Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Horrible Shame of Buying the New Yorker

My coming out as a "closet intellectual" apparently hasn't surprised some people. My housemate Steve hopefully thought I might be a lesbian, but I reminded him that I didn't LIKE women (not in that way) and he was duly disappointed. However, when I said it was the fact that I was an intellectual, he quickly did a turn-face on his heel, in an oh-so-bitchy way, and was not impressed in the slightest. In the kitchen when I made my proclamation was Steve, Rob & his girlfriend Kirsty -- Ference hovered near the communal computer in the conservatory next door. "My writer's group once a month is not enough," I dramatically announced. "At least you have a writer's group," Steve replied. "I don't have that." "That's your choice," I said. "That's what you would say." "I'm the same. Henceforth I'm fed up." Okay, it was yesterday when I woke up, wrote for an hour and decided that I was tired of playing the "anti-intellectual" game, which is more about giving myself an opportunity to do social work & writing without the added pretense of giving it an intellectualised veneer, which is what I'd spent most of my teenager years and early 20s doing. Mind you, it wasn't done in a completely self-conscious way. It was really part of the culture and tradition of which I'd become part of, which is to say, part of the Austin literary tradition vis a vis the Wrights. I gave up reading the New Yorker in the late 90s as some sort of exercise and partial act of rebellion -- now I'm thinking, "Jesus, I'm really suffering without that fabric of civilisation, no matter how much I might hate or disagree with it. Shit." I announced my return to the intelligentsia, after years of working in the frontline in a non-intellectual way (which is not to say that...oh fuck it) . Lines are crossed. I'm still doing it all. All I want to feel now is that I have some sort of social milieu, which almost seems an antiquated dream, since apart from anything, I feel like a hard-working, sacrificing idealist social worker living in an individualised society and frankly, give me the veneer any day.

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