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Posts tagged "Zadie Smith"

Peace/Love/Elvis: The Death of Ambition, and Also of Denis Johnson

Peace/Love/Elvis: The Death of Ambition, and Also of Denis Johnson

It’s hard to say exactly when the plummet of Elvis Presley began. Some say in the late 60s, some say the early 70s. Some might say as early as 1958, when he was drafted into the Army. In any case, there’s no denying the devilish phase of physical and mental deterioration which carried him to his death, at age 42, in 1977. The last thing the King saw in this world was the cold tile, probably, of his bathroom wall.

During the height of his career, Elvis seemed a different man, if even a man he was. I need not say…

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Malfunctioning Lovers (and Christ in a Ciabatta Roll)

A scathing narrator lowers her anthropology in this compelling passage from White Teeth by Zadie Smith:

What was it about this unlovable century that convinced us we were, despite everything, eminently lovable as a people, as a species? What made us think that anyone who fails to love us is damaged, lacking, malfunctioning in some way? And particularly if they replace us with a god, or a weeping madonna, or the face of Christ in a ciabatta roll—then we call them crazy. Deluded. Regressive. We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greetings cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.

Millat didn’t love Irie, and Irie was sure there must be somebody she could blame for that.

Another Week Ends: Insignificance, Kanye, Rooted & Fundamentals, Zadie Smith, Blue Like Jazz and Steve Martin

Another Week Ends: Insignificance, Kanye, Rooted & Fundamentals, Zadie Smith, Blue Like Jazz and Steve Martin

1. Mark Galli continues his hot streak over at Christianity Today with a thoughtful editorial entitled “Insignificant is Beautiful,” in which he rightly explores why young people are so intent on making “a difference” and what that might mean. He doesn’t trash do-gooders per se as much as discuss how the yearning for significance often contains an unconfessed element of narcissism. The takeaway line being:

“…the human soul [is] subject to self-deception, and this colors even our highest aspirations. Even the best of intentions mask the mysterious darkness within, which is why we need to be healed also of our best…

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