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own a paper that is the intellectual meat and drink of thousands of
tired, hurried men, men too involved in the business of modern living to
swallow anything but predigested food. For two cents the voter buys
his politics, prejudices, and philosophy. A year later there is a new
political ring or a change in the paper's ownership, consequence: more
confusion, more contradiction, a sudden inrush of new ideas, their
tempering, their distillation, the reaction against them--"
He paused only to get his breath.
"And that is why I have sworn not to put pen to paper until my ideas
either clarify or depart entirely; I have quite enough sins on my soul
without putting dangerous, shallow epigrams into people's heads; I might
cause a poor, inoffensive capitalist to have a vulgar liaison with
a bomb, or get some innocent little Bolshevik tangled up with a
Tom was growing restless under this lampooning of his connection with
The New Democracy.
"What's all this got to do with your being bored?"
Amory considered that it had much to do with it.
"How'll I fit in?" he demanded. "What am I for? To propagate the race?
According to the American novels we are led to believe that the 'healthy
American boy' from nineteen to twenty-five is an entirely sexless
animal. As a matter of fact, the healthier he is the less that's true.
The only alternative to letting it get you is some violent interest.
Well, the war is over; I believe too much in the responsibilities of
authorship to write just now; and business, well, business speaks for
itself. It has no connection with anything in the world that I've
ever been interested in, except a slim, utilitarian connection with
economics. What I'd see of it, lost in a clerkship, for the next and
best ten years of my life would have the intellectual content of an
"Try fiction," suggested Tom.
"Trouble is I get distracted when I start to write stories--get afraid
I'm doing it instead of living--get thinking maybe life is waiting for
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