This is another one I wish a lot more people in America today would read. It's short enough. Many of us like to think we've come so far, but if you loThis is another one I wish a lot more people in America today would read. It's short enough. Many of us like to think we've come so far, but if you look at our technological advancement measured alongside our spiritual advancement, we're basically pathetic, Mosley points out early on to tremendous effect, juxtaposing human advancement (baby steps towards women's and civil rights) while we went from the locomotive to the goddamned moon.
We overwhelmingly perpetuate the world that we inherited that was in pretty shitty shape, and keep it pretty horrible for everyone around us, throwing our hands up like we can't do much better, the problems are insurmountable, this is the way it is. We have scientific advancement, but don't do nearly enough good with it. "Our abilities far outreach our actions," Mosley states, then goes into how much we've even given up the ability to make decisions in our lives, and how we're going to have some real problems "if we cannot free ourselves from those cold chains anchored in the crimes and ignorance of the past hundred or more years."
Written just before the millennium switch, it's prophetic in its views about where we were and were headed with race relations and so much more, it's about oppressors oppressing themselves, how we all do that, how we all end up in these chains. How we shouldn't define advancement in the passage of time, but by how much we've done in that time. All simple stuff, but told with an insightful and brilliant way of tying it all together. “If we have to recognize the passing of the millennium it would be more appropriate, I feel, to mourn the passage of that thousand years. A thousand years and genocide is still with us. A thousand years and children are still starving.” "The human race's birthday means very little to one who is starving or dying." "We should, I believe, regret the passage of so many years during which we could have been moving forward."
He dares us to imagine taking three months off of electronic distractions and sports, time to just be in our minds, to see what thoughts we might have, to be with our friends and family (maybe even play our own sports games instead of watching highly paid performers), and see what happens. He supposes, "The center of your life might drift back into a form that includes you as someone who is important."
He knows this wouldn't be easy, the pain of having to be so much in your own life would be "equisite," "To face one's own life, with all its inadequacies, for twelve weeks--a great many Americans just could not do it."
“This is what all Americans need to say. Stand aside. I will not accept your inferior products, your half-hearted health care, your apologies for my unemployment after twenty-two years without a sick day. I built America, one needs to say and to remember, as did my ancestry. And America owes me something. I am here to call that debt due.”
Mosley has many insightful distillations here, and many questions he poses that could help us all focus our thoughts in moving forward....more
Maybe this generation is a bunch of privileged, entitled kids who found themselves all-too-quickly with scruff and ovulation cycles and proceeded to bMaybe this generation is a bunch of privileged, entitled kids who found themselves all-too-quickly with scruff and ovulation cycles and proceeded to bitch and moan.
Maybe this generation was born into a set of circumstances which lead to more contemplation that previous generations: over-abundance of options in all facets of life, over-saturation of outside conflicting messages, over-done social networking, a world of constant TMI, Warhol's "fifteen minutes" prophecy coming to life before their very eyes -- and as a result are cynical and freaked out and trying to quiet the conflicting voices in their consciousness.
What is for certain:
Hal Niedzviecki studied abroad, lived through mind-fucking anxiety attacks, mindlessly contracted an STD, and wrote a beautiful essay about this tumultuous time of his life -- one you might relate to. And if you don't see shades of yourself, and you fit into this generation, I guarantee you will in one of the rest of these well-chosen essays, because:
Maybe you felt the all-embodying coming-together sense-of-purpose, proceeding the Bush/Kerry election, your first as a registered voter, like Courtney E. Martin did. Maybe you know the crushing of spirit that followed. Maybe like me, you forgot that time, and this essay will make you see it from a new vantage point.
Maybe you thought the military would give you purpose, like Matt Farwell did. Maybe you found yourself in Afghanistan like him.
Maybe like Catherine Strawn or Bess Vanrenen or Joshua M. Bernstein, you thought purpose would be in New York, and maybe you found it there, and maybe you didn't, and maybe you found yourself writing porn copy.
Maybe you went on tour with a band, like Nick Burd, and on those lonely roads maybe you worked through the spectrum of grandiose and humble thoughts, and figured some things out.
Maybe like Caitlin Dougherty, you joined the Peace Corps, got back, and felt at a distance, balancing new knowledge with the advancing lives of those you love around you moving into marriage and careers.
Maybe like Jared Jacang Maher, from your father you learned to listen to the sounds of the house.
Maybe like Jennifer Banash, you couldn't commit, even though you had a great guy. Maybe you found happiness through honesty, even though it hurt like hell.
Maybe like Kate Torgovnick, you realized you were a grown-up when you realized you were a bed-maker, and this threw you into an identity crisis of sorts.
These essays are beautifully, brutally, fearlessly honest, and reveal the inner minds of so many of us.
These essays may have been written in some other order, but the order they are arranged in is perfect - the forms build upon the last, new techniquesThese essays may have been written in some other order, but the order they are arranged in is perfect - the forms build upon the last, new techniques she uses are introduced and then just placed in as part of her writing tool-kit later.
All the stories are great. "I Will Catch You" is damn good fun, an interesting teacher's perspective I've never seen voiced before.
"Did you ask for a happy ending?" is so saturated with a simple sadness I almost couldn't go on reading it even. Nothing huge happens - it perfectly captures the minutia of a revealing moment where the everyday doubts and confusions and sadnesses leak through the containers they are usually kept in. Especially when, say, putting on a "I'm happy" act for your parents.
The way she describes writers and poets I've never heard of makes me want to read them very much....more