This (see title) came up in an email conversation this week. Here is a paragraph I wrote in Overcoming Adolescence about the subject:
One of the saddest attacks of negative nostalgia I have ever encountered was while reading Frank McCourt’s second autobiographical book ‘Tis His first installment, Angela’s Ashes, was a runaway bestselling account of the grinding poverty of his childhood. I could not identify with it. He was more impoverished than anybody I knew. However, ‘Tis, describing his early years as an Irish immigrant in America, struck home. His account of moving up the educational and socio-economic ladder recalled, for me, a couple of episodes in my own life. A family member or a work-buddy in a dead-end job challenged McCourt’s attempt to get an education, to use good grammar, to play by a different set of rules than was valued on the lowest rungs of society. I identified. I have heard it all:
- “Do you think you are better than us now?”
- “You are getting kind of uppity, aren’t you?”
There was and is a mammoth conspiracy afoot by the ignorant to keep others as wretched as they are! Misery, we say, loves company. It makes underachievers feel better if you are failing along with them!