People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.
To people, like me, from the coast—I’m from Maryland—St. Louis can seem like a blank in the the middle of the country, a place where people and even ideas get stuck on the way to somewhere better, or at least somewhere else. But St. Louis is like New York (the fourth-most segregated metro in America), or Los Angeles, or Miami, or Dallas, or Washington, DC, only more so. Far from a blank, St. Louis is often regarded as the most American of America’s cities.
But it doesn’t take a federal investigation to understand the history of racial segregation, economic inequality and overbearing law enforcement that produced so much of the tension now evident on the streets. St. Louis has long been one of the nation’s most segregated metropolitan areas, and there remains a high wall between black residents — who overwhelmingly have lower incomes — and the white power structure that dominates City Councils and police departments like the ones in Ferguson.
…Messi dragging entire defenses across the pitch like someone resizing a browser window.
The ways we miss our lives are life.
Now I want to lighten the mood by arguing that the entire economic foundation of our industry is rotten.
Mendoza found Missourians consider themselves proud Midwesterners, not Southerners, no matter what anybody else says.
In such settings, being an Arsenal supporter is even more predictable than having an M.F.A. or a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.
What you’re watching with Don is a representation, to me, of American society. He is steeped in sin, haunted by his past, raised by animals, and there is a chance to revolt. And he cannot stop himself.
A few nights ago, for reasons I don’t have access to, I dreamt of this show. I was my current self, gliding across the stage from right to left. The yellow glow behind illuminating the audience.
I was looking for myself, maybe 20 rows back, just three days short of his seventeenth birthday. I screamed at him, me, though there was no way I could have heard myself over the noise. But there I was, I could see him, 16, small, thin, lost, but enjoying myself as I would have then, seriously.
This show is something I think about from time to time, today exactly 20 years later, more than any other rock show I ever saw. I didn’t have access to anything much more sophisticated than this then and I’m not sure I was capable of appreciating anything any more sophisticated anyway.
But that’s OK.
And 20 years later I’d like to tell that kid, if he could hear me over the noise, that you’re OK. That there will be hard times ahead, even today exactly 20 years later, and surely there are more to come, but you’ll be OK.
A gift I didn’t have then, and really could have used, but I’ll give it to that kid now all the same.
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