I guess they thought that amassing land was important.
September 3, 2015 2:26 PM   Subscribe

My Nephew Has Some Questions (Jesse Eisenberg in The New Yorker)
posted by davidjmcgee (33 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
This was good. Reminded me a bit of some of the early Woody Allen short humor pieces.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:34 PM on September 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


This was bad. Reminded me a bit of some of the early Woody Allen short humor pieces.
posted by zamboni at 2:35 PM on September 3, 2015 [23 favorites]


do you guys think jesse eisenberg really burned down his classroom?
posted by pretentious illiterate at 2:37 PM on September 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


WHO ARE YOU, CARL SAGAN?!
posted by Melismata at 2:38 PM on September 3, 2015 [2 favorites]




My daughter went through a long, monomaniacal, crazy-making "why?" phase, and I'd sometimes use it as an opportunity to bloviate like this. I knew I'd gone too far when one day I started talking about the impossibility of self-knowledge and the abrupt, terrifying finality of death and she looked at me, slightly stricken, and said, "daddy, don't talk to me."
posted by ryanshepard at 2:44 PM on September 3, 2015 [94 favorites]


Louie C.K., similarly, on French fries and existentialism.

"Similarly" is a generous word choice.
posted by MrJM at 2:45 PM on September 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not much of a kid person. They're noisy and sticky and some of them talk a lot and I don't have much experience interacting with them, which is totally fine by me. A few years ago I was at a family gathering with cousins I hardly ever see, and one cousin's four-year-old latched on to me -- literally latched on to me, would not let go of my leg. She started asking me random, fact-based questions, questions with actual answers that I knew. She'd ask me a question, and I'd answer it, and then she'd respond with an innocent "Why?" I guess it was a fun game for her, and I guess it's something kids do, but it completely flummoxed me. I mean, I just gave you the answer, kid. Respect it. Don't ask me why!

After enduring this for longer than any child-averse adult should have to -- this kid still with her arms wrapped around my leg -- my mom walked into the room. I raised my eyebrows and jutted my chin at the kid in what I thought would be an easily understood pantomime of "Please help," but my mom just laughed. The kid and I did a few more rounds of Question/Answer/Why and my mother, finally finding a warm spot in her heart, gave me the key to my escape. "Just turn it around on her," my mom said, "and respond to her next question with 'why?'"

Brilliant!

So I'm now looking forward to the next question this kid asks me, because I am going to drop this brilliant retribution on her and she will not know what happened and I don't even care if she runs crying to her dad because I was mean. And she did, of course, ask me one last question, which I remember well: "Why do the froggies keep going into our pool and they can't get out?"

"Why?" I asked the little shit.

She let go of my leg, shrugged, said "My dog farts too much," and walked away.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:45 PM on September 3, 2015 [43 favorites]


Simple premise but done well.
posted by destro at 2:48 PM on September 3, 2015


Is everyone else hearing his voice read this as well?
posted by leotrotsky at 2:52 PM on September 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not just his voice, leotrotsky. I hear it in the specific delivery of his voice-over for Zombieland.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:55 PM on September 3, 2015


"My dog farts too much" is something I'm looking forward to randomly answer any questions with.
posted by numaner at 3:02 PM on September 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is everyone else hearing his voice read this as well?

Yes. But that's because I clicked the audio.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:16 PM on September 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


I had a similar conversation with my kid but it went on about four times as long and it ended with the kid falling into silence, knowing he had lost. I received strange looks in the grocery store during the conversation but the ride home was delightfully quiet and the "why" period of his development ended shortly thereafter.
Now, years later, he likes to tell me that I have no sense of humor and I think back on that conversation and know he is wrong. Also, my admission of arson wasn't about the school.
posted by Seamus at 3:55 PM on September 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


The corridor of our house has a door post with a dent at shoulder height, where someone bumped into it with a delivery cart. So my kid asks me why it's damaged.
"Someone bumped into it with his cart."
"But why?"
"Because he wasn't paying attentiom."
"Yes but why is there a dent?"
My heart sank.
"Because someone bumped into it with a cart."
"But why?"

We went through at least five iterations of this. Until I was about to scream.
"But why, mommy?"
"Because mommy lost her temper and banged her head against the door frame", I snapped.
"Oh", said my daughter, thoughtfully. "Did it hurt a lot?"

"That was a joke!" I protested weakly.
"But did it hurt?"

A year later, she still points out to random people that this is the place Mommy banged her head.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:05 PM on September 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


This is fiction because My nephew never asks "Will we be there soon? Are we there yet?"
posted by jfuller at 4:22 PM on September 3, 2015


My dog farts just enough.
posted by srboisvert at 4:30 PM on September 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: daddy, don't talk to me
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:35 PM on September 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is basically what therapy is like, right?
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:07 PM on September 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Actually, I think it's better than early Woody.

But don't ask me why.
posted by allthinky at 5:20 PM on September 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


But don't ask me why.

Why not?
posted by Edgewise at 6:37 PM on September 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Where?
posted by mmmbacon at 6:46 PM on September 3, 2015


I was thinking about this recently in relation to AI and the Turing Test, and that having an AI respond intelligently to a five-year-old's succession of 'Whys' is probably a much harder test than having a 'normal' conversation with an adult.
posted by carter at 7:40 PM on September 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


The best response to Why? is Why do you think? My son asked me why boys have nipples. I asked him what he thought the reason was. His answer: so you know how deep you can go out into the lake.
posted by willF at 7:58 PM on September 3, 2015 [41 favorites]


I thought this was really good. Jesse Eisenberg is really interesting, and has elevated himself a lot in my mind in the last few years. Previously I thought of him as "the other guy who is competing for emo smart guy with Paul Dano."
posted by zutalors! at 8:10 PM on September 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


The best response to Why? is Why do you think? My son asked me why boys have nipples. I asked him what he thought the reason was. His answer: so you know how deep you can go out into the lake.

This is the best answer to that question I have ever heard and I will be using it when posed such a query in the future.
posted by maryr at 9:28 PM on September 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is that Jesse Eisenberg really this Jesse Eisenberg? Why?
posted by From Bklyn at 10:48 PM on September 3, 2015


I got four "Why?"s into it and heard my dad's voice from the front of the car "Because I said so."
posted by Sphinx at 5:27 AM on September 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


It sometimes surprises me that mefites aren't bigger fans of Jesse Eisenberg. Not because of his acting or his writing, but because of his cat obsession.

" “I am a foster parent for cats. The more movies I do, the more guilty I feel and the more cats I feel the need to get to alleviate the guilt from doing the movies. And then if a movie is, god forbid, popular, then I have to get even more cats.” "
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:43 AM on September 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


I just gave you the answer, kid. Respect it. Don't ask me why!

Users. *sigh*
posted by oheso at 5:57 AM on September 4, 2015


There's a scene in one of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars books where a bunch of kids play this game with someone teaching them, with the goal being to get him back to the big bang without realizing it until it happens. Always loved that bit.

Alas my experience with the phenomenon in real life has had a lot more to do with the random whims of a capricious child than any deep epistemological symbolism.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:37 AM on September 4, 2015


Yes. But that's because I clicked the audio.

I had to hear this wondrous thing, but didn't find the link on the page itself.

https://soundcloud.com/newyorker/my-nephew-has-some-questions
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:41 AM on September 4, 2015


> with someone teaching them

Was this Sax? I think it was Sax.
posted by one weird trick at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2015


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