Monday, March 8, 2021

Fairest of Them All

Have you gone through periods when you wanted to be a man or woman or non-binary of the people? The present times may have chastened you and disabused you from chasing these windmills, but remember back to some value-free era of your life when you as an Upper West Side intellectual who worshipped the altar of Susan Sontag saw Fight Club, shaved your head and started to have fantasies about what your life would have been like if you’d joined  the Marines? What if you as daughter of one of the Daughters of the Revolution saw movies like Woodstock and started to sport tie dyed tee shirts and smoke pot? Wasn’t it fun, if only for a short time, to be  a he man patriot or headband wearing polyamorous chick who rolled naked in mud? Now, of course, the lines have been drawn and such playfulness is no longer possible. After seeing a former president urge a mob of hoodlums onto insurrection, you might not be interested in dressing up in the super patriot outfit. On the other even those filled with self-righteous indignation at injustice run the danger of abusing their single-mindedness of purpose. It’s can be fun to be reunited with your likenesses, but any group of like-minded individuals runs the danger of being a mob. The Times columnist Nicholas Kristof warned about the dangers of such sanctimony in a recent piece, "How to Reach People Who Are Wrong,"(NYT, 3/3/21). One of the perils in life is being proven right," he said. "The risk is excessive admiration for one’s own brilliance, preening at one’s own righteousness, and inordinate scorn for the jerks on the other side.” Kristof's piece is essential reading. What would you rather be, fairest or fairest of them all?

Read "An Incident of Defenestration" by Francis Levy, Vol. 1 Brooklyn


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