13 May 2013

A Visit from the Goon Squad; Jennifer Egan

"Older people are more resistant to . . ." She seemed to falter.

"Being bought?"

Lulu smiled. "See, that's what we call a disingenuous metaphor," she said. "DMs look like descriptions, but they're really judgments. I mean, is a person who sells oranges being bought? Is the person who repairs appliances selling out?"

"No, because what they do is up front," Alex said, aware that he was condescending. "It's out in the open."

"And, see, those metaphors--'up front' and 'out in the open'--are part of a system we call atavistic purism. AP implies the existence of an ethically perfect state,which not only doesn't exist and never existed, but it's usually used to shore up the prejudices of whoever's making the judgments."

"So," he said. "You think there's nothing inherently wrong with believing in something--or saying you do--for money?"

"'Inherently wrong,'" she said. "Gosh, that's a great example of calcified morality. I have to remember that for my old modern ethics teacher, Mr. Bastie; he collects them. Look," she said, straightening her spine and flicking her rather grave (despite the friendly antics of her face) gray eyes at Alex, "if I believe, I believe. Who are you to judge my reasons?"

"Because if your reasons are cash, that's not belief. It's bullshit."

Lulu grimaced. Another thing about her generation: no one swore. Alex had actually heard teenagers say things like "shucks" and "golly," without apparent irony. "This is something we see a lot," Lulu mused, studying Alex. "Ethical ambivalence--we call it EA--in the face of a strong marketing action."

A Visit from the Goon Squad
A Visit from the Goon Squad; Jennifer Egan
[ posted by sstrader on 13 May 2013 at 9:36:56 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature ]