at Grabov Rat (Aug.30, 2005)
immigrant, I was ready for my societal ranking to be scaled down as
compared to my homeland public and professional appearance. Even in
my homeland, I had an uneasy feeling that some of my higher
achievements were the outcome of a weak competition in a small
country with limited human resources. What I was not prepared for is
how much I miss casual conversations with the people of some
societal distinction. But then, in US it might not be a problem of
an immigrant only.
the sheer size of the country and the heterogeneity of ethnic and
religious groups, American intellectuals, as Kristol has put it,
"meet one another in the dark, so to speak". The men who
edit the large magazines usually lack the opportunity to meet anyone
of distinction in politics, drama, or music. The political people
are in Washington, the publishing and theater people in New York,
the movie people in Los Angeles, and the professoriat is scattered
across the country in the large universities. The universities have
become the dominant force in the American cultural world today: many
novelists, composers, painters, and critics find their havens in the
far-flung universities, and many of the major literary and cultural
quarterlies are edited there.
Bell: The disjunctions of cultural discourse, in The
cultural contradictions of capitalism, Twentieth anniversary
edition, BasicBooks, New York, 1996.