Monday, November 25, 2019


A thought for your Monday, from a piece on last week’s Morning Edition:

NEARY: In addition to the nominated authors, there are two lifetime achievement awards. This year, Oren Teicher, retiring CEO of the American Booksellers Association, was honored for his service to the American literary community. And Edmund White, known for his writing about gay life in America, took home the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
EDMUND WHITE: When I started submitting novels in the pre-Stonewall 1960s, my gay subject matter was offensive, especially since I didn't write about hustlers or criminals or drag queens, but rather about the middle-class guy sharing an office with you. The familiar is more threatening than the exotic.

The familiar is more threatening than the exotic. There it is. We may be intellectually open and consider our selves broad-minded about things happening far away but when it comes to our neighborhood, our schools, our local institutions - - we feel threatened.

Everything seems worth defending in the abstract. But when it sits down next to us in the park that’s another thing altogether. Let us articulate lofty goals and write a check to a worthy cause but God forbid we rub shoulders daily with those who are different than we are.

We do not want the different to become familiar because we are afraid. And we join together with likeminded folks who assure us this is perfectly normal. It is nothing more than what we deserve. It will never get better at this rate. Our actions belie the stories we tell ourselves.

The more we fear, the more we fear.

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