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INTRODUCTIONWHAT IS RANKISM?

WHY DO YOU SMILE? CHANGE BUT THE NAME, AND IT IS OF YOURSELF THAT THE TALE IS TOLD.

— HORACE, ROMAN POET AND SATIRIST

A Once and Future Nobody

NONE OF US likes to be taken for a nobody. In order to protect our dignity, we cultivate the skill of presenting ourselves as a somebody. But despite our best efforts, it may come to pass that we wake up one morning and find ourselves in Nobodyland.

At midlife that happened to me, and for quite some time I couldn’t seem to get out. Then one morning I heard new words to an old slogan buzzing in my head: “Nobodies of the world, unite! We have nothing to lose but our shame.”

A slogan like that calls for a manifesto. In a few frenzied months I wrote a first draft, which I called ...

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