Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The thread that runs through Summer

An American boy is all an Amer-ican boy is ever going to be. Not that this can get us off the hook of reading James and Eliot on the futility of expatriation (in case they didn't know what they were saying), because, after all, they give us such delight with our language. Just not with the way we talk.

For this I keep coming back to Maxwell and Agee. They authen-ticate the distinguishing fea-ture of the American boy, diverted as it multifariously is, almost always, by a culture of something else distinguishing his life, just not his being: striving. His contribution to existence is that figure of his speech. Hunger, without hunger.

Most of us become clever enough with words to regulate exposure of this structure, and this can seem to be polite or hypocritical, but is unambiguously a striving. 

This feature has nothing to do with the appetites, so called, or anxiety in the ordinary sense. It has to do with an awareness of a prev-alence of choice - of a kind, much less a degree, resembled nowhere else. Neither noble nor savage, and not knowingly anarchic, the American of this gender is an expatriate of history, a radical, like it or not, who would connect.

Kind of.

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