I went to get that new enhanced driver’s license today – something which requires two proofs of address, passport, green card and social insurance card, to say nothing of the undisclosed number of unmarked bills, blood and Stem cell samples. This was my third attempt. A guy stood wavering at the entrance and then puked on the sidewalk. It didn’t seem like a big deal to him, more like he was spitting. The woman at the front door was very nice and upbeat and steered me to Counter 30. I thought that I might actually get my enhanced license, and the counterperson made me even more confident. She accepted my unopened utility bill and asked for my Social Insurance Card. I had forgotten that. I would return. That’s what I told myself as I sat down at my desk and realized I had forgot my glasses on the counter.
McPhedran: We have not received our tickets.
StubHub: Oh no! I’m really sorry to hear that. Quick question. Did you make the purchase with Stubhub or Ticketbis?
McPhedran: Stubhub redirected us to Ticketbis.
StubHub: Ticketbis is in the process of transiting in the Stubhub platform. Until that is completed, you need to contact them directly.
McPhedran: Give us the number we should call.
StubHub: They do not have a direct line.
McPhedran: How do we contact them?
StubHub: I will mark my message as urgent.
McPhedran: Do you understand that we need to leave for this event in 75 minutes?
StubHub: Thanks for that. But this is a Ticketbis order
McPhedran: Stubhub redirected us to this site.
StubHub: The only other option is to send an email.
McPhedran: Do you understand that we need to go in an hour?
StubHub: Can I have your best contact number?
McPhedran: I already sent it to you.
StubHub: Is there anything else I can help you with?
McPhedran: This is a help center, correct? You need to help us with this problem.
StubHub: Seeing that I have done all I can and there is not anything else I can help you with today, have a great day.
McPhedran: “Have a great day”? Is that a joke?
StubHub.: The thing is, McPhedran, I am not able to get the tickets from my end.
McPhedran: The thing is, StubHub, we already paid you for the tickets.
StubHub: I do wish I could do more and get these tickets over to you.
McPhedran: After all that is your business.
What one must aim for in the struggle to control the desires was the condition of “ethical virility” according to the model of “social virility”. In the use of male pleasures, one had to be virile with regard to oneself, just as one was masculine in one’s social role. In the full meaning of the world, moderation was a man’s virtue. To be immoderate was to be in a state of nonresistance with regard to the force of pleasures, and in a position of weakness and submission. In this sense, the man of pleasures and desires, the man of non-mastery (akrasia) or self-indulgence (akolasia) was a man who could be called feminine.*
*Taken with a grain or two of salt.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is a long and winding love story, unavoidably about race:
“I mean ‘nigger is a word that exists. People use it. It is part of America. It has caused a lot of pain to people and I think it is insulting to bleep it out. (168) Ifemelu wanted, suddenly and desperately, to be from the country of people who gave and not those who received, to be one of those who had and could therefore bask in the grace of having given, to be among those who could afford copious pity and empathy. (209)
One of Adichie’s devices, which works to varying effect, is the citation of Ifemelu’s blog: Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanian. America doesn’t care. (273) Later, on the train to Essex, he noticed that all the people around him were Nigerians, loud conversations in Yoruba and Pidgin filled the carriage, and for a moment he saw the unfettered non-white foreignness of this scene through the suspicious eye of the white women on the tube. (320)
Make one contribution of a mere $25…and then they never leave you be. Every day – and through the night – even if you unsubscribe, the emails never stop. Leading you to question whether to bother backing a horse again.
Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America chronicles the possibility of Charles Lindbergh, American hero and Nazi sympathizer, defeating Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 election, leading America into isolationism and violent Antisemitism. Most striking of all about this alternate reality is its similarities with today’s Trump America: “…when they turned on the news, they were devastated by the speed with which everything dreadful was happening.” (329) In the book’s postscript, Roth reprints Lindbergh’s speech against involvement in World War II on September 11, 1941:
The subterfuge and propaganda that exists in our country is obvious on every side. These war agitators comprise only a small minority of our people, but they control a tremendous influence. Against the determination of the American people…they have marshaled the power of the propaganda, their money, their patronage. The Jewish people’s greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.
Trump, identical to Lindbergh, refuses to address the hate and violence that stems from words like these.
And instead soldiers forth, blind and naked, leaving us to wonder where this reality, not as alternate as most would like, might lead.