Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.

Beard, Celebrity, and Escaping


I’m growing a beard. This is something I’m conscious of though it wasn’t exactly a conscious decision. No shaving for 10 days on the Overland Track left me past the awkward stubble phase and so I haven’t cared to remedy it. Oddly, it isn’t like I actually want a beard or a mustache. I’m actually pretty sure that I don’t. Or maybe I do? Once I got to that point of ‘if I’m ever going to do it, I’m closer now than I will be again’ I just kept going. I know the whole trick of sunk costs means that argument is dumb. But I’m already too close and familiar with the problem that I can’t tell if it looks bad. Similarly my chinstrap hasn’t been trimmed since I got here. My chin goatee is actually getting decently full. Now 3 months is a lot of progress to just get rid of. But again, I have no idea how it looks or if I want it. (If you want to check it out and let me know your thoughts, head over to my Facebook page or you can link directly to the photo album on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1823922893709.51106.1709341386&type=1&l=a8c0149171)


Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione attended various performances and FauxMo over the course of the MOFO week. They didn’t hide in the celebrity box, they didn’t surround themselves with an entourage. And one night they even were on the dance floor for a good couple hours, mixing, dancing, and carrying on. And while people seemed a bit more drawn to them than not, the mob of celebrity didn’t happen. There were no incessant requests for autographs. No candid pictures. Largely people hung out and chilled with these celebrities who they had come out to see.

Why is that? Why can’t that happen more? What is it about these two (especially Palmer, who has a more fervent fanbase) that allows them to simultaneously be celebrities and live vaguely normal lives? Is it how open Amanda is about everything? Broadcasting her life so you feel like you know her?

Is it that they were around so much that you forget you don’t know them and hanging out with them isn’t actually commonplace?

That no one is doing it helps keep everyone in line, but for how hard girls squee over AFP, why is there not that first domino?


How does one get better at breaking off conversations they don’t want to be in? That seems easy enough with people in public places that are hassling you, though I’m not good at cutting those off either. But if someone is talking to you one on one in a place you aren’t trying to leave, and they aren’t picking up on the cues like you just not responding or focusing on something else, how do you tell them to leave you alone without engendering hostility?

6 comments on “Beard, Celebrity, and Escaping

  1. Bob
    January 31, 2012

    Tell them you have to go to the bathroom and then don’t return to them.

    • Itinerantics
      January 31, 2012

      Not bad. Works solidly but takes some effort and a few minutes, and is harder when you have stuff with you. I’ve definitely done this, or the similar “I’m going to go grab a drink” and come back to a different conversation.

      Awkward aside: I know someone to whom a version of this happened. Unfortunately it was on a date, it was because she mentioned she was Jewish, he left through the bathroom window, and he was her ride to the restaurant.

  2. Alyssa
    January 31, 2012
    • Itinerantics
      January 31, 2012

      I almost LOLed in the library just now. I am practicing her advice but I can’t do it without laughing. This is going to take some practice.

      Joking aside though, any suggestions on how to end a conversation that has gone on too long? Her advice is good for stopping one before it starts but is harder to pull off a couple minutes in.

      • Alyssa
        January 31, 2012

        Awkward situations follow me like zombies chasing warm flesh, so I can advise!

        If you are OK with blatant lies and are pretty sure that you won’t see them again soon (or don’t care if they hate you):
        -Suddenly look shocked and say, ‘shit, I left my keys in my door, I gotta run.’ And then run. (Or something similar–my wallet isn’t in my pocket, I left my credit card when I got a beer, etc.)
        -Look a bit queasy, say you need to get some water or something, and walk away holding your stomach
        -Ask if they have Advil/etc. If they do, say you can never dry swallow pills and go find some water. If they don’t, say you need to go get some cause your head is killing you. Has the added advantage of later being able to say “sorry I lost track of you, but I needed to wait for the headache to go away.”

        You can also pretend to get a phone call and wander away to take it. Remember, they don’t know whether or not you keep your phone on vibrate! For extra points, say “Hey, my dealer/child prostitute/dildo merchant is calling me.”

        Alternately, say “Hey, I want to go check this thing out,” and then go do that. Say that you need to meet someone else, or meet someone at the entrance to the event/park. Etcetera. Basically, think up any reason why you would normally leave a conversation and then lie.

  3. Jonathan
    February 26, 2012

    I’d recommend interrupting with a loud “that sucks!”, turning around, and walking out.

    Oh, you said “without engendering hostility.” Oops. In that case, may I suggest not giving a shit?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on January 31, 2012 by in Australia, Tasmania (Hobart).

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 700 other followers


%d bloggers like this: