“Let’s punch up.
“Let us not make people at the margins into scouts or spies for the mainstream. Let us stop asking people to speak for the entire cacophonic segment of humanity that shares their pigmentation, genitalia, or turn-ons.
“Let us spend more time in those uncomfortable moments when our privilege is showing. Let us reflect there, let us linger, rather than recoil into the status quo.”
–Claire Vaye Watkins’ “On Pandering” in Tin House
“Not surprisingly, the pampered and intellectually neutered industry of expertise and commentary today betrays cluelessness before the spectacle of worldwide mayhem. (It is what recently facilitated the resurrection—and canonization in some quarters—of Henry Kissinger as a sage.) Only God knows how much we need some real argument and fresh thinking—the tradition of self-criticism that did indeed once distinguish and enlighten the West. For as long as avid conformists and careerists reign over an impoverished public sphere, endless war will remain the default option. And the recourse to Westernism’s self-congratulatory bromides after every new calamity will ensure that we continue to grieve together and grow stupid together.”
“Writing is really hard. Writing is hard for everybody.”