Monday, July 11, 2011

Chairs, houses

Interesting bit by Mischa Glouberman at the Paris Review. It is about going to Harvard, and what it means if you are Canadian:
If you go to Harvard and then you live in New York, no matter what you do, the fact remains that you will have old college friends who are in the top positions in whatever field of endeavor you’re concerned with. If you’re twenty-five, you’ll know people who are getting their first pieces published in The New Yorker. If you’re forty, you’ll know people who are editors of The New Yorker. You will know people who are affiliated with every level of government. And across the board, just everywhere, you will know some people at the top of everything.

But in Canada, if you went to Harvard, it’s just a weird novelty, a strange fact about you, like that you’re a member of Mensa or you have an extra thumb. There’s no Harvard community here. There are equivalent upper-class communities to some degree, like maybe people who went to Upper Canada College prep school, but it’s not even remotely the same thing. I mean, partly there just aren’t the same heights to aspire to. There’s no equivalent to being the editor of The New Yorker in Canada, or being an American movie producer or anything like that. Partly, the advantages of class aren’t as unevenly distributed in general.

So while going to Harvard constitutes an invitation to join the American upper class, this invitation is pretty useless if you’re living in Canada. I often think about how I was given this invitation—this tremendously valuable thing—and I just kind of threw it away. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
That's an excerpt from the book The Chairs Are Where the People Go: How to Live, Work and Play in the City, by Misha in collaboration with Sheila Heti; they are doing an event this Thursday in Brooklyn at the powerHouse Arena that I am sure will be worth your while if you are local, and here are details on some other tour events.

1 comment:

  1. As far as I'm concerned, all the more reason to move to Canada.