Beverly Gologorsky is a novelist who grew up in the South Bronx during Vietnam, and so grew up witnessing many of her neighbors, friends, love interests, and family members go off to and come back from war. War was a part of life. Her first novel was about Vietnam war vets returning home, and her second novel is “permeated with a shadowy sense of what the Iraq and Afghan wars have done to us.”
In an essay for Guernica, Golgorsky writes about how she suspects the class divide is what keeps war feeling abstract and unknown to many Americans — and many fiction writers:
Jay was leaning against the fence in front of the church on Broadway, holding out a plastic coffee cup, asking for change. He was in socked feet and blue booties, the kind that would wrap around a cast or a sprained ankle. He was standing on a thin piece of styrofoam, and had a shopping bag and a backpack on the ground text to him. I stopped and said, hello, and he smiled a huge smile that I wasn't expecting.
Related to my post earlier today about class issues at Duke University
, a reader sent me a link to the November issue of The Yale Daily News Magazine
, which examines this issue on campus in detail.
If you, like Errol Louis
, have trouble comprehending the logic behind a "not-filthy-rich" person buying a $2,500 purse because you would never want that yourself, I'll put it into language you can understand.
This is how a shopping trip to buy a belt should go: You see a belt you want. You go to a store to buy the belt. You pay in cash or credit/debt or with a check (if you’re still paying for things with a check for some reason), and the cashier checks your I.D. if necessary. Thank you, have a nice day, enjoy your new belt.
Here’s how a shopping trip to buy a belt should not go: You see a belt you want, which happens to be a designer belt that costs $349. You go to a store to buy the belt, and that store happens to be Barneys. You give the cashier your debit card, and the cashier asks to see your I.D., which you hand over. The clerk rings up the purchase and doesn’t say anything to you as you leave, but after you leave the store two undercover cops stop you, and then tells you that your debit card isn’t real and that Barneys called them to report you. Confused, you do everything the police ask you to do, including allowing them to search your bag and handing over all the I.D. you have on you. You also answer questions from them like, “How could you afford a belt like this?” and “Where did you get the money from?” The police handcuff you and take you into custody where they hold you for 42 minutes and then let you go after verifying that your debit card is authentic and actually belongs to you. Also, you’re a 19-year-old black college student studying engineering from Queens who works part-time.
This happened to Trayon Christian, and he’s filing a lawsuit against Barneys. He also went back to the store to return the belt.
Photo: Stacy Huggins