jia tolentino interview

7/11/2020

Jia's book of essays, Trick Mirror, comes out in paperback this week. The audio version is excellent--I recommend!

 

Here's are some excerpts from a recent interview with her in Interview mag. I think a lot of it can connect to what we do with schooling.

 

INTERVIEW: What has this pandemic confirmed or reinforced about your view of society?

 

TOLENTINO: That capitalist individualism has turned into a death cult; that the internet is a weak substitute for physical presence; that this country criminally undervalues its most important people and its most important forms of labor; that we’re incentivized through online mechanisms to value the representation of something (like justice) over the thing itself; that most of us hold more unknown potential, more negative capability, than we’re accustomed to accessing; that the material conditions of life in America are constructed and maintained by those best set up to exploit them; and that the way we live is not inevitable at all.

 

INTERVIEW: What has this pandemic altered about your view of society?

 

TOLENTINO: It has decreased my interest in improving institutions from the inside, and it has drastically altered my sense of the possible rate of change.

 

....I think the American obsession with symbolic freedom has to be traded for a desire for actual freedom: the freedom to get sick without knowing it could bankrupt you, the freedom for your peers to live life without fearing they’ll be killed by police. The dream of collective well-being has to outweigh, day-to-day, the dream of individual success.

 

 

INTERVIEW: What’s one skill we should all learn while in quarantine?

 

TOLENTINO: How to make someone feel loved from a distance. 

 

Here's the full interview.

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