Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A conjunction of quotations #11

— edited by Ryland Walker Knight



Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.
Rosalind Russell


I don't want to be a silly temptress. I cannot see any sense in getting dressed up and doing nothing but tempting men in pictures.
Greta Garbo


Elegance has therefore disappeared as the TV spectator's eye expected something else from tennis. The diabolical Connors and the amazing MacEnroe became loved for their bad manners, because these manners were more interesting than the starchy class of the last stylists (from Clerc to Gomez). All this, a very human phenomenon by the way, deepened the scenography of tennis with a new dimension: that of the close up after the rally, of the disarticulated replay, of the stroboscopic ordinariness of the slow motion, of the microphone at court level. The number of events per second inflated with all the affects, tics, drives and silent rages that a body is capable of.
Serge Daney


Far from the trite expression it usually is, “I don’t know what to say” actually seemed to be an honest and surprisingly accurate description of the problem. When women who have abortions are more closeted than gay people and the absence of abortion leaves a gaping hole in most T.V. and movie narratives, it’s no wonder even solidly pro-choice people are left floundering for a way to talk about it—free of euphemisms—as a real and unique experience instead of a flattened and shameful cliché.
Maya Dusenbery


Once something must have happened here,
before you were always quoting yourself to sleep,
needing to remember. Gunpowder
boomed in the birch forests,
redcoats flashed like flowers.
The city was narcotic with gold,
derricks stiffened beside wounded ships.
Women wept for the diving bells of dead.
Flames rose along the river, longing—

All that is green must turn to red.
Listen: the dynamite cracks
in the concrete forest.
That echo is the sound of borrowed grace. Believe it,
ask memory to be your burning stake.
Meghan O'Rourke


When I work together with actors and we try to create brash, obnoxious, strange, brutal, larger characters, it seems to me that the key is not that they are better or bigger than us. What I can see in Jean Renoir’s movies and some of that in François Truffaut and perhaps in a lot of French films which would be French at the end, is the fact that I don’t wake up as a human being and I’m not sure that I am one. Being human I have to work to look like a human being. You know, I have to pretend that I am this or that, even with political issues et cetera. In Renoir’s La regle du jeu (1939) I have to play the part that I’m rich or poor or a worker or angry or a woman, I have to play these feelings. In Renoir they don’t believe in nature, there is only culture. And the thing which is so human is that they are trying to look like a proper human being, a being they dream to be. I try to catch that in a character, this effort of showing off.
Arnaud Desplechin


A writer must preserve a balance between sensitivity and vitality. Highbrow writers are sensitive but not vital. Commercial writers are vital but not sensitive. Trying to keep this balance is always hard. It is the whole job of living.
Gertrude Stein


People remain what they are even if their faces fall apart.
Bertolt Brecht


Originally, there were many varieties of birds on earth. Some have become extinct: the great hawk, the passenger pigeon and the famous dodo bird have all disappeared. —Actually, they didn't exactly disappear. They were simply killed off. But of course [he shrugs] this is nature's way. Man merely hurries the process along whenever he can be of help.
Alfred Hitchcock


Yes, it is obvious that people now—they trust in the economy. Well, maybe after this week a little less, but still I don’t think it will change much. Economy is presented as some kind of “revealed truth,” it is just like religion for me. There is no logic to what happens in the economy, and still you have politicians, people keep telling you “this is good for the economy, this is how it should be done” because “that’s how the economy works” and so on and so forth, as if it were some kind of truth. And people just swallow it. It’s this kind of logic that there is something bigger than us that is “the economy” that creates a world that is going in a direction no one has any control on, because the economy is some kind of living organism that is taking over people’s lives or the values that are at work within the world where we live our adult lives. What I’m trying to say, or what Frédéric thinks {laughs}, and it’s not very optimistic, is that he reminds that economy is not fact, it is ideology. And as much as you have to respect facts, you are allowed to discuss ideologies; you should be allowed to have your say, because ultimately whatever truth you stand for is as good as whatever truth economy stands for. Ultimately we should be conscious that theoretically we have some space to decide what we want and what we don’t want, we should not be intimidated by economy.
Olivier Assayas


She broke down and let me in
Made me see where I've been

Been down one time
Been down two times
Never going back again

You don't know what it means to win
Come down and see me again

Been down one time
Been down two times
Never going back again
Fleetwood Mac


Having a home, husband, and child ought to be enough for any woman’s life. I mean, that’s what we are meant for, isn’t it? But still I think every day [without my work] is a lost day. As if only half of me is alive. The other half is pressed down in a bag and suffocated.
Ingrid Bergman


Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.
Oscar Wilde


On verra. On verra si je le fais à la fin.*
Gabriel Deshayes


Let's go get lost among the ether seekers squinting in despair as people from the 18th century hang brightly in the air dissecting bits of cloud (they're only waiting for a cue from Newton to begin their vague descent). If you could take the square root of this mass that we inhabit you would find a fully fledged motet caught in the shadow of the memories the centrifuge once ravaged as though honoring the dead with a chilled and useless flourish. "It waxeth wet," she says, concealing Vesta's fires in the folds of her new love (she has a passion for Racine). But Crazy Jane just shrugs and love begins to melt away. "Divide the air from air. Divide the castles from the clouds. Divide the light from light, but if you dare sequester my inertia in your tragedy I'll clasp the weary hand of god and let him drag me in a straight line to the back of your cathedral where pentangles are smashed to fit inside the roving spheres the invalids ingest on their way back from the sea." Despite their prayers, it wouldn't part. But if you listened very closely, you could hear the feeble march revive inside their chests. They had wanted to see flames but they could only see a single molecule, a bit deranged and accidentally inspiring the smell of violets from the surrounding air. And still they lurched and dragged their rickety old model up the mountain where they leapt off into the huge distance waving feathers pulled from caps that had dropped below the treeline. Another great wave shook the night, moving flagrantly through nothing, dulling bullets in their flight.
Elizabeth Marie Young

* = We'll see. We'll see if I make it to the end.

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