Loudly and bravely

Wallace Shawn:

As I write these words, in New York City in 1985, more and more people who grew up around me are making this decision; they are throwing away their moral chains and learning to enjoy their true situation:  Yes, they are admitting loudly and bravely, We live in beautiful homes, we’re surrounded by beautiful gardens, our children are playing with wonderful toys, and our kitchen shelves are filled with wonderful food.  And if there are people out there who are envious of us and who might even be tempted to break into our homes and take what we have, well then, part of our good fortune is that we can afford to pay guards to protect us.  And if those who protect us need to hit people in the face with the butts of their rifles, or if they need perhaps even to turn around and shoot, they have our permission, and we only hope they’ll do what they do with diligence and skill.

The amazing thing I’ve noticed about these friends of mine who’ve made that choice is that as soon as they’ve made it, they begin to blossom, to flower, because they are no longer hiding, from themselves or anyone else, the true facts about their own lives.


8 thoughts on “Loudly and bravely

  1. Jason Starr says:

    I read the full essay, and I found it very thoughtful. Readers may want to know that Shawn says much more in the essay than what is suggested in this excerpt.

  2. JSE says:

    Strongly agree — the whole essay is great, and (like most of Shawn’s writing) doesn’t take exactly the turns you expect.

  3. Andy P. says:

    Can you give a link to the essay?

  4. JSE says:

    I don’t know if it’s online anywhere but it’s his essay “Morality” in his book Essays.

  5. Andy P. says:

    Thanks! I’ll have to check it out.

  6. JSE says:

    I had already forgotten the way Shawn uses the first sentence to charge the whole essay with the sense of a seduction, or a potential seduction.

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