Topical Guide 430
Self-Presentation (or Presentation of the Self): Voice of Reason, Man of Action, Madman, the Engagé and the Dégagé
Reservations Recommended, Chapter 2:
In front of the library two boys are fighting. … About forty adults are watching, waiting for a bus.
Matthew feels that he should do something. He walks over to the boys, saying, “Hey, hey. Cut that out,” speaking with the voice of reason, as a peacemaker. The boys ignore him.
A large man, who strikes Matthew as quite likely a high school football coach, walks up to the boys and bellows at the larger, “You little shit! Get your fucking hands off him!” He smacks the boy on the head, and the boy releases his choking grip. …
The Graffitist leaves messages all over Boston, printed in small, precise capital letters. … His work combines elements of a personal philosophy, pronouncements exhortatory and cautionary, snapshots of contemporary life, and bits of autobiography. The result is varied, intriguing, and mad.
Kraft was so completely absorbed in his thoughts that he seemed to have forgotten all about me. [Kraft:] “All the better people are crazy. . . . Only the mediocrities, the unimaginative bystanders, are having a great time. … Our time,” [Kraft] said slowly, “is an age of the golden mean and insensitivity, of a cult of ignorance and idleness, of an inability to do anything, and of a longing for the ready-made. No one stops to think; hardly anyone can work out an original thought.” … Later, when I remembered my dealings with Kraft, I thought with wonderment of his ability to give so much selfless attention to other people’s business at a time so critical for him and to explain so clearly and calmly things that didn’t concern him.
A stranger with whom we have been exchanging—quite pleasantly—our impressions, which we might suppose to be similar to his, of the passers-by, whom we have agreed in regarding as vulgar, reveals suddenly the pathological abyss that divides him from us by adding carelessly, as he runs his hand over his pocket: “What a pity, I haven’t got my revolver here; I could have picked off the lot!”
See also: Self-Presentation (or Presentation of the Self) TG 427
Have you missed an episode or two or several?
You can listen to “My Mother Takes a Tumble” complete and uninterrupted as an audiobook through YouTube.
You can ensure that you never miss a future issue by getting a free subscription. (You can help support the work by choosing a paid subscription instead.)
You’ll find overviews of the entire work in An Introduction to The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy (a pdf document) and at Encyclopedia.com.