It is crucial that we invent strategies for seeing the familiar differently. If we rely solely on seeing it in familiar ways, we will only be able to re-enact what we have already done and confirm what we already know. As changes occur to the familiar systems, either as a result of entropy or disturbances from outside forces, we will be poorly prepared with entrenched attitudes to control their transformations, the ways the energies they contain are released and to what ends they are employed. In order to adapt creatively to changing conditions, we must adapt our existing knowledge and skills. Accustomed though we might be to finding a new pill or product to solve critical problems, we cannot count on new knowledge alone to save us from becoming relics of our own history.
I believe that anything worth its salt in the arts must create a wobble.
But there is a more interesting narrative at play here—the one that allows disgraced politicians and other powerful figures to rise and rise again. Much as we are constantly on the search for heroes, applying that term to nearly anyone who does something above average, we are, as a culture, also deeply invested in redemption, in the idea that we will be forgiven in our own lives if we forgive those who fall from grace in spectacular public fashion. We know our lesser, flawed selves, intimately — but self-confidence and, perhaps, some delusion, allow us to identify with the powerful men in these scandals. We know the mistakes we make and we know that we are, most of us, one perilous mistake away from falling from whatever grace we may hold. We crave the redemption of public figures because if great men can be forgiven for their public trespasses, maybe, just maybe, we may be forgiven for our private ones.
Perhaps what Democrats in Texas need most desperately is not a winner but simply a fighter. Winning comes later.
But here is the upside of being an adult: It is O.K. You do not have to be in a romantic relationship to keep the love.
To some spectators, it was particularly bracing to watch a hip-hop god colonize a white cube world that must once have seemed as distant as Mars from the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn, the projects where Jay-Z grew up (and where he was known by his given name, Shawn Carter). “For a young black man in America to be on his level of success and rapping about art, and not what he’s wearing, is the coolest thing,” the artist Mickalene Thomas said.
Cheating is called cheating for a reason. The issue on the table is honesty, not sex.