May 26, 2013


Would she like a new Mr Patti Smith? She looks shocked. “I would never have a Mr Patti Smith. To me, I’m happy to have the man as king. I would never consider a man in that position.”

Now it’s my turn to be shocked. After all, this is Patti Smith, rocker extraordinaire and feminist icon. “I wouldn’t care if he was a gardener or plumber or physicist, he wouldn’t be in second place in our household.” She’d happily be subservient? “I don’t mind. I have no problem with a man being in first place. I know who I am. If a man would need to be in first place, what of it?”

Well, punk was always about being transgressive. And nowadays, as I’ve noted, there’s nothing more transgressive than old-fashioned values.

UPDATE: Reader Paul Butzi emails with this quote:

“He had some measure the infuriating trait that causes a young man to be a noncomformist for its own sake, and found that the surest way to shock most people, in those days, was to believe that some kinds of behavior were bad and others good, and that it was reasonable to live one’s life accordingly.”

-Neal Stephenson, page 20, “The Diamond Age,” written in 1995

Stephenson is such a great storyteller, and tells stories of such complexity and length, that people tend to overlook his deep insight into human nature and culture.


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