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In Aziz Ansari’s acclaimed Netflix comedy Master of None, his character, Dev Shah, compulsively messages women on a dating app and absentmindedly scrolls Instagram when he’s trying to kill time. But life does not mimic art in Ansari’s case, as he told GQ Style that he’s disconnected from the internet entirely.
The 34-year-old Master of None creator, writer, and star said he deleted Twitter, Instagram, email, and the internet browser from his phone because he became obsessed with constantly consuming new pieces of media:
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.
Sounds kind of terrifying, right? Ansari felt the same way at first, but soon found clarity and relief in kicking his internet habit:
When I first took the browser off my phone, I’m like, [gasp] How am I gonna look stuff up? But most of the shit you look up, it’s not stuff you need to know. 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.
Ansari’s internet hiatus means he doesn’t find himself inundated with constant updates about President Donald Trump. That might seem like a deal-breaker for the man who eviscerated the 45th president of the United States in his January SNL monologue, but Ansari said he still gets crucial information while distancing himself from the toxic news cycle:
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.
Maybe we should all take a page from Ansari’s book. Then again, we wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place if we did.
H/T GQ Style
Bryan Rolli is a reporter who specializes in streaming entertainment. He writes about music and film for Forbes, Billboard, and the Austin American-Statesman. He met Flavor Flav in two separate Las Vegas bowling alleys and still can’t stop talking about it.