Tea With Chris: The Ostrich and the Frat Party

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: The Incongruous Quarterly is a new online magazine devoted to writing that couldn’t fit anywhere else: the rejected, the drawer-consigned, the inaccessible, the distantly possible. For its first issue Sheila Heti guest-edited a section featuring our own Margaux. That determination to leave nothing unsaid might be irrational, but it’s nobly quixotic too.

Margaux: This was the most weirdly pleasurable thing that I read this week. I’m not sure why it was so good, but I found Gideon Lewis-Kraus’ other article on attending the Frankfurt Book Fair just as subtle and strange and kind of as hilarious as this one. I read it while sitting under a tree in the woods drinking. It starts out thinking vaguely of the Iraq war and then ends up with Tiedye Bob somewhere in California with a few small-scale marijuana growers and a restaurant that isn’t open on Tuesdays.

I kept thinking: what are Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Tiedye Bob and I doing in Harper’s Magazine?, and also: It’s kind of fun to be in Harpers Magazine with Gideon Lewis-Kraus and Tiedye Bob. I think Gideon Lewis-Kraus likes to pretend that he can, with just a little bit of magical nonchalance, blend into hard-to-blend-into groups of people – like an ostrich at a frat party.

Carl: Michael Lind’s Salon piece on “The fantasy of a vast upper-middle class” is the straight shit-talking the American dream’s been begging for. As Lind points out, North American elites are very prone to deluding themselves into believing most other people are like them, and/or ought to be. I don’t entirely agree with Lind (an ex-neocon) on education (the fact is we need a more educated work force than in the past just to keep up; but yeah, that doesn’t mean those workers will be better compensated for it, which is a problem), but his brutal frankness is refreshing and rather relaxing.

To hang on to that feeling, next go listen to Toronto songwriter Alex Lukashevsky on NPR and on WNYC. Despite its sumptuous arrangements, with two Dirty Projectorsish accompanying singers, Alex’s stuff is the musical equivalent of Lind’s article – free of cant (tho not of canticle), unseduced by the day’s bouquet of horse manure. Because he’s the furthest thing from a careerist, it’s a great pleasure whenever someone makes an effort at bringing Alex’s music to a broader audience. So thanks, American elites – you’re not all bad after all.

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