Beth Mann's Blog

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Beth Mann

Beth Mann
Long Beach Island, New Jersey, USA
November 11
Hot Buttered Media
I'm a writer and creative consultant. I have years of experimental comedy and strange theater under my belt. I surf. I cook. I love wine, men and song. And puppies. I effin' love puppies.

DECEMBER 17, 2011 7:24PM

7 Things I'm Suprised I DON'T Like

Rate: 38 Flag

Because of the popularity of our last Open Call, Alysa Salzberg (of Alysa Salzberg fame) and I decided to join forces once again and compose a complementary list to 7 Things I'm Surprised I Like.

Here goes:

1. Zebras

I love animals. LOVE them. They make me believe in God and everything good. They are pure life and goodness. But for some reason, zebras leave me scratching my head. I just don't...get them. Are they horses? What do they do?

2. Billie Holiday

I should so love Lady Day. She sings with that world weary pathos that should emotionally resonate with me. But ugh...that swoopy, dippy voice. Frankly, I've never understood why she's even known as a good singer. (I know - blasphemy.)

3. Champagne

I love booze! We go way back. I've visited the Champagne region in France and drank some of the best in the world. And I like celebratory drinks, where glasses go clink. But I do not like champagne. Just says headache to me.

4. My One Friend who Shall Remain Nameless

She's been my friend for a long time. We've shared a lot of good times. But she doesn't listen all that well. And whenever she does, I feel like she judges me on this very subtle, almost barely perceptible, level. So when I get off the phone with her, I often feel crappy.

It's this vague feeling of disapproval or condescension. Or worse, boredom or distraction. Then sometimes I think its me and not her. So she remains my friend until she does something obvious.

5. Snowboarding

(above) Not me.

Because I surf, people enthusiastically push snowboarding on me. "You'll love it! It's just like surfing." No, I won't. It's just not my sport. I picked my sports and its not one of them.

6. Mad Men

I love good television. It really inspires me. And I know Mad Men is supposed to be "great" or whatever. But I never plan on watching it. It's just too pretty and I have a feeling it will annoy me for some reason.

As Alysa pointed out in her comments, I have a feeling the misogyny quotient would be too high for me to overlook (and trust me, I have to overlook it a lot in many television shows and movies.)

7. Theater

Oh god strike me down for this: I hate theater! And guess what? I studied it at a university for years. I'm a trained actor. But if you want to see me slip into a protective comatose state, put me in a cramped, hot theater with a play that is entirely too long. That says hell to me.

Plus theater has sucked for a long, long time. It's an empty art at this point. It's too constrained and sanitized. When I'm forced to go, I treat it like a good deed - like giving blood or going to church or something. But the whole time, I'm dying a million deaths.


8. Seinfeld

I should love it. It broke the mold, etc and so forth. I know funny pretty damn well and everyone thinks the show is funny.
But it always seemed a little too dry to me (like Letterman). And Jerry is a crappy actor. And he seems like a dick in real life. If its a show about nothing, then they succeeded.
Now Curb your Entusiasm, I like. It was a bit abrasive at first but it grew on me. The guy is very committed. 
Larry David in a great scene from a Woody Allen movie:

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Thank you for not liking Seinfeld. I've felt so alone with that.
Beth, I love your list! The zebra thing cracks me up - "Are they horses? What do they do?" Haha! Have you seen that zebra/donkey hybrid animal? I'd be curious to know what you think of it! I'm also thrilled to see that someone else doesn't like champagne! Like you, I've been to Champagne, and like you, I still don't get it! People get so puzzled when you say you don't want any, don't they? It's so frustrating! On the friend thing, I hear ya, I have a friend or two that makes me feel that way on occasion. And I don't surf or snowboard but if I had to choose, I think I'd go with surfing; I love the ocean and perhaps blindly trust it, but the idea of hurtling down a mountain in any matter scares the crap out of me! I can totally understand why a person might like one but not the other. I tried watching "Mad Men" but thought it glorified mysogyny. I get like that sometimes and I think it's narrow-minded, so I'd like to try to watch another episode sometime, but all that to say, yeah, you might find it annoying. And theater! Right on! The only theater I like is Shakespeare (done in a more or less traditional way) and Oscar Wilde. I've read and fallen in love with lots of other plays, but seeing them performed I'm just like, "What the hell is going on here?" It all seems so FAKE and over-the-top! Which is why I like opera - no one's asking you to believe that there's anything remotely realistic or subtle about opera.

And about "Seinfeld"...I am shocked! Shocked! But you made me laugh so much about the zebra that I'll forgive you :-)
Zebras are sooo beautiful. Very interesting list, Beth. ~r
Whoa, I went crazy on that comment, but your list delighted me so much! Also, I forgot to thank you for the way you presented me: "Alysa Salzberg, of Alysa Salzberg fame", with the link to my blog. I laughed and laughed.
I also never liked Seinfeld. good read.
I never liked "Seinfeld," either, although I like *Seinfeld*, if you know what I mean. But I can't stand Larry David, honestly. And I'm right there with you on champagne; I just don't get it.
Whew. I thought #7 was going to be "vaginal."

Re #8: I've never gotten "Curb Your Enthusiasm." It always seemed like "Seinfeld" with fewer punch lines.
I don't like your friend, either, for what it's worth. I have an acquaintance who does the same thing. It's a tone and timing thing, delaying or withholding the necessary murmur of sympathy, enthusiasm or approval. I want to say, "Yeah, well, fuck you, too," but I don't, because we're friendly acquaintances and go back a ways - not the kind of asshole buddies who insult each other for fun. We should probly have had a down and out fistfight early on and then it wouldn't matter.
I agree, Seinfeld was overrated. Seriously, how coincidental was it that every week the characters stories just happened to overlap? I only watched it because I was in heavy flirt mode with a woman at the time and she loved the show. Something to talk about every Friday. And I listed Seinfeld as one of my worst show endings ever.
Good read.
That’s great because I didn’t get Seinfeld either and I agree with you he seems a dick and you’re right he can’t act.
About your friend she leaves me feeling flat; I know someone like that too there is always an undertow that leaves one feeling sapped.
Beth Mann a surfer.... too awesome. I agree with several but I can't help but love Billie Holiday.

Things that I'm surprised that I don't like....

Wilco - great music... the one guy's voice? Kill me now. Totally irrational too - he's not that bad - I just can't stand it for some reason.

Grey's Anatomy - Sandra Oh. One of my favorite actresses ever. That show? You can't f***ing be serious?

Anderson Cooper. He's got trust fund punk ass bitch written all over him.

That's all for now...
Snowboarding sounds like fun. Zebras are strange. Your "friend" sounds lousy. I would give her the boot.

Interesting to see how many didn't like Seinfeld and curb your enthusiasm.Like Phylliss 45, I thought I was alone on that.
Sienfeld had some humor but I couldn't stand it. I have uncles like Jerry and George Costanza and wasn't amused by seeing such narcissistic shmucks.
I saw one episode of curb your enthusiasm and Larry David just seemed so miserable and rotten. Blech.

Fun open call.
Shows about New Yorkers who think that everything reference point revolves around them and NY; boring.
Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow label is so good... cheaper does say headache.
Skiing in general, I have lost the desire to spend that much in preparation and equipment. to blow out my knees? used to love it.
Fun list.
lol..."Alysa Salzberg (of Alysa Salzberg fame)"
Great list. Your sense of humor is priceless.
I am with you on champagne and Mad Men. Yuck to both.
Seinfeld was annoying. Everyone else would laugh and laugh, and I'd think "why is that funny? yeah, yeah, I get it, but why's it funny?"
I think I was born with an underdeveloped sense of humor, and going about life has not enriched it much.
Lady Day though, mmm, so not with you on that one. I can remember the first time I heard Strange Fruit. Goosebumps, and slack jawed.
I found out in reading Guns, Germs and Steel that zebras are completely different from horses. They have absolutely nasty dispositions and cannot be domesticated.

Gotta disagree with you completely on theater. You probably know too much about theater and can never just enjoy it--you're too busy analyzing and critiquing. I don't know what you consider new. It's probably nothing I've seen, so couldn't dispute. There's a Phoenix youth theater called Greasepaint that staged Rent high school edition a couple years ago, and it was utterly fantastic. In another month they will be performing Les Miserables. I think I can get a ticket for $10. Can't beat that. This is a troupe of kids ages 14-20, all intensely committed to their careers. The talent is breathtaking to behold. I get to go so seldom that ennui will never stand a chance.
I've never watched a single episode of Seinfeld, or of Mad Men. Everything I know about them was through hearsay, but none of it was enough to make me turn on the TV and watch.

I love these sorts of lists and found this one unique and interesting.

I agree on the champagne and snowboarding, but am not too familiar with some of the other things. As far as number four goes, I had a friend like that too, but after 30 years she turned her back on me. Maybe these people aren't friends after all.

I'm not sure about zebras but they're very beautiful. I know some folk who aren't and are pretty useless too.
Seinfeld? Really? Not a day goes by when I can't relate to an episode of the show. Having spent many a winter break in sunny Florida with my grandparents (early-bird specials, cadillacs, the pull-out sofabed, lack of air conditioning) and now my parents, in their "Del Boca Vista" like communities, and, quite frankly, growing up Jewish in the NY area, much of the comedy (like Woody Allen's) seemed aimed directly at us.

Yes, Jerry was one of the worst actors to have a starring role in a sitcom. And yes, the last episode was horrific. The overall body of work, however, cements the show as one of the best of all-time. And the masturbation episode is, quite possibly, the single best episode of comedic genius ever to grace the small screen.

Other than that, I have no problem with the rest of your list.
You don't dig zebras? Lezlie is going to be desolate!
Yep. Never got Seinfeld, so thanks for that. Haven't been to a play in years -- the last time was at Stratford for Julius Caesar -- but I still read Shakespeare for kicks.
Chanpagne. Ugh.

Theatre. Ugh. Ugh.

Seinfeld. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Zebras. Connot be explained by Darwin's theory of natural selection.
I will happily drink your good champagne. Ditto your opinion on Seinfeld. Theatre ..... I've seen some exhilarating theatre over the years. I've also walked out at intermission on a lot of crap, including a wretched production of Waiting For Godot. The older I get the more I realize that the vast majority of any form of art is, at best, pretty good, far from great. 99% of art produced during any time period will be (rightfully) forgotten within a generation or two.
I'm with you on the champagne. If I drink champagne at a gathering it means I want to leave. I drank too much once at a wedding reception and fell out a first story window onto a rose bush.
Theater? Well, yes. My son was an actor in Chicago and is now in grad school for playwriting because he hated most of the plays he was in and auditioning for...even when he was in one at The Goodman. When he writes his incredible play that will make audiences roar with laughter while thinking deeply about their inner complexities I will send you a PM.
It seems to me that zebras have been totally overexposed in zoos, children's books, stuffed animals, etc. We're supposed to think they're mythic and mystic like unicorns or something and we all *know* they don't have the super magic powers of unicorns.
Beth, you're a champagne girl after my own heart!

Regarding #4-- why wait until she does something obvious? Isn't being judged on every level more than enough? Go with your gut girl and do yourself a big favor. Purge yourself of this toxic friend. Toss her out like meat gone rancid. Real friends are truthful without being judgmental. Real friends accept you for who you are. You should never go away feeling crappy and misunderstood.

Start your New Year off clean and light. Dump that bitch and then toss back some bubbly.
OMG. I have a frenemy, too, and never know where I stand with her. Also, I'm super suspicious of zebras, especially after having read "The Art of Racing in the Rain."
Great list. I've only seen Seinfeld on DVDs my friend gave me, but I've never laughed out loud. Not laughing out loud = not funny.
@alsoknownas: I once fell off a chair on my porch into some boxwoods, but out the WINDOW!?!? Man, I'd love to have been there to see it.
You write up your list quite amusingly Beth. Poor zebras. They're just as their creator made them. Of course I don't agree on everything but I'll take especially strong exception to Champagne. If cost were no object I'd switch from beer.
Duh. I just now realized these were 7 things you're surprised you don't like. Shit, I'm getting so slow on the uptake in my older age. You're not a champagne girl, but you're still a girl after my own heart. I think it's the Jersey thing.
How do you feel about okapis? Those critters are totally put together from random parts, but I like that. Like found art, only biologic. I've never tried snow boarding, but I don't like snow. It's cold and wet, yet the air around it is dry and static-y. Madmen, though, I like. The misogyny is conscious. It's ridiculed. I remember that shit. Watching that show makes me glad it's now and not then.
Re: #1; Hey!!!!!!!!!!

Everybody knows we zebras are VERY versatile. I happen to be one that writes. What's not to get? :D
I love these lists you both have come up with! I did like Seinfeld, but more for the ensemble cast than the content.

Champagne is overrated. So is most theater. (I'm really glad not to be alone on that one.)

I'm almost embarrassed to say it, but...I hate Woody Allen.

And I hear you on the Seinfeld thing. Do you like Breaking Bad?

Best show ever on TV.
I don't really like Billie Holiday either, although I feel like I should. I dislike her singing for the same reasons I dislike Morrissey's -- same five note range in every song, dodgy pitch. I will never be cool now.