Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Met a teacher  §

on the 1-Train escorting a bunch of art students from D.C. on a trip to New York to visit the New School. She started talking to me specifically because I was wearing a New School hoodie, in fact.

Several adjustments to perspective as a result: (1) it caused me to re-engage with the centrality of New York and the institutions here, something of which it’s easy to lose track while living here; (2) it brought to the fore the extent to which I am in both ivory and golden towers just now, despite my regular claim to be broke and average; (3) it made me realize just how exotic for the average American subjects like social theory, international travel, or media criticism are; (4) it strongly reaffirmed for me the notion that I’m not suited for a life apart from books, writing, and the academy.

Nice people. Just very average… which I, and the people around me, are not. It’s not that I forget such things… It’s just that as I live in International House and work for a media institute and pursue a Ph.D. while carrying around smartphones and cameras and laptops it gets easy to let myself slip from contextual living that sees where I am situated in the world to comparative living in which (from my vantage point rather near them) I see rather clearly the Jet Set and feel my to be impoverished and rather ordinary in comparison to them. Not good for a social scientist.

The poorest of the graduate students at The New School is still amongst the wealthy and powerful elite.

It’s good to get perspective.