Thursday, July 07, 2005

In which I am better than everyone.

Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned anything of absolute value by living... I have lived some thirty years ont his planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors. Walden, p.6
When I first read this, I thought, shut up Thoreau. Later that night, at a business dinner with my mom, I listened to an elderly man ramble on about the importance of knowing the etymologies of Chinese characters, and I thought, I don't care, old man.

Moral: it's no use fighting condescension with condescension.

I've been reading a lot lately, but I've had nothing to say because I've thoroughly enjoyed and agreed with a lot of the literature I've read.* It seems like I always have less to say when that happens. Why is that? Often, a person that dislikes a piece of art has some articulatable reason for disliking the piece, while the former can only shrug and say, "I thought it was good."

Although thinking about it, that's not always true. I have many things to say about Proust and DFW, both of whom I like a lot. And I had nothing at all to say about Lipsyte's awful Homeland. So maybe the reason's more simple - I haven't been reading the right way, or the books haven't appealed to me in that way.

*Also, it's been difficult to get enough online time to write good blog posts in China.