Friday, September 27, 2013

ivory towers and reflective powers

a friend of mine from way back when is in college now, and like me, reads a lot of blogs, and like me in my early twenties, quite the idealist with other earnest friends. I was kind of an older sister figure, introducing him to Fugazi and zines and other underground kind of things.

I take things more seriously than a lot of people, but even in my younger years, I didn't have much patience for those conversations about race/class/gender that were more theoretical than anything else, and often profoundly disconnected from the dynamics of the real world in any real sense. Not that things shouldn't be thought about or are unimportant, but sometimes I feel like these conversations, mostly between us people socioeconomically privileged to go to college and be connected to the internet, tend to get extremely circular and self-indulgent.

When you get off the Internet, most people aren't losing sleep over the things that young people care about on Tumblr, aren't arguing about tasteless Halloween costumes or something clueless that some guy posted on his Facebook page, but I guess it's always fun for people to feel smarter and more enlightened than others, hence Internet haterade. I still don't have patience for the competitions of the Suffering Olympics variety, if you trace back anyone's history you'll find out that their ancestors were screwed over by someone, and that everyone's felt disrespected or had judgments made about them because of how they look or whatever.

Evidently to total strangers this makes me an awful person full of white privilege, which if you know me, is kind of ridiculous because I geek out on history and anthropology and the ins and outs of others' worlds, willing to be the uncomfortable and awkward minority, to the point where I have empathy but only to a point, that everyone's got their issues, and to focus on just one place's is kind of myopic. If you go anywhere, people are racist and classist and judge by the gradient of your skin tone or what religion you practice or who your parents are. Not to invalidate anyone's experience, but it's a human problem not an American middle class cracker problem exclusively. Jerkitude is universal.  Besides, such conversations are always better had over caffeine or booze as it is.

And so I wonder if this is why, in tandem with my companions with whom I snark about all things brainy (Pynchon, Shakespearean English, obscure medieval history), I find maybe I prefer these things with those in my world who are older, because we've got less to prove and we've seen more of life and there are other stressors like how are we going to pay the heating bill this winter and what are we doing with our lives since we're perpetually underemployed and there are fewer and fewer open doors.

And I love eating dinner with someone else again, cooking the proceeds of our gardens, talking about how our days went, these life things that are so simple, the things that I miss about roommates and friends who worked on my side of town who used to drop in at the old apartment. It's so good to geek out over history and play music and listen to records again and laugh, I don't think I realized how much I missed this kind of companionship until it started happening again, it's hard to believe that it's 2 in the morning and I have to go to work the next morning, he's laughing as I back out of the driveway and almost run over his datura plant, but all that coffee would have kept me up as it was, and despite the tired eyes and the continued drinking of tea, I feel so alive.



  2. Be forewarned: talking to other people takes away valuable Motörhead time.


  3. Ian MacKaye @the library: