Parlance of Our Times

Viewers of The Big Lebowski might observe that The Dude recycles phrases he hears, often in radically different contexts. For instance, near the beginning of the movie, George H.W. Bush advocates for the first Iraq War with the phrase, “This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait,” which The Dude later makes his own: “This aggression will not stand, man.” Words and phrases like “abide” and “parlance of our times” are similarly repurposed.

When I think back over the past week, I hope the ways in which it’s enriched my life transmute to the stage, and its specificity slips into my own parlance: seeing My Little Pony episodes with my niece and nephew only to discover that the actor who plays Q on Next Generation voices a similar character on the show; reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button only to learn that it takes place in antebellum Baltimore, and Fitzgerald really does appear to have something against Yale; watching Straight Outta Compton only to consider their music with the consciousness of Ferguson and similar incidents; completing half of George Saunder’s Tenth of December anthology to uncover compelling points of view that I would have otherwise never considered; and hearing about academia from the mouths of old friends only to revisit old puzzles of my own.


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