Commonplace Book: Quotations

“The more extraordinary the story the more ordinary the drunk.”
(old AA saying)
“One of my favorite concepts in anthropology is that of the polite fiction. It's something nobody believes, but we all pretend to because it makes life so much easier. My favorite example was of a Pygmy couple. Pygmy divorce involves quite literally breaking up the home: the couple tears apart their house (it's easy - the houses are made of leaves) and once it's down, the union is dissolved. One anthropologist was watching a long-married couple have a fight. It escalated until the wife threatened to leave, and the husband yelled something along the lines of ‘Fine!’ and there was nothing the wife could do but start tearing down the house. She began tearing the roof off, clearly miserable. The husband looked wretched too, but at this point neither could back down without losing face and by now the whole village was watching.
Finally, the husband called out the Pygmy equivalent of ‘You're right, honey! The roof is dirty! It'll look much better once we get those leaves washed!’ The two of them started carrying leaves down to the river, soon with the help of the whole village, and then washed and rebuilt the whole roof. When the anthropologist later discreetly asked how often one washes the roof, everyone looked at him like he was a complete doofus.”
(Ali Davis, True Porn Clerk Stories)
“This is an important sophisticated argument. It doesn't help to point at the amputees and say how terrible it is."
(British Tory Peter Viggers, speaking against a ban on land mines)
“In contrast to Winston Churchill — another son with a famous father, who managed to free himself psychologically and politically from the shadow of his parent, learning from his elder’s mistakes without being governed by the need to rebel programmatically — the younger Mr. Bush, according to Mr. Weisberg, “played out his family drama in a way that had devastating consequences for his family, his country and the world.”
-- NYT review of The Bush Tragedy by Jacob Weisberg

Will Elder, The Shadow, Mad Magazine, 1950s
“The point of Obama's candidacy is that the damaged state of American democracy is not the fault of George W. Bush and his minions, the corporate-controlled media, the insurance industry, the oil industry, lobbyists, terrorists, illegal immigrants or Satan. The point is that this mess is our fault. We let in the serpents and liars, we exchanged shining ideals for a handful of nails and some two-by-fours, and we did it by resorting to the simplest, deepest-seated and readiest method we possess as human beings for trying to make sense of the world: through our fear.”
(Michael Chabon)
“The Clintons... and yes, I think it's fair to refer to the plural... have ridden their centrist, sellout, fundie-crooked-accomodationist pony right into the ground. They've controlled the Democratic agenda and enabled the most egregious GOP crap. They are emblematic of a Congress that's done little to repudiate George Bush. ... The Clintons are admitted hawks, they're prudes, and they're absolutely quaint on issues like continuing the embargo on Cuba. Someone needs to surgically remove the Cold War out of their ass. They take advantage of liberals hoping that they are more "cool" in their private lives than they are in their public ones. Who cares? I don't want to "have a beer" with them; I'd rather they show their social justice colors in their public policy.”
(Susie Bright)

Miss Sylvia, daughter of Tim and Staci

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