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The Corner

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Assimilation: Mission Accomplished!



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I was riding the subway through Harlem this evening, and saw that the lovely young Hispanic woman sitting next to me was reading something quite intently. I have a lifelong mania for books, to such an extent that whenever I see someone reading, I am deathly curious about what it is. It’s usually easy enough to find out: The person is facing me, and the book’s cover has a clearly legible title. In this case, though, the young lady’s book was flat on her lap; the open pages had no titles at the top; and they were in Spanish, in which I have an extremely limited vocabulary. I tried, rolling my eyes as far left as possible and looking over her shoulder, to see if any words I recognized could tip me off to the book’s subject. After a few seconds, I saw a proper name: “Christian Grey.” A-ha!

I offer this little anecdote as a devastating refutation to all those immigration skeptics who worry that people who come to this country are no longer assimilating into the mainstream culture. Yes, it’s true that the young lady was reading the fastest selling paperback in history in Spanish, and not in the original Uhmurikan (or, in this case, British). But that’s hardly a cause for urgent concern: I’ve seen many times that someone who reads Dante in translation will want to learn Italian to enjoy the original; similarly, people who fall in love with Li Po and Tu Fu often seek to learn Chinese. Now, contrary to what the multiculturalists claim, ours is the best of all cultures — so someone blessed enough to be exposed to the products of our culture will have all the more incentive to learn its language.

(NB. I intend no disrespect to anyone who read Fifty Shades of Grey and enjoyed it. I’ve never read it and almost certainly never will, so I’m basing my mockery of it entirely on hearsay. Caveat non-emptor.)



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