Paris is different: it is breathtaking in her commitment to inefficiency. Her 12 million people, all parked at sidewalk cafes, smoking or nursing an espresso or glass of vino, or seemingly scattered across blankets on slender lawns haphazardly tucked between zagging streets, looking longingly into their lover’s eyes over lunch — never really in a hurry to go anywhere, despite an orgy of old world charm laid out before them.
merican, anyway — one can summarize the delta between the two thusly: purpose …or this American, anyway — one can summarize the delta between the two thusly: purpose vs pleasure. Americans always have somewhere else to go. The French appear to have somewhere to belong.
And yet, our current model of relationship-building starts with humans as profile pictures and status updates. Humans as entertainment channels. Humans as brands. Humans as micro-imperialists — lording over nebulous empires conquered via wit or clout, threaded together merely by each colonist’s shared unwillingness to press “unfollow.” The way we interact now changes the way we view and value things like boundaries, intimacy and comfort. It’s creating a system where we can constantly tweak our social circles to be exactly how we want it, when we want it, whenever we want it. And when real life gets to be too real, too much or not enough, we can escape back into our smartphones to change the channel and see who else is on tonight.
…iving way, in a compassionate way — in the way a loving parent might, to a little frightened child. What is it that has wounded America so badly, that — even though it is the most powerful one of all — fearing for its very being, it acts out a deep, deep sense of rage, shame, fear, and humiliation, over and over again?
…ngratiating to a racist, fascist, monster, or war criminal? Of course not. It is the very opposite. Truth demands we call them what they are. Justice demands we do so for the sake of those they have hurt. Freedom demands that we do so for our own. And equality demands that we call them what they are for everyone’s sake. That is how we begin to civilize them — or at least protect the community of human belonging from t…