Parvenu: one that has recently or suddenly risen to an unaccustomed position of wealth or power and has not yet gained the prestige, dignity, or manner associated with it
An incredibly beautiful acceptance speech from Zadie Smith:
“If novelists know anything it’s that individual citizens are internally plural: they have within them the full range of behavioral possibilities. They are like complex musical scores from which certain melodies can be teased out and others ignored or suppressed, depending, at least in part, on who is doing the conducting. At this moment, all over the world—and most recently in America—the conductors standing in front of this human orchestra have only the meanest and most banal melodies in mind. Here in Germany you will remember these martial songs; they are not a very distant memory. But there is no place on earth where they have not been played at one time or another. Those of us who remember, too, a finer music must try now to play it, and encourage others, if we can, to sing along.”
“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.”
… credit and thanks to Austin Kleon’s newsletter, where I keep learning about incredible poems. Poetry is the way! Also, music videos!
Like several people I’ve talked to lately, I’m on a very limited diet of The Internet right now – I only feel comfortable going to pages that I know will be constructive. Like Elton John’s YouTube channel (obviously) and Miranda July’s twitter.
My brain seems stuck between trying to blank out the recent election result totally – and poking at it, like a sore tooth. What is the REASON that so many Americans voted this way? I don’t buy the “the hardworking, disenfranchised poor were voting against the establishment” argument.
Possible answers that I COULD believe:
1 people are sexist
2 ladies were afraid of publicly aligning with a woman who is not a ‘cool girl‘ (sexism again)
3 people were not going to vote for a woman after a black guy, no WAY (sexism/racism combo)
5 rich people really, really want to hold on to their money. Every cent of it.
6 Americans are, for the most part, too lazy to leave their hometowns, learn about the world, and make friends who are different than they are. And they don’t want to be called out on their total lack of understanding / perspective.
7 it’s been too long since a world war and people long for the drama and red lipstick
8 widespread, technology-driven ennui
9 widespread, technology-driven nihilism
10 all of the above
Anyway, in some ways, I’m enjoying being utterly ashamed of my country. The daily outrage of feeling that the system is TOTALLY BROKEN and that bad things are coming… that’s a pretty new feeling for me. But I gather it’s not a new feeling for some minority groups. And it’s a strange thrill to learn about new forms of bitterness.