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Perhaps it is something akin to hubris to come forward in support of the merry pranksters of “psychogeography” (“The Drifters,” 7/24) before they have been completely dismissed by the petite bourgeoisie, whom they seek to entertain, or forgotten by the still lower fringe population, whom they seek to enliven. (Or is it the other way around?) But the City Paper allowed the article to be published without providing interested readers more than a hint at the intellectual foundation that obviously informs this troupe’s happy antics. It is, in fact, the same foundation that daily animates a thousand graduate seminars in political and economic theorynot funded by Mobil, 3M, or GE. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) At universities, across this country and elsewhere, it is part of what is called a liberal educationbut not, apparently, in Washington, D.C.
If there is an element of self-congratulation in the truancy of these drifters, I suspect it is only the expression of the liberated mind. And isn’t this what many parents are hoping their children will attain when they encourage them to read widely, and when they endeavor to provide them with an education? Do we really all believe that this civilization of productivity underneath which we labor is truly some Panglossian “best of all possible worlds”? For its part, the City Paper deserves credit for printing the story at all. But while appearing to enjoy the fit of the tattered cloak of the gypsy scholar too often, when the workday is ended, this alternative forgets to loosen its tie.
Perhaps there is more to celebrate in the activism of Beth Solomon and her efforts to stop construction of the unnecessary convention center (Loose Lips, 7/24). But there is also something liberating about those who have chosen to wield the Sanford King Size and attempt to pique the collective conscience. A little background would have made it clear why.