About halfway through Katherine’s essay, she relates the story of the madwoman who maltreats her boys, locking away the sugar, feeding them raw food until they are sick, denying them access to medicalcare.Thedemands, some small, some rather large, of the mother amount to something unconscionable—an awful abuse of human dignity. Katherine, though, finds it in her to understand, finding this woman’s sociopathic actions to be an example of something thatwe all do:
These minor acts of tyranny, I think. We perform them first on ourselves, and then, as a way of softening the blow, of normalizing the appearance, on the people around us. And as the receivers of these acts, we acclimate ourselves to them, don’t mind them even.
For me, this is the crux of the essay, the fulcrum upon which it pivots. It is at this moment when the essay opens beyond Katherine’s fascinating experience, beyond even our generation’snot uncommon experience of working in a commercial relationship billed as experiential. Through this passage, it ventures into the very significance of how one lives, how one can live.| | | Next → |