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Month: June 2022

“DJ’s traditional position on gender is not something he learned at home. While he was always into all the traditional boy things—cars, trucks, guns—until he was four, the boy things he liked were just the things he happened to like. He liked guns because he liked guns, not because boys were supposed to like guns. Then one day we packed DJ off to preschool. The teachers at his progressive Montessori school would sooner feed children tacks than force boys to do boy things and girls to do girl things. No, it was the other children who indoctrinated DJ into the world of gender expectations. From day one, it was the boys versus the girls. And there wasn’t much the adults could do about it. When the children weren’t engaged in Talmudic discussions about which toys or activities were male or female, the boys were chasing the girls around the yard during recess. And what did DJ learn from the other children about marriage? It was a boy and girl thing, his classmates all agreed. And it wasn’t an agreeable thing to the boys. Marriage was a weapon, something the girls would threaten to do to the boys if they ever actually caught them. To turn the tables, the girls only had to threaten to marry the boys. Marriage was nuclear cooties. Once the threat was issued, the boys would turn tail and run, the girls chasing after them now, like a bunch of magnetized pinballs whose charge had suddenly reversed. So to DJ, it didn’t make any sense that his two dads, both boys, would contemplate marrying each other. Boys weren’t supposed to be interested in marriage anymore than they were supposed to be interested in dolls, or dresses, or fairy tales about princesses. Marriage was a girl thing.” – Dan Savage, The Commitment

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“Ours is a time in which every intellectual or artistic or moral event is absorbed by a predatory embrace of consciousness: historicizing. Any statement or act can be assessed as a necessarily transient ‘development’ or, on a lower level, belittled as mere ‘fashion.’ The human mind possesses now, almost as second nature, a perspective on its own achievements that fatally undermines their value and their claim to truth. For over a century, this historicizing perspective has occupied the very heart of our ability to understand anything at all. Perhaps once a marginal tic of consciousness, it’s now a gigantic, uncontrollable gesture—the gesture whereby man indefatigably patronizes himself.” – Susan Sontag, “Thinking Against Oneself: Reflections on Cioran”

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“WANTED POSTER – Jesse Woodson James: five feet eleven inches tall, brown hair, regulation killer-blue eyes. In photographs appears to be considering shooting the photographer. Does not test out well. Approaches casual strangers in an intimate way and interferes massively in their private lives. Is trapped in the dead hole and neither moves nor changes. Steals horses. Inhabits a discolored landscape through which only one, treacherous path is known to pass. Has the appearance of many ballistics with a flat trajectory. This man is occupied by an army of scars, tip of middle finger left hand missing, and one large scar on chest which oft has spoken with bloody lips. Is always breaking out afresh. Cultivates a desperado aura and can most often be seen in the penny dreadfuls, spotted regularly in novels, poems, ballads, and folktales. Men claiming to be James can be differentiated from him in that they pose willingly in front of cameras, they make political speeches. These people are not the genuine article and are confused. Jess James was never confused about anything in his life, which will last exactly thirty-seven years, five months, three days, fourteen hours, and ten minutes.” – Paulette Jiles, “The James Poems”

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“Teeth outlast everything. Death is nothing to a tooth. Hundreds of years in acidic soil just keeps a tooth clean. A fire that burns away hair and flesh and even bone leaves teeth dazzling like daisies in the ashes. Life is what destroys teeth. Undiluted apple juice in a baby bottle, sourballs, the pH balance of drinking water, tetracycline, sand in your bread if you were in the Roman army, biting seal-gut thread if you are an Eskimo woman, playing the trumpet, pulling your own teeth with a pliers.” – Jane Smiley, “The Age of Grief”

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“When you get elected President I think the first thing they do is take you in a room and say you know you’re not gonna do shit. Your hands are tied and Congress have the whole thing locked down and we all get screwed.” – Willie Nelson (interviewed by Martin Chilton in Telegraph Music, 2012)

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“Take the happiest man, the one most envied by the world, and in nine cases out of ten his
inmost consciousness is one of failure. Either his ideals in the line of his achievements are pitched far higher than the achievements themselves, or else he has secret ideals of which the world knows nothing, and in regard to which he inwardly knows himself to be found wanting.” – William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

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“Alcibiades. He was the Golden Boy of 4th century Athenian culture. Pericles was his guardian, Plato his teacher. A fine athlete, a brilliant general, handsome, marvelously intelligent, popular, everything. A summation of the Golden Age. And what happened? He went bad. He was vain, treacherous, selfish, sacrilegious, debauched, dishonest, and a traitor twice over. His aid to the enemy during the Syracuse campaign destroyed Athens. Just about the finest product of the most notable civilization man has accomplished, and it turned out like that. This haunts me.” – Jack Gilbert (interviewed by Gordon Lish in Genesis West, Issue #1, 1962)

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“When you’re young, you think there’ll be plenty of time for everything in your life: counting all the grains of sand in the Sahara Desert, seeing all the people in the world, becoming greater than Jesus and Lenin and Lomonosov and Pushkin and Einstein all rolled into one, reuniting at some point with everyone you’ve met once in your life, befriending every man, falling in love with every woman. . . . Life is a process of gradually coming to terms with the meaning and the very concept of neverness. Never—well, so be it. Quoth the raven: Oh well, them’s the breaks. Get used to it. Get over it. Life is a perishable proposition of rapidly diminishing returns. You could’ve become this or that; you could’ve been here and there and everywhere; but that didn’t happen—and well, so be it. There won’t be, in the end of your life, a joyous, transcendentally meaningful regathering of everyone you’ve ever met on your path, with stories shared and wine flowing and laughter lilting and happiness abounding and life never-ending—well, so be it.” – Mikhail Iossel, “Life: How Was It?”

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