I Could be Black and Gay and Also a Writer (Ep. 20 - Will & Grace and Langston Hughes)

Perfectionism -- and I say this as a recovering perfectionist myself -- is a powerfully destructive force. It can drive you to achieve great things, but it comes at a price, since it demands that you hold yourself to an impossible standard.

That's because "perfect" doesn't really exist. Nobody's perfect, because perfection is something we make up, an unachievable ideal to measure our shortcomings.

My guest this week is Zach Stafford, a writer for The Guardian. As a kid, he couldn't figure out where he fit in the world. He was the only bi-racial kid in his little Tennessee suburb, and if that didn't set him apart enough, he was also the swishiest person he knew.

And so he set out to be perfect. Get perfect grades. Work a perfect job. Be perfect in church. Look perfect. Feel perfect. 

But that pressure took a heavy toll. And he discovered that as figments of the imagination go, perfectionism can be one of the most dangerous.

You can find Zach @zachstafford on Twitter, and also at TheGuardian.com. His book, Boys, is available on Amazon.

During this episode, he mentioned Giovanni's Room -- here's a link. And here's the Langston Hughes chapter, "Salvation," that I recommended at the end of this week's episode.

And speaking of Will & Grace, here is an episode that features what I think is one of Jack's best moments.

Here is a video that compiles some of Will & Grace's complex cultural attitudes:

Parisian Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0