Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Maybe I've been reading too many self-centered NYT Magazine essays lately, because today I was a total downer. First I wrote this preachy thing about Joan Didion and New York Intellectuals. Then I upped the fun with this self-serious account of my grandfather's suicide. Most out of character - I hope!

I have a terrible feeling this self-seriousness was prompted by a few things that happened yesterday. You see, I went to this panel discussion at the NYPL and it was absolutely awful and as I told Slim, it was :my college as some free jazz fusion thing:Wesleyan. By which I mean, everyone I went to school with was there basking in self-congratulation and chuckling at cheap jokes about Palin. Joan Didion was great. She validates all of us who are unable experience pure euphoria untempered by caution, but still manage to feel a real joy if that makes sense - yes, even if she is fifty years my senior! I like to think she was always that way. But for the most part it was pretty icky ("I think we all know what Leon Wieseltier meant when he said he had to give away his tickets to a performance of some late Shostakovich quartets, 'because for once I was not interested in the despair.'")Anyway, I saw a guy I know there who said, 'You're obviously not covering this for work' and generally managed to make his scorn known (not deliberately, I know.) Then I ran into a girl fresh out of school who was highly opinionated about the site and seemed to feel she should just be able to march in and write for it, and that I ought be able to arrange this. Neither of these people was in the wrong, precisely - she was young, and he moves in a different world - but I fear they conspired to trivialize what it is we all work so hard on, and knowing that's unworthy of me may invalidate, but doesn't nullify, the emotion. Of course, the power of new media is that it feels democratic, and everyone truly is entitled to an opinion and a bit of ownership. If we make it look easy - and I don't, but I do think some of my colleagues manage it - it means we're doing something right.

But! Tomorrow means bucking up and a good deal less nonsense, my girl.

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