Not all the unemployed found careers in literature, music, and film, of course, but, even for those who didn’t, the idea of choosing to do something other than make money—the idea of being like Cary Grant—was more than a rationalization or a fantasy.
Jeff McMahon at Scorched Earth:
…and hope that it truly is the case that the mass of men no longer live lives of quiet desperation.
I feel united in work and art myself, but I worry about generalizing that feeling for two reasons: 1) I feel I’ve gotten there by veering left whenever the traditional career path indicated a right turn ahead, sometimes at great financial cost (turning down editing jobs, for example, in order to keep writing), and 2) It might be a trick of capitalism.
I recall seeing some very smart person lecture on the Bourgeois Bohemian phenomenon, suggesting that people were buying drafting tables or desks called “The Walden” at Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel because the capitalism of the information age wants us to believe our work is our art so that we work happily all day and night.
So, let’s hope but be wary.