Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"I have a friend who says that the most valuable thing you can do as an adult is read a good history or biography about the years just preceding and including your birth. That’s the blind spot in most people’s consciousness, and that’s the span that should be spotlighted."  From a Bookslut feature by Ben Greenman and Pauls Toutonghi in which they are reading and commenting on a book by each winner of the Nobel Lit Prize. (The quoted passage is from Greenman's letter on Samuel Becket.)

I mention it because it seems to me that this is precisely where my blind spot isn't. The reason Underworld, for example, resonated with me was that I think I have a pretty good handle on that time and that place. Maybe that is the personal peculiarity of someone with a shelf full of Art Pepper records, or maybe Greenman's proposition is simply wrong, and I'm inclined towards the latter theory. It seems to me that the education I received in my formative years was from teachers who were inclined to focus on the span of years just before my birth, and it seems to me that this was the time frame that the movies I grew up watching, and the books I ended up reading were all about.  Isn't the iconic work for Boomers Catcher in the Rye? Wasn't the George Lucas movie that got our attention American Graffiti?  Actually, it seems to me that our cultural blind spots are probably on the other side-- the period of time right after we are born up to, perhaps, age eight or ten. I'm never going to understand the Hiss case, or Nixon, and I only understand Miles Davis from that period because I followed this trail after the fact.

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