Monday, February 28, 2011

Blowing the Christian Fundamentalist Mind

"An oak tree and I are made of the same stuff. If you go far enough back, we have a common ancestor." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Sunday, February 27, 2011

On Love and War, II

"Love is very very brave." -- William T. Vollmann, You Bright and Risen Angels

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On Love and War, I

"They are in love. Fuck the war." -- Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bunuel on Surrealism

"The real purpose of surrealism was not to create a new literary, artistic, or even philosophical movement, but to explode the social order, to transform life itself." -- Luis Bunuel, My Last Sigh

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wilde's answer to Hamlet: on conscience and cowardice

"Conscience and cowardice are really the same things... Conscience is the trade-name of the firm. That is all." -- Lord Henry Wotton in Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson on Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann

"This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four; so that every word they say chagrins us and we know not where to begin to set them right." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Willie's Words on Worship

"Were there anything worthy of worship, then, we should ignore it; look at it, if we must, cock-eyed; keep clear; never let on; invent no curses which employ and preserve its name; await the time when the vines of all our lives will grow over and hide it so it may lie safe like a city left empty and forgotten, silent inside us, solely in the deeps of us, so we might wonder about it like some wonder about Atlantis and, lost and alone, so it may remain worthy of worship, and a star shining in the midst of our dirty earth." -- William H. Gass, Tests of Time

Monday, February 21, 2011

Life and Fiction

"All we can do in the face of that ineluctable defeat called life is to try to understand it. That--that is the raison d'etre of the art of the novel." -- Milan Kundera, The Curtain

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kafka on Freud et al

"Psychology is the reading of a mirror-writing, which means that it is laborious, and as regards the always correct result, it is richly informative; but nothing has really happened." -- Franz Kafka, The Blue Octavo Notebooks

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Examination Time

"In examinations the foolish ask questions that the wise cannot answer." -- Oscar Wilde

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vidal on the proper use of the words 'homosexual' and 'heterosexual'

"Actually, there is no such thing as a homosexual person, any more than there is such a thing as a heterosexual person. The words are adjectives describing sexual acts, not people. Those sexual acts are entirely natural; if they were not, no one would perform them." -- Gore Vidal, "Sex is Politics," United States: Essays, 1952-1992.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grayling on religion

"There is no greater social evil than religion. It is the cancer in the body of humanity." -- A. C. Grayling, Life, Sex and Ideas: The Good Life Without God

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

According to Wilde...

"People cry out against the sinner, yet it is not the sinful, but the stupid, who are our shame. There is no sin except stupidity." -- Oscar Wilde, "The Critic as Artist"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Common sense as dumbing down

"Why level downward to our dullest perception always, and praise that as common sense? The commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring." -- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wilde's Wickedness

"Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others." -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kundera's Art of the Novel

"The characters in my novels are my own unrealized possibilities. That is why I am equally fond of them all and equally horrified by them. Each one has crossed a border that I myself have circumvented. It is that crossed border (the border beyond which my own "I" ends) which attracts me most. For beyond that border begins the secret the novel asks about. The novel is not the author's confession; it is an investigation of human life in the trap the world has become." -- Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Reason Why

"We work in the dark--we do what we can--we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art." -- Henry James, "The Middle Years"

Friday, February 11, 2011

On History and Literary History

"A history of literature, unlike history as such, ought to list only the names of victories, for its defeats are no victory for anyone." -- Julien Gracq

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gass on martyrdom and militarism

"Some may still be impatient to die for the emperor, but the chief point in life is to die of something and never for something if it can be helped." -- William H. Gass, Tests of Time

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The only sacred thing

"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kafka on Suicide

"The suicide is the prisoner who sees a gallows being erected in the prison yard, mistakenly thinks it is the one intended for him, breaks out of his cell in the night, and goes down and hangs himself." -- Franz Kafka, The Blue Octavo Notebooks

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wilde on the critics of Realism and Romanticism

"The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass." -- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ruination and Rumination

"Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate" -- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 64

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Obsession: A Seductive New Fragrance from Luis Bunuel

"Obviously, I like obsessions, my own as well as other people's, because they make it easier to deal with life; I feel sorry for people who don't have any." -- Luis Bunuel, My Last Sigh

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Structuralist at the Louvre

"A Structuralist is a person who looks at a Vermeer and says, 'Nice frame.' " -- Anonymous

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Picasso on Computers

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." -- Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rushdie's Challenge

"New images urgently needed to be made. Images for a godless world. Until the language of irreligion caught up with the holy stuff, until there was a sufficient poetry and iconography of godlessness, these sainted echoes would never fade, would retain their problematic power..." -- Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown

Tuesday, February 1, 2011