Re: Who are you?

Virginia Postrel. I’m a contributing editor for the Atlantic Monthly. Well originally, I’m from North Carolina; but actually I grew up in South Carolina. I grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and spent my childhood and teenage years there. I carry a few sort of interesting, and in some ways unexpected things from my childhood. One is that I grew up in Greenville in the deep South in the ‘60s and ‘70s. And my parents, while they were not activists, they were supportive of the Civil Rights Movement at a time when that was an unusual position to take. And one thing that I learned from them I’ve realized in my adult life was how to be both a dissident, different, and also very mainstream at the same time, because they were very imbedded in their local community. They were not alienated from it. They were not weird in any way, but they had these very different views. And that’s something . . . In that particular case it was the Civil Rights Movement, and obviously growing up in the era, in that place, issues of race are issues that can . . . they don’t . . . they’re not at the center of my work, but they inform my background and who I am somewhat. But the real thing that I learned from them was about being different, but also mainstream as opposed to having to see yourself as sort of an alternative, or being alienated from the general culture. At the same time, growing up there and having the personality that I have, and being female, and being very sort of assertive and intellectual, I was very alienated from the local culture. And so I was very happy to leave, I have to say, with all due respect to the fine people in Greenville. And so that’s another thing. Another aspect is that it is the buckle of the Bible belt. My family is liberal but devout Christians. I come from . . . My grandfather was a Presbyterian minister. I come from a very churchgoing background. I am not myself especially religious, and I also converted to Judaism in my early adult life. So I’m very different from that, but the fact that I grew up in that culture, that I really know the Bible, but I really know what it’s like to be a religious person who is an actual believer where it informs every aspect of their life, and to live in a culture where that’s normal is another thing that I carry with me into my life in this sort of public realm. And then finally, and the one that most directly informs my work, is that I lived in a poor place at a time that it was experiencing economic growth. And you know, the U.S. South, if you go back to right after World War II, was basically sort of like a rich third world country. I mean it would be, you know . . . and it had . . . The fact that it’s not poor today is really quite a miracle of economic development. And people who are from the South I think appreciate the benefits of just material prosperity more than sometimes people in other parts of the country. And they also see the economic progress that is taking place in this country over the past 20, 30 years that sometimes the rest of the country doesn’t recognize. And particularly sort of the intellectual class concentrated in New York, L.A., very expensive cities doesn’t recognize how much economic progress there’s been.

Recorded on: 7/4/07

 

Dissident, different, and very mainstream.

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

content.jwplatform.com
Videos
  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Keep reading Show less