We Are All Dumbo

(You know which one you are, right?) In her 2017 debut (and semi-autobiographical) novel The Idiot, Elif Batuman recalls a searing moment from kindergarten: The teacher showed us Dumbo, and I realized for the first time that all the kids in the class, even the bullies, rooted for Dumbo, against Dumbo's tormentors. Invariably they laughed and cheered, both when Dumbo succeeded and when bad things happened to his enemies. But they're you, I thought to myself. How did they not know? They didn't know. It was astounding, an astounding truth. Everyone thought they were Dumbo.

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