Anne: "So, what. The old Nobody Can Make You Feel Lousy Without Your Consent chestnut. You realize that when you say that, it just makes people feel worse, right?"
Jacob: "If you're already buying in, sure. It's not just a Roosevelt quote, although you could live your life by her wisdom and you'd turn out okay. But it's true. The world is much, much bigger than high school. High school is the very last time in your entire life that you honestly cannot choose the people or the situations around you. I had pretentiousness on my side. Still do."
Anne: "So what would you say to Emily, or Lucas, or Mikey?"
Jacob: "Lucas and Mikey are figuring it out. Actively working on this, which is why it looks so scary. They're burning calories to get there, and don't necessarily have all the tools or support to know that there's even an endpoint. Emily, I would say that it sucks to have a ghost ninja after you, but that caged-up awful feeling would probably be something you would feel anyway. Just like absolutely everybody else does."
Anne: "Even bullies?"
Jacob: "Especially bullies. It's amazing what you can learn once you stop looking at people as the enemy and start looking at them as people. These pressures are atmospheric, they are part of the basic gameboard, they are the burden of everybody. Bullies deal with the pressure by turning it on the weak; they're quislings. Cyberbullies do it in the most pathetic possible way. Alison did it like a knife."
Anne: "It's sort of sacred ground to talk about this stuff, you know, when kids are actually dying."
Jacob: "I get that, and yeah, that's horrific. But it doesn't change the facts, which is that puberty makes everybody crazy, and high school means putting all those crazy people in a room and making them fight. Why do you think The Hunger Games is so amazing?"
Anne: "That was political."
Jacob: "It's all political. It's inherently political. If our culture didn't have teenage girls and gay boys to carry all of our shit, we'd have to fight it out ourselves. It's all the same story. Contending with social pressure while under the attack of insanity hormones is a crucible for the real world."
Anne: "What about compassion?"
Jacob: "Compassion is all I'm talking about. Compassion for everybody. But it's something you give, not something you can take. Certainly not something you beg for. Meanwhile you gotta go Spencer Hastings on the shit that you can personally fix."