First, at the Rumpus, an honest-to-god literary blog! About The House of Mirth, and losing New York:
I read the book while I had some time to myself before I left, where I wasn’t really doing much of anything, and I had gotten into the habit of wandering the streets a lot. Every once in awhile I would resist a sudden urge to clutch at the sidewalks with my fingernails. I know that’s melodramatic, But, being kicked out of somewhere due to visa restrictions is a peculiar experience, you see, not like a regular leaving. Just like Lily Bart’s excommunication from her social circle left her New York beyond her reach, it’s not entirely clear, no matter how much I like the place, that I’ll ever be able to come back for more than a visit. And so to the extent you’ve invested your identity in where you are, become in your mind part of the scenery, you’re swallowing a full loss. I’m not sure, even now that I’ve physically left and realized, as Lily’s friend Gerty Farish says in the book, that I’m becoming “of those to whom privation teaches the unimportance of what they have lost,” I’m ever quite going to get over it.
Then, later today, I had something at The Awl about Eat, Pray, Love everybody’s current favourite chick-flick-to-bash:
If any of the critics I listed above cared one whit about class in this country or any other, and thus hated the artistic treatment of privileged whining, they’d have to throw out what I’d imagine is more than half of Western cinema. This, they are not prepared to do, however. What Edelstein, Travers and the like do is a drive-by on class issues, for hating rich people (just as much as Sarah Palin does, I might add), without doing the hard work of interrogating actual social privilege. It’s self-congratulation for not being that kind of vulgar white (incidentally lady bits-having, not that there’s anything wrong with that except that it means “your” movies are suspect for self-indulgence) person who falls for this claptrap. It’s not structural critique.
Feel free to discuss in the comments here. See y’all tomorrow for poetry Saturday.