More on Franzen--Commentary on a Review

Franzen's Freedom and the New York love of self

and the review that spawned the commentary

an excerpt of the Review:

from "Peace and War"
Stanley Tanenhouse

That twinning is where the trouble begins. As each of us seeks to assert his “personal liberties” — a phrase Franzen uses with full command of its ideological implications — we helplessly collide with others in equal pursuit of their sacred freedoms, which, more often than not, seem to threaten our own. It is no surprise, then, that “the personality susceptible to the dream of limitless freedom is a personality also prone, should the dream ever sour, to misanthropy and rage,” as Franzen remarks. And the dream will always sour; for it is seldom enough simply to follow one’s creed; others must embrace it too. They alone can validate it.

That observation--that it is insufficient to believe and have the freedom to do so, but that one's own beliefs must be bolstered by others is certainly one of the more difficult and deadly aspects of the human person.  If I don't like Keith Jarrett and you do, that must be cause for civil unrest at best and war at worst?

I think back to a similar satire--

"The People's Front of Judea"

"The Judean People's Front."

and "We can recognize Stan's right to have a baby, even though he can't, which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans'."

Later: Another discussion of Franzen at A Commonplace Blog


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