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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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Alvaro was at least willing to throw something out there, even if it sounded like the same response everyone else in the class would have. Isaac... if Jae hadn't been certain before that working with Isaac was going to test his patience, his little quip had helpfully confirmed that suspicion. It was obvious that he knew what he was doing, just as much as it was obvious that he hadn't read anything about the damn book at all. Alvaro could parrot SparkNotes or Wikipedia, if nothing else.

"It's about hypocrisy," Jae said, returning Isaac's stare. "Gatsby spends nearly his entire life chasing after a dream that doesn't really exist. Nobody cares when he loses everything important and dies, no matter how much they said they loved him. The moral of the story is that people will disappoint you, no matter what you want them to be or how hard you try to make them into what they are in your head. Sometimes, they're just failures."

All of that had come out surprisingly eloquent, and Jae broke his impromptu staring contest with Isaac to jot some of it down. Making an effort to keep his tone conversational, he added, "I'm kind of surprised you didn't bring that angle up first, Isaac. I figured you'd have a lot of experience with that sort of thing." He glanced up through his bangs to see Isaac's reaction.

Petty? Probably. Worth it? Absolutely, at least right in that moment.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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