Some of the readers suggested I visit the Fogg Museum in Cambridge, and thank them for that. It’s an outstanding museum with a wonderful collection. Unfortunately, my phone died in the middle of the trip and refused to connect to the energy bank juice thingy. I forget what it’s called.
So all I have is a photo from inside the Boston Public Library. I’m using it for meditation purposes.
The Harvard campus is ok but definitely inferior to the Yale campus.
Because my phone was off, I ended up eating some really nasty Greek food, and I didn’t even know Greek food could be nasty. So now I’m traumatized by that experience.
I’m not one of those sad weirdos who think people shouldn’t write novels about anybody except their own identity group. By all means, write about anybody you want. But you still got to make it at least somewhat believable. Don’t endow a twenty-bucks-a-pop stripper who is serving two life sentences for murdering a john with the fussy sensibility of a Vassar graduate, or whichever fancy wokester school Kushner graduated from.
It’s absolutely possible to write well about the lumpen classes without being lumpen yourself. But in order to do that, you have to be able to accept that people are not interchangeable widgets. And Kushner can’t do that because her whole worldview of an upper-middle-class wokester is based on the widget mentality.
The novel gets downright funny at times, with its obsession with trans issues and pronouns and its earnest belief that women – especially the ones locked up in jail for violent crimes – are completely asexual creatures. While male convicts obsess about sex, female convicts obsess about pronouns. The novel is set 20 years ago, which makes the whole thing even more bizarre.
The novel is valuable for its glimpse into the utter cluelessness of wealthy people but very little else.
As many people suggested, I went to the Boston Public Library.
Now I do miss living in a big city.
I just realized that I haven’t been to a real library in years. I’m green with envy.
I used to miss living in a big city but that’s all gone. I went out for a walk here in Boston, and immediately weirdness started. Three minutes into the walk I went into a dinky looking corner bodega. It was dusty, cramp, and cheap-looking.
“Do you know who we are???” the guy at the counter asked me in a severe voice.
“Huh?” I said.
“We are one of the two most famous sneaker places in the country! We don’t want to be found. It’s only for people in the know. You know?”
“Huh?” I said.
The guy opened a secret door in the back and revealed a luxurious room filled with ridiculously expensive sneakers, a bunch of contemptuous salespeople, and obviously ho customers.
“Hah,” I said.
I was out of there in under a minute because I’m not nearly fancy enough for top-secret sneaker stores. But if you are interested, it’s on the corner of Massachusetts Ave and Clearway.
I didn’t photograph inside to avoid looking like a total country bumpkin but here’s the outside.