Rain is good for romance. Walk through any city on a rainy day and you’re bound to see this: couples close and happy under a shared umbrella, one’s hand wrapped around the other’s on the handle. Or getting gloriously drenched together, usually grinning and soaking wet, the hell with an umbrella. Or head to head at small tables under outdoor cafe awnings. Pretending they stopped here to keep out of the rain, but really using the excuse to sit close together and touch a lot. Others enter a store laughing, laughing at their wetness, delighted about everything. They don’t want to buy anything; they’re just using this dry place as an intermission. A happy older couple across the restaurant helping each other dry off. They’re chatting animatedly for the first time in days, comparing notes about walking hand in hand through the storm to get here. They’re both famished now. Something about walking in the rain. They’ll eat like champions.
Days like these stay with you. A long time later you’ll ask— remember the crazy time we got caught in that storm? And their eyes will light up. Of course they remember. Guaranteed.
Rain is good for romance.
The Internet threatens final confirmation of Adorno and Horkheimer’s dictum that the culture industry allows the “freedom to choose what is always the same.” Champions of online life promised a utopia of infinite availability: a “long tail” of perpetually in-stock products would revive interest in non-mainstream culture. One need not have read Astra Taylor and other critics to sense that this utopia has been slow in arriving. Culture appears more monolithic than ever, with a few gigantic corporations—Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon—presiding over unprecedented monopolies. Internet discourse has become tighter, more coercive. Search engines guide you away from peculiar words. (“Did you mean … ?”) Headlines have an authoritarian bark (“This Map of Planes in the Air Right Now Will Blow Your Mind”). “Most Read” lists at the top of Web sites imply that you should read the same stories everyone else is reading. Technology conspires with populism to create an ideologically vacant dictatorship of likes.