jason moriber

Three insights from seing Fran Lebowitz last night

I love what Fran Lebowitz has to say. I love the way she says it. Her story-wit brain is always on, ever-ready to pounce on a topic that strikes her. She’s a rock musician of anecdotes, she prefers a groove. She starts with a low grumble, smirking on the details of things. She builds on it with a sly widening lens because she knows where she’s leading us, then reaches her three-chord chorus of what it all means and shouts it out load to a welcoming roar from the crowd. I want to hear her talk and talk and talk.

Last night, she “performed” at a theater here in South Orange. The first half was an interview by John Bathke, the second half was Q&A with the audience. I’m not going to write a review of the show, I’m going to share three insightful things she said.

1. Living in NYC in the 70’s one could always get a job, a crappy job, but a job. There was ample work to be had, waiting tables, cab driving, cleaners, etc. This allowed many young people with passion for life to move to the city. They could move there, get a job, and build the passion-side of their lives. You can’t do this anymore. Plus, the new generations expect much more comfortable living situations than earlier generations. Plus, previous generations were willing to make more sacrifice for their passion.

2. Wealth itself has become a passion, like music or art. One of the biggest change Fran has seen in NYC is the shift from people getting a job and working on their passion, to people seeing their job as the passion, and the goal is money. Wealth as a passion has grown to be so extent that its impossible to move to NYC and then live in NYC now without financial support from family or friends. So, NYC attracts young people who are seeking wealth and come with money. This drive all the costs up and pushes the artists out.

Feminism. Women can play professional sports, but for half the salary. Fran made the comment that of all the things that women wanted from equal rights, playing sports was not on the top of the list. And that even though women cam play professional sports, such as the WNBA, they can only earn half than what the men can. She noted that the problem with feminism isn’t the women, its the men. Men need to change before anything else can. And that she believes won’t happen in our lifetimes.

If you get the chance to see Fran speak live, I highly recommend it. In the meantime you can check out this video at Vanity Fair: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/12/fran-lebowitz-on-death-and-taxes

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