Asked if he grows tired of talking about ecological stewardship, digging in, and coalition-building, the poet Gary Snyder responds with candor: “Am I tired of talking about it? I’m tired of doing it!” he roars. “But hey, you’ve got to keep doing it. That’s part of politics, and politics is more than winning and losing at the polls.”
When Allen met him in 1954, Peter [Orlovsky] had been honorably discharged from the Army – where he worked as an ambulance driver — for telling a psychiatrist, “An army with guns is an army against love.”
–Steve Silberman, in Lion’s Roar
From Gore Vidal‘s memoir Palimpsest:
Recently , a television interviewer quoted me as having said, “I seem to have met everyone, but I know no one.” Grinning like a tiger in anticipation of antelope, she leaned forward, gently salivating, eager to hear a tragic sigh, see a tear of self-pity. Plainly, due to my high and solitary place in the world—am I not the Living Buddha?—and to my cold nature and to my refusal to conform to warm mature family values, I am doomed to be the eternal outsider, the black sheep among those great good white flocks of folks who graze contentedly in the amber fields of the Republic.
I told her briskly that I had never wanted to meet most of the people that I had met and the fact that I never got to know most of them took dedication and steadfastness on my part. By choice and luck, my life has been spent reading other people’s books and making sentences for my own. More to the point, if you have known one person you have known them all. Of course, I am not so sure that I have known even one person well, but, as the Greeks sensibly believed, should you get to know yourself, you will have penetrated as much of the human mystery as anyone need ever know.
[lgc_column grid=”50″ tablet_grid=”50″ mobile_grid=”100″ last=”false”][/lgc_column][lgc_column grid=”50″ tablet_grid=”50″ mobile_grid=”100″ last=”true”]“I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.”[/lgc_column]
In You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man, W.C. Fields tells a customer that his grandfather’s last words, “just before they sprung the trap” were, “You can’t cheat an honest man; never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump.”
If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.
—Elmore Leonard character Rayland Givens, perhaps from the TV show
(photo by flickr user Guilherme Nicholas)
Sometimes you meet, coming down the leafy path along which you are walking, a man dressed as Napoleon; as he talks to you, you look at him with distrust, pity, amusement—carefully do not look, rather. But as the two of you walk along, and people come up with wallpaper designs full of Imperial bees, rashly offer their condolences on the death of the Duc d’Enghien, ask for a son’s appointment as Assistant Quartermaster-General of the army being sent to the Peninsula, you realize that it is not he but his whole society that has “lost touch with reality.”
—- Randall Jarrell
[lgc_column grid=”50″ tablet_grid=”50″ mobile_grid=”100″ last=”false”]From a review of “A German Tragedy” by Keith Botsford in the NY Times, 1999:
Grass is important to the German public — I would go so far as to say “necessary” — because he has accepted being the emblem of the “German problem.” For instance, in his play, Grass is trying to force his countrymen, on both sides of the Wall, to admit the truth about at least one incontrovertible fact in German history: that the June, 1953, manifestation, which the East Germans describe, in Grass’s words, “as the work of Nazis sent in by the West” and which the West Germans call a heroic “uprising of the people,” was, in fact, “neither one nor the other, but a simple workers’ demonstration. The intellectuals, the church, the bourgeoisie abstained completely,” Grass said to me (slipping, for the only time in our talk, into real bitterness). “It was neither the Nazis, nor was it the whole German people. That would be too easy. I subtitle my play ‘A German Tragedy’ because, by telling a few lies, everyone got off the hook.”
Naturally enough, I asked Grass what he would have done in the circumstances. He would not, he said with some anger, have told the German people, as the Adenauer Government implied in 1953, that keeping peace and quiet was the citizen’s first duty: “Rühe ist die erster Bürgerpflicht.” For Grass, the horror of this attitude was its calculating hypocrisy, which he finds everywhere in West German society.[/lgc_column]
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