The title of Mark Greif's book reminds me of a quote from Girls:
“Yeah. But all my friends in New York define themselves by what they hate. I don’t even know what any of my friends like. I just know what they don’t like. God, that’s so crazy. Everyone is so busy chasing success and defining themselves they can’t even experience pleasure.” - Hannah Horvath
Is there too much to like these days that we must define ourselves by what we're against? This collection of essays on everything from exercise to reality television to the evolution of hipsters is a remarkable reflection on our everlasting present. I had so many ah-ha moments while reading this book and recommend it to everyone who is interested in cultural commentary.
Here are a few quotes that made me go 🤔 :
"Let the future, at least, know that we were fools. Make our era distinct and closed so that the future can see something to move beyond. Record our testament, that this was a juvenile phase in liberation which must give way to a spiritual adulthood. Turn back to adults: see in the wrinkles at the side of the eye that catch the cobalt, the lines of laughter in the face, the prolific flesh, those subtle clothes of adulthood, the desire-inspiring repositories of wisdom and experience. Know that what we wish to be nourished upon is age and accomplishment, not emptiness and newness." - from Afternoon of the Sex Children
"'Everything that goes into food goes into you,' runs the frightening apothegm of one last health-food advertisement. There is nothing that goes through your body, on this principle, that doesn't permanently change its makeup. Nothing fails to be incorporated. It is like the idea of a perfect ledger of what you consumed over a life, as if your body grew or aged differently based on every single item to pass your lips, or could be audited for the sums in different columns. Not for us, the quite reasonable supposition that the majority of what we eat doesn't change us, that human beings have been digesting so much for so long that they eat disparate foods with identical outcomes." - from On Food