My mom and Joe Klein both like this essay Zadie Smith did about Obama. I just skimmed it and it seemed ok by me, but the one bit that stood out was the following:


 It’s amazing how many of our cross-cultural and cross-class encounters are limited not by hate or pride or shame, but by another equally insidious, less-discussed, emotion: embarrassment.

Which is nice to hear: I’m not the only one. In general, I suspect that the great passions attached to public issues boil down, on a person-by-person basis, to quite tiny little feelings that cling like lint to our tiny egos. Will I look silly? How can I feel important? What’s Johnny over there doing? Is Sally looking this way? See Mary McCarthy’s “My Confession,” if you can find it.