Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Learning to Drive, by Katha Pollitt

I have an unfinished post about A Visit From The Goon Squad. That's because I think three posts is plenty, but I haven't finished the book, either. I haven't finished the book because I had 20 pages to go when I gave it to my mother. Drat. I plan on just going out and buying it, as I'm going to be pushing it on friends for years to come.

Meanwhile, I had a stack of library books rapidly approaching their due date, so I reread The Great Gatsby (had been meaning to do that for ages), then started on Learning to Drive. Katha Pollitt is a columnist for The Nation; I've seen her work but don't read it with any regularity. She's the sort of middle-aged left-wing Manhattan intellectual who does not seem to have any counterpart in my generation, maybe because the counterparts can't afford to live there. Regardless, while I thought that Julie Klausner, who is my own age, didn't really have my number, Pollitt surely does.

" ... I had always thought that left-wing men were the worst. In college I would look around the cafeteria tables where the anti-war activists sat for hours over tuna melts and Cokes and think how sad it was that my politics had led me to this very small pool of potential boyfriends, all seriously problematic. The Maoists of the Progressive Labor Party were rigid and bizarre and always trying to get you to hand out leaflets at six in the morning. The rock-and-rollers and Weatherman sympathizers were callow and conceited and usually stoned. And yet it was not possible to be with a man who was conservative or apolitical, or even just a Democrat, someone who might have, say, voted for Hubert Humphrey. Even a McCarthy supporter was pushing it. Those people were so naive."

Har har. Marxists. Don't think they're not still around.

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