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21 June 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I finished this book really quickly, even for me. I really like certain parts of it, but I also found it to be really annoying. It is infinitely quotable, if you want to sound pretentious and to annoy people. Sometimes I want to sound pretentious and annoy people. It's fun(ny). I feel like it fell apart at the end, like Milan Kundera lost his train of thought or something and kept writing anyway. I'm not entirely sure what to make of that. For the first two thirds or so, though, the book is thought provoking at best. At worst, it's pretentious and somewhat sloppy. Tedious.

Today I was talking to an old man who lives a bit farther south than I do, and he asked me if I am from "New York or somewhere" because I sound "very well-educated and intelligent." It is true that my speech is impeccable, but I found it really heartbreaking that he would say that. He's propagating the idea that people in the South are unintelligent or uneducated, which upsets me because we're not. I'm not, and I know plenty of people who are not. I know the virtues of proper English are not always celebrated in this area, but disrespecting grammar rules does not necessarily imply a lack of intelligence: it implies either ignorance of the rules (which has nothing to do with intelligence) or simple disregard for the rules. It really made me sad to hear someone who lives in the South calling other Southerners unintelligent and implying that he believes those living up north are somehow more intelligent, simply based on geography.

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