Any writer who takes Henry James’s advice seriously, “Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost,” will end up, sooner or later, looking for the hidden story—hidden because nobody was listening for it, and because the water is rising, and because there but for the grace of God go you and I.
Even if they don’t, even if our stories are met with apathy, with disdain, I believe our enduring anger and our passion require them. These stories sustain my activism because they make concrete the issues that, for me, have always had a certain looming intangibility to them. Scripts are not enough, and they were never meant to be enough. The best thing my scripts ever did was open up a channel to the people in my community. To force me to ask the questions that I had never thought to ask.
On September 30, I received an email from my neighbor that our apartment building had caught on fire.
For a time, “The Jews of Waterbury, Connecticut” was an exhibit at a museum in Waterbury. Not so long ago, my mother, a Jew of Waterbury, Connecticut, went to this exhibit’s opening.
In his article “How Roland Barthes Gave Us the TV Recap,” Sam Anderson writes that “a cultural critic is betwixt and between: not a regular consumer of culture and yet someone immersed deeply enough in it to appreciate its inner mechanisms.” I feel strange saying that my recaps of a show like Bachelor in Paradise are a significant piece of cultural criticism or that they make me a cultural critic. (Though, certainly, some gorgeous writing came out of recaps of the final episode of Mad Men that wove together the end of the show for its viewers.) But I believe that the position I occupied, the sort of liminal space that an anthropologist would call a key informant, enabled me to situate Bachelor in Paradise within a context where individuals would actually enjoy it.