For Sass, “controversy is important.” It’s what takes us from light reading to deep pondering. A little trouble can go a long way. “I think most of what’s wrong with American culture comes from it’s safety zone. It lives in a historically unprecedented comfort zone. And people have all these problems that aren’t problems. These are people who’ve never had their city bombed. These are people who’ve never had a warring faction from a hundred miles away come in with guns. You know?”
From a short conversation with Sass, it’s clear he worries about the big issues with an obsessive, almost anti-social nature. A man who curates a bookstore might have an agenda, but Sass is “not an activist. I don’t believe in progress. I believe there are some areas of human activity that are cumulative in nature, such as technology, so we have this sort of miraculous Atlantis wizard-type technical ability. But I don’t think it’s been an upward arch in terms of character or intelligence or integrity. We just have more stuff, and more ability to do good or bad.”
From an accurate, thought- and smile-inducing interview/profile piece by Stefano Cagnato of my friend, bookstore proprietor, and friendly neighborhood misanthrope, Jim Sass.