Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Beholding the Underbelly

When John Kennedy Toole was 16 he wrote a novel called The Neon Bible. He killed himself at 31.

The following passage is from that book--see if you can't recognize some form of the description in your own communities. I am somewhat convinced that this is an eternal human condition. I don’t care your religion, I don’t care your politics or view of man, I don’t see how humans have ever or will ever sustainably get beyond this kind of evil which is common to every community (“Jese Jason, why don’t you just tell us all to go eat rat poison and die miserable and alone?” Sorry, I callzum as I seezum):

"But I knew the way the people in town thought about things. They always had some time left over from their life to bother about other people and what they did. They thought they had to get together to help other people out, like the time they got together about the woman who let a colored man borrow her car and told her the best place for her was up north with all the other nigger lovers, and the time they got the veterans with overseas wives out. If you were different from anybody in town, you had to get out. That's why everbody was so much alike. The way they talked, what they did, what they liked, what they hated. If somebody got to hate something and he was the right person, everybody had to hate it too, or people began to hate the ones who didn't hate it. They used to tell us in school to think for yourself, but you couldn't do that in the town. You had to think what your father thought all his life, and that was what everybody thought."

1 comment:

Jessica DesLongchamp said...

I'm gonna go cry in a corner for a while. Curling up in the fetal position will probably be involved.