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June 11, 2010

in search of status

(Washington, DC) Apparently, if you walk into a Russian club in Brooklyn or Cleveland on a Saturday night, you will see two or three gigantic parties seated in the dining room, each around a towering flower arrangement of a different color. The guy who bought that bouquet--and all the guests' meals--is a big cheese.

On the streets of downtown Lisbon, I saw groups of teenagers: cheerful, friendly-looking kids. I have no idea what combination of clothes, interests, and idioms allow a teenager to hang out with one of those groups or become its leader, but I am sure the recipe for inclusion is very precise and difficult to master.

If I blew all my savings on a vast banquet, everyone would think I was weird. And I (evidently) don't care about clothes. But I'll labor for weeks or months to write a piece that can appear in one obscure scholarly journal instead of another, and then take great pride in adding it to my CV.

We are a funny bunch of primates, aren't we?

June 11, 2010 8:06 AM | category: none



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