… Indians, as they travel, migrate and resettle, have increasingly begun to deflect the problem – and the rewards – of encountering foreignness, and strangeness, and the notion of “India” has helped them in (has, in fact, been crucial to) this deflection. The so-called Indian diaspora ceased, really, to want either to integrate with, or radically revise, the landscape they moved to in the 1980s and 90s (usually, the United States, succeeding the earlier wave of immigration to Britain); instead, they wished to conform silently and, simultaneously, to continue as themselves. This has led to a unique combination of acceptance and denial.
In the Clinton era, and even more pronouncedly in the Bush era, the US came to be seen as a facilitator of India’s own teeming, importunate ambitions, for its true place in the world, and, therefore, as a familial figure, in keeping with the Indian middle class’s interpretation of family, as an institution that is primarily a guarantor of self-interest. When India looks at America, it sees a comforting or discomfiting (according to the phase of history it then inhabits) extension of its own welfare – much in the way that a child invents its mother.
Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi:
“Obviously we went to Russia for the very simple reason that in Russia it’s O.K. to be a loser and a failure. Everybody is. If you’re not a failure in Russia, you killed somebody, you’re driving around in a Mercedes, everyone knows how you got it. In this country, everybody is so desperate to not fall through the cracks, everyone’s so afraid of failing, of not getting ahead, of ending up living in a shitty place, of not making money. In the United States, especially in New York, if you are not doing well professionally, it’s this albatross you carry around everywhere. The first thing people ask you is, ‘What do you do? Where are you?’ Everybody in this town has a book deal. In Russia, nobody thinks about that shit! You get together, everybody gets shitfaced, and everyone assumes nobody has anything going on because who does? Nobody. ” Mr. Ames said that Russia freed their American souls. “Being a fuckup there is your right , every Russian is a total fuckup, and that’s even valued in that culture, it makes you human ,” he said.
The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still, and shall make men sensible by the expression of his countenance, that he goes the missionary of wisdom and virtue, and visits cities and men like a sovereign, and not like an interloper or a valet.
I have no churlish objection to the circumnavigation of the globe, for the purposes of art, of study, and benevolence, so that the man is first domesticated, or does not go abroad with the hope of finding somewhat greater than he knows. He who travels to be amused, or to get somewhat which he does not carry, travels away from himself, and grows old even in youth among old things. In Thebes, in Palmyra, his will and mind have become old and dilapidated as they. He carries ruins to ruins.
Woman: Elvis Presley, the King.
Man: Carl Perkins was better.
M: Carl Perkins.
M: Carl Perkins.
M: Carl Perkins.
Sometimes I think I’ll never leave the Rua dos Douradores. And having written this, it seems to me eternity.
Not pleasure, not glory, not power…Freedom, only freedom.
To go from the phantoms of faith to the ghosts of reason is merely to change cells. Art, if it frees us from the abstract idols of old, should also free us from magnanimous ideas and social concerns, which are likewise idols.
To find our personality by losing it – faith itself endorses this destiny.
[Book of Disquiet, Pg. 36-37]