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I’ve gone easy on The New York Times as of late. They’ve had a lot on their hands lately — our President, my future-doppelgänger Steve Bannon, and praising Lena Dunham and Lin-Manuel Miranda. I get it. Being The New York Times is tough. Real tough.
But when duty calls, I answer. It was in a DM that someone sent me this gem of a marriage announcement, the worst of which we’ve seen in months.
I present to you Brit Janeway Benjamin and Patri Aaron Friedman. Normal names on the surface, yes. But their story is more insufferable than their names would indicate.
I’ve omitted the first half of their wedding announcement for reasons I’ll explain right now: it’s evident that they gave a very normal backstory in hopes of people clicking out of that tab, but the second half is where they really showed how granola-y they are.
As always, the original announcement is in blockquotes below. Enjoy.
Ms. Benjamin recalled Mr. Friedman came across as “a character” with “a strong presence” in 2011 as he interviewed her for a job at the Seasteading Institute.
“He leaned as far back as he could go in his chair in these crazy pants with his arms crossed,” she said, and wore a T-shirt that said “I Am John Galt” (a nod to the hero of the Ayn Rand novel “Atlas Shrugged’’) and wild yoga pants with flames, moons and stars.
Oh dear God. It’s like they read the original most-hipster-marriage-announcement-ever and thought to themselves, “Alright, how can we outdo them?”
I know I can’t talk because I wear a blogger tuxedo (joggers, technical t-shirt, quarter-zip) to work every day, but what goes through your mind when you’re working somewhere and the person interviewing you is wearing yoga pants with flames, moons, and stars on them? Like, that person signs your paychecks.
I guess it makes more sense when you actually Google what “seasteading” is, which I’ve done for us: “Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government,” per the Seasteading Wikipedia page.
Goddammit. We’re really in for it this time.
“I loved the idea of seasteading and wrote about it for part of my thesis,” said Ms. Benjamin, who wore a more sedate pink cardigan over a peach A-line dress with a pearl necklace and matching earrings for the interview.
Does it get more trustafarian (you know, trust fund kids who use their allowances to hike in Patagonia rather than work for their dad’s company) than wearing a pearl necklace to a job interview that will eventually place you in a sea commune where government doesn’t exist? Her grandma, Muffy, must be rolling in her grave knowing that her granddaughter wore her pearls for this.
She got the job, and showed up her first day, Valentine’s Day, with a plateful of home-baked pink heart-shaped cookies, and soon developed an intellectual rapport with Mr. Friedman over subjects including seasteading, transhumanism, rationalism and Paleo diets.
Can you imagine the look on all these hippies’ faces when she rolled in with pearls and cookies on her first day? They probably passed around Photoshopped memes of Kermit sipping matcha tea on Slack channels she wasn’t a part of yet.
I’d look up the subjects that they bonded over, but after reading this entire marriage announcement prior to writing this, my bullshit meter is just about maxed out for the day.
“She was really enthusiastic about the political movement, which I started,’’ said Mr. Friedman of seasteading, and added with a laugh that Ms. Benjamin, who identifies as a feminist, coined the term shesteading. “I liked her positive energy.’’
Muscle memory caused me to punch my computer screen as if it was this guy’s face when he added “which I started” after talking about his now-wife being all jazzed on the “political movement” he started. Not to rain on this guy’s parade, but I’m pretty sure 99% of us came up with this bullshit in 2nd grade while playing with the Playmobile pirate island. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we all just lived on islands together?” we said before becoming pre-diabetic by drinking Sunny D. “No parents, no rules!” The only difference is that we got $5 a week for an allowance and this guy probably gets five figs a month.
Toward the end of his marriage at the time, Mr. Friedman, by summer, had separated from his wife and was no longer working at the Seasteading Institute. At that point, he had no misgivings about asking Ms. Benjamin on a date of sorts — to join him on a 10-hour trip to Burning Man, an annual weeklong festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, where they would hang out with Future Camp, a group of futurists and transhumanists.
Whooooooooa. Plot twist much? This guy was already married? He left the company (“which he started”)? He was separated from his wife? This has scandal written all over it. Can’t even imagine how much his parents paid to keep this under wraps.
Luckily, he got to decompress and sort through his problems at fucking Burning Man, which is essentially the new Silicon Valley. Nothing says “I’m husband material” like dressing up in furry vests, Moon Boots, and sequins while tripping on designer drugs in the middle of a desert filled with rich kids.
They hauled some gear for the group in a red pickup truck he rented, and she brought along costumes, art supplies, and her guitar. They arrived in the desert at 3 a.m., and set up separate shelters.
“It was my first Burning Man,” said Ms. Benjamin, who saw it as an adventure and not a date at all. “It’s a blank canvas for an experience that you want to have.”
How low key pissed was this dude when she said she wanted to sleep in different shelters? Probably as pissed as everyone who bought tickets to Fyre Fest were when they realized Ja Rule was in charge.
Halfway through the festival they had their first kiss while drinking coffee and watching the early morning scene from atop a lifeguard tower.
I’d pay a couple hundred dollars to get a full rundown of which drugs they were on. You know your brain’s in a fog when you’re drinking coffee rather than alcohol. If I had to guess, it would be some combination of smoking toad venom and mushrooms, with maybe a little LSD mixed in just to drive the trip home. Love it.
“Oh yes, this is a date,’’ Ms. Benjamin recalled thinking, and said that once they returned home, she soon got to know and came to love his two young children, Tovar and Izzy.
Dammit dammit dammit dammit dammit. Tovar and fucking Izzy. I’m not going to talk shit about these names because they’re kids, but please check this website 18 years from now when I’m allowed to. I’ll probably be working for them in the middle of the Pacific Ocean at that point. Or on Mars living in a colony that this dude is president of.
In 2015 after Mr. Friedman proposed at Chez TJ, a French restaurant in Mountain View, they knew their commitment was long-term, really long-term.
“We were committing to marriage to multiple human lifetimes if we have that opportunity,” said Mr. Friedman, taking cryogenics and life-extension technology into consideration. She added: “Two hundred years of being married to Patri isn’t enough. I’d rather have 1,000.”
Multiple human lifetimes or, you know, until the drugs wear off. I’d give them about seven years or until she wakes up one day in a bunk bed thanking her lucky stars that she didn’t eat the applesauce that the rest of the cult poisoned themselves with. .
[via New York Times]