You know what I do on New Year’s Eve every year? Not much. Sometimes I’ll go out to dinner or to a small gathering with friends, something I would enjoy just as much on any random night of the year. This year I stayed home, for obvious reasons. And the morning after I read this post from Conor Friedersdorf, which is pretty spot-on:
On December 31, mediocre restaurants throughout America string absurd velvet ropes outside their doors, inflate black and white balloons as decoration, and charge three times the usual price for the same old fare plus bad champagne. Is it any wonder that our elders, as they grow older and wiser, opt to stay home and turn in before midnight? America’s most iconic New Year’s Eve celebration, the one that captures the attention of the whole country, has massive crowds gathering in New York City’s most garish neighborhood, where they watch a large ball drop as C-list celebrities narrate on TV. The typical NYC dweller can’t be lured to Times Square for dinner on an ordinary evening, so I can’t imagine how pre-New Year’s conversations go for those who attend. “Would you like to stand out in the freezing cold for hours with no place to sit or use the bathroom and drunks pressed against you on all sides?”
Even more bizarre is the fact that Californians watch a tape-delayed rebroadcast of the spectacle as the clock strikes midnight on the West Coast, with whole parties pausing to gather around the television. “Hey, quiet down,” people actually say, “Ryan Seacrest is about to come on!”
If you ever hear me utter the words “Ryan Seacrest is about to come on,” it will certainly be milliseconds before I change the channel. All the network New Year’s Eve shows are unwatchable, with the broadcast networks being so bad that Kathy Griffin on CNN is not, for once, the most annoying person to watch. Do we really need to hear Train, or worse Cee Lo Green, tormenting John Lennon’s Imagine? Are there people who really get excited when they hear, “We’ll be back after this commercial break with Pitbull”?
And even if I lived in New York, the thought of going down to Times Square to watch the ball drop is about as appealing to me as getting a hernia operation without painkiller. Okay, so the thought of going to Times Square, which has become the world’s largest mall, at any time is about that appealing. And yet I still love Vegas, which is even worse in that regard. What, you expect me to be consistent? And get off my lawn!