Friday, August 24, 2007

noxious quote patrol

The following comes courtesy of "One Day in the Life of Melvin Jules Bukiet," an essay published in the spring 2007 issue of The American Scholar. The author, a professor at Sarah Lawrence College, writes of his unexpected arrest one evening & subsequent stint in Manhattan's House of Detention, aka the Tombs.

" new pen felt distinctly less congenial than the first. It was smaller and more crowded, and--call me racist--I couldn't help but realize I was the only white person, the only middle-aged person, the only person wearing a camelhair Brooks Brothers outlet-store jacket. I was the only person in the cell with glasses. Surely, 20 random men, though young, didn't all have perfect vision. Maybe their lives didn't require certain minor skills, like reading."

Naturally, a family friend & lawyer shows up just in time to offer bottled water to the author, who confesses without irony that it's a great idea because he doesn't drink plain milk nor wish to touch the water fountains. (Note to the Tombs: please add organic vanilla soy milk to your beverage menu.) Privileged Bukiet, elbow patches intact, thus escapes the fate of many of the other detainees, about whom he says, "Jail was my cellmates' life; they knew it the way students know a classroom." Whoa--that makes two noxious quotes in one post. One is certain that former editor Anne Fadiman would have crumpled & tossed this dreck into the rubbish bin.


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