Friday, November 04, 2011

Miranda July and Morality


On 10/10/11 The New Yorker magazine published a strange piece by Miranda July about shoplifting. "Free Everything." It's an opening into the vacant mind of an amoral person-- the perfect Nietzschean.

Ms. July describes how, as a young adult, she spent much of her time shoplifting. "--the whole world was one giant heist," she affirms.

There's no sense of shame in her reflections. "--no, I did not have any qualms," she says about stealing even from Goodwill Industries, a charitable organization where Miranda was briefly employed. "Because what is money, anyway?" she asks. "It's just a concept some asshole made up."

Keep in mind that Miranda July comes from a privileged background. Her parents were affluent hippies.

The essay is revealing, in that it unintentionally explains her later career gaming the system, obtaining arts grant after arts grant to an amazing extent. (I documented this in a "Monday Report," "The Miranda July Story," for the still-defunct Underground Literary Alliance site.) Miranda's mother held important positions at nonprofits, and no doubt advised Miranda on how to play the cronyistic system game for maximum benefit.

Isn't this how the established literary world operates? Duplicity is the norm. Grab everything possible, without moderation, to feed the special individual's desires. Play any role. Wear any face. The Self is the center of the universe. Getting ahead is the only morality.

Miranda July's short essay makes plain that Miranda is the center of her universe. She carries a sense of complete entitlement, of uninhibited privilege without restraint. The world belongs to her. What's money, anyway? She's never lacked for it, so for her it's a concept without meaning.

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