His character Dev Shah in Netflix’s Master of None is just like any other 30-something using Tinder or posting selfies on Instagram.
But IRL comedian Aziz Ansari has taken a rather radical decision to wipe the internet, including Twitter, Instagram, email, and browser, out of his phone.
In an interview with GQ Style, a very startled journalist asks Ansari whether the rumour he decided to take a internet hiatus is true, and to explain his motivation.
The Master of None creator replies that the obsession of “seeing a new thing” had become an addiction:
Whenever you check for a new post on Instagram or whenever you go on The New York Times to see if there’s a new thing, it’s not even about the content. It’s just about seeing a new thing. You get addicted to that feeling. You’re not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things. What happens is, eventually you forget about it. You don’t care anymore.
Ansari confesses it was terrifying at first. But slowly, steadily, the undercurrent feeling that most of the things you look up is not stuff you need to know finally surfaced:
All those websites you read while you’re in a cab, you don’t need to look at any of that stuff. It’s better to just sit and be in your own head for a minute. I wanted to stop that thing where I get home and look at websites for an hour and a half, checking to see if there’s a new thing. And read a book instead. I’ve been doing it for a couple months, and it’s worked. I’m reading, like, three books right now.
Which is great, and we commend you Aziz for that, but what about getting up-to-date with all the dreadful things happening in the world rn, including Trump’s latest bravado?
The actor has a great answer for that:
I was reading all this Trump stuff, and it doesn’t feel like we’re reading news for the reason we used to, which was to get a better sense of what’s going on in the world and to enrich yourself by being aware. It seems like we’re reading wrestling rumors. It’s like reading about what happened on Monday Night Raw. When you take a step back, it all just seems so sensationalized. Trump’s gonna get impeached! No, he’s not. None of that shit’s happening. But you are going to read all the articles. So if you take yourself out of it, you’re not infected with this toxicity all the time. Also, guess what? Everything is fine! I’m not out of the loop on anything. Like, if something real is going down, I’ll find out about it.