Saturday, June 13, 2015

"The political century has given way to the personal century."

"Politics in the 21st century has largely lost its capacity to inspire, or if there is a gust of inspiration (as with early Barack Obama) it proves illusory.

"People are focused on other matters: personal health, spiritual health, wellness, diet, living longer, and the vast related matter of the health of the planet. Zen, yoga and the soul have trumped the means of production. Of course, wellness in turn raises the issues of climate change and energy consumption, questions that have considerable political content but are not political at their core. The political century has given way to the personal century."

- Roger Cohen, NYT

Saturday, May 30, 2015

"Anyone who thinks they can tell you how to live is talking out of their backside"

 "You shouldn't listen to anybody.... Life is so varied and multi-layered that no two lives are the same, so anyone who thinks they can tell you how to live is talking out of their backside. There's only one you, and most people in their heart know the right path to choose – they only go wrong because they've listened to other people's advice."
 - Thea Gilmore

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"Your today is an imposter: he is a reproduction of yesterday."

"We have no time for imitation! Much of our work looks to you like comical buffoonery; but carve into your hearts, fattened with laughter, the monogram of the present day, and learn to be yourself, learn to look at everything with your own eyes. We would be the first to welcome you if you booed us for our backwardness, for our unmodernity! First outrun us, then jeer at us. Break the monocle of the centuries which cuts into the body! All the time you walked looking backward, and so you did not notice that inadvertently you stepped into storerooms and basements. Your today is an imposter: he is a reproduction of yesterday. The thick books of contemporary poets are heavier than funeral orations. The sound of the drum rolled out long ago."

- Vadim Shershenevich, from Two Final Words

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"You are all so dull, as though the entire universe does not contain a Capri."

You are all so dull, as though
the entire universe does not contain a Capri.
But Capri exists.
From the shining of blooms
the whole island is like a woman in a pink bonnet.

- Vladimir Mayakovsky (translated by Alex Cigale)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"This kingdom thou shalt not take for thine own..."

And Manwë said unto Melkor: `This kingdom thou shalt not take for thine own, wrongfully, for many others have laboured here no less than thou.'

- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Ainulindale: The Music of the Ainur

Sunday, September 28, 2014

"The most bitter critic of American platitude and delusion ... that ever lived."

H.L. Mencken, from Mark Twain's Americanism:

When Mark Twain died, in 1910, one of the magnificos who paid public tribute to him was William H. Taft, then President of the United States. "Mark Twain," said Dr. Taft, "gave real intellectual enjoyment to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come. He never wrote a line that a father could not read to a daughter."

The usual polite flubdub and not to be exposed, perhaps, to critical analysis. But it was, in a sense, typical of the general view at that time, and so it deserves to be remembered for the fatuous inaccuracy of the judgment in it. For Mark Twain dead is beginning to show far different and more brilliant colors than those he seemed to wear during life, and the one thing no sane critic would say of him to-day is that he was the harmless fireside jester, the mellow chautauquan, the amiable old grandpa of letters that he was once so widely thought to be.

The truth is that Mark was almost exactly the reverse. Instead of being a mere entertainer of the mob, he was in fact a literary artist of the very highest skill and sophistication, and, in all save his superficial aspect, quite unintelligible to Dr. Taft's millions. And instead of being a sort of Dr. Frank Crane in cap and bells, laboriously devoted to the obvious and the uplifting, he was a destructive satirist of the utmost pungency and relentlessness, and the most bitter critic of American platitude and delusion, whether social, political or religious, that ever lived.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"I speak to vent my anger, to cry out like a wounded animal..."

"Every person endowed with even a minimum of sensitivity and independence must rebel against the meanness and narrow-mindedness surrounding him, against the lies and the restrictions to his individual freedoms; and if he has no opportunity to show his opposition to the present situation, then hatred, scorn, resentment and despair will build up in his breast until they threaten to smother him. Then, like the drowning man who grasps at straws, he must somehow shake off his overwhelming burden. For these reasons I speak to vent my anger, to cry out like a wounded animal; for I imagine that one single person out of all the thousands will indeed have to hear me, will understand me, will comprehend my outrage, will feel with me, and will hate and struggle against cruelty, coercion, and subjugation. It has been and will continue to be for this single person that I act, and I go to them precisely because among the many, one real, honorable and great person can be found."

- Emma Goldman, from Made for America (1897)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"You’re going to eat rocks and dirt and weeds from the back yard for the first ten years."

"Phil: Well, I use to just write all the time. I use to just get up at noon and sit down at the typewriter and write until 2 AM. Just write from noon in the morning until 2 AM. You’ve got to do that when you start out. Or you’re going to die on the vine. I mean you’ve got to just – you’re going to live on two thousand dollars a year. You’re going to eat rocks and dirt and weeds from the back yard for the first ten years. And then after the first ten years, you get to eat instant breakfast. You work up till you’re rich enough to get a phone put in. And you get to buy an old automobile. And you get to drive around in an old automobile, which you crank-start every morning. And then after 25 years, you manage to get a used Dodge. It costs you $795.00, but, the radio doesn’t work in it. And there’s people that’re standing behind grocery counters are making more money. One time I was in Trader-Jones, a grocery store, and I was talking with the clerk and he made more money than I did. And I was really sore. I really took it bad. Because they had just hired him. He didn’t even have seniority as a grocery clerk. At least he could have been a senior clerk. I said, how much do you make? And he says, such and such. And I said, jeepers, that’s a lot of money." P.K. Dick on KPFK-FM, Hour 25, June 26, 1976.