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Showing posts from August 18, 2013

a curse on quiet

There is one phrase we would run into constantly while apartment hunting – a phrase that would always put a clammy hand on my heart. The phrase was: its very quiet. Invariably, as we were being shown around this or that apartment in Los Angeles, which when last I looked held more than 2 million people, the selling point of quiet would come up. I’d immediately have a Gaslight flashback, the Victorian medical man with the florid moustache hiding his louche London night life of underage prostitutes and gambling under the veneer of the vest, suit, and checkbook, bringing his Ingrid Bergmanesque wife, a quiet lass, to his suburban retreat. He’s a strong advocate of vivisection, this guy, and the streets all about have suffered a mysterious epidemic of dognapping that has made them even quieter. Ingrid, of course, is diagnosed by her husband as needing rest and quiet   - o so much quiet. She needs to eat the unpalatable gruel brought by the serving girl who shows a little too much bodic

I pity the poor emigrant

Like Bob Dylan, I pity the poor emigrant. Especially when the poor emigrant is me – although poor is not the precise word. Poor conjures up the guy who struggles up from the hold, where half of his fellow travelers have died of the potato famine, who is thrown by some savage matelot into the line to be processed by a customs official on Ellis Island, a creep with leering eyes who changes   his name and gives him an official paper proclaiming him eligible for exploitation by his Darwinian   betters and has him and his four cardboard suitcases kicked out into the street, where he picks himself up and finds a job as a stringman in a windowshade factory for ten cents an hour, 26 hours a day. As we know, in just one hundred twenty years, such is the miracle of America, his great great grandchildren have risen to have degrees, hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt, and great jobs as salesmen at designer pillow boutiques, or slinging escargot, for hedgefund geniuses, 26 hours