Wednesday, October 24, 2012


From Jeff Eugenides's speech at theWhiting Awards yesterday evening. He was advising the award winners to "stay within yourself":

Equally insidious is to adopt a bien pensant manner, to make sure that everything you say is earnest and well meaning, the kind of thing Bono might put in a lyric. Piety can be another form of censorship.

I so appreciated hearing this, about piety. Piety can be so tyrannical, bopping sentient adulthood on the head with a cudgel.

The Whiting Awards are probably the coolest awards going. They have a very simple ceremony and the award winners don't deliver remarks or speeches of their own. They simply step up near the podium, stand while Jeff Eugenides introduces them (reading from a wedding-invitation-sized card of prose), receive their check from Peter Pennoyer, shake hands, and return to their seats. 

Then afterwards, hors d'oeuvres and a pretty full bar, including good wine. 

I think of staying within oneself to mean stopping one's ears and eyes to the world's noise.

Images courtesy of Centre De Recherche 
en Mathématiques de la Décision, 
Université de Paris – Dauphine 

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