Commonplace Book: Quotations, August 2007

Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque revenit: “You may drive nature out with a pitchfork, she will nevertheless come back.”
Horace,The Epistles. Book I: Epistle X

Saddam may have been despised almost everywhere, but it was only in the United States that a majority of the population were terrified of what he might do to them, tomorrow. Not surprisingly, support for the war correlated very closely with such fears.
(Noam Chomsky)

(from The Onion, July 25)
CHAPEL HILL, NC—A field study released Monday by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health suggests that Iraqi citizens experience sadness and a sense of loss when relatives, spouses, and even friends perish, emotions that have until recently been identified almost exclusively with Westerners.
"We were struck by how an Iraqi reacts to the sight of the bloody or decapitated corpse of a family member in a not unlike an American, or at the very least a Canadian, would," said Dr. Jonathan Pryztal, chief author of the study. "In addition to the rage, bloodlust, and hatred we already know to dominate the Iraqi emotional spectrum, it appears that they may have some capacity, however limited, for sadness."
.... "We are, in truth, still a long way from determining if Iraqis are exhibiting actual, U.S.-grade sadness," Mayo Clinic neuropsychologist Norman Blum said. "At present, we see no reason for the popular press to report on Iraqi emotions as if they are real."

“The earliest experience of art must have been that it was incantatory, magical; art was an instrument of ritual. (Cf. the paintings in the caves at Lascaux, Altamira, Niaux, La Pasiega, etc.) The earliest theory of art, that of the Greek philosophers, proposed that art was mimesis, imitation of reality.

It is at this point that the peculiar question of the value of art arose. For the mimetic theory, by its very terms, challenges art to justify itself.... the contemporary zeal for the project of interpretation is often prompted not by piety toward the troublesome text (which may conceal an aggression), but by an open aggressiveness, an overt contempt for appearances. The old style of interpretation was insistent, but respectful; it erected another meaning on top of the literal one. The modem style of interpretation excavates, and as it excavates, destroys.
-- Susan Sontag, “Against Interpretation”

“You never want to be writing the thing you're writing, unless you're actually in it, unless it's just flowing, and you're typing, and you're laughing, and you're crying, and everything's giddy, and you're in the moment. That's the beauty of it. All the rest of the time, all you want to think about is whatever it is you're not supposed to be thinking about. Having said that, most of my best ideas have come while I was procrastinating about something else I was supposed to be writing. So I respect that. If my brain is saying, "You know what? You're supposed to be working on Runaways, but you're in an X mood," I go there, because if that's where the muse is hovering, I'm gonna go visit her. Sometimes you've got to bite the bullet, and be a man, and say, "Just write the script. Come on, find the inspiration. Bring that muse over here." But if I have a little leeway, and it's clearly going one way and not the other, that's what I'm going to follow.”
(Joss Whedon)

"We are back where we started. Sending raw materials out, bringing cheap manufactured goods in. This isn’t progress. It is colonialism."
WILFRED COLLINS WONANI, (head of the Chamber of Commerce in Kabwe, Zambia, where a Chinese company once manufactured finished cloth but now exports only raw cotton, quoted in the NYT)

“When we live in the science fiction condition, what's left but writing contemporary fiction with the eye for detail and extrapolation that comes from an sf writer?“
(Warren Ellis)

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