I’m a sweating fat kid standing on the edge of the subway platform staring at the tracks. I’m seventeen years old, weigh 296 pounds, and I’m six-foot-one. I have a crew cut, yes a crew cut, sallow skin, and the kind of mouth that puckers when I breathe. I’, wearing a shirt that reads Miami Beach - Spring Break 1997, and huge, bland tan pants - the only kind of pants I own. Eight pairs, all tan.
It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m standing just over the yellow line trying to decide whether people would laugh if I jumped. Would it be funny if the Fat Kid got splattered by a subway train? Is that funny? I’m not being facetious; I really want to know. Like it or not, apparently there’s something funny about fat people. Something unpredictable. Like when I put on my jacket and everyone in the hallway stifles laughter. Or when I stand up after sitting in the cafeteria and Jennifer Maraday, Brooke Rodriguez, and Amy Glover all bust a gut. I don’t get angry. I just think, What was funny about that? Did my butt jiggle? Did I make the bench creak so that it sounded like a fart? Did I leave an indentation? There’s got to be something, right? Right?
So it’s not a stretch to be standing on the wrong side of the yellow line giving serious thought to whether people would laugh if I threw myself in front of the F train. And that’s the one thing that can’t happen. People can’t laugh. Even I deserve a decent suicide.
You should all read this book. Or if movies are your thing, go back the kickstarter!! The film has already been made, and looks amazing, but can’t get a distributor, because they can’t make $100 million on a movie about punk music and a fat kid.
The creative act requires not only freedom but also this assumption of freedom. If the creative artist worries if he will still be free tomorrow, then he will not be free today. If he is afraid of the consequences of his choice of subject or of his manner of treatment of it, then his choices will not be determined by his talent, but by fear. If we are not confident of our freedom, then we are not free.
And, even worse than that, when censorship intrudes on art, it becomes the subject; the art becomes ‘censored art’, and that is how the world sees and understands it. The censor labels the work immoral, or blasphemous, or pornographic, or controversial, and those words are forever hung like albatrosses around the necks of those cursed mariners, the censored works. The attack on the work does more than define the work; in a sense, for the general public, it becomes the work. For every reader of Lady Chatterley’s Lover or Tropic of Capricorn, every viewer of Last Tango in Paris or A Clockwork Orange, there will be ten, a hundred, a thousand people who ‘know’ those works as excessively filthy, or excessively violent, or both.
The assumption of guilt replaces the assumption of innocence. Why did that Indian Muslim artist have to paint that Hindu goddess in the nude? Couldn’t he have respected her modesty? Why did that Russian writer have his hero fall in love with a nymphet? Couldn’t he have chosen a legally acceptable age? Why did that British playwright depict a sexual assault in a Sikh temple, a gurdwara? Couldn’t the same assault have been removed from holy ground? Why are artists so troublesome? Can’t they just offer us beauty, morality, and a damn good story? Why do artists think, if they behave in this way, that we should be on their side? ‘And the people all said sit down, sit down you’re rocking the boat / And the devil will drag you under, with a soul so heavy you’ll never float / Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down / You’re rocking the boat.’
Zuko: Uncle, I know you must have mixed feelings about seeing me.. but I want you to know. I am so so sorry, Uncle. I am so sorry and ashamed of what I did. I don’t know how I can ever make it up to you, but i’ll—
(Iroh grabs Zuko in for a hug)
Zuko: How can you forgive me so easily?! I thought you would be furious with me.
Uncle Iroh: I was never angry with you. I was sad because I was afraid you lost your way.
J. K. Rowling:
I said to Arthur, my American editor - we had an interesting conversation during the editing of seven - the moment when Harry takes Draco's wand, Arthur said, God, that's the moment when the ownership of the Elder wand is actually transferred? And I said, that's right. He said, shouldn't that be a bit more dramatic? And I said, no, not at all, the reverse. I said to Arthur, I think it really puts the elaborate, grandiose plans of Dumbledore and Voldemort in their place. That actually the history of the wizarding world hinged on two teenage boys wrestling with each other. They weren't even using magic. It became an ugly little corner tussle for the possession of wands. And I really liked that - that very human moment, as opposed to these two wizards who were twitching strings and manipulating and implanting information and husbanding information and guarding information, you know? Ultimately it just came down to that, a little scuffle and fistfight in the corner and pulling a wand away.
It says a lot about the world at large, I think, about conflict in the world, it's these little things -
J. K. Rowing:
And the difference one individual can make. Always, the difference one individual can make.
“I’ve never met a white writer who ever gets asked questions like, ‘Well, don’t you feel bad about the way you represent white people?’ Guys I’m not representing Dominicans, I’m representing one crazy set of like, what, 11 people? There’s like, what, 12 people in this book? There’s 10 million Dominicans, yo. I just happen to come from a family of crazy people and I think you should be allowed to write about crazy people.”—Junot Diaz. Everything he says is gold, always. (via paperbackgirl)
“The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.
Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding.”
In other words, you’re bad at what you think you’re good at and vice versa. Of course, once you realize that, it’s reversed.