"The voice that spoke inside me had the clamor of the wrong. It was the beat of feet on grooves worn bald by decades of obedience, not the light footfalls of the daimon on a path unique to me." - from "Thoreau Trailer Park" (2012)
By the time I read those words, I'd spent almost two weeks dipping in and out of Mark Greif's 2016 collection of essays entitled "Against Everything". Spending this time with Greif's sharp mind and provocative insights was like being on a stimulating two week vacation. I was educated, energized, challenged. When was the last time you had an intellectual vacation like this?
I'm not sure what it says about me as a Father and role model that my daughter got this book for me based on the title alone, but, she enriched my life introducing this new author to me. Among the most significant of my takeaways was a renewed resolve to keep my mind open to rap. Greif's evangelism in the essay "Learning To Rap" (2010, 2015) was both persuasive and culturally eye-opening.
And most important, for every contrary opinion Greif and I share - our inability to understand the appeal of the Grateful Dead's music, our annoyance at ubiquitous TV screens, our belief that one house, one car, one boat is more than enough - there were just as many instances in this book when my margin notes said "ouch". In those cases - again, note the quote opening this post - Greif's incisive mind reminded me that all sacred cows, including the ones revered by know-it-all bloggers, need to be examined periodically. What was the last book you read that helped you to carefully explore how we all regularly confirm our own biases?