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.
Aug. 25 2006 3:07 PM

Weekend Cocktail Chatter

Slate's handy guide to small talk.

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

A rumored shortage of review copies of Spy: The Funny Years has led to its being a very hot commodity in certain circles, so you may find yourself on the receiving end of some unwanted flattery if you were one of the lucky few to have a copy land on your desk. If you happen to be throwing a soiree this weekend, take it out for limited, supervised viewing, and regale your guests with tales of that crazy weekend with Graydon back in the late '80s.

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You wanted the new Outkast movie to be good, you really did. Alas.

The artistically inclined may add their own experiences to Rachel Donadio's essay about Yaddo and MacDowell in last weekend's New York Times Book Review. (N.B.: If you have ever had an affair with one of your guests, now is probably not the time to bring up this article.)

On the Left Coast, everyone will presumably be discussing the Tom Cruise-Sumner Redstone showdown, which may start to eclipse the Tom-Cruise-jumped-on-Oprah's-couch story and the does-Tom-Cruise's-baby-really-exist story and the Tom-Cruise-is-a-crazy-Scientologist-who-got-an-episode-of-South-Park-censored story as the Tom Cruise story du jour. Really, who can keep up?

Express righteous indignation at the new racist season of Survivor.

Unless there are former cast members or writers at your party, there's really no need to discuss the recent housecleaning at Saturday Night Live, since no one in attendance has watched the show since Alec Baldwin's sixth guest appearance. That French teacher skit? Genius.

Not up for discussion: John Mark Karr, Pluto, trend pieces.