Mary Gaitskill

“But I think that this apparent desire to be a victim cloaks an opposing dread: that Americans are in truth profoundly, neurotically terrified of being victims, ever, in any way. This fear is conceivably one reason we initiated the particularly vicious and gratuitous Iraq war―because Americans can't tolerate feeling like victims, even briefly. I think it is the reason that every boob with a hangnail has been clogging the courts and haunting talk shows across the land for the last twenty years, telling his/her "story" and trying to get redress. Whatever the suffering is, it's not to be endured, for God's sake, not felt and never, ever accepted. It's to be triumphed over. And because some things cannot be triumphed over unless they are first accepted and endured, because, indeed, some things cannot be triumphed over at all, the "story" must be told again and again in endless pursuit of a happy ending. To be human is finally to be a loser, for we are all fated to lose our carefully constructed sense of self, our physical strength, our health, our precious dignity, and finally our lives. A refusal to tolerate this reality is a refusal to tolerate life, and art based on the empowering message and positive image is just such a refusal.”


Mary Gaitskill, Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays
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Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays by Mary Gaitskill
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