The future used to have sharp angles, and I miss this aesthetic.
“I think that the way a better part of America defines what a racist is someone who self identifies as a white nationalist or a white supremacist,” said Ibram X. Kendi, a historian at American University and author of Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. “Someone who is in the Ku Klux Klan, someone who says the n-word, someone who engages in racial violence. Anything else, according to them, is not racist.” We tend to define racism in a way that will not implicate our own views or ideas. “I think people define racism in a way that exonerates them. If they can narrow [the definition of racism] as much as possible to things they are not saying or doing or are about, that leaves them off the hook,” Kendi continued.
When we can’t call a thing racist any more, we can’t deal with racism. It’s as though it does not exist.
What will be the long run impact of cities being places where wealth and income inequality clash in close quarters? It feels like the United States, approaching it’s 250th year, will be just like aristocratic Europe was. With enough time, our nations very structure has become captured by the rich. We are increasingly a machine that ensures the rich and powerful stay that way, and our cities, once the engines of opportunity fueled by a new industrial age, are instead places where a servant class toils for the wealthy. Not only has our economy been zapped of opportunity, so has our geography, as capital becomes increasingly mobile, shifting to find the best tax deal and the cheapest labor.
“Turn every page. Never assume anything. Turn every goddam page.”
The advice that leads into this magnificent piece by Robert A. Caro. If ever there was a time to start following it, do so with this magnificent piece. Another excerpt:
In interviews, silence is the weapon, silence and people’s need to fill it—as long as the person isn’t you, the interviewer. Two of fiction’s greatest interviewers—Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret and John le Carré’s George Smiley—have little devices they use to keep themselves from talking and to let silence do its work. Maigret cleans his ever-present pipe, tapping it gently on his desk and then scraping it out until the witness breaks down and talks. Smiley takes off his eyeglasses and polishes them with the thick end of his necktie. As for me, I have less class. When I’m waiting for the person I’m interviewing to break a silence by giving me a piece of information I want, I write “SU” (for Shut Up!) in my notebook. If anyone were ever to look through my notebooks, he would find a lot of “SU”s.