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"To mortify herself she tried to go a whole day without eating. She looked for some vow that she might accomplish."

"But she knew too much about country life... From such familiar, peaceful aspects, she turned to the picturesque. She loved the sea for its storms alone, cared for vegetation only when it grew here and there among ruins. She had to extract a kind of personal advantage from things; and she rejected as useless everything that promised no immediate gratification - for her temperament was more sentimental than artistic, and what she was looking for was emotions, not scenery."

Madame Bovary..


kat says: seriously though.. i expect a full debriefing
lovemuffin6982 says: so does he!


MadK8ter: did i mention i have an ear ache?
MadK8ter: good
MadK8ter: i thought i was having a nervous breakdown last nite until it dawned on me that thats probably what it is
thats do you confuse an ear ache and a nervous breakdown
MadK8ter: well i have vertigo and am hearing things noone else is
MadK8ter: i was pretty sure from the start it wasnt god but still


"Wanted: Friendly, companionably reclusive, socially unacceptable, alcoholically abstemious, tirelessly talkative,  zealously unzealous, spiritually intense, minimally turquoise, maximally ecstatic loon seeks moth or moths with similar equalities for purposes of telephonic seduction, Tristan-esque trip-taking, and permanent flame-fluttering.  No photos required.  Financial status immaterial.  All ages and noncompetitive vocations considered.  Applications should furnish cassettes of sample conversations, notarized certification of marital disinclination, references re: low-decibel vocal consistency, itinerary and sample receipts from previous, successfully completed out-of-town moth flights.  All submissions treated confidentially.  No paws need apply.  The auditions for all promising candidates will be conducted to and on Anaton Penisend, Newfoundland."

-- 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould.  #22 Personal Ad.



I think that's worth about a million words, eh, Chris?



pinkledinkle: you should fly in
pinkledinkle: I need more performers
pinkledinkle: you can be Derrida


"If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win.  I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past's fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare."

-- Howard Zinn, Preface to The Twentieth Century


"Any head of state who, in the year of our Lord 2003, continues to hold up God as the sponsor of his political choices, and particularly of a war, and continues to define his military objective as the 'Camp of Satan' or the 'Evil Empire,' cannot represent in any way the motives and sentiments of a civilized people.  Fanaticism is fanaticism, and 'democratic fanaticism' is not a variant that mitigates the noun, but one that makes meaningless the adjective."

-- Michele Serra, La Reppublica, quoted in Chan Magazine, Summer 2003.


"'Watch out for Lesbians.. And let me warn you about how they operate.  They are very underhanded and don't reveal themselves to you.  They don't just walk up and say, 'Hello there, I'm a Lesbian.'  You hardly know what is happening.  Instead, they'll do things like introduce you to classical music and good books.  Then they'll engage you in interesting conversations that may be witty, entertaining, and filled with interesting ideas.  They may invite you to plays or to dinner and serve you some nice wine, have some flowers on the table.."

-- Ibid.. I can't stop laughing at this..


"Even though at any given time the number of permanent, lifelong members of this central core may be small, multitudes of other people, straight as well as Gay, pass through their influence for periods of time -- weeks or moths or years -- trying out the roles and stances, values and valences, the aura of danger or magic and the topsy-turvy thought patterns, learning enough for their own purposes before moving on to establish their own identities in more hidden and apparently safer positions within the society at large.  There they pass the values into the major cultural stream.."

-- Ibid.


"Well, if you did that, there's no way that people could come up to you and politely say, well, you Gay people are nice, you know, you look just like any normal other person.  For me, being Gay isn't trying to be as nice as straight people in the sense of bourgeois politeness.  I mean, we're very nice but... we're not nice."

-- Judy Grahn, Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, 1984

7.7.3:          Li Zhensheng:

" Capturing the Cultural Revolution" by, Alan Riding.  New York Times, p. E1.

It was Li Zhensheng's job in the late 1960's to photograph the happy face of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution for a provincial Chinese daily newspaper. But as he dutifully fed the propaganda machine with uplifting images, he gradually understood that he was also recording history, and so he took a major risk: on his assignments, he began including disturbing aspects of the revolution and then hid the negatives under the floorboards of his home.

Now, more than three decades after the Cultural Revolution began, Mr. Li is for the first time making public his remarkable visual testimony of that violent and chaotic era. A selection of 152 images are on display at the Patrimoine Photographique here through Sept. 21. Mr. Li has also published a book, which includes 285 pictures and a memoir of his life until 1976, when the decade-long revolution ended. The book, "Red-Color News Soldier" (Phaidon), is to be published in the United States in September.

Although other pictures of Red Guard abuses in Beijing have documented the social upheaval accompanying the Cultural Revolution, what distinguishes Mr. Li's collection of 30,000 negatives is that it shows in shocking detail what was happening at a grass-roots level in a remote Chinese province far from Western eyes. His work also reflects the instincts of a journalist and the eye of an artist.

In the exhibition and the book, he brings to life the fanatical joy of rampaging Red Guards, many of them teenagers, and the coldblooded humiliation and even execution of "enemies of the people." Only once, during a 1966 visit to Beijing, did Mr. Li photograph Mao himself, but Mao is ever present in photographs, in statues, in the little red book of his sayings and in spirit.

Today Mr. Li looks back and sees a different China. The excesses and leaders of the revolution were denounced after Mao's death in 1976. Communist capitalism is now entrenched. Mr. Li, 63, lives in New York and Beijing. He is confident that his book will soon also be published in China.

But in his book and in a recent conversation through an interpreter, it was apparent that Mr. Li had not forgotten the past. As a teenager he showed a talent for painting, but he chose to become a cinematographer. When his film school was closed in 1963 he was assigned as a photographer on The Heilongjiang Daily in the northern city of Harbin. After his first day's work, he wrote in his diary: "I am not going to die in Heilongjiang Province."

With China still in turmoil after the catastrophic Great Leap Forward economic program that began in 1958, its government was trying to reawaken revolutionary fervor. Soon Mr. Li was required to join the Socialist Education Movement, which sent urban youths to the countryside -- in his case to Acheng County, 30 miles southeast of Harbin -- to experience peasant life. There he trained with a local militia, farmed and took part in self-criticism sessions.

But he also took pictures. They show the expected images -- peasants working and holding endless sessions studying Mao's teachings -- but also more arresting ones of gatherings in which "antisocial" peasants were publicly denounced for cheating and forced to stand for hours with their heads bowed in the kowtow position to beg forgiveness. Even these early images reveal Mr. Li's sense of composition, his understanding of lighting and his ability to convey emotion.

Then, with Mr. Li back at his newspaper, history suddenly accelerated with Mao's proclamation of the Cultural Revolution in May 1966. "I was excited like everyone else," Mr. Li said. "The happiness was real. We felt lucky to be living the moment. Mao had said it should be repeated every seven years and we thought we'd be lucky enough to live several cultural revolutions. We all believed in Mao."

Just as political leaders in Heilongjiang Province were soon overthrown by Red Guards, Mr. Li's editors were ousted. "I noticed that people wearing a Red Guard armband could take photographs freely," he writes. Inside the newspaper, he promptly formed a self-appointed Red Guard unit called the Red Youth Fighting Team and acquired an armband. "After that, whenever I wore it I could take all the photographs I wanted and no one bothered me," he notes in his book.

Yet within weeks, he recalled, he grew alarmed over Red Guard excesses, which he witnessed and photographed: the ransacking a Russian Orthodox Church and a Buddhist temple, raids on private homes, ceremonial book burnings and attacks on individuals. "As a young man with a good education, I did not think this was normal," he said. "So while we photographed the joy, violent and cruel scenes were more and more evident."

His newspaper published only positive images of the Cultural Revolution, but Mr. Li photographed everything. "I had had a teacher, a famous photographer, Wu Yingxian, who said we were not only witnesses of history but also recorders of history," Mr. Li said. "I felt the positive images were only part of history, so I also photographed the negative scenes so that one day there would be a complete history."

So, while showing cheerful youths waving flags and holding little red books, Mr. Li captured moments when ousted senior officials were being abused and humiliated in front of crowds, their heads shaven, ink or paint splashed on their faces, insulting signs hung around their necks and cloths stuffed into their mouths. Some were forced to wear paper dunce caps covered with slogans.

In 1968 Mr. Li began hiding negatives of such scenes in his modest home. Their images included an execution of six ordinary criminals and two dissidents. "On the barren ground of the Huang Shan Cemetery, they were lined up, hands tied behind their backs, and forced to kneel," he writes. "They were all shot in the back of the head." Mr. Li, who documented each step, adds: "No one asked me take close-ups of the bodies, but that's what I did."

By then, the situation in Harbin was still more confused as different bands of Red Guards fought for power in Mao's name. At The Heilongjiang Daily late in 1968, Mr. Li was accused of various crimes, including being a "newly born bourgeois." First he was demoted, and then, in September 1969, he and his wife, Zu Yingxia, were sent to the Liuhe May 7 School in the countryside for "rectification."

"Things there were more and more foolish," he said. "Everyone was cold and someone would shout, 'Anyone cold?' And we replied, 'No, because we have a red sun in our hearts that is very warm.' 'Is the work difficult?' someone else would shout. 'No, not at all. It was far worse for those on the Long March.' "

When Mr. Li and his wife left the school in May 1971, the Cultural Revolution was foundering. His negatives remained safely hidden. One year later he was back at his newspaper job and was able to photograph the official visit to Harbin of the exiled Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia. Mr. Li said that he finally felt safe by 1976, after Mao's death and the ouster of the Gang of Four, the radical Communist leaders blamed for the worst turmoil and persecutions of the Cultural Revolution.

Only then did he begin to organize his hidden photographs. "At that moment, I believed that the politically negative images would one day be presented in public," he said.

In 1982 he began teaching at a Beijing university, and it was there, in 1988, that 20 of his images were first exhibited. "A competition was organized of three decades of photos, 10 years before, 10 years during and 10 years after the Cultural Revolution," he said. "But they couldn't find any for the revolution's years. I didn't want to participate, but the organizer begged me and I sent a series called, 'Let the past speak to the future.' I won the top prize."

Among those who discovered Mr. Li's pictures then was Robert Pledge, president of Contact Press Images, a photo agency. The two men hoped to work together, but that notion was dashed in 1989 by the repression in Tiananmen Square and the political clampdown that followed. But in 1996, after Mr. Li was invited to lecture in the United States, he again met Mr. Pledge. And in subsequent trips, he gradually carried all his negatives to New York, at first surreptitiously, later with little fear that they might be seized.

"Li estimates that he took 100,000 photographs between 1963 and 1976," Mr. Pledge said. "He had already eliminated one-third. Of the 60,000 remaining, many were of daily life. There were 30,000 with historical and journalistic interest related to the Cultural Revolution."

For the book, Mr. Li and Mr. Pledge decided that the photographs should be accompanied by a personal essay and historical background.

Jacques Menasche, a New York-based journalist who helped draft Mr. Li's memoir, also wrote a chronology of the Cultural Revolution. Jonathan D. Spence, an authority on China at Yale University, wrote an introduction.

As the exhibition opened here on June 27, Mr. Li said he felt vindicated. Thanks to what he describes as his "rebellious nature," having defied a system that no longer exists, he can now "show the world what really happened during the Cultural Revolution." But he still wants that world to include young Chinese. "Only when they see these pictures," he said, "will they know that what they have been told is true."

CORRECTION-DATE: July 12, 2003, Saturday

Credits in The Arts on Monday for three pictures by Li Zhensheng with an article about an exhibition of his long-hidden photographs of the Cultural Revolution in China misstated the supplier. The pictures -- of two party secretaries being denounced, of eight people being executed and of swimmers studying the words of Mao Zedong -- should have been attributed to Li Zhensheng/Contact Press Images.

GRAPHIC: Photos: In Red Guard Square in Harbin on Aug. 29, 1966, the provincial party secretaries Wang Yilun, left, and Chen Lei were denounced.; Following a public trial, seven men and a woman were executed on April 5, 1968, on the outskirts of Harbin in Heilongjiang Province. (Photographs by Li Zhensheng/"Red-Color News Soldier" Phaidon )(pg. E1); Li Zhensheng at the opening of the exhibition of his work at Patrimoine Photographique in Paris on June 26. (Frank Seguin/Contact); Swimmers study Mao Zedong before plunging into the Songhua River in Heilongjiang Province on July 16, 1968, to commemorate Mao's swim in the Yangtze two years earlier. (Li Zhensheng/"Red-Color News Soldier" Phaidon )(pg. E5)


"Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have."

-- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


"They don't always live together like Christians and turtle-doves; considering their long existence such constancy would be tiresome to them."

-- Ibid.


"I don't remember the exact moment that I understood that Nazi Germany had destroyed hundred of thousands of homosexuals solely on the basis of their Gayness.  But I know that the fact will haunt me all my life, for I can never trust my citizenship, never take for granted that my neighbors will not stand idly by while I am killed for my way of life.  The Holocaust will be with us forever; in any event, centuries of anti-Gay oppression in Western society has produced our response of secrecy.

The Gay closet has many points of discomfort.  One is the sheer shame that life must be so secret, that one's citizenship is always dependent on how camouflaged as a heterosexual one appears.  The necessary double life means that the Gay person can never simply stand flat-footed on the earth; there are always two people operating in one body, and one of them is a liar.  This creates problems of distrust and disorientation.  Fear is always present and affects every part of Gay life.

And the fear causes many Gay people to feel that no matter how much you love your family and friends, you can never feel they completely love you, for being in the closet means they do not even know you, they know a projected false image of you.  And if they did know you, would they hate you?  Push you out of the family?  Act superior and condescending?  Lock you in a torturous mental hospital?  Cut off your funds?  Sock you and hit you?  You can never trust them, for whether they choose it or not, they are allied with the Nazis as long as a Gay family member has to lead a secret life on account of fear.

Moreover, the fact that Gay people are closeted prohibits expression of liberal views on the part of straight people who would be open and tolerant, even joyful of the free expression of Gay culture is anyone would just provide an honest context.  Of course people are already openly tolerant, even grateful for the richness and use of Gay culture.  But when a Gay person is in the closet, there is no way to know who are the friends and who are the enemies.  There can be no friends in an atmosphere of suspicion and terror."

-- Judy Grahn, Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, 1984


"'You have to look at history as an evolution of society.' -- JEAN CHR╔TIEN, prime minister of Canada, after his cabinet approved a policy to open marriage to gay couples."

New York Times quote of the day.


"Sergei started noticing me, too.  Sometimes I caught him looking in my direction with a questioning expression, as if he didn't know what to make of me.  Or he'd stare at me and squint, as he did when he wanted to make fun of somebody, but then turn away again without saying anything.  I was a perfect target for him -- an incompetent sex-education teacher!  It made me nervous, but at the same time I felt oddly flattered...
My only problem was that after a while I started doubting Aunt Galya's expertise... What if lemon juice isn't a good contraceptive?  What if eating cabbage doesn't make your breasts bigger?  What if having a lot of hair on your legs isn't a sign of infertility?  What if drinking alcohol before and after sex doesn't prevent you from getting an S.T.D.?  What if Aunt Galya's whole attitude toward men is wrong?  The last question bothered me the most.  Aunt Galya seemed to see men as soldiers in an enemy army.  Or, worse, as soldiers defeated and captured.  'Don't let them slip away!'  'Make them work for it!'  'Don't let them get lazy!'  'Don't reward them until they deserve it.'  I had repeated everything she'd told me without questioning it...
I heard Sergei's voice again, coming from somewhere close by, the words barely audible amid the cafeteria's steady rumble.  I had to look up to make out what he was saying.  He was asking me out on a date...
What if I told the girls about my date with Sergei?  What if I told them about the look in his eyes?  What if I told them about how his hand had got stuck in the knot of my scarf when he tried to unbutton my coat in the crowded theatre?  And how, later, he had kissed me all the way through "The Godfather: Part III," pausing only when he saw, in his peripheral vision, that one of the characters was about to be killed?  What if I told them the best part of the date wasn't even being on a date but walking to meet him at the Pushkin subway station, because men had turned to look at me as I passed?  I wondered if the girls would understand it all."

-- From "Love Lessons Mondays, 9 a.m." by Lara Vapnyar in the 16 June 3 New Yorker


"'An injury to one is an injury to all!'.. Ethics lies at the heart of a truly libertarian movement that offers a vision of a cooperative and humane society.  An anarchism that dismisses even gross violations of basic ethical standards with an anemic shrug has not only lost its moral high grounds as the libertarian alternative to authoritarian or state socialism; it has undermined its claim to represent a movement for basic change, individual as well as social.  Instead it has become a pseudo-rebellious conceit, a self-serving gloss, a passing stage of late childhood development, or as Bufe puts it very well, a fashion trend."

"The reason why such people (both marginals and "fashion anarchists") choose to label themselves as anarchists is undoubtedly, in many cases, that they believe the worst bourgeois lies about anarchism - that it's a synonym for chaos and an extreme everyone-else-be-damned form of individualism.  They use "anarchism" as a blanket justification for irresponsible, antisocial behavior.. It's unfortunate, to say the least, that such people are the most publicly visible proponents of (what they consider) anarchism." 

-- From Listen Anarchist! by Chaz Bufe (Introduction by Janet Biehl)


"During the summer months a great number of American vacationers can be found riding the MÚtro, and their voices tend to carry.  It's something I hadn't noticed until leaving home, but we are a loud people.  The trumpeting elephants of the human race.  Questions, observations, the locations of blisters and rashes -- everything is delivered as though it were an announcement.
On the first of our two trains I listened to a quartet of college-age Texans who sat beneath a sign instructing passengers to surrender their folding seats and stand should the foyer of the train become too crowded.  The foyer of the train quickly became too crowded, and while the others stood to make more room, the young Texans remained seated and raised their voices in order to continue their debate, the topic being "Which is a better city, Houston or Paris?"  It was a hot afternoon, and the subject of air-conditioning came into play.  Houston had it, Paris did not.  Houston also had ice cubes, tacos, plenty of parking, and something called a Sonic Burger.  Things were not looking good for Paris, which lost valuable points every time the train stopped to accept more passengers.  The crowds packed in, surrounding the seated Texans and reducing them to four disembodied voices.  From the far corner of the car, one of them shouted that they were tired and dirty and ready to catch the next plane home.  The voice was weary and hopeless, and I identified completely.  It was the same way I'd felt on my last visit to Houston."

-- Ibid.


"Like me, my American friends are sometimes called upon to defend their country, usually at dinner parties where everyone's had a bit much to drink.  The United States will have done something the French don't like, and people will behave as though it's all my fault.  I'm always taken off guard when a hostess accuses me of unfairly taxing her beef.  Wait a minute, I think.  Did I do that?  Whenever my government refuses to sign a treaty or decides to throw its weight around in NATO, I become not an American citizen but, rather, America itself, all fifty states and Puerto Rico sitting at the table with gravy on my chin.

During Bill Clinton's impeachment hearings, my French teacher would often single me out, saying, "You Americans, you're all such puritans."  Citizens of Europe and Asia, my fellow class members would agree with her, while I'd wonder, Are we?  I'm sure the reputation isn't entirely undeserved, but how prudish can we be when almost everyone I know has engaged in a three-way?

I'd never thought much about how Americans were viewed overseas until I came to France and was expected to look and behave a certain way.  "You're not supposed to be smoking," my classmates would tell me.  "You're from the United States."  Europeans expected me to regularly wash my hands with prepackaged towelettes and to automatically reject all unpasteurized dairy products.  If I was thin, it must be because I'd recently lost the extra fifty pounds traditionally cushioning the standard American ass.  If I was pushy, it was typical; and if I wasn't, it was probably due to Prozac."

-- Ibid.


"The long list of situational phobias includes the fears of being bound, beaten, locked into an enclosed area, and smeared with human waste.  Their inclusion mystifies me, as it suggests that these fears might be considered in any way unreasonableI asked myself, Who wants to be handcuffed and covered in human feces?  An then, without even opening my address book, I thought of three people right off the bat.  This frightened me, but apparently it's my own private phobia.  I found no listing for those who fear they know two many masochists.  Neither did I find an entry for those who fear the terrible truth that their self-worth is based entirely on the completion of a daily crossword puzzle.  Because I can't seem to find it anywhere, I'm guaranteed that such a word actually exists.  It will undoubtedly pop up in some future puzzle, the clue being "You, honestly."

-- David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day.


"The history of this 'micro-physics' of the punitive power would then be a genealogy or an element in a genealogy of the modern 'soul'... It would be wrong to say that the soul is an illusion, or an ideological effect.  On the contrary, it exists, it has a reality, it is produced permanently around, on, within the body by the functioning of a power that is exercised on those punished -- and, in a general way, on those one supervises, trains and corrects, over madmen, children at home and at school, the colonized, over those who are stuck at a machine and supervised for the rest of their lives.  This is the historical reality of this soul, which, unlike the soul represented by Christian theology, is not born in sin and subject to punishment, but is born rather out of methods of punishment, supervision and constraint... On this reality-reference, various concepts have been constructed and domains of analysis carved out: psyche, subjectivity, personality, consciousness, etc.; on it have been built scientific techniques and discourses, and the moral claims of humanism... The man described for us, whom we are invited to free, is already in himself the effect of a subjection much more profound than himself.  A 'soul' inhabits him and brings him to existence, which is itself a factor in the mastery that power exercises over the body.  The soul is the effect and instrument of a political anatomy; the soul is the prison of the body."

-- Ibid.  


"Punishment of a less immediately physical kind, a certain discretion in the art of inflicting pain, a combination of more subtle, more subdued sufferings, deprived of their visible display, should not all this be treated as a special case, an incidental effect of deeper changes?  And yet the fact remains that a few decades saw the disappearance of the tortured, dismembered, amputated body, symbolically branded on face or shoulder, exposed dead or alive to public view.  The body as the major target of penal repression disappeared... As a result, justice no longer takes public responsibility for the violence that is bound up with its practice... It is ugly to be punishable, but there is no glory in punishing... From being an art of unbearable sensations punishment has become an economy of suspended rights... It is intended to apply the law not so much to a real body capable of feeling pain as to a juridical subject, the possessor, among other rights, of the right to exist.  It had to have the abstraction of the law itself... Witnesses who described the scene [of French executions since 1939] could even be prosecuted, thereby ensuring that the execution should cease to be a spectacle and remain a strange secret between the law and those it condemns.  One has only to point out so many precautions to realize that capital punishment remains fundamentally, even today, a spectacle that must actually be forbidden... But a punishment like forced labour or even imprisonment -- mere loss of liberty -- has never functioned without a certain additional element of punishment that certainly concerns the body itself: rationing of food, sexual deprivation, corporal punishment, solitary confinement... The criticism [is] often levelled [that] imprisonment is not a sufficient punishment: prisoners are less hungry, less cold, less deprived in general than many poor people or even workers [suggesting] a postulate that was never explicitly denied: it is just that a condemned man should suffer physically more than other men.  It is difficult to dissociate punishment from additional physical pain.  What would a non-corporal punishment be?"

-- From "Torture: The body of the condemned" in Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault.


"Madness has become man's possibility of abolishing both man and the world -- and even those images that challenge the world and deform man.  It is, far beyond dreams, beyond the nightmare of bestiality, the last recourse: the end and the beginning of everything.  Not because it is a promise, as in German lyricism, but because it is the ambiguity of chaos and apocalypse: Goya's Idiot who shrieks and twists his shoulder to escape from the nothingness that imprisons him -- is this the birth of the first man and his first movement toward liberty, or the last convulsion of the last dying man?

And this madness that links and divides time, that twists the world into the ring of a single night, this madness so foreign to the experience of its contemporaries, does it not transmit -- to those able to receive it, to Nietzsche and to Artaud -- those barely audible voices of classical unreason, in which it was always a question of nothingness and night, but amplifying them now to shrieks and frenzy?  But giving them for the first time an expression, a droit de citÚ, and a hold on Western culture which makes possible all contestations, as well as total contestation?  But restoring their primitive savagery?"

-- Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason


"...the books we need are the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that make us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, or lost in a forest remote from all human habitation -- a book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us."

-- Franz Kafka


"I met Muriel at the Biltmore at seven.  Two drinks, two drugstore tuna-fish sandwiches, then a movie she wanted to see, something with Greer Garson in it.  I looked at her several times in the dark when Greer Garson's son's plane was missing in action.  Her mouth was open.  Absorbed, worried.  The identification with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer tragedy complete.  I felt awe and happiness.  How I love and need her undiscriminating heart.  She looked over at me when the children in the picture brought in the kitten to show to their mother.  M. loved the kitten and wanted me to love it.  Even in the dark, I could sense that she felt the usual estrangement from me when I don't automatically love what she loves.  Later, when we were having a drink at the station, she asked me if I didn't think that kitten was 'rather nice.'  She doesn't use the word 'cute' any more.  When did I ever frighten her out of her normal vocabulary?   Bore that I am, I mentioned R.H. Blyth's definition of sentimentality: that we are being sentimental when we give to a thing more tenderness than God gives to it.  I said (sententiously?) that God undoubtedly loves kittens, but not, in all probability, with Technicolor bootees on their paws.  He leaves that creative touch to script writers.  M. thought this over, seemed to agree with me, but the 'knowledge' wasn't too welcome.  She sat stirring her drink and feeling unclose to me.  She worries over the way her love for me comes and goes, appears and disappears.  She doubts its reality simply because it isn't as steadily pleasurable as a kitten.  God knows it is sad.  The human voice conspires to desecrate everything on earth."

-- From Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters


"My highest defense of homosexuality would be that you prove it is unnatural, because this is truly spiritual.  Any idiot can follow nature, but isn't the truly great thing to say, 'I love you so much that I break all the laws of nature for you'?"

-- Slovoj Zizek in the 5 May 2003 New Yorker


Io non posso ritrar di tutti a pieno,
per˛ che sý mi caccia il lungo tema,
che molte volte al fatto il dir vien meno.


I cannot here describe them all in full;
my ample theme impels me onward so:
what's told is often less than the event.

..e pi¨ di mille
ombre mostrommi e nominommi a dito,
ch'amor di nostra vita dipartille.


--and he pointed out
and named to me more than a thousand shades
departed from our life because of love.

"..Noi leggiavamo un giorno per diletto
di Lancialotto come amor lo strinse;
doli eravamo e sanza alcun sospetto.
Per pi¨ f´ate li occhi ci sospinse
quella lettura, e scolorocci il viso;
ma solo un punto fu quel che ci vinse.
Quando leggemmo il dis´ato riso
esser basciato da cotanto amante,
questi, che mai da me non fia diviso,
la bocca mi basci˛ tutto tremante.
Galeotto fu 'l libro e chi lo scrisse:
quel giorno pi¨ non vi leggemmo avante."

"..On day, to pass the time away, we read
of Lancelot--how love had overcome him.
We were alone, and we suspected nothing.
And time and time again that reading led
our eyes to meet, and made our faces pale,
and yet one point alone defeated us.
When we had read how the desired smile
was kissed by one who was so true a lover,
this one, who never shall be parted from me,
while all his body trembled, kissed my mouth.
A Gallehault indeed, that book and he
who wrote it, too; that day we read no more."

-- From Dante of course.. I've given up on Jude the Obscure in the bathtub for a while and this has taken its place..


"'The Americans will bring us bananas.  Bananas and oranges and apples.' Ten year old Randa Muayed upon returning to school in Baghdad for the first time since the war."

-- New York Times quote of the day for 4 May.


"..I'm sure, the middle-aged hot-rodders who insist on zooming us to the moon, the Dharma Bums, the makers of cigarette filters for thinking men, the Beat and the Sloppy and the Petulant, the chosen cultists, all the lofty experts who know so well what we should or shouldn't do with our poor little sex organs, all the bearded, proud, unlettered young men and unskilled guitarists and Zen-killers and incorporated aesthetic Teddy boys who look down their thoroughly unenlightened noses at this splendid planet where (please don't shut me up) Kilroy, Christ, and Shakespeare all stopped -- before we join these others, I privately say to you, old friend (unto you, really, I'm afraid), please accept from me this unpretentious bouquet of very early-blooming parantheses: (((()))).." 

"..the fact that Kierkegaard was never a Kierkegaardian, let alone an Existentialist, cheers one bush-league intellectual's heart no end, never fails to reaffirm his faith in a cosmic poetic justice, if not a cosmic Santa Claus.." 

"But what, at least in modern times, I think one most recurrently hears about the curiously-productive-though-ailing poet or painter is that he is invariably a kind of super-size but unmistakably "classical" neurotic, an aberrant who only occasionally, and never deeply, wishes to surrender his aberration; or, in English, a Sick Man who not at all seldom, though he's reported to childishly deny it, gives out terrible cries of pain, as if he would wholeheartedly let go both his art and his soul to experience what passes in other people for wellness, and yet (the rumor continues) when his unsalutary-looking little room is broken into and someone who actually loves him--passionately asks him where the pain is, he either declines or seems unable to discuss it at any constructive clinical length, and in the morning, when even great poets and painters presumably feels a bit more chipper than usual, he looks more perversely determined than ever to see his sickness run its course, as though by the light of another, presumably working day he had remembered that all men, the healthy ones included, eventually die, and usually with a certain amount of bad grace, but that he, lucky man, is at least being done in by the most stimulating companion, disease or no, he has ever known." 

-- From Seymour, An Introduction by, J.D.S.


"when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
and the sun strikes to gain a living wage--
when thorns regard their roses with alarm
and rainbows are insured against old age

when every thrush may sing no new moon in
if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
--and any wave signs on the dotted line
or else an ocean is compelled to close

when the oak begs permission of the birch
to make an acorn--valleys accuse their
mountains of having altitude--and march
denounces april as a saboteur

then we'll believe in that incredible
unanimal mankind (and not until)"

-- 89 in 100 Selected Poems of e.e. cummings.


Flashback to the summer of 1995..  I was 15 and interred at UT Austin.. I read a book whose name escapes me by William Spanos (Prof. Comparative Lit. @ SUNY) and dug this quote (for various reasons, some of which completely different than what I would say now).. It lived on my bedroom wall for the rest of high school and I find it amongst papers every now and again.. Above the quote I wrote: "PANOPTICON.  The world consists of an indissoluble relay or continuum of power and forces.  Only a rethinking can save the galaxy."  Enjoy:

"Only a rethinking of the post-Enlightenment in terms of the decentering of the perennially privileged centered circle and its specular metaphysics, I am suggesting, can be adequate to the genealogy and critique of a modernity whose specular instruments of discreet domination are both lyrical and scientific and whose hegemonic reach is not restricted to the boundaries of the Occident but, as the rhetoric that represents the immediate contemporary occasion as the "new world order" suggests, extends throughout the planet and beyond.  To put this initiative in terms of the positive phase of the destructive genealogical project: only such a rethinking can be adequate to the emancipatory implications of the epochal refusal, during and immediately after the Vietnam War, of spontaneous consent to the discourse and practice of truth by a multiplicity of distinct but affiliated voices hitherto spoken for by the hegemonic discourse of truth.  These were voices of constituencies of the human community marginalized, repressed, or increasingly accommodated by the ruse of the "repressive hypothesis" or, alternatively, the deceptions of the hintergehendens Umgehung.  For only a critical theory that recognizes the Being represented by the Occident as a totalized construction - an indissoluble, however asymmetrically distributed, relay of discreet repressions that is not simply Western but planetary, even galactic, in scope - is capable of overcoming the limitations of the emancipatory discourses presently in circulation.  Only such a critical theory, to be more specific, can get beyond the disabling vestigial essentialism of even the most progressive Marxist discourses, on the one hand, and the disabling vestigial disciplinarity of the various poststructuralist discourses (including Heidegger's and Foucault's) on the other.  The impasse of the discourses of the left in the face of the massive Western representation of the recent epochal events in the "East" - the sociopolitical revolutions from below - as the definitive global triumph of "liberal democracy" bears dramatic testimony to this historically precipitated imperative to rethink the genealogy of Occidental modernity."

-- Spanos, 1993, p. 180.


One clear night while the others slept, I climbed 

the stairs to the roof of the house and under a sky 

strewn with stars I gazed at the sea, at the spread of it, 

the rolling crests of it raked by the wind, becoming 

like bits of lace tossed in the air. I stood in the long 

whispering night, waiting for something, a sign, the approach 

of a distant light, and I imagined you coming closer, 

the dark waves of your hair mingling with the sea, 

and the dark became desire, and desire the arriving light. 

The nearness, the momentary warmth of you as I stood 

on that lonely height watching the slow swells of the sea 

break on the shore and turn briefly into glass and disappear... 

Why did I believe you would come out of nowhere? Why with all 

that the world offers would you come only because I was here?

-- "Black Sea" by, Mark Strand in the 7 April 03 New Yorker.


"In supporting criminal prohibitions against cross burning, Justice Thomas said he saw no reason at all to consider the act in light of the First Amendment, because its message was one of terror and lawlessness that did not qualify as protected _expression. "Just as one cannot burn down someone's house to make a political point and then seek refuge in the First Amendment, those who hate cannot terrorize and intimidate to make their point," he said.

His separate opinion tracked closely the deeply emotional remarks he made from the bench when the case was argued in December. Then, he said a burning cross was "unlike any symbol in our society" and was not intended to communicate any message other than fear and hatred. "This statute prohibits only conduct, not _expression," he said today, adding that consequently "there is no need to analyze it under any of our First Amendment tests."

Justice Thomas said Virginia had not been interested in curbing racist _expression in 1952, when it enacted the law, because the state had many segregationist laws on its books and was soon to begin its campaign of "massive resistance" to the Supreme Court's desegregation decree in Brown v. Board of Education.

"It is simply beyond belief that, in passing the statute now under review, the Virginia legislature was concerned with anything but penalizing conduct it must have viewed as particularly vicious," he said."

-- From the New York TImes.


"One should remember man's spirit as the guide, 
the primordial poet, 
smaller than an atom, 
granter of all things, 
in form inconceivable, 
the color of the sun
beyond darkness. 
At the time of death, 
with the wind immovable, 
armed with devotion
and strength of discipline, 
focusing vital breath
between the brows, 
one attains the supreme
divine spirit of man."

-- From Chapter Eight of the Bhagavad Gita via Beliefnet.


"The 'Symphonie Fantastique' was written in 1830, within the space of about six weeks, although the idea had been germinating for years.  Program notes invariably emphasize the symphony's connection with Berlioz's imaginary love life at the time of its composition - his unrequited passion for the English actress Harriet Smithson, a supporting player who came to Paris in 1827 and made a great impression on French intellectuals.  Smithson rejected Berlioz, or, more precisely, avoided his stalking advances.  In the end, she was only playing a role that the composer had written for her - she was 'an ideal which I created myself,' as he later admitted.  It was a passion destined to fail, so that the artist could vault all the extremes of feeling and land in the hell of his imagination.  A little later, Berlioz actually succeeded in marrying Smithson, and began to lose interest."

-- From "To hell and back: The savage genius of Berlioz" by, Alex Ross in the 31 March 2003  New Yorker.


"In one of the White House sermons given during the first term of Richard Nixon, Rabbi Louis Finkelstein expressed the hope that a future historian may say "that in the period of great trials and great tribulations, the finger of God pointed to Richard Milhous Nixon, giving the vision and the wisdom to save the world and civilization; and also to open the way for our country to realize the good that the twentieth century offers mankind."  Within this context, as Charles Henderson has shown, God is an American and Nixon is "his" annointed one.  The preachers carefully selected for the White House sermons stress that this nation is "under God."  The logical conclusion is that its policies are right.  Under God, the President becomes a Christ figure...

A fundamental dynamic of this "theology" was suggested by one of Nixon's speech writers, Ray Price, who wrote: "Selection of a President has to be an act of faith... The Faith isn't achieved by reason: it's achieved by charisma, by a feeling of trust..." Price also argued that the campaign would be effective only "if we can get people to make the emotional leap, or what theologians call "leap of faith."" This is, of course, precisely the inauthentic leap that Camus labeled as philosophical suicide.  It is the suicide demanded by a civil religion in which "God," the Savior-President, and "our nation" more or less merge.  When the "leap" is made, it is possible simply not to see what the great God-Father and his annointed ones are doing.  Among the chosen ones are scientists and professors who design perverse methods of torture and death such as flechette pellets that shred the internal organ of "the enemy" and other comparable inhumane "anti-personnel" weapons.  Also among the elect are politicians and priests who justify and bestow their blessing upon the system that perpetuates such atrocities.  "Under God" are included the powerful industrialists who are making the planet uninhabitable."

-- Ibid.


"There are many devices available both to women and to men for refusing to see the problem of sexual caste.  One way is trivialization.  One is asked: "Are you on that subject of women again when there are so many important problems - like war, racism, pollution of the environment?"  One would think, to hear this, that there is no connection between sexism and the rape of the Third World, the rape of the blacks, or the rape of the land and the water.  Another way of refusing to see the oppression of women is particularization.  For instance, one hears: "Oh, that's a Catholic problem.  The Catholic Church is so medieval."  One would imagine, to listen to this, that there is no patriarchy anywhere else.  Particularization is not uncommon among scholars, who frequently miss the point of the movement's critique of patriarchy itself as a system of social arrangements, and become fixated upon one element or pseudo-element of feminist theory as a target for rebuttal.  That is, they spend energy answering questions that women are not really asking.  An example of this is the labored defense of Paul by Scripture scholars who would have us know that "the real Paul" was not the author of the objectionable passages against women and was not the all time male chauvinist.  From the point of view of scriptural scholarship the distinction between the deutero-Pauline authors and "the real Paul" is important, no doubt.  However, the discussion is hardly central to women's concern with the oppressiveness of patriarchal religion.  The point is that for nearly two thousand years the passages have been used to enforce sexual hierarchy.  They represent an established point of view.  It is rather obscene to be more concerned with justifying an author long dead and with berating women for an alleged lack of scholarship than with the deep injustice itself that is being perpetuated by religion.  The women's critique is not of a few passages but a universe of sexist suppositions.

Another related method of refusing to see is spiritualization, that is, refusal to look at concrete oppressive facts.  For example, would-be pacifiers of women seem to be fond of quoting the Pauline text which proclaims that "in Christ there is neither male nor female."  This invites the response that even if this were true, the fact is that everywhere else there certainly is.  Moreover, given the concrete facts of social reality and given the fact that the Christ-image is male, one has to ask what meaning-content the passage possibly can have.

Finally, some people, especially academics, attempt to make the problem disappear by universalization.  One frequently hears: "But isn't the real problem human liberation?"  The difficulty with this approach is that the words used may be "true," but when used to avoid confronting the specific problems of sexism they are radically untruthful."

-- From Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation by, Mary Daly


"..[he] read Freud and Jung to try to understand his procrastinating.

..and his Socialist views did not prevent him from incarnating most of the Conservative virtues.

..but though his tastes were simple, his simplicity was of the sort that is satisfied only with good things."

-- From The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography by, A.J.A. Symons.


"..we know that van Gogh's story was one of enlightenment and suffering - suffering as a kind of intellectual pursuit, a discipline that transcends the petty contrivances of others' half-lived lives.  Vincent was one of those desperate souls whose despair we bourgeois almost envy, whose genius shows us up; like Rimbaud, he was one of the first rock-and-roll martyrs, a James Dean given to private visions and to a surfeit of feeling that flooded his densely worked canvases. 'To the best of our belief.. someone who lacks courage, or uses a won't-commit-myself approach, or doesn't dare stake his life with a smile, would be better off not even trying to win a real woman's heart," Vincent wrote to Theo in 1881, when he was trying to earn the affections of his young cousin Kee Vos.  He went on, 'From the very beginning of this love I have felt that unless I threw myself into it... committing myself totally and with all my heart, utterly and forever, I had absolutely no chance, and that even if I do throw myself into it in this way the chance is very slight.  But what do I care if my chance is great or small?'"

-- From "Love is the drug: Van Gogh's Mrs. Robinson," a theatre review by, Hilton Als in the 17 March 2003 New Yorker.


"This positively tragic lamppost springing up from its bowels.. like a beacon of disaster and dispair."

-- Leon Bloy on the Eifel Tower.


"I adored her when she was a noun and was alarmed when she was a verb, which was usually the case."

-- From "Gallatin Canyon," a short story by, Thomas McGuane in the 13 January 2003 New Yorker.


"In short, he was a dope.  He often looked to Yossarian like one of those people hanging around modern museums with both eyes together on one side of a face.  It was an illusion, of course, generated by Clevinger's predilection for staring fixedly at one side of a question and never seeing the other side at all.  Politically he was a humanitarian who did not know right from left and was trapped uncomfortably between the two."

                -- From Catch-22.


"We are drawn to the idea of putting 'Streetcar,' 'The Great Gatsby,' or 'Little Women' in an opera house because we think we want to experience a favorite text suffused with music - but that is not what opera is.  Opera is anti-poetical, anti-novelistic, anti-intellectual.  The greatest librettos are those that make us laugh out loud when we see them written down."

                -- From a review of "Little Women" in the 22 July 2002 New Yorker.


"Even when his stories unfold in other countries, they seem to be rooted in some Vienna of the imagination, at the unchanging turn of the last century: a place where the bindings of good conduct can shape you as gracefully as the bodice of a new dress, even if the pressure means that as the day wears on, you find it impossible to breathe."

-- From a critique of Max Ophuls, ibid.


"Idealism , alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."

-- Sidney Hook, quoted ibid.

"This cultural conflict is used to suggest a more complex set of oppositions: between experience and narrative, between the things that happen to us and the stories we invent to explain them."

-- From a review of Prague in the 8 July 2002 New Yorker.


"Laissez les tetes rouler!"

-- From an advertisement for Jen's Restaraunt.


"But we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn."

-- The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a meeting during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, as quoted by Howard Zinn.


"While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

-- Eugene Debs upon being found guilty of violating the Espionage Act in 1918, as quoted by Howard Zinn.


"OBJECTS THAT DON'T EXIST: Objects that don't exist don't exist.  If we were to imagine such a thing as an object that didn't exist, it would be that thing that God hated.  This is the strongest argument against the nonbeliever.  If God didn't exist, he would have to hate himself, and that is obviously nonsense."

-- From Everything is Illuminated by, Jonathan Safran Foer.


"The killing ignited protest rallies, civil disobedience, and three says of mayhem in Over-the-Rhine and other neighborhoods - what media reports in Cincinnati and beyond described as riots but what many black people, investing these events with the gravity of a cumulative historic struggle, insist upon calling a rebellion or an uprising.  The city called it a state of emergency and enforced an 8 p.m. curfew."

"Whatever else went through Thomas's and Roach's minds as they faced off in the alley, neither was in the presence of someone he instinctively trusted.  Then the only one of them holding a gun fired it."

-- From "A year of trouble: A city subverts itself" in the 20 May 2002 New Yorker.


"I saved Latin.  What did you ever do?"

-- From Rushmore.


"The unshed tears formed a salty rod that held her straight and helped her do."

-- From How I Find Her: A Mother's Dying and A Daughter's Life by, G. Zeiger.


"I began wondering if I was going to turn out to be a Really Bad Person.  Being a Really Bad Person is a shitty job, but somebody has to do it, I reasoned.  Perhaps stealing traffic cones was only my first step downward.  I think that was the summer I realized that we are really not all stars of our own show and that happy endings - even happy middles, for God's sake - are absolutely in doubt."

-- Stephen King in the 22-29 April 2002 New Yorker.


"In those early years, the federal government viewed AIDS as a budget problem, local public health officials saw it as a political problem, gay leaders considered AIDS a public relations problem, and the news media regarded it as a homosexual problem that wouldn't interest anybody else."

-- From And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by, Randy Shilts.


"In the twenty-first, in Los Angeles, a great city of cars where no conceivable depravity wasn't already boring to high-school kids, Nachman, a grown man, found himself agonized by an ancient moral dilemma."

-- From "Of Mystery There Is No End," a short story, by, Leonard Michaels, ibid.


"Sometimes it was hard to hear much more than the expletives, the elegant archaic slang, and the names of Farrar, Straus authors who have won the Nobel Prize in literature. ('Joseph Brodsky put me down as next of kin.. Took these two stew bones out to lunch.. three or four martinis.. everybody says he's a prick but that's nothing to do with the price of fish.')"

-- From "Profiles: Showboat Roger Straus and his flair for selling literature" by, Ian Parker, ibid.


"For them, it's enough that expression will at last be given to political views that - apart from a few lonely voices at the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, two or three score nationally syndicated columns, a couple dozen magazines, a few hundred 24/7 talk-radio stations, the Fox News cable network, the Bush Administration, the Supreme Court, and half of Congress - have been ruthlessly suppressed by the liberal establishment."

"'The solemn fact,' E.B. White noted in this space after the old Sun set, 'is not that we lose a conservative paper, or an ancient paper, or an honest paper, or a funny paper, but that we lose a paper - one voice in the choir.'"

-- H. Herzberg in the 8 April 2002 New Yorker.


"Many years ago when I was young and still in search of wisdom, I went on a pilgrimage to meet the man I thought was the wisest in the world.  I came away wiser, though what I learned was what most pilgrims learn, which is that if you want to become wise you should not go on pilgrimages."

-- From "The porcupine: A pilgrimage to Popper" by, Adam Gopnik, ibid.


" the Dickensian cruelties of the classroom competed with the Darwinian realities of the school yard."

-- From a review of Bad Blood in the 1 April 2002 New Yorker.


"in voices that, almost without exception, sounded collegiately dogmatic, as though each young man, in his strident, conversational turn, was clearing up, once and for all, some highly controversial issue, one that the outside, non-matriculating world had been bungling, provacatively or not, for centuries."

-- From Franny.


"He is the best PUDDING for mosquitoes that I ever saw.  They work on him fast and vicious."

-- From the Book Currents section by, Addison Mizner in the 25 March 2002 New Yorker.


"..the names wouldn't fit on the map, you'd need a map the size of the world, Scale one to one, Yes, scale one to one, and even then, the names would be superimposed on each other.."

"..enough to strain most people's nerves to breaking point, however tough they might be or however much they might know about the elementary principles of organic chemistry.."

"Personally, I don't believe one can show greater respect than to weep for a stranger."

-- Ibid.


"Just as definitive death is the ultimate fruit of the will to forget, so the will to remember will perpetuate our lives."

-- From All the Names.


"It is easy to lose feelings.  You can get used to it after a while.  You can grow calm, or num, everything quiet inside."

-- Ibid.


"..she was sending me into a night of sleep, protected by a God who could respond to me in any language, under any sky."

-- From After Long Silence.


"The bloody massacre in Bangladesh quickly covered the memory of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, the assassination of Allende drowned out the groans of Bangladesh, the war in the Sinai desert made people forget Allende, the Cambodian massacre made people forget Sinai, and so on and so forth until ultimately everyone lets everything be forgotten."

-- From Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century.

"What is it about psychopaths that draws them to collage art?"

-- Something gleaned from channel surfing.


"..on the whole he preferred a religion which professed to have dug its sacred books out of the earth to one which pretended that they were let down from Heaven"

-- Leo Tolstoy on Mormonism, ibid.


"The scent of burning oak leaves in October in Missouri; an oncoming breeze laden with the smell of mint plants; a Chinese restaurant while waiting in line for a table; a passing pipe smoker using rum-and-maple tobacco; the uncontaminated breasts of a female companion; the brewing coffee in the winter; the interior of a new automobile I just purchased; and, although I detest the smell of liquor, somehow I'm carried asunder by the surprise of liquor on the breath of a strange lady."

-- Chuck Berry in the 21 January 2002 New Yorker.


"It is a worldview in which obedience is a virtue, in which authority, order, and lasting relationships are valued over freedom, creativity, and perpetual change."

-- Ibid.


"You may be responsible and healthy, but you will also be shallow and inconsequential."

-- Ibid.


"There are so many academic theoreticians writing about sexual transgressions that orgies must come to resemble an Apache dance at tourist season, done less for the joy of it than to please the squads of sociology professors who have flown in to quote Derrida."

-- Ibid.


"And this despite the fact that in all of American history, there has never been a recorded case of a person who has actually become MORE charming as he became more successful."

-- Ibid.


"Some of them dream of social justice yet went to a college where the tuition costs could feed an entire village in Rwanda for a year."

-- From Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There.


"Movies, by and large, are themselves locked into the delusion that there is something liberating in the loss of sanity; Hollywood likes every savant to be touched with a trace of idiot, and vice versa, as if loath to suggest that doltishness should ever go unrewarded, or genius unpunished."

-- From the 7 January 2002 New Yorker.


"And Carol Jenkins, who was only passing through, has taken up permanent residence there - a moment, a memory, a stigma, as fixed as the rhythm of her telltale heart."

-- From the New Yorker.


"And then you see what happens."

-- From Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software.


"..a meeting, an infatuation, a disappointment, a few smiles, a few tears, which seem, at first sight, the same for everyone but which are, in fact, different for us all."

-- From All the Names.


"..a skepticism maintained by the followers of Aristotle, who clung to the tradition of the horror vacui, nature's supposed abhorrence of a vacuum."

-- From Nothingness: The Science of Empty Space.


"..under control by writing in this journal.  This was a system too, the system of language and conceptualization.  It proposed that human beings, by the act of making witness, warranted times and places for their existence other than the time and place they were living through."

-- From Ragtime.