Modern Romance (Ansari)

Discussion Questions
We have two sets of Questions. The first set by LitLovers...and the second kindly submitted to us by Jennifer Johnson, Reference Librarian for the Springdale (Arkansas) Public Library. Thank you, Jennifer!

1. How have cell phones changed the conventions of modern dating? Overall, despite some of the drawbacks that Ansari points to in Modern Romance, would you say our instant texting and communications make the dating scene better or worse...or, basically, no different.

2. Talk about Ansari's statement that "the whole culture of finding love and a mate has radically changed” in the modern era." In what way...and why? Or maybe you don't really agree with him? If so, why not?

3. Discuss the research protocols that Ansari and his partner Eric Klinenberg followed in writing this book. Do their methods make the study more scientific or lend it more credibility? Does Ansari's humor undermine the seriousness of their study...enhance it...or make no difference to the results or to your experience of reading the book?

4. What do you think of the millennials' preference for texting rather than actually talking on the phone?

5. What aspects of Modern Romance do you relate to personally? What, say, embarrassments or mortifications have you experienced in the dating arena?

6. What parts of the book intrigued you, sparked your interest, irritated you...or made you laugh?

7. Toward the end, Ansari says this: “The main thing I’ve learned from this research is that we’re all in it together.” What exactly does he mean? Do you agree...or not?

8. What advice would YOU offer those in the dating world?

Additional Questions by Jennifer Johnson:

1. According to Ansari, he interviewed hundreds of people in diverse focus groups in 7 cities in 2013 – 2014. What biases can be identified in this statement—soul mate marriage “delivers levels of fulfillment that the generation of older people I interviewed rarely reached. (p. 25)”

2. What –isms does Ansari suffer from? (e.g. Feminism, Ageism, racism, sexist)

3. After reading his book, do you think Ansari has committed any failures in writing and researching the book?

4. Do you consider Ansari’s book an academic, well research book?

5. How much of a presence does Eric Klinenberg have in this manuscript?

6. How well are the generations represented in his book—Golden Age, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials?

7. Given the obvious digital divide, do you think Ansari’s subreddit participants are diverse and reflective of the general population?

8. Considering Ansari’s personal diverse background, do you think his research in the United States is diverse? What evidence does he provide that shows us he included diverse persons (various ages, gender, and ethnicity)?

9. What stereotypes are represented in his book?

10. Ansari gives the impression that he is an expert in modern romance, but is he? Can one be an expert on modern romance when they are obvious of romance throughout the ages?

11. Does Ansari have an agenda and did he research the book first or decide the outcome first and made the research match his outcome?

12. Do you think his research methods took into consideration differences between large metropolitan areas and the rural geographic areas?

13. Given that Ansari recently broke up with long term girlfriend in January 2016, what impact could this book have on his romantic live?

(First set of Questions by LitLovers; second set by Jennifer Johnson. Please feel free to use both sets, online of off, with attribution to Jennifer and LitLovers. Thanks.)

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