notes / kortina.nyc

Arnade // Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America

Arnade From Chris Arnade’s Dignity.

Dignity is a favorite topic of mine (in essays like The Beautiful Struggle // The Beautiful Game, Consciousness as Computation, and many others), and I recently read Chris Arnade’s new book bearing this name, Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America.

While I found this book a bit repetitive and meandering, I found the photos riveting and the narrative compassionate. It is definitely worth picking up a copy.

Oh, and it will absolutely change the way you think about McDonald’s.


I’m only including one highlight from this book:

It is a stigma that can lead to drugs. go into any crack house, any detox center, any homeless camp, and you will hear story after story of someone who will say outright, “I am dumb.” Or, “They said I was dumb.” The drugs don’t just provide a temporary mental escape from an ugly reality. They also provide a sense of belonging, a real community. The world of drugs is accepting so long as you continue to use drugs. The street corner at 2:00 a.m., the back room in a friend’s house, the empty room with candles and crack pipes in an otherwise abandoned building, are communities. They might be filled with “fucked-up people, but they are my fucked-up people.” The other users and dealers are also running from something. A drug trap, or a drug corner, is a place to hang and fit in. A place that welcomes you regardless of your past.