Weekend Cocktail Chatter

Slate’s handy guide to small talk.

Slate offers you a quick and easy guide to help you fake your way through overly cultured cocktail parties this weekend.

Former Wonkette Ana Marie Cox, already a party fixture in D.C., will soon become more ubiquitous (if that’s possible) now that she’s gone legit and been named Washington editor of And just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean her acerbic wit won’t find you.

Wonderfully crotchety Simon Reynolds is currently concerned with lamenting the deplorable state of rock criticism (his own presumably excluded), so now might be the time to single out the music writers in the crowd for an impromptu rockism vs. popism debate. After all, great music debates never die; they just get more boring and irrelevant.

Speaking of irrelevancy, how about those dismal Tabloid Wars ratings?

When a White Stripes song comes on the iPod, inform the assembled guests that the band will be “performing” on an episode of The Simpsons in September. You haven’t watched The Simpsons in years; perhaps this is the perfect excuse to start again.

MTV celebrates its 25th anniversary on Aug. 1. Video may not have killed the radio star, but Laguna Beach killed the video star. In honor of the special occasion, test your guests with a little MTV trivia. Best Kennedy imitation wins!

Just when you thought the World Cup was over, here comes “Headbutt,” a new French song that makes fun of Zinedine Zidane’s infamous maneuver in the final minutes of the championship game. Watch the video, then practice head-butting on your own. Head-butting: It’s break-dancing for the new millennium.

Forbidden topics: YouTube, Lance Bass