Really not feeling anything on the internet today. I’m trying to finish up Elizabeth Spelman’s Repair: The Impulse to Restore in a Fragile World, which I would not recommend purchasing, but is worth checking out from your library. I’ve just finished a part on apologies, which I am mulling over, hard, about how there is a way in which apologizing puts the onus back on the wronged person and, often, allows the greater society to feel like things have been righted, and that you are a butt-hole if you don’t accept the apology.
She also has a really interesting moment where she talks about how people who’ve been in prison in our country for, say, two years, are seen by our broader society as being tainted by the experience or made, by that experience, to be, using her theme, beyond repair. But how we love, love, love these triumphant stories in which someone was in a concentration camp for, say, two years and emerges again whole and triumphant (even if it takes some years for this to be so). And how, in fact, the broader culture almost doesn’t trust or sees as tragedy (or comedy, I guess in some cases) when neither circumstances are true.
I’m not really doing her argument justice, but I think one of the things that she’s trying to get at is actually something I deeply agree with–we try very hard to cram lives into tidy narratives. We are, at heart, story-tellers. It’s not an inherently bad impulse. Hell, I love to tell stories myself.
But it always requires you to hold onto the realization that your telling a story, a version of the truth, or else it moves from storytelling into lying.
I don’t know. I’ve just been mulling it over. Considering that I’m in the middle of acting on a compulsion I feel in myself that I don’t wholly understand to trap myself with people who could not make it clearer that they don’t even really like me this weekend, it may resonate more strongly for me than it would for others.
In other words, I suspect it might be a stupid book, but I’m thinking hard about it.