Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A conjunction of quotations #8

— edited by Ryland Walker Knight

Tod Seelie

Nobody could have predicted that Copenhagen would collapse when the truth is that rich nations fully expect to flourish in a Greenhouse future behind high walls and hard-hearted armies and think that the same billions of humans will die from climate change whose deaths from starvation, unclean water, and cheaply treatable diseases they are cheerfully indifferent to here and now. Nobody could have predicted that Lieberman would betray the Democrats yet again when they have never made him face a real consequence for his serial betrayals in the past. Nobody could have predicted that neoliberals would think unemployment is a secondary consideration to billionaires staying billionaires as a measure of whether or not the economy is in recovery. Nobody could have predicted that California held hostage to an obstructionist Republican minority would rather turn into Somalia than make anybody pay taxes for indispensable services, or that a US Senate held hostage to an obstructionist Republican minority and a handful of Conservadems would destroy any chance for healthcare reform to help millions of their suffering citizens or to address world-destroying climate change or halt the re-emergence via the fraudulent financialization of the economy of a death-dealing immiserating feudal society. Nobody could have predicted that bailed out banksters would hoover up billions in cash to save their skins after squandering trillions in ponzi schemes and then refuse to change their behavior one bit. Nobody could have predicted that sociopaths will actually behave like sociopaths and that a system that celebrates sociopaths would not be a magical paradise.
Dale Carrico


Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Chuck Dederich


There is no "rest of your life."
Allison Ahlert


Storm the Reality Studio and retake the universe - The
plan shifted and reformed as reports came in from his
electric patrols sniffing quivering down the streets of the
earth - The reality film giving and buckling like a bulkhead
under pressure - Burned metal smell of interplanetary
war in the raw noon streets swept by screaming
glass blizzards of enemy flak.
William S. Burroughs


That night a driving icy rain came up and lying in her bed, awake at midnight, Mrs. Flood, the landlady, began to weep. She wanted to run out into the rain and cold and hunt him and find him huddled in some half-sheltered place and bring him back and say, Mr. Motes, Mr. Motes, you can stay here forever, or the two of us will go where you're going, the two of us will go. She had had a hard life, without pain and without pleasure, and she thought that now that she was coming to the last part of it, she deserved a friend. If she was going to be blind when she was dead, who better to guide her than a blind man? Who better to lead the blind than the blind, who knew what it was like?
Flannery O'Connor


The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.
Albert Einstein


Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.
Ernest Hemingway


The words most charged with philosophy are not necessarily those that contain what they say, but rather those that most energetically open upon being, because they more closely convey the life of the whole and make our habitual evidences vibrate until they disjoin. Hence it is a question whether philosophy as reconquest of brute or wild being can be accomplished by the resources of eloquent language, or whether it would not be necessary for philosophy to use language in a way that takes from it its power of immediate or direct signification in order to equal it with what it wishes all the same to say.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty


What kind of beast would turn its life into words?
What atonement is this all about?
—and yet, writing words like these, I'm also living.
Is all this close to the wolverines' howled signals,
that modulated cantata of the wild?
or, when away from you I try to create you in words,
am I simply using you, like a river or a war?
And how have I used rivers, how have I used wars
to escape writing of the worst thing of all—
not the crimes of others, not even our own death,
but the failure to want our freedom passionately enough
so that blighted elms, sick rivers, massacres would seem
mere emblems of that desecration of ourselves?
Adrienne Rich


But if stars shouldn't shine
By the very first time
Then dear it's fine, so fine by me
Cuz we give it time
So much time
With me
The xx


Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
Norman Maclean


The greatness of The River—and the same can be said of the three major films Renoir made after it, The Golden Coach (1953), French Cancan (1955), and The Elusive Corporal (1962)—is inseparable from its modesty, its humility, its consent to limitation. It places itself not above but below politics, at the level of everyday life. The Golden Coach and French Cancan are celebrations of art that cherish its pleasure without pretending they will fix our troubles or transcend our sorrows, without aggrandizing them into anything more than a good time. (Christopher Faulkner thinks the films of Renoir's late period espouse art for art's sake, what he calls an "ideology of aesthetics." This seems to me in error. Renoir's late films remain socially aware even if they no longer contest the social order.They don't elevate art above society, they see it as working within the conditions of society: they are unassuming about the art they celebrate. Faulkner is an Althusserian and his ideology rules out an art that can make its peace with a social situation it neither endorses nor presumes to transcend.)
Gilberto Perez


As she entered the car, her first impression was that she was not on the train at all. It was merely an oblong area, crowded to bursting with men in dun-colored burnouses, squatting, sleeping, reclining, standing, and moving about through a welter of amorphous bundles. She stood still an instant taking in the sight; for the first time she felt she was in a strange land. Someone was pushing her from behind, obliging her to go on into the car. She resisted, seeing no place to move to, and fell against a man with a white beard, who stared at her sternly. Under his gaze, she felt like a badly behaved child. "Pardon, monsieur," she said, trying to bend out of the way in order to avoid the growing pressure from behind. It was useless; she was impelled forward in spite of all her efforts, and staggering over the prostrate forms and the piles of objects, she moved into the middle of the car. The train lurched into motion. She glanced around a little fearfully. The idea occurred to her that these were Moslems, and that the odor of alcohol on her breath would scandalize them almost as much as if she were suddenly to remove all her clothing. Stumbling over the crouched figures, she worked her way to one side of the windowless wall and leaned against it while she took out a small bottle of perfume from her bag and rubbed it over her face and neck, hoping it would counteract, or at least blend with, whatever alcoholic odor there might be about her. As she rubbed, her fingers struck a small, soft object on the nape of her neck. She looked: it was a yellow louse. She had partly crushed it. With disgust she wiped her finger against the wall. Men were looking at her, but with neither sympathy nor antipathy. Nor even with curiosity, she thought. They had the absorbed and vacant expression of the man who looks into his handkerchief after blowing his nose. She shut her eyes for a moment. To her surprise she felt hungry. She took the sandwich out and ate it, breaking off the bread in small pieces and chewing them violently. The man leaning against the wall beside her was also eating—small dark objects which he kept taking out of the hood of his garment and crunching noisily. With a faint shudder she saw that they were red locusts with the legs and heads removed. The babble of voices which had been constant suddenly ceased; people appeared to be listening. Above the rumbling of the train and the rhythmical steady sound of rain on the tin roof of the car. The men were nodding their heads;conversation started up again. She determined to fight her way back to the door in order to be able to get down at the next stop. Holding her head slightly lowered in front of her, she began to burrow wildly though the crowd. There were groans from below as she stepped on sleepers, there were exclamations of indignation as her elbows came in contact with faces. At each step she cried: "Pardon! Pardon!" She had got herself wedged into a corner at the end of the car. Now all she needed was to get to the door. Barring her way was a wild-faced man holding a severed sheep's head, its eyes like agate marbles staring from their sockets. "Oh!" she moaned. The man looked at her stolidly, making no movement to let her by. Using all her strength, she fought her way around him, rubbing her skirt against the bloody neck as she squeezed past. With relief she saw that the door onto the platform was open; she would have only to get by those who filled the entrance. She began her cries of "Pardon!" once more, and charged though. The platform itself was less crowded because the cold rain was sweeping across it. Those sitting there had their heads covered with the hoods of their burnouses. Turning her back to the rain she gripped the iron railing and looked directly into the most hideous human face she had ever seen. The tall man wore cast-off European clothes, and a burlap bag over his head like a haïk. But where his nose should have been was a dark triangular abyss, and the strange flat lips were white. For no reason at all she thought of a lion's muzzle; she could not take her eyes away from it. The man seemed neither to see her nor to feel the rain; he merely stood there. As she stared she found herself wondering why it was that a diseased face, which basically means nothing, should be so much more horrible to look at than a face whose tissues are healthy but whose expression reveals an interior corruption. Port would say that in a non-materialistic age it would not be thus. And he probably would be right.
Paul Bowles


I once claimed that the only audience of philosophy is one performing it.
Stanley Cavell


Comedy is the summit of logic.
Jacques Tati

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