TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

There’s a foreign legion of women, too. But we have no uniforms—no flags—and no medals when we are brave.

Marlene Dietrich in Morocco.

THE CONSPIRACY OF EXCELLENCE is a federation of eyes. There is an intimate surveillance, and one’s behavior, one’s merest gesture, too much muscle, the wrong shade of lipstick, a casual word, influences and can ruin the campaign of a lifetime.

In society culture is a matter of individuals. One must never make the blunder of mistaking someone at the center for someone at the periphery. One must have the sense of the moment, and the real story, the truth if you wish, doesn’t come prewrapped in newsprint. You meet the moment in the form of individuals, and you pay attention because the delphic utterance is often accompanied by loud farts and spoken through rotten teeth. The piss-faced drunk beneath your feet, the loudmouth boor at the next table, or the one

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