are to be escorted immediately to the door and made to read The Rules as penance. 

Gather 'round the telly on Sunday evening to watch the first of the "lost" episodes of Chappelle's Show. Drinking scotch will help you get through the uncomfortable bits.

Emmys, yawn.

Professional armchair philosopher Alain de Botton wants to build an "enlightened" development in London based on the principles outlined in his new book, The Architecture of Happiness. You have long since decided that happiness is overrated. Drink another scotch.

Forbidden topics: Suri Cruise, organic hot dogs, Ken Lay.