My old friend Lorraine passed away in her sleep yesterday. We worked together closely in the early ’90s, at Prometheus Books, where she was the Marketing Director. She was very funny (and very thoughtful). Her Facebook page had this Lou Reed quote on it: “There’s a bit of magic in everything, and then some loss to even things out.”
I did not realize that this was ‘a thing’ until I made a recent trip to Washington. This video is an excellent feature story on the phenomenon:
For centuries, nothing was more meaningful or more defining than whether one was born to a noble family. One’s entire existence was influenced in every single aspect by the accident of birth into a certain social class.
After WWI, the titles of European nobility started to lose their value. Save for a couple of Windsors or Borbons, the rest of the “nobles” accepted that their titles’ place was on the trash heap of history. I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant for the antiquated aristocrats to see how “nobodies” were stripping them of importance but that’s the march of history for you.
Today the same is happening with citizenship. And people are just as unhappy that the accident of birth that used to give them so much good stuff is becoming meaningless. Like the nobles of 100 years ago, they can’t believe that the lottery win they thought they had gained just by being born in the right place is losing its value.
Of course, their loss is somebody else’s gain. Just like 100 years ago.
All of Clarissa’s posts on Liquid Capital and the end of the nation-state are compelling.
Immigrants have made my American hometown more and more wonderful. They are beloved there.