Friday, June 23, 2023

Strivers' Row

Strivers' Row is the block of elegantly appointed brownstones along 138th street and 139th Street. The name emanates from the years of the Harlem Renaissance in the early part of the twentieth century which ultimately produced major figures like Ralph Ellison. Every community has, at least, a figurative version of the same architectural signpost. But who are the so-called “strivers.” Even if they were gifted with particular talents, they’d undoubtedly have to step on someone else to rise to the top. Ruthlessness often attends ambition. Ayn’s Robert Roark from her novel The Fountainhead epitomizes Nietzsche’s “ubermensch” or “Superman” who’s characterized by a singleness of purpose.  Not everyone is possessed by this kind of drive. In its most invidious form you have a Trump or even Darth Vader, who, significantly, was once good. Power and wealth go with the territory. Naturally these are things that most people want and few achieve. Are Fifth Avenue and Central Park West, two great thoroughfares that face each other and preside over Central Park the Valhalla of human talent or are they just imposing residences occupied by the rich?

read "Pornosophy: Full Stop At the Intersection of Sexuality and Ambition" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Gotterdammerung by Wagner

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