I was reading Vince Passaro today, talking about his alma mater, and all it was promising to new students, and it reminded me of particular schools I attended in New York City in the early eighties and what they promised their students — to be cultivated- it appeared to me- in the art of subtle and arcane cruelty, to learn to inflict the most damage with the least effort, to use words to have as much vicious impact as the violent ripping out of a human heart. Did my school teach me such? Did it teach my school mates, many now lawyers and leaders of the free world. I still say the Brits teach it best: this art of destroying others cruelly and while appearing not to. But Yes, I say, Yes, as Catherine says in Henry James’ masterpiece Washington Square, shot above in movies as “The Heiress,” Yes, I can be very cruel. I’ve been taught by masters.
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