Thursday, May 05, 2005

learn to buck up

New members to the National Academy of Sciences were announced yesterday. The NYT covered this, with the spin being that, this year, an all-time high number of women were elected. I was a little annoyed with the article because the Summers debachle was brought up again, and was even insinuated to be a potential driver for the increase in women elected. Before everyone starts crying foul, let's look at the numbers- out of 72 new members, 19 were women. That's around 25%, which is nothing that causes me to call for a ticker tape parade.

I read an essay written by Abraham Verghese today, and much swooning commenced. Here's where he made a mess out of me:
"I could not tell my family how much Of Human Bondage had affected me or that I had now found my calling, because they believed I already had. And I was also learning, from books, that grand outward pronouncements of passion were not as significant as quiet inner convictions."
I didn't even mind when he got cranky after that about the kids these days and their lack of interest in reading.

The reason that quote resonates so much with me is that we're such a talking culture. We have to share our feelings and our histories and our baggage and... it's just exhausting. Honestly, sometimes I'm not into it. I know- this probably comes off sounding ridiculously hypocritical coming from someone who basically throws up on the internet on a daily basis. But hypocrisy has never stopped me from complaining before. Maybe what I'm really b*tching about is storytelling, or a lack of it. And this is specific to conversations for me, I guess- you can always not read a blog, or an email, or a letter. But dude, I'm tired of listening to conversations about nothing, love of Seinfeld aside. It's one thing if we're just shooting the breeze, but if I'm going to spend precious time listening to a history of someone's last breakup, it better have a point. Or at least be entertaining, or novel even. I feel like I'm hearing the same song in different keys covered by different artists of Celine Dion-ilk. Oh, and here's another thing- don't expect me to come at you with my own cover of that tired a** song! Homey don't play that. I get over things the old-fashioned way: by drinking alone in my apartment while listening to Morrissey. Just kidding. Kind of.

That's not the only reason that quote resonates with me though. The other reason is more literal, more obvious- it's a simple fact that no one else can ever understand exactly how strongly you feel about something that you really want. And it's also a simple fact that saying it louder or more forcefully will not help your cause any. It's that phrase quiet inner conviction that I like so much. That's where all the real strength lies. Hmm, I think I just talked myself into STFU.

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