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My First National Exposure: An Auspicious Start

Sent to me by my friend Kathy, who is plundering her personal archives. From The Nose… July 1994. Edited down from a longer piece (I was told that it was “too literary” and needed to be tacked back a bit, which is fine, because The Nose wasn’t Harper’s). Oh, so much has changed since then. And so little.

The article generated hate mail—amusingly I was vilified by both racists (“Asian bastard” was how the writer described the man below) and worried parents who never read “A Modest Proposal” and thought I was encouraging dog-munching. I’ve never TRIED to generate hate mail, by the way, yet I’ve gotten my share. Debate over the propriety or morality of an article has always struck me as peculiar. Some folks have trouble separating the signifier from the signified, I suppose. Writers who struggle to be controversial are idiots. Personally, I like my parents, and I stopped rebelling against them when… well, I never really did rebel against them. They generally left me alone to do my thing, man. Of course, I didn’t tell them EVERYTHING I did. Détente.

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