Month: July 2013

And vice versaAnd vice versa

“To think continuously about changing the world is to spend your life looking at what is bad in it.  To be attached to the world is to be attached to the world as it is, and not for any reason, because reasons can always be countered.  To consider the world from first principles, to think about how well it would work if everything were different, is to be ready to throw away everything you know.  Radical idealism and a sense of limitless possibility are the brighter facets of absolute rejection.” — Larissa MacFarquhar, “Requiem for a Dream”

Shits happenShits happen

“A long passage of life together, and you think he’s the only man you can be happy with, you credit him with countless critical virtues, and instead he’s just a reed that emits sounds of falsehood, you don’t know who he really is, he doesn’t know himself.  We are occasions.  We consummate life and lose it because in some long-ago time someone, in the desire to unload his cock inside us, was nice, chose us among women.  We take for some sort of kindness addressed to us alone the banal desire for sex.  We love his desire to fuck, we are so dazzled by it we think it’s the desire to fuck only us, us alone.  Oh yes, he who is so special and who has recognized us as special.  We give it a name, that desire of the cock, we personalize it, we call it my love.  To hell with all that, that dazzlement, that unfounded titillation.  Once he fucked me, now he fucks someone else, what claim do I have?  Time passes, one goes, another arrives.” – Elena Ferrante, The Days of Abandonment (trans. Goldstein)

Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be kingPoor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king

“Where I found a living creature, there I found will to power; and even in the will of the servant I found the will to be master.  The will of the weaker persuades it to serve the stronger; its will wants to be master over those weaker still; this delight alone it is unwilling to forgo.  And as the lesser surrenders to the greater, that it may have delight and power over the least of all, so the greatest, too, surrenders and for the sake of power stakes–life.  The devotion of the greatest is to encounter risk and danger and play dice for death.  And where sacrifice and service and loving glances are, there too is will to be master.  There the weaker steals by secret paths into the castle and even into the heart of the more powerful–and steals the power.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (trans. Hollingdale)

We miss the days of public executionsWe miss the days of public executions

“A scene in ‘Gangster Squad,’ featuring a shoot-out in a cinema, was cut and replaced after the killings in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20th of last year.  And the première of ‘Jack Reacher,’ in Pittsburgh, on December 15th, was postponed after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, the previous day; the film begins with citizens being gunned down by a sniper with a high-powered rifle.  These reactions were respectful and responsible.  To claim that all due respect has now been paid, however, or that all ethical responsibilities have been fulfilled, would be disingenuous.  The issue of screen violence carries far less weight, in such fathomless horrors, than that of gun control; the connection between what a disturbed and resentful young man used to watch, or play on his computer, and what he then wreaks in public with an assault weapon wouldn’t matter if he couldn’t lay his hands on such a weapon in the first place.  Yet the connection, however oblique, exists.  You can argue that evil will always seek a blueprint and find a way, but we are still obliged, I think, to pass beyond the pathology of the madman and pose a vaster and no less vexing question.  What does it mean for the majority of us, the nonviolent millions, that, year after year, we should observe such a rising flood of savage fictional acts that, after a while, we scarcely notice or mind?” – Anthony Lane, “Violent Screen”

Stick a fork in itStick a fork in it

“People often ask how I know when I’m done—not just by when I’ve come to the end, but in all the drafts and revisions and substitutions of one word for another how do I know there is no more to do?  When am I done?  I just know.  I’m lucky that way.  What I know is that I can’t do any better; someone else might do better, but that’s all I can do; so I call it done.” – John McPhee, “Structure”

The contemptive labor of rebirthThe contemptive labor of rebirth

“What is the greatest thing you can experience?  It is the hour of the great contempt.  The hour in which even your happiness grows loathsome to you, and your reason and your virtue also.

“The hour when you say: ‘What good is my happiness?  It is poverty and dirt and a miserable ease.  But my happiness should justify existence itself!’

“The hour when you say: ‘What good is my reason?  Does it long for knowledge as the lion for its food?  It is poverty and dirt and a miserable ease!’

“The hour when you say: ‘What good is my virtue?  It has not yet driven me mad!  How tired I am of my good and my evil!  It is all poverty and dirt and a miserable ease!’

“The hour when you say: ‘What good is my justice?  I do not see that I am fire and hot coals.  But the just man is fire and hot coals!’” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (trans. Hollingdale)