Monday, November 30, 2015

"I can laugh at the past but the laughter sticks in my throat."

The final paragraph in Luc Sante's absorbing memoir The Factory Of Facts:
The past is a notional construct, a hypothesis, a poem. I hold on to its passport because it was issued at my birth, without any possibility of my assenting or not. It’s not so much a document as it is a brand or a scar. I don’t really endorse the past, mind you, and I don’t intend to go back and settle there. My actual relation to the past is ironic, if anything, even if the irony is poisoned with sentiment; I can laugh at the past but the laughter sticks in my throat. I certainly feel more affection for it from a distance. And only from within the past can I appreciate the present, which is all things considered a dispiriting place to live. Each is a shabby, passive-aggressive dictatorship of compromise and self-delusion. Under the rhetoric, we all know this. I'm not alone because every one of us is an alien. That makes us us all compatriots.

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