Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I have not written much of any importance in the past few months. My energies have been devoted to a subtle metamorphosis into Pretentious Upperclassman Seminar Blowhard Asshole, an event that would have chilled a younger me. A couple weeks ago I found myself expounding upon the "absence of moral substance in wildlife documentaries," interrupted by the snickering of a classmate who had lowered and begun shaking his head in exasperation. Shit. Oh well. I guess it was inevitable that I would become the thing I hated. Being pedantic is better than leaving every class with a stress headache.

I am not yet prepared to write a summary of my time here, nor to attempt to comment upon what I have really learned, but I can say with very little ambivalence that I regard it as three years of harried disequilibrium, conviction assailed on all sides by various fictions - cultural, social, institutional - that have evidenced worthlessness in their effect upon my intelligence and my happiness. The myth of the manufactured World Citizen, prepared for life's trials by exposure to rarified knowledge: this is a fiction. The myth that success in our society is expedited by intimacy with the classical canon: complete lie. The myth of the pleasure child undaunted in the pursuit of bacchanalia: this is also a fiction. The myth of provincial specialness, of "alternativeness" generalized and self-consciously broadcasted as a means of providing ballast to an unbalanced political reality: the most fatuous story of them all. The bars are filled with emptiness. The campus, lurching creature, wobbles on legs of half-imagined narratives, fragments of sentences, ideas about ideas about itself. It lunges blindly at its adversaries, often unable or unwilling to tell the dragons from the windmills.

But I do believe that to live in America (and I use this proper noun only for sake of experience) is to participate in this commerce of the soul's poor grammar. It is different elsewhere, but not much. Maybe it is the trying, the sometimes optimistic but usually smug assurance with which people here settle for these myths, these incompletenesses, that unnerves me.

I anticipate my Summer in the wilderness with great thrill and equal trepidation. It will be a big, immovable mass in my life's progression. I cherish its circumference, imagined.


Dan said...

I miss you Matt. I never knew you but I miss you. Please keep writing, it provides interesting table conversation.

Dan said...

Actually no, it provides interesting moments in an otherwise dull life.