Quotes that cry and sing
This topic was continued by Great quotes, memorable bits of wisdom (Thread #2).
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Sentences that make you suck in your breath in admiration (or envy), passages that remind you why you're a bibliophile.
We have a thread already devoted to poetry, so perhaps this is confined to fiction/non-fic?
I'll lead off with these words from Wilfred Thesiger's ARABIAN SANDS:
"Here, to be alone was to feel at once the weight of fear, for the nakedness of this land was more terrifying than the darkest forest at dead of night. In the pitiless light of day we were as insignificant as the beetles I watched labouring across the sands. Only in the kindly darkness could we borrow a few square feet of desert and find some homeliness within the radius of the firelight, while overhead the familiar pattern of the stars screened the awful mystery of space."
This one from Walter Benjamin:
"A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."
Theses on the Philosophy of History, VII (1940)
And one from Clockwork Orange:
"There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like, things changing so skorry these days, and everybody very quick to forget, newspapers not being read much neither."
"Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy." -- Borges
"At first it was believed that Tlön was a mere chaos, and irresponsible license of the imagination; now it is known that it is a cosmos and that the intimate laws which govern it have been formulated, at least provisionally. Let it suffice for me to recall that the apparent contradictions of the Eleventh Volume are the fundamental basis for the proof that the other volumes exist, so lucid and exact is the order observed in it." -- Borges again, from "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" (1940)
Not for me. No mercy for a criminal freak in Las Vegas. This place is like the army: the shark ethic prevails-eat the wounded. In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity." -- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
From Charles Yu's HOW TO LIVE SAFELY IN A SCIENCE FICTIONAL UNIVERSE:
"Time is a machine; it will convert your pain into experience. Raw data will be compiled, will be translated into a more comprehensible language. The individual events of your life will be transmuted into another substance called memory and in the mechanism something will be lost and you will never be able to reverse it, you will never again have the original moment back in its uncategorized, preprocessed state. It will force you to move on and you will not have a choice in the matter."
The opening lines of Kola Boof's new novel The Sexy Part of the Bible: “You may as well know everything. That there are white men in Africa who no longer come to bring us the word of Jesus Christ, but come instead to bring back the dead. In fact, the man who brought me to life, the only man I’ve ever trusted, the man who undid my virginity and now lies here dying, his head sweating profusely in my lap, is one of them.”
"Blessed be the ridiculed who strive with determination to achieve the impossible. They are the ones who carry forward the banner of life, theirs is the privilege to reach for the skies."
-Henno Martin, THE SHELTERING DESERT
From Jean Amery's AT THE MIND'S LIMITS: (no touchstone!)
"When I stand by my resentments, when I admit that in deliberating our problem I am “biased,” I still know that I am the captive of the moral truth of the conflict. It seems logically senseless to me to demand objectivity in the controversy with my torturers, with those who helped them, and with the others, who merely stood by silently. The atrocity as atrocity has no objective character. Mass murder, torture, injury of every kind are objectively nothing but chains of physical events, describable in the formalized language of the natural sciences. They are facts within a physical system, not deeds within a moral system. The crimes of National Socialism had no moral quality for the doer, who always trusted in the norm-system of his Fuehrer and his Reich. The monster, who is not chained by his conscience to his deed, sees it from his viewpoint only as an objectification of his will, not as a moral event. The Flemish SS-man Wajs, who—-inspired by his German masters--beat me on the head with a shovel handle whenever I didn’t work fast enough, felt the tool to be an extension of his hand and the blows to be emanations of his psycho-physical dynamics. Only I possessed, and still possess, the moral truth of the blows that even today roar in my skull, and for that reason I am more entitled to judge; not only more than the culprit but also more than society—-which thinks only about its continued existence. The social body is occupied merely with safeguarding itself and could not care less about a life that has been damaged. At the very best, it looks forward, so that such things don’t happen again. But my resentments are there in order that the crime become a moral reality for the criminal, in order that he be swept into the truth of his atrocity."
Amery was a Holocaust survivor, an extraordinary man with extraordinary sensibilities. That last line, in particular, is sublime.
"...anxiety is born out of things that can be lost."
-Jeff Nichols (film maker)
"The sadness lasts forever..."
-last words of Vincent van Gogh
"I was turning back into the land and wondering how far to go. Exactly the same question I'd had before when swimming out into the ocean. What's the point where it becomes dangerous to go any further? And I recognized the point of wondering comes when you think you've gone too far."
-Sam Shepard, MOTEL CHRONICLES
I was not an enormous fan of Marianne Robinson's Gilead, but there were occasional moments that stopped me dead in my tracks - this one in particular:
"In every important way we are such secrets from one another, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable - which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, intraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us."
There are many wonderful quotes from Marilynne Robinson, some of them here: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7491.Marilynne_Robinson
One that's particularly pertinent, from Gilead: "I've developed a great reputation for wisdom by ordering more books than I ever had time to read, and reading more books, by far, than I learned anything useful from."
"I've said elsewhere that I had never heard any comment from my father or uncles in regard to fishing and hunting as 'manly' sports. They were simply a part of life. The value judgments about 'manly' occupations seemed to come later when the country became predominantly urban and semi-urban and people became quite remote from the sources of their food. However, I'll readily admit that a great deal of savage stupidity and rank behavior have attached themselves to hunting and killing whether at game farms or tournament killing, the mechanization of hunting by all-terrain vehicles, or the sheer hoggery of fishing tourists returning from Mexico with hundreds of pounds of fillets. Man has an inexhaustible ability to beshit his environment, with politicians in the lead."
That's Jim Harrison, from Off to the Side. Harrison, as always, is quotable on every page. I'd even say that if you aren't reading Harrison, you should resign from the company of Literary Snobs and go join those Harry Potter people.
I'll second that motion. The man is a GIANT as far as I'm concerned.
Guess I'll have to hand in my Snob membership card... Until today I'd never heard of him...
I envy someone who has yet to read Harrison. He's a joy to discover. You lucky thing.
He wrote Legends of the Fall, among a lot of other things. A very prolific writer.
14: To each his own, I guess. But I never joined this group because I HAD to read what EVERYONE else was reading. I can read Harry Potter to do that. I'd rather throw stones at the hivemind than be one of its drones. Besides, my TBR list is long enough.
"There are two sorts of writers. Those who are, and those who aren't. With the first, content and form belong together, like soul and body; with the second, they merely match, like body and clothes." -- Karl Kraus
From The Lover:
"He looks at her. Goes on looking at her, his eyes shut. He inhales her face, breathes it in. He breathes her in, the child, his eyes shut he breathes in her breath, the warm air coming out of her. Less and less clearly can he make out the limits of this body, it's not like other bodies, it's not finished, in the room it keeps growing, it's still without set form, continually coming into being, not only there where it's visible but elsewhere too, stretching beyond sight, toward risk, toward death, it's nimble, it launches itself wholly into pleasure as if it were grown up, adult, it's without guile, and it's frighteningly intelligent."
"IF VIEWED FROM low orbit through the foul atmosphere, the continent-spanning palace was a concatenation of copulating, jewelstudded tortoise shells erupting into ornate monoliths, pyramids, and ziggurats kilometres high, pocked by landing pads, prickling with masts of antennae and weapons batteries. Whole cities were mere chambers in this palace, some grimly splendid, others despicable and deadly, and all crusted with the accretion of the ages." -- The Inquisition War by Ian Watson
23: Not bad for a Warhammer 40K novel? Then again, this novel is considered non-canon. FWIW.
From Hav by Jan Morris:
"The thing is," she said to me, "one feels so safe here. The security's really marvellous, it's all so clean and friendly, and, well, everything we're used to really. We've met several friends here, and just feel comfortable in this environment. We shall certainly be coming again, won't we darling?"
Italics in original.
Safe, comfortable ... ugh.
Which reminds me of another quote from Hedley Lamarr:
"Men, you are about to embark on a great crusade to stamp out runaway decency in the west. Now you men will only be risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor."
"Eyestone's rooms, like his own dense prose, suggested a point of view: diverse, adorned, amused, premeditated, filled with details, highly inclusive." -- Laura Warholic by Alexander Theroux
"Sex, women, desire, lust, the profane thread that suffuses everything but that is usually either denied or treated with adolescent titillation, is brazenly confronted in Bangkok. Personally, I find the image of a Bangkok bargirl trolling for fellatio customers less vulgar than Paris Hilton’s smile." -- David Schmahmann
From Egil's Saga (contains graphic violence, viewer's discretion is adviced)
"When Kveldulf and his men came to the gangway, they went up it to the stern of the ship, while Skallagrim headed for the prow. Kveldulf had a gigantic double-bladed axe in his hand. Once he was on board, he told his men to go along the gunwale and cut the awnings from the pegs, while he stormed off back to the afterguard, where he is said to have become frenzied like a wild animal. Some other men of his went into a frenzy too, killing everyone they came across, and so did Skallagrim when he ran around the ship. Kveldulf and his son did not stop until the ship had been completely cleared. When Kvelduff went back to the afterguard, he wielded his axe and struck Hallvard right through his helmet and head, sinking the weapon in right up to the shaft. Then he tugged it back with such force that he swung Hallvard up into the air and slung him over to the side. Skallagrimm swept the prow clean and killed Sigtrygg. Many of the crew threw themselves into the water, but Skallagrimm's men took the boat they had come on and rowed over to them, killing everyone in the water. "
The closing lines of a speech by David Simon, creator of "The Wire":
"Abandon the Great Man Theory. It no longer applies. There are no more Roosevelts, no more Lincolns. The elements that purchased democracy are bigger than Obama. They’ll wait him out.”
31: What I was just thinking, except for the "bollocks" - I was thinking something in my own dialect :)
It's that segment "the elements that purchased democracy" that really made my skin crawl.
"The Reaganite Conservative does not trust the political system, and so is always trying to circumvent it; He does not trust the instincts of congress; he does not trust the deep religious instinct of a people, unless it is decked out in the tawdry costume of a minute of silent prayer in school." -Henry Fairlie
"At any given moment, public opinion is a chaos of superstition, misinformation, and prejudice." -Gore Vidal
"I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me then a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though, by your smiling, you seem to say so."
Hamlet, II, ii
...a speech beautifully executed by Richard E. Grant at the conclusion of "Withnail & I".
"Paycheck whore wears a dollar bill gown to the funeral of hope and love." -- Charles Manson
Off. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: to a patrolman who has given someone a ticket at the urging for more arrests Baker, Let me let you in on a little secret, The patrolling officer on his beat is the one true dictatorship in America, we can lock a guy up on the humble, lock him up for real, or say fuck it and drink ourselves to death under the expressway and our side partners will cover us, No one - I mean no one - tells us how to waste our shift!
From The Wire, natch.
"In the year of our Lord 1960 a monkey barreled through space in an American rocket; a Kennedy boy took the chair out from under a fatherly general named Ike; and the whole world turned on an axis called the Congo. The monkey sailed right overhead, and on a more earthly plane men in locked rooms bargained for the Congo's treasure. But I was there. Right on the head of that pin." - Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
"...but prejudices, like odorous bodies, have a double existence, both solid and subtle -- solid as the pyramids, subtle as the twentieth echo of an echo, or as the memory of hyacinths which once scented the darkness." - George Eliot, Middlemarch
"And in that thought which lived more in his right arm than in his head, both he and his enemy were as clear of history as if newborn." - Wendell Berry
"'...You know, there's a place we all inhabit, but we don't much think about it, we're scarcely conscious of it, and it lasts for less than a minute a day.
'It's in the morning, for most of us. It's that time, those few seconds when we're coming out of sleep but we're not really awake yet. For those few seconds we're something more primitive than what we are about to become. We have just slept the sleep of our most distant ancestors, and something of them and their world still clings to us. For those few moments we are unformed, uncivilized. We are not the people we know as ourselves, but creatures more in tune with a tree than a keyboard. We are untitled, unnamed, natural, suspended between was and will be, the tadpole before the frog, the worm before the butterfly. We are, for a few brief moments, anything and everything we could be..." - Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl
Also, George Eliot's Middlemarch is littered with great quotes and poetic prose.
#46 I just started watching The Wire again. Just finished the episode where Omar Little testified against Bird. Just perfect.
“The book is second only to the wheel as the best piece of technology human beings have ever invented. A book symbolizes the whole intellectual history of mankind; it’s the greatest weapon ever devised in the war against stupidity.” — Philip Pullman
That's a nice thought, but books have proven still more effective when deployed in stupidity's order of battle.
Consider Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, et al, or that vampire of dumb that will not die, Ayn Rand.
See, that's what I like about you, A.J. You're a cynical bugger like me.
Little known fact: Canadians are as twisted and morbid as any Scandinavian git. A side effect of the cold and dark...
Paraphrasing a quote from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi
You can't give an Irishman beer. The lager will kill him. An Irishman's insides are made of copper. Beer will destroy it. Whisky polishes it.
I note that until last April Guiness did not make lagers. I guess there was a reason for that.
"She is drowning. Agenbite. Save her. Agenbite. All against us. She will drown me with her, eyes and hair. Lank coils of seaweed hair around me, my heart, my soul. Salt green death. We. Agenbite of inwit. Inwit's agenbite. Misery! Misery!"
- James Joyce, Ulysses.
I think some of Joyce's best quotes come from his letters. . .
I've read both Ellman and Gilbert's letter collections, so you're not offending me with posting them. However, I would argue that this really isn't the right place to try to illicit a reaction to their content. Yeah, Joyce was definitely voyeuristic and might even fall into what many would call "depraved." Hardly the best of his quotes though...
I posted a link. I wasn't trying to offend anyone. I think they're funny. Human beings plus sex equals hilarity.
Human beings plus sex equals hilarity.
Which explains this headline:
" Or my uncle Mitchell, who is a convicted sex offender making a living selling Percocet to the elderly in Rhode Island.”
"What of miniature boats constructed of birch bark and fallen leaves, launched onto cold water clear as air? How many fleets were pushed out toward the middles of ponds or sent down autumn brooks holding treasures of acorns, or black feathers, or a puzzled mantis? Let those grassy crafts be listed alongside the iron hulls that cleave the sea, for they are all improvisations built from the daydreams of men, and all will perish, whether from ocean siege or October breeze."
Paul Harding-- Tinkers
"Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live."
" 'What makes you think nonsense is bad? If they'd nurtured and cared for human nonsense over the ages the way they did intelligence, it might have turned into something of special value.' "
--Yevgeny Zamyatin, WE
From J. J. Scarisbrick's Henry VIII:
Henry's religion could be moulded to take any shape, as prestige, profit and power required. To few men did religion matter more than to Henry; but probably mainly because he could melt down the things that were God's and so easily imprint his own image on the newly-minted coin. [emph. added]
I could write 3 pages and not provide the depth or clarity that Scarisbrick packs in to that last sentence.
"It would be so much easier just to fold our hands and not make this fight..., to say, I, one man, I can do nothing. I grow afraid only when I see people thinking and acting like this. We all know the story about the man who sat beside the trail too long, and then it grew over and he could never find his way again. We can never forget what has happened, but we cannot go back nor can we just sit beside the trail".
Poundmaker, Plains Cree Chief (1842-1886).
His dying words.
Henry was writing about Christian theology before Boleyn, and was very much involved in the theological discussions/debates that continued long after Boleyn, related to the establishment of the Church of England. Hence Scarisbrick's statement in my post no. 69. His statements and efforts during the Boleyn affair get most of the movie/mini-series attention, and certainly got a lot of his during that period, but it was not the beginning nor the end of Henry's interest in things theological.
"The central fact of my life has been the existence of words and the possibility of weaving those words into poetry."
-Jorge Luis Borges, THIS CRAFT OF VERSE
"In the silence of that moment, our hearts kept us alive without asking if they should."
"The door was cold and solid when Hersh leaned his forehead against it. What was lost was locked inside - everything beyond was blind and dumb to the fact of it. All it took was a door, and the day cooed along without sadness. Hersh imagined the banker's family in the dark, inside ─ which person he should erase from the picture he did not know ─ standing around a nest of eggs, incubating the hot yellow yolks of sorrow within. Soon, the eggs would hatch, and whatever creature sadness had made would fly out throught the opened door."
─ Ramona Ausubel, No One is Here Except All of Us
The first is upon the threat of death; the second is upon a death in a neighbor's home.
"For it is the lot of all myths to creep gradually into the confines of a supposedly historical reality, and to be treated by some later age as unique fact with claims to historical truth; and the Greeks, cleverly and capriciously, were already well on the way to recasting the whole of their youthful mythic dream as a pragmatic youthful history. For this is how religions tend to die: the mythic premises of a religion are systematized, beneath the stern and intelligent eyes of an orthodox dogmatism, into a fixed sum of historical events; one begins nervously defending the veracity of myths, at the same time resisting their continuing life and growth. The feeling for myth dies and is replaced by religious claims to foundations in history."
Friedrich Nietzsche - The Birth of Tragedy.
"Whenever we read the obscene stories the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon rather than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it as I detest everything that is cruel." -- Thomas Paine - The Age of Reason
"The Americans' 'open-mindedness', which is sometimes cited in their favor, is the other side of their interior formlessness. The same goes for their 'individualism'. Individualism and personality are not the same: the one belongs to the formless world of quantity, the other to the world of quality and hierarchy. The Americans are the living refutation of the Cartesian axiom, "I think, therefore I am": Americans do not think, yet they are. The American 'mind', puerile and primitive, lacks characteristic form and is therefore open to every kind of standardization." -- Julius Evola
"A man does not become stultified by his prejudices unless he believes they are conclusions."
"I thought of many, many things during the hectic days which followed. Particularly of the beggar's life I had led, first at home, then abroad. I thought of the cold refusals I had received at the hands of intimate friends, of so-called "buddies," in fact. I thought of the meals which were dished up to me, when I hung on like a shipwrecked sailor. And the sermons that accompanied them. I thought of the times I had stood in front of restaurant windows, watching people eat-people who didn't need food, who had already eaten too much-and how I vainly hoped they would recognize the look in my eye, invite me in, beg me to share their repast, or offer me the remnants. I thought of the handouts I had received, the dimes that were flung at me in passing, or perhaps a handful of pennies, and how like a whipped cur, I had taken what was offered while cursing the bastards under my breath. No matter how many refusals I received, and they were countless, no matter how many insults and humiliations were flung at me, a crust of bread was always a crust of bread-and if I didn't always thank the giver graciously or humbly, I did thank my lucky star. I may have thought once upon a time that something more than a crust of bread was my due, that the most worthless wretch, at least in a civilized country, was entitled to a meal when he needed it. But it wasn't long before I learned to take a larger view of things. I not only learned how to say "Thank you, sir!" but how to stand on my hind legs and beg for it. It didn't embitter me hopelessly. In fact, I found it rather comical after a while. It's an experience we all need now and then, especially those of us who were born with silver spoons in our mouths."
"That aggregation of intellectually purblind and covetous dullards, who formed the socialistic sect of the King of England's subjects, presently began in their rough rude way to perpend the Pope of Rome." -- Hadrian the VII by Frederick Rolfe
"I have never attached so much importance to my own person that I would have been tempted to tell others the story of my life."
-Stefan Zweig, THE WORLD OF YESTERDAY
"Who am I? A stranger here and always."
-William S. Burroughs, RUB OUT THE WORDS: THE LETTERS OF WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS 1959-74
This the epigraph that begins Chateau d'Argol by Julien Gracq:
"Storytelling, practiced with full consciousness and an oxygenated sense of responsibility, is one of the most dangerous and liberating of human activities. Life is dangerous. It is not surprising that stories are also sometimes dangerous. A mutant star, red hot in its brief ascendancy, sometimes rules over the fates of true storytellers. But another star, golden in its universal glow, confers great hidden benedictions and blessings on practitioners and readers alike.
"Regardless of the ambiguous dark side, artists always feel the craftsman's cool ecstasy and the dreamer's serene joy when creating. And the reader always feels the joy in the dangers when immersing."
-- A Way of Being Free by Ben Okri
"In the form of the book, thinking itself – what used to be called Spirit – becomes a commodity, and one's relation to it possessive and fetishistic." (Schwabsky, Barry. "Shelf Life." ArtForum January 2005)
"…people in general are more interested in capturing things than in being set free themselves." from "The Drowning, The Dancing" by Jerome Nilssen
"We live as we dream — alone." from "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad
"We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane." (Kurt Vonnegut Jr., "Breakfast of Champions" pg 16 in 8th printing edition, 1973 – Contextual Note: this is the inscription on Kilgor Trout's tombstone)
From Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees. I'm on a section on the process where Robert Irwin moved away from abstract expressionism towards a kind of phenomenological minimalism.
"I started spending the time just sitting there looking. I would look for about fifteen minutes and just nod off, go to sleep. I'd wake up after about five minutes and I'd concentrate and look, just sort of mesmerize myself, and I'd conk off again. It was a strange period. I'd go through days on end during which I'd be taking these little half-hour, fifteen-, twenty-minute catnaps about every half hour - I mean all day long. I'd look for half an hour, sleep for half and hour, look for half an hour. It was a pretty hilarious sort of activity."
Chris Rodley, editor of Lynch on Lynch commenting on the borderland between dream and reality:
"a badly guarded checkpoint where no one seems to be stamping passports".
Adam Gopnik, in an essay "Facing History" in a recent New Yorker. Wrting about Albert Camus' 'The Myth of Sisyphus'...
"we are all Sisyphus, he says, condemned to roll our boulder uphill and then watch it roll back for eternity, or at least until we die. Learning to roll the boulder while keeping at least a half-smile on your face - 'one must imagine Sisyphus happy' Camus is his most emphatic aphorism - is the only way to act decently while accepting that acts are always essentially absurd".
Moyra Davey from her essay "The Wet and the Dry" which she was filmed narrating by Les Godesses, shown at the Whitney Bi-ennial:
"i craved something mind altering."
Joseph Roth in The Wandering Jews:
he admonishes the "arrogant German Jews" who forsake their religion for what turned out to be the empty promise of German citizenship:
"...Lest we forget that nothing in this world endures, not even a home; and that our life is short, shorter even than the life of the elephant, the crocodile, and the crow. Even parrots outlive us”.
"Powerful in small spaces, yet with profound effect on distance. Love defies time, outliving both its source and its object. Love is faster than light; for light requires time in order to travel through space, but love reaches its object instantaneously. Love journeys forever; into infinity. And its here binding together two lives. (gets the ring) Symbolic of eternity and rendered in a beautiful element."
From the TV show "Numbers"
"The existence of the writer is truly dependent on his desk. If he wants to escape madness, he really should never leave his desk. He must cling to it by his teeth."
-Franz Kafka (Diary entry)
"This head has risen above its hair in a moment of abandon known only to men who have drawn their feet out of their boots to walk awhile in the corridors of the mind." - Djuna Barnes
the Mexican novelist, Daniel Sada, relates what Juan Rulfo once said to him:
"He once recommended that I shouldn't persist in intellectualizing everything I was experiencing, because that would end up getting in the way of my perception. Reading is perpetual nourishment, never a vehicle for vanity. Intellectuals, in general, are braggarts, perhaps because they do not possess a true interior landscape. Artists are more silent; they are observers and have, naturally, a great capacity for astonishment. Artists are continual absorbers, and it is perhaps only much later that they pick and choose. These are Rulfian concepts, and they were spoken, I will confess, very close to my ear, as if they were secrets that can only be told in low tones"
I loved the line: "...reading is perpetual nourishment".
"Reading is perpetual nourishment, never a vehicle for vanity."
That needs to be on a sign above a used bookstore/coffeehouse/streetside cafe somewhere.
I will dig out more quotes from Dear Ole Djuna soon.
this one cries:
"to feel nothing, not the feeblest pulse in the dead mouse from which his urine issued, for three weeks, to believe that she would never again need him and that he would never again want her, and then, on a moment's notice, to become light-headed with lust: this was marriage as he knew it"
from Joanthan Franzen The Corrections
Franzen takes a bit getting used to. This quote struck me as depicting the alienation and loneliness one can sometimes feel within a marriage.
i understand the "ick" in your response.
It definitely does depict that feeling, and I suppose he means for the image to be disturbing.
One quote from Frederick Exley's A FAN'S NOTES really resonated with me:
"The malaise of writing--and it is of no consequence whether the writer is talented or otherwise--is that after a time a man arrives at a point outside human relationships, becomes, as it were, ahuman."
I dunno about the other scribblers in this group, but I've often felt like that. Remote, isolated and, when I'm deeply immersed in a project, even viewing family members from afar...
I think that does depict writers that I have known rather well. Especially memoirists.
Great quotes here.
I just got into Of Human Bondage recently. My first Maugham.
And, here's a rather cheeky argument, if I ever heard one, against re-reading. Makes me feel somewhat vindicated as I tend to feel guilty that I haven't absorbed all I can from a good book after a first read, yet cannot bring myself to re-read because there are so many others to get to. :)
'I don't see the use of reading the same thing over and over again,' said Phillip. 'That's only a laborious form of idleness.'
'But are you under the impression that you have so great a mind that you can understand the most profound writer at a first reading?'
'I don't want to understand him, I'm not a critic. I'm not interested in him for his sake but for mine.'
'Why do you read then?'
'Partly for pleasure, because it's a habit and I'm just as uncomfortable if I don't read as if I don't smoke, and partly to know myself. When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me; I've got out of the book all that's any use to me and I can't get anything more if I read it a dozen times. ...'
Gore Vidal reviewing the memoirs by Julia Dent Grant (Ulysses S. Grant's wife):
"When Grant came back to visit, Julia told him 'that I had named one of my new bedstead posts for him.' Surely the good taste of the editor might have spared us this pre-Freudian pornography."
Three from Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson
230 years ago...
"It is strange that there should be so little reading in the world, and so much writing. People in general do not willingly read, if they can have anything else to amuse them. There must be an external impulse; emulation, or vanity, or avarice."
"A man often shews his writings to people of eminence, to obtain from them, either from their good nature, or from their not being able to tell the truth firmly, a commendation, of which he may afterwards avail himself."
"...for we often find, that instead of giving an accurate account of what has been done by the author whose work they are reviewing, which is surely the proper business of a literary journal, they produce some plausible and ingenious conceits of their own, upon the topicks which have been discussed."
“Whatever I know of freedom, I learned when I parted with Mrs. Berenyi and headed for Kalvin Square. If, by freedom we don’t mean the euphoria of test pilots or the right to vote or that we may judge and decide according to our moral standards, and our decision happens to coincide with our most secret desires and emotions. If freedom is not white paper with black ink on it; if it is not four taut strings or ten thousand organ pipes; if it is not a hermit’s cave and it isn’t the moment when God’s prop alarm clock stops and something bursts the ribcage. In short, it’s best if we imagine that freedom is the kind of condition in which nothing ties us to the world around us. We have no desires, passions, or fears, we might say neither aims nor aimlessness, and we even fail to register that this vacuum no longer bothers us. Freedom is an odd, mainly characterless condition. It has nothing to do with indifference, which is inevitably cynical, and it has nothing to do with a state of it-all-comes-down-to-the-same-thing because behind that state still lurks some shame or hope. If everything comes to the same thing, that’s still very human. I might put it this way: freedom is a condition unsuitable for humans.” - Attila Bartis
“I am delicate and the world is impossibly wrong, is unthinkable and I am not forewarned, forearmed, equipped. I cannot manage. If there was something useful I could do, I would – but there isn’t. So I drink.
So I drank.
And on all those other evenings, drink has trotted in and softened worries, charmed away internal repetitions of unpleasant facts and lifted my attitude those few vital degrees which prevent everybody from dragging their past behind them like a corpse, while bolting forward through a suicidal haze.”
- A. L. Kennedy
Well, I think I need to pull Paradise of my TBR pile and read it.
From an essay by Albert Einstein--words to live by:
Love these though they are disparate:
All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing
“I refuse to "look up." Optimism nauseates me. It is perverse. Since man's fall, his proper position in the universe has been one of misery.”
― John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces
Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elses opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
A learned fool is more a fool than an ignorant fool.
“It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem.”
― G.K. Chesterton
When Richard Adams, on That Was The Week That Was, called Vidal's work "meretricious", Vidal shot back: "Really? Well, meretricious to you and a happy new year."
Of a paragraph by Herman Wouk: 'This is not at all bad, except as prose."
I like Samuel Johnson's opinion of second marriages:
"It is the triumph of hope over experience."
124: Wouk would be an expert on bad prose, especially to Mr. Vidal, since Wouk seemed to churn out the stuff at an industrial rate.
125: One of my favourites from Johnson: "Sir, a woman preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."
127: Johnson is always quotable. After a long, tedious violin recital, one of his friends infomed him:
'That piece is very difficult to perform.'
To which Johnson replied: 'I wish it were impossible.'
"Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits." — Wittgenstein
"There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity." - Robertson Davies
“Our destiny is universality attained not by the sword, but by the force of brotherhood and of our brotherly striving toward the reunification of mankind.” - Dostoevsky
“Death is not a penalty. It’s an escape.” Timothy McVeigh
“If the one true church is within, there is no need of the church without, except to serve those who have made of it a commerce.” – Nick Tosches
“Lie and be damned to Hell, or tell the truth and be crucified.” - Nick Tosches
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is in you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” - Nick Tosches
“Faith is a birthmark with which we are born, an impalpable umbilicus to time and place, which we rarely ponder to cut.” – Nick Tosches
“Nothing in moderation.” – Ernie Kovacs
“There is only one prospect worse than being chained to an intolerable existence – the nightmare of a botched attempt to end it.” – Arthur Koestler
“Women play with their beauty as children do with knives. They wound themselves with it.” – Victor Hugo
“Love has no middle term; either it destroys, or it saves. All human destiny is this dilemma.” – Victor Hugo
“Ambition and greed are the two legs of the worldly man; he who is without them is a legless cripple in the crowd. But we, dear reader, we raise our hat to this cripple.” Henry de Montherlant
“The judicious use of opium is far better than the spurious drug of the encyclopedia.” – Henry Miller
“Victors write the history books. It was knowingly and lightheartedly that Genghis Khan sent thousands of women and children to their deaths. History sees in him only the founder of a state… The aim of war is not to reach definite lines but to annihilate the enemy physically. It is by this means that we shall obtain the vital living space that we need. Who today speaks of the massacre of the Armenians?” - Adolf Hitler
“Five million young men of all tongues will die by the cannon that erects and discharges. Their flesh is already embalming the humans who drop like flies. As the flesh perishes, solemnity issues forth from it.” - Jean Genet
“My heart to my mother, my cock to the whores, my head to the hangman.” – Jean Genet
"Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay
“The female body is the ultimate expression of truth and beauty. I mean truth in all its ramifications: terror included, and death. Beauty likewise: There is a dead stinking creature in every perfect shell on the sand, and in many ways that is the whole point.” - Kate Christensen
“There is poetry to the wasted life, but little beauty.” – Amelia Gray
"Poets who live in Hell go to Heaven when they die.” – Denis Johnson
“If I could only live at the pitch that is near madness / When everything is as it was in my childhood / Violent, vivid, and of infinite possibility: / That the sun and moon broke over my head.” – Richard Eberhart
“I will not die an unlived life. / I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. / I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, / to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart / until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. / I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed, / goes to the next as blossom / and that which comes to me as blossom, / goes on as fruit. – Dawna Markova
“I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.” - Kurt Vonnegut
"Well, right now," she said, "I'm not dead. But when I am, it's like . . . I don't know, I guess it's like being inside a book that nobody's reading." – Tim O’Brien
“The pursuit of wealth is a cowardly action.” - Richard Grossman
“The salamander raised in a cave turns blind and white. So do men in corporations.” - Richard Grossman
"I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow." Erich Maria Remarque
“Beauty will save the world.” – Dostoevsky
"Events seem to be ordered into an ominous logic." – Thomas Pynchon
“Many people see the emptiness, but it takes guts to see the hopelessness.” - Richard Yates
“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” – Sidney J. Harris
“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.” – Hermann Hesse
"We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing." - Charles Bukowski
“One is never talking to oneself, always one is addressed to someone. Suddenly, without knowing the reason, at different stages in one’s life, one is addressing this person or that all the time, even dreams are performed before an audience. I see that. It’s well known that people who commit suicide, the most solitary of all acts, are addressing someone.” - Nadine Gordimer
“All my life, I have lived with the feeling that I have been kept from my true place. If the expression "metaphysical exile" had no meaning, my existence alone would afford it one.” – Emile Cioran
"Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless..." – Paul Bowles
“I have never had any sympathy with the ascetic attitude. The wise man combines the pleasures of the senses and the pleasures of the spirit in such a way as to increase the satisfaction he gets from both. The most valuable thing I have learned from life is to regret nothing. Life is short, nature is hostile, and man is ridiculous; but oddly enough most misfortunes have their compensations and with a certain humour and a good deal of horse-sense one can make a fairly good job of what is after all a matter of very small consequence.” - W. Somerset Maugham
“Beauty is life; beautiful is that being in which we see life as it should be according to our conceptions; beautiful is the object which expresses, or reminds us of life.” - Nikolai Chernyshevsky
"I heard a voice saying--or got the clear idea of: "There is another side to the mountain." ... There is another side of Kanchenjunga and of every mountain--the side that has never been photographed and turned into postcards. That is the only side worth seeing." – Thomas Merton
"A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic." – Joseph Stalin
"The only place I felt at home was in your heart. You were the only light that didn't go out on me." – Ben Hecht
"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." – H.L. Mencken
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." – Samuel Johnson
"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." – Steven Weinberg
“If I must live then let it be rudderless, in delirium.” - Mario Santiago
Sorry. I had to catch up... - J.
Wow indeed. I just stumbled onto this thread and will have to savour each post...slowly.
Oh, don't send me to my commonplace book or I'll be typing all night.
"The tired ice-cream of poems which cry themselves to sleep in the refrigerators of the mind." Laurence Durrell - one to make me cry, rather than sing. Enough is enough, and now I have finished the Alexandria Quartet I may stop thinking in metaphors!
"It gives me hope: Stupidity can win for a moment, but it can never really succeed because the nature of humans is to seek freedom."
So, Ai Weiwei isn't an author, he's an artist, but the quote still has power.
134: He hasn't been to the US Heartland has he? Since stupidity has triumphed for a very long time here. ("Obama is a muslin," etc.) And the freedom the stupid seek is to impose a narrow, hard, callous, sexually deranged and hypocritical freedom on those different or unwilling to kowtow to their tinpot fascism-for-idiots worldview.
Thank you ksw for articulating my thoughts. I've been struggling to mind my tongue while surrounded by heartland hypocrites for many years.
136: I read a lot of Karl Kraus and Gore Vidal My snark has been sharpened to a dagger-like edge and then I let it rust a bit, so when I jab it into the morbidly obese fish-belly that is Real Murrica, they can feel it a bit, since ample amounts of crystal meth and Joel Osteen will dull the senses to the point of farm animal-level idiocy.
I see a lot of people reading Fifty Shades of Grey, which makes me pray for a nuclear holocaust every two seconds.
On that note, here's a couple from the snarky Austrian journalist-philosopher Kraus:
"A curse on the law! Most of my fellow men are sad consequences of a neglected abortion."
"There are shallow and deep airheads."
We Aussies are capable of "sharp jabs".
Although. Karl, I found that initial quote (#137) to be a bit verbose and trying to be too clever.
Who wrote it?
"But he knows what he hates: the hell of the war, the hypocrisy of the fight against civil rights, the worship of money and power whatever the cost in social chaos and personal despair, the violence, the smugness, and the mindrot his country celebrates among its pieties." -- A Spy in the Ruins by Christopher Bernard
"It is comfortable to live in the belief that you are great, though your greatness is latent."
"I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED THE HANDS OF PEOPLE TO BE SEEN IN POETRY"
ETA. Oops Capslock.
Words of wisdom, from C.S. Lewis:
"When Providence throws a good book in my way, I bow to its decree and purchase it as an act of piety" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
I just read this, today, in Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop:
"We are all going to the play, or coming home from it."
"The believer will open his mind to the truth on the condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go."
J.S. Mill On Liberty: "success discloses faults and infirmities which failure might have concealed from observation." Also, "Very few facts are able to tell their own story, without comments to bring out their meaning."
J.S. Mill On Liberty: "success discloses faults and infirmities which failure might have concealed from observation."
That explains the fascinating trainwrecks of reality TV with brevity and accuracy.
From The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: "He embedded a kiss in her suede cheek," referring to a young man kissing his 90-something heavily made-up grandmother. I thought it was just perfect.
>151 "success discloses faults and infirmities which failure might have concealed from observation."
Many a politician can attest to that.
"...a man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover through the detours of art those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened."
(Isn't that lovely?)
It was quoted in an essay by Geoff Dyer ("Loving & Admiring: Camus' Algeria") in his volume OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE HUMAN CONDITION.
91 is a really good message. I seem to have missed it the first time around. Thanks.
General Sternwood: Do you like orchids?
Philip Marlowe: Not particularly.
General Sternwood: Ugh. Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.
From The Big Sleep
Joss Whedon's endorsement for Mitt Romney's zombie apocalypse:
Ironic how the best political ad this season is a parody. Then again, Whedon knows how to use the medium of TV better than the shaved apes who populate the campaign staffs of both McCandidates.
"Love? What is it? Most natural pain killer there is. LOVE"
William Burroughs' last journal entry
"Art is not recreation, a consolation, a pastime, a business (though it is all these things); it is the stone on which your knife is sharpened."
-David Thomson, THE BIG SCREEN
"Destroy yourselves, you who are desperate, and you who are tortured in body and soul, abandon all hope. There is no more solace for you in this world. The world lives off your rotting flesh." -- Antonin Artaud
“Fabulous. If you possess it, you don’t need to ask what it is. When you attempt to delineate it, you move away from it. Fabulous is one of those words that provide a measure of the degree to which a person or event manifests a particular oppressed subculture’s most distinctive, invigorating features. What are the salient features of fabulousness? Irony. Tragic History. Defiance. Gender-fuck. Glitter. Drama. It is not butch. It is not hot. The cathexis surrounding fabulousness is not necessarily erotic. The fabulous is not delineated by age or beauty. It is raw materials reworked into illusion. To be truly fabulous, one must completely triumph over tragedy, age, and physical insufficiencies. The fabulous is the rapturous embrace of difference, the discovering of self not in that which has rejected you but in that which makes you unlike, the dislike, the other.” -- Tony Kushner
Never for one moment,I suspect, kswolff, that Walt Whitman may have been fabulous.
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." (Jorge Luis Borges)
"Youth was often wretched, the struggle to become themselves tore the young to shreds, but sometimes, after the struggle, better days began".
-- Salman Rushdie, from Joseph Anton: A Memoir
This is not from a book, it's from a young man who was talking to himself while walking through Powell's Books yesterday and I overheard him:
"Now this is a BOOKSTORE - that's what I'm talkin' about."
"Philosophers use a language that is already deformed as though by shoes that are too tight." -- Ludwig Wittgenstein from Culture and Value
On St. Paddy's Day, a quote from, of course, James Joyce (with his love-hate relationship with Ireland):
“He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.”
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
I've often felt like that when reading some of my favorites.
"Depression is the gap between thinking and feeling" - Pamela Connelly
'He's an out-and-out Christian,' said Charley.
This was merely intended as a tribute to the animal's abilities, but it was an appropriate remark in another sense, if Master Bates had only known it; for there are a great many ladies and gentlemen, claiming to be out-and-out Christians, between whom and Mister Sikes' dog there exists very strong and singular points of resemblance.
One soldier wore sergeant's stripes on his sleeve...His windpipe made a clattering noise. He would be dead within minutes, she knew. Small black stripes of shadow moved over him...She had a brief thought that she should smother the injured man.
She touched his eyes. She could feel his life fall shut beneath her fingers. No need to stop his breath. It was much like drawing a small red curtain across. So many of them waited until they were in a woman's hands.
-- Column McCann, TransAtlantic
"Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen-year-old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy...the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess in the insane lament. My childhood was typical...summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds...pretty standard, really. At the age of twelve, I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum...it's breathtaking, I suggest you try it." -- Doctor Evil from the first Austin Powers movie.
Sounds like the beginning of Brideshead Revisited if Evelyn Waugh was on angel dust and listened to a lot of Velvet Underground.
"On the 31st of fifth month, 1761, I was taken ill of a fever, and after it had continued near a week I was in great distress of body. One day there was a cry raised in me that I might understand the cause of my affliction, and improve under it, and my conformity to some customs which I believed were not right was brought to my remembrance. In the continuance of this exercise I felt all the powers in me yield themselves up into the hand of Him who gave me being, and was made thankful that he had taken hold of me by his chastisements. Feeling the necessity of further purifying, there was now no desire in me for health until the design of my correction was answered. Thus I lay in abasement and brokenness of spirit, and as I felt a sinking down into a calm resignation, so I felt, as in an instant, an inward healing in my nature, and from that time forward I grew better."
From The Journal of John Woolman. Might not look so great out of context, but it is a moment of singular passion within his life's framework.
I love reading letter collections. My absolute favorite has to be Vincent van Gogh's letter collection. In particular, what I enjoy about his letters is how he really poured his heart out about what he was painting, how he was going about it and what he admired in others’ paintings. He was also a huge reader and often wrote about the books of the time to Theo, his brother.
I have the entire 3-volume hard-bound edition of his Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh. But, you can also read them online, which is handy if you're looking for a specific reference.
This weekend, I was browsing and came across this lovely bit from a letter he wrote in September 1888 to his sister, Willemien van Gogh:
“I definitely want to paint a starry sky now. It often seems to me that the night is even more richly colored than the day, colored in the most intense violets, blues and greens. If you look carefully you’ll see that some stars are lemony, others have a pink, green, forget-me-not blue glow. And without laboring the point, it’s clear that to paint a starry sky it’s not nearly enough to put white spots on blue-black……”
Lovely, yes? There are several other letters also to other friends/family about his urge to paint a “starry sky”, but these few lines always get me.
Shortly after the above letter, he did paint Starry Night Over the Rhone - a view that was a minute or two away from his famous Yellow House in Arles.
"Society is not a disease, it is a disaster. What a stupid miracle that one can live in it." -- EM Cioran
"Guarani--still spoken by 80% of the population of Paraguay--renders time differently from Western tongues. The future is uncertain: the word for 'tomorrow' means 'if the sun rises'. The past is divided between what happened, and what was supposed to but did not."
-from "The Never-Ending War" an article on Paraguay in the December, 2012 issue of THE ECONOMIST
"Has anyone ever told you that you are a disgusting, pus-filled bubo who has all the wit, charm and self-possession of an Alsatian dog after a head-swap operation? " -- Kryten to Rimmer in the Red Dwarf episode "Polymorph."
#190, how does that quote fit into Quotes that cry and sing?
If I was 14 yo. again, I might snigger...
Sorry anna, I'm still 'pissed off' with Karl. He is a very educated man (at least in Literature, though I suspect NOT in the sciences)
When you compare what the OP's intention was:
Sentences that make you suck in your breath in admiration (or envy), passages that remind you why you're a bibliophile.
To what of Karls 'quote' (below) offered ; Does it want you to make us '...suck in your breath in admiration(or envy)..."?
"Has anyone ever told you that you are a disgusting, pus-filled bubo who has all the wit, charm and self-possession of an Alsatian dog after a head-swap operation? "
Does that "Zing" for you anna?
Well other than a 13 yo's. (yes I have down graded it) joke, I wouldn't call it anything else other than what it is. SHIT.
Your faithfull servant,
OK, Guido47 - I actually agree with you here - let's start a "juvenile insults" thread instead, it would be more at home there. I would post the famous line from Monty Python's Argument Clinic ("shut your festering gob, you tit!")
This does not exactly make me cry or sing, but it did make me think. It is from a Sufi essay.
"Truth is vaster than any frame we can make to put it in."
193: I am an admirer of the finely turned insult, hence my love for Red Dwarf, HL Mencken, and Shakespeare I'm sure people have inscribed some quotes on this thread from bilious misanthropes like Thomas Bernhard, Ferdinand Celine, and Samuel Beckett (Beckster loved the human race, but he was a tad bleak on occasion.)
Not a smarty pants in the sciences you say? Probably why I bought Superorganism and The Structure of Evolutionary Theory -- I needed a couple of expensive paperweights.
Here's another zinger, this time from the Bard:
He is deformed, crooked, old and sere,
Ill-faced, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind;
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
The Comedy of Errors (4.2.22-5)
Demerits for no mention of Alsatian head swaps.
And another for good measure:
'Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat's tongue, you bull's pizzle, you stock-fish! O for breath to utter what is like thee! you tailor's-yard, you sheath, you bowcase; you vile standing-tuck!
1 Henry IV (2.4.227-9)
Some report a sea-maid spawn’d him; some that he was begot between two stock-fishes. But it is certain that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice.
Measure for Measure (3.2.56)
On the recent disclosures re: the vast extent of U.S. surveillance--access to private phone records, the active collusion with authorities by the corporates with nary a squeak for constitutional rights--Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union writes:
"A pox on all three houses of government: on Congress, for legislating such powers, on the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance) court for being such a paper tiger and rubber stamp, and on the Obama administration for not being true to its values."
“Sheep run to the slaughterhouse, silent and hopeless, but at least sheep never vote for the butcher who kills them or the people who devour them. More beastly than any beast, more sheepish than any sheep, the voter names his own executioner and chooses his own devourer, and for this precious “right” a revolution was fought.” -- Octave Mirbeau
I like that one. Too many voters are too uninformed on the issues and don't understand what they're voting for. Yet most clamor for their 'rights'.
200: Voters are less sheep than Pavlov's dogs. "Gay marriage" and "domestic surveillance" are good ones to set mutts from the Left and the Right drooling and humping the nearest candidate they can find. Although dogs do far less ass-sniffing than the garden variety voter in a participatory democracy.
"I think that if there were a God, there would be less evil on this earth. I believe that if evil exists here below, then either it was willed by God or it was beyond His powers to prevent it. Now I cannot bring myself to fear a God who is either spiteful or weak. I defy Him without fear and care not a fig for his thunderbolts." -- The Marquis de Sade
"All my foundation in virtue was no other than a total ignorance of vice." -- John Cleland
"What do you tell a man with two black eyes? Nothing, he's already been told twice." -- Elmore Leonard
Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities, Vol. 1:
“There is, in short, no great idea that stupidity could not put to its own uses .... The truth by comparison, has only one appearance and only one path, and is always at a disadvantage.”
Fernando Pessoa, A Factless Biography:
"... that episode of the imagination which we call reality."
By the way, I appreciated the Kryten quote. Why can't we lighten things up from time to time?
203: Because Cliff would threaten to cut off our thumbs. Snobbery demands we sacrifice levity and jest to a fair amount of groveling, boot-licking, and analingus. That's why the Ghost of Lawrence Durrell doesn't need to use toilet paper when he haunts this group. (Sure Durrell is a great writer, but does anyone else get such severe jaw cramps from all the undue reverence to the Written Word?)
Count me among those who grant undue reverence to the printed word.
Sorry, Karl. I'll be a snob to the bitter end.
For all the talk of undue reverence to the printed word, what I notice is an annoying tendency to skimp on the details. Hell, inquiring about Goethe gets the snobs chiming in to say they've never read him but mention Dan Brown or fan fiction writers and there's an explosion of opinion. Priorities are messed up around here (and I include myself in this criticism).
At what point does flaunting good taste become tasteless? How's about some humility?
You make some valid points--I'd also like to see more of our 700+ members contributing their thoughts and reading experiences. Often, it's the same cadre of people bouncing ideas back and forth. If more folks chimed in, perhaps we'd get a deeper, more profound discussion regarding Goethe and a host of other things related to the printed word.
206: How's about some humility? Then I vote for the group to get a name change. Snobbery is about exclusivity, superiority, and aesthetic arrogance. See Harold Bloom, Walter Pater, Ezra Pound, Camille Paglia, Matthew Arnold, etc.
Not sure about humility, but owning up to our own hypocrisies and prejudices. If we're not careful, we'll devolve into the Sci fi and Fantasy Group and be nothing more than uncritical fanboys (who are also reverent to the end).
As someone relatively new to the group I don't think you have too much to beat yourself up about.
Threads can never be prescriptive because they are always going to be the inevitable accumulation of the momentary thoughts in time of the contributors. I believe the best you can hope for is that the contributors have colour, character and something to say.
This group appears to have that in abundance, although as Cliff says it is always nice to have more people contributing so as to get alternative viewpoints...
“Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty", Baudelaire.
209: I did enjoy Sexual Personae and thought it rather groundbreaking, but I've since stopped reading her word-vomit (and Sarah Palin fandom) on Salon (or Slate).
211: The guy who wrote Decision Points also came from Yale.
"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." -- George W. Bush
"People are poor because they are lazy"
- college student G W Bush
198: Mercutio has some of the great lines in Shakespeare. That plus the sword fighting must make the part a pleasure to perform. "O, that she were an open arse and thou a pop'rin pear!"
204: There's a good thumb-biting sequence in R&J I.1 too. Considering their importance to the human condition, thumbs seem to be sadly neglected in literature.
203: suggests this topic is perhaps over-earnest. A little levity from James Thurber: "I suppose that even the most pleasurable of imaginable occupations, that of batting baseballs through the windows of the R.C.A. Building, would pall a little as the days ran on." (Memoirs of a Drudge)
Speaking of levity:
(Rick is trying to commit suicide)
Rick: I feel sorry for you, you zeros! You nobodies! What's going to live on after you die? I'll tell you - nothing! That's what! (struggling to hang himself) Oh, this is pathetic!
(he gives up trying to hang himself, then sees a jar of pills and attempts to overdose)
Neil: (upon seeing Rick eating the pills) Vyv, Vyv – er, can you, like, actually kill yourself with laxative pills?
Vyvyan: I don't know Neil, but I'm going to stay and find out!
Neil: I think I'm going up to my room for a bit!
(Rick swallows pills in front of Neil as he leaves)
Rick: This house will become a shrine, and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader. And all the grown-ups will say, "But why are the kids crying?" And the kids will say, "Haven't you heard? Rick is dead! The People's Poet is dead!"
(Vyvyan crouches down to watch Rick's rear as he talks)
Rick: And then one particularly sensitive and articulate teenager will say, "Other kids, do you understand nothing? How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?" And then another kid will say... (he then farts loudly and realises what he's been taking)
Pack of matches: Don't look at me. I'm irrelevant.
From The Young Ones
218: Indeed! Speaking of the importance of being earnest:
I apologize for the horrible Photoshop.
This was quoted in a review here on LT, and I must go get the book now and read it on the strength of this quote alone.
“At the kitchen table she examined the glass of ice. Each cube was rounded by room temperature, dissolving in its own remains, and belatedly she understood that this was how a loved one disappeared. Despite the shock wave of walking into an empty flat, the absence isn’t immediate, more a fade from the present tense you shared, a melting into the past, not an erasure but a conversion in form, from presence to memory, from solid to liquid, and the person you once touched runs over your skin, now in sheets down your back, and you may bathe, may sink, may drown in the memory, but your fingers cannot hold it.”
From A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and quoted in LT user LeahMo's review here
220: Brilliant. I always think that great writers don't have to dress their writing up as poetry for it to be much more moving than some of the greatest "poems" we read.
“Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
"England has the most sordid literary scene I've ever seen. They all meet in the same pub. This guy's writing a foreword for this person. They all have to give radio programs, they have to do all this just to scrape by. They're all scratching each other's backs." -- William S. Burroughs
"His Excellency Don Mariano Isabel Cristino Queralt y Roca de Togores, Baron of Benicarles and Master Chevalier of Ronda, chattered like an old spinster and pranced like a prima donna. Bleary-eyed, stout, witless, and prattling, he exuded a saccharine sweetness. His hands and throat dripped flab; he parleyed with a French nasal twang; and his fleshy eyelids harbored gelid fantasies from perverse literature. He was a threadbare stuffed shirt, a literary snob, a dabbler in decadent salons redolent with the rites and catechisms of French poetasters." -- Tyrant Banderas, by Ramon del Valle-Inclan
223 sounds like the big media scene here (like the journalists/op ed people at the NYT etc)
224: I love that description. Interesting that it includes the words "a literary snob."
Thanks, kswolff, #224, although which era does it come from?
The ...he exuded a saccharine sweetness... does suggest a mid '20's at least?
ETA. Science in action!
227: The novel was written in 1929. Same era as The Letter Killers Club, another avant-garde classic.
"Youth was often wretched, the struggle to become themselves tore the young to shreds, but sometimes, after the struggle, better days began".
-- Salman Rushdie, from Joseph Anton: A MemoirOM
IN RESPONSE I OFFER THIS:
from The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
(translated from Spanish to English by Anne McLean)
"we were both about to turn twenty, but we were still babes, that's obvious; at that age one feels like a savior of the world, and it's a miracle we survive our own mistakes. there are those who don't survive, of course, there are those who at sixteen or seventeen or eighteen commit the only mistake they'll ever make and they're wound up for the rest of their lives. at that age you realize that everything they've told you up to then is pure rubbish, that the world is another entirely different thing. But does anyone give you up-to-date instructions, or at least a guarantee? Not at all. Its not being born that's cruel - that's psychoanalysis for beginners. Nor losing your family in an accident. Accidents don't mean anything. What's cruel is that they let you reach the conclusion that you know how things work, Because that's the age of majority. A woman gets her period, and four or five years later feels sure there'll be no more surprises. And that's when the world arrives and tells you, None of that, Miss, you don't know a thing."
"In short, every beast hath some evil properties; but Cromwell hath the properties of all evil beasts." -- Archbishop John Williams
"...is it not perhaps an ancient error to imagine that it is at the moments when this passion, or others of equal violence, possesses us, that we live our truest lives? I have grown to believe that an old man, seated in his armchair, waiting patiently, with his lamp beside him; giving unconscious ear to all the eternal laws that reign about his house, interpreting, without comprehending, the silence of doors and windows and the quivering voice of the light, submitting with bent head to the presence of his soul and his destiny—an old man, who conceives not that all the powers of this world, like so many heedful servants, are mingling and keeping vigil in his room, who suspects not that the very sun itself is supporting in space the little table against which he leans, or that every star in heaven and every fiber of the soul are directly concerned in the movement of an eyelid that closes, or a thought that springs to birth—I have grown to believe that he, motionless as he is, does yet live in reality a deeper, more human, and more universal life than the lover who strangles his mistress, the captain who conquers in battle, or "the husband who avenges his honor."
"Of the various forms of government that have prevailed in the world, a hereditary monarchy seems to present the fairest scope for ridicule." -- Edward Gibbon
"A monarch's neck should always have a noose around it. It keeps him upright." -- Robert Heinlein
Here lies our sovereign lord, the king,
Whose word no man relies on,
Who never said a foolish thing,
And never did a wise one.
-- John Wilmot on King Charles II
"Those who imagine that a politician would make a better figurehead than a hereditary monarch might perhaps make the acquaintance of more politicians." -- Margaret Thatcher
I know that woman. She used to live with a flock of birds on Lenox Avenue. Know her husband too. He fell for an eighteen-year-old girl with one of those deepdown, spooky loves that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep it going. When the woman, her name is Violet, went to the funeral to see the girl and to cut her dead face they threw her to the floor and out of the church. She ran, then, through all that snow, and when she got back to her apartment she took the birds from their cages and set them out the windows to freeze or fly, including the parrot that said, "I love you."
Toni Morrison - Jazz, opening paragraph (a complete short story, really)
234: The first and last quotes go well together. I have always felt that the primary, and perhaps only useful, function of a monarch as head of state is to associate as closely as possible prestige without power to buffoonery without the possibility to do too much harm.
236: The only function of a monarch (and the inbred hellspawn also known as aristocrats) is to make sure the puritanical killjoys in revolutionary movements have their guillotine blades nice and sharp.
237: Actually, they are just people. No more, no less. But somehow people want to make them into either more or less than just people. In your case, you classify them as sub-humans. I'm reading Waugh, at the moment, and he had a real problem in the other direction.
It doesn't stop him being really funny, though, and often at their expense.
In point of fact, royalty are not just people. We may have dropped the idea of divine right, but we're still supposed to believe there's a reason why they're in charge. Of course, they possess no innate characteristics which qualify them for their role, it's just an historical accident. Their ancestors got lucky in the dim and distant past, managed to persuade everyone they were somehow special, and since then they've hung onto their position for dear life.
239: Exactly. They are just people. As mediocre as the rest. I don't feel like I'm supposed to believe there's a reason why they're in charge. They are where they are through accident of birth, pure and simple, not because of any intrinsic merit or achievement.
This is not unique to countries with monarchies and aristocracies. It's just less obvious without the silly trappings.
240: Perhaps if they followed the same set of laws as "just people," your claim would be truthful. Luckily monarchs are part-god and anyone who reads Nietzsche or Sade knows that gods can be killed. But I'll be fair, we Americans love boot-licking our political dynastic spawn, be they Clintons, Roosevelts, Bushes, or Rockefellers
241: My claim is truthful. All I'm saying is that these folks ain't no better than anyone else. I think you agree, as does Ian. Our difference might be that I find them ridiculous, but I don't hate them.
I think we are talking past each other, so I'm going to give everyone a rest and drop this.
241: Your claim is based on biology, mine is on law.
"The divine right of husbands, like the divine right of kings, may, it is to be hoped, in this enlightened age, be contested without danger, and though conviction may not silence many boisterous disputants, yet, when any prevailing prejudice is attacked, the wise will consider, and leave the narrow-minded to rail with thoughtless vehemence at innovation." -- Mary Wollstonecraft
Terry Thomas and Milton Berle speak the truth:
And here's the text version:
J. Russell Finch: Wait a minute, are you knocking this country? Are you saying something against America?
J. Algernon Hawthorne: Against it? I should be positively astounded to hear anything that could be said FOR it. Why the whole bloody place is the most unspeakable matriarchy in the whole history of civilization! Look at yourself! The way your wife and her strumpet of a mother push you through the hoop! As far as I can see, American men have been totally emasculated- they're like slaves! They die like flies from coronary thrombosis while their women sit under hairdryers eating chocolates & arranging for every 2nd Tuesday to be some sort of Mother's Day! And this positively infantile preoccupation with bosoms. In all time in this wretched Godforsaken country, the one thing that has appalled me most of all this this prepostrous preoccupation with bosoms. Don't you realize they have become the dominant theme in American culture: in literature, advertising and all fields of entertainment and everything. I'll wager you anything you like that if American women stopped wearing brassieres, your whole national economy would collapse overnight.
(Kind of explains the Miley Cyrus Twerking-gate hysteria rather succinctly.)
#244 - that's hilarious. It's been so long since I saw the movie that I must watch it again now.
Came across this recently by the sublime W B Yeats and thought I'd share:
Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet.
From A Teller of Tales in The Celtic Twilight, Faerie and Folklore
Okay, it's not literary...
"But even as he began his charge, there was a strange rushing in the air and a heavy weight struck terrifically between his shoulders. He was dashed headlong and great talons sank agonizingly in his flesh. Writhing desperately beneath his attacker, he twisted his head about and stared into the face of Nightmare and lunacy. Upon him crouched a great black thing which he knew was born in no sane or human world. Its slavering black fangs were near his throat and the flare of its yellow eyes shriveled his limbs as a killing wind shrivels young corn.
The hideousness of its face transcended mere bestiality. It might have been the face of an ancient, evil mummy, quickened with demoniac life. In those abhorrent features the outlaw's dilated eyes seemed to see, like a shadow in the madness that enveloped him, a faint and terrible resemblance to the slave Thoth-amon."
A little later: "Over his mangled arm it glared fiendishly into the king's eyes, in which there began to be mirrored a likeness of the horror which stared from the dead eyes of Ascalante. Conan felt his soul shrivel and began to be drawn out of his body, to drown in the yellow wells of cosmic horror which glimmered spectrally in the formless chaos that was growing about him and engulfing all life and sanity. Those eyes grew and became gigantic, and in them the Cimmerian glimpsed the reality of all the abysmal and blasphemous horrors that lurk in the outer darkness of formless voids and nighted gulfs. He opened his bloody lips to shriek his hate and loathing, but only a dry rattle burst from his throat."
I wasn't expecting Lovecraftian beings in antique swords and sorcery.
248: True, it would only count as literary if it involved an East Coast Ivy League English professor sleeping with his female students and then pretending to feel bad about it. Ya know, like most of the work of Updike and Alexander Theroux Funny how the word "literary" has a class-warfare tinge to it. Only plebes and lower-class filth would read something like Conan the Barbarian or Mickey Spillane
249: It's actually amusing to note the stigma attached to works of "genre" fiction considering that "literary" fiction is consistent enough in themes and plotting as to constitute a genre of itself. It's always family heartaches, child abuse, failing marriages, distant friends, dying parents and reconnection.
It seems to be a double prejudice: on the one hand it ties in to a snooty belief that true art should mirror real life. If it's fantastic or improbable, it could appeal to a wider demographic in search of escapism - the working class, nerds, gamers, children. Jack London was only ghettoized into children's literature because unlike Hemingway he occasionally wrote his manly tales with sled dogs as the protagonists. Perish the thought. At the same time, anything with speculative elements is automatically considered fringe and won't ever win the Pulitzer/Booker because it might alienate the prize's usual readership. That's not class-warfare though, that's just cautious marketing committees. And allegories seem to be exempt from it, possibly thanks to their inherent self-importance.
249: I taught English at a university for a short time. Admittedly, it was in Germany and I wasn't a professor. Still, there were plenty of students I could have slept with. What an opportunity missed to become an important literary voice!
>250, nymith, your post reminded me of something Margaret Atwood wrote recently in defense of the horror/terror genre. It was witty and perfectly-argued.
Oh, in keeping with the theme of the thread, here's a bit from that aforementioned Atwood piece:
Horror/terror and “literature” are not mutually exclusive. In fact, tales of this kind may be among the most “literary” that there are, being both very ancient, and – unlike, say, social realism, in which a real tour of a real meat-packing factory may be involved – derived entirely from other tales. (Hint: there aren’t really any Walking Dead. Sorry. Sad, but true. Therefore all such monsters are metaphors.)
But, you may ask, why do we like this stuff? Ah. That’s another question. Come under the dining room table with me, my dears, and I will answer it.
Bring your flashlights.
"Fans of highbrow lit and Great American Novels — think The Great Gatsby, An American Tragedy, A Farewell to Arms, U.S.A., Call It Sleep, Absalom, Absalom! — celebrate the Modernist era that begins circa 1914, i.e., with the outbreak of WWI. Sinclair Lewis called the era America’s second “coming of age,” a period of maturation when poetry, fiction, and drama broke with conventions and achieved unparalleled creative achievement. It was indeed an extraordinary era in literature, and the novels mentioned are great. But we should be wary of the rhetoric of maturity vs. immaturity; it’s the (liberal, capitalist) dominant discourse’s way of pooh-poohing utopian, romantic, idealistic ideas and visions — which are depicted as silly, adolescent." -- Joshua Glenn, "Best Teens Adventures" (about the best adventure fiction from 1914 - 1923. Emphasis added is mine.)
From Jonathan Lethem's DISSIDENT GARDENS:
"You remembered what was continuous and what was anomalous. The continuous because it stuck around to remind you of itself. The anomalous because it stuck out and so your mind made a Polaroid of the oddness, to gaze at in fear, lust or bewilderment forever."
Intellectual combat is won not by throwing up barricades, but by courteously leaving the field open, so that the adversary’s stupidities only break each other's noses.
"Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary." -- HL Mencken
"Saints live in flames; wise men, next to them." -- Cioran
"I hate victims who respect their executioners." -- Sartre
"Philosophy makes progress not by becoming more rigorous but by becoming more imaginative." -- Richard Rorty
"Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"To choose evil is to choose freedom—“freedom, emancipation from all restraint.” " -- Georges Bataille
And I told you, as you clawed out my eyes, that I never really meant to do you any harm.
- Bob Dylan
Do not be servile, because the princes will employ you as their doorman.
Do not be arrogant, because you will look like the princes’ doorman.
"Most arts have produced miracles, while the art of government has produced nothing but monsters." -- Saint-Just
"When Randolph Carter was thirty he lost the key of the gate of dreams."
-H.P. Lovecraft, "The Silver Key"
> 268: Yes, but "He that fights monsters must take care that he does not become a monster." (Nietzsche)
Yes, but "Art Can't Hurt You" (seen on a T-shirt otherwise covered with wild, multi-colored paint streaks)
"We, the progeny who live in that future, were among the intended beneficiaries of those frightful decisions made so long ago. As such, we are also caretakers of the memory, and of the reputation of those who performed their duty--as they understood it--under circumstances too difficult for us to ever understand."
-James Webb, BORN FIGHTING
"Any hope that America would finally grow up vanished with the rise of fundamentalist Christianity. Fundamentalism, with its born-again regression, its pink-and-gold concept of heaven, its literal-mindedness, its rambunctious good cheer... its anti-intellectualism... its puerile hymns... and its faith-healing... are made to order for King Kid America." -- Florence King
"We suffer primarily not from our vices or our weaknesses, but from our illusions. We are haunted, not by reality, but by those images we have put in their place."
Daniel J. Boorstin
From "Duck Soup":
BULLY: (Reacting to a attack perpetrated by CHICO) I'll teach you to kick me--
CHICO: I don't need you to teach me how to kick you! (And boots him again)
I've seen the show at least a dozen times and it still leaves me legless with laughter.
God bless the Marx Brothers.
In early 2013, a Department of Justice “white paper” surfaced that laid out the “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen.” The government lawyers who wrote the 16-page document asserted that the government need not possess specific intelligence indicating that an American citizen is actively engaged in a particular or active terror plot in order to be cleared for targeted killing. Instead, the paper argued that a determination from a “well-informed high level administration official” that a target represents an “imminent threat” to the United States is a sufficient basis to order the killing of an American citizen. But the Justice Department’s lawyers sought to alter the definition of “imminent,” advocating what they called a “broader concept of imminence.”
They wrote, “The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future.” The government lawyers argued that waiting for a targeted killing of a suspect “until preparations for an attack are concluded, would not allow the United States sufficient time to defend itself.” They asserted that such an operation constitutes “a lawful killing in self-defense” and is “not an assassination.”
-from "The Fantasy of a Clean War"by Jeremy Scahill
278: These days, affordable health care and gay marriage, at least according to the Conservative Franchisers of the White Heterosexual Christ.
"I never, ever cheated in medical school. I don't condone cheating. But I would sometimes spread misinformation. This is a great tactic. Misinformation can be very important." -- Rand Paul
"Our goal is to inflict pain. It is not good enough to win; it has to be a painful and devastating defeat. We're sending a message here. It is like when the king would take his opponent's head and spike it on a pole for everyone to see." -- Grover Norquist
"Human beings — they go on being born and dying, dying and being born. It's kind of boring, isn't it?" -- Yukio Mishima
"You took away all the oceans and all the room.
You gave me my shoe-size in earth with bars around it.
Where did it get you? Nowhere.
You left me my lips, and they shape words, even in silence."
(Died en route to a gulag)
"Terrorists, terrorists, terrorists. In the Middle East, in the entire Moslem world, this word would become a plague, a meaningless punctuation mark in all our lives, a full stop erected to finish all discussion of injustice, constructed as a wall by Russians, Americans, Israelis, British, Pakistanis, Saudis, Turks, to shut us up. Who would ever say a word in favor of terrorists? What cause could justify terror? So our enemies are always 'terrorists'. In the seventeenth century, governments used 'heretic' in much the same way, to end all dialogue, to prescribe obedience."
-Robert Fisk, THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILIZATION
(This is why I love Fisk.)
"Where all your rights have become only an accumulated wrong, where men must beg with bated breath for leave to subsist in their own land, to think their own thoughts, to sing their own songs, to gather the fruits of their own labours, and, even while they beg, to see things inexorably withdrawn from them -- then, surely, it is a braver, a saner and truer thing to be a rebel, in act and in deed, against such circumstances as these, than to tamely accept it, as the natural lot of men."
282: I was just reading about Roger Casement on the BBC web site. A fascinating chap. Very brave and very strange.
Glance into the world just as though time were gone: and everything crooked will become straight to you.
"Identity is the daughter of birth
but in the end, the invention of its owner,
not an heirloom from the past."
"The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.”
- Ernest Hemingway
"When authorities warn you of the sinfulness of sex, there is an important lesson to be learned. Do not have sex with the authorities." -- Matt Groening
We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet and, amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog, has made an alliance with us.
"Everything about Canada is awesome except Barenaked Ladies. They’re an insult to the region, I would say." -- Evan Linger from the thrash band Skeletonwitch
"Today, when “hipster” means a submissive herd-follower attuned to the latest gadgets, it is hard to remember that Mailer, only slightly exaggerating its contemporary meaning, popularized an image of the hipster as a lonely knight of the spirit attuned to archetypal currents undetectable by the square, like an exiled Obi-Wan Kenobi sensing a deep disturbance in the Force." -- Edward Mendelson
This topic was continued by Great quotes, memorable bits of wisdom (Thread #2).
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.