"The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule."
-- Walter Benjamin
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." -- Sinclair Lewis
“Now that blind ambition no longer carries the slightest taint and the term "sell-out" holds no meaning, now that earnest young men sing not of love but of ‘want(ing) to be a billionaire so frickin' bad,’ now that narcissistic outbursts and trips to rehab are tantamount to self-promotion, now that, on blogs and Facebook and Twitter, millions of self-branding voices cry out and are never silenced, now that reaching for the stars is encountered less, by young people, as euphemism than high-priority action item, it may be time to question, at long last, the reigning ethos of super-sized individualism.... Warrior-speak is so much the common lexicon of reality TV that each on-camera confession could stand in for any other: She wants to win at all costs. He's not going to give up, no matter what. She doesn't care who has to eat dirt along the way. The parlance of high school football coaches and insurance salesman has become the native tongue of cable TV.”
-- Heather Havrilesky, in a review of Limitless, a film of Alan Glynn's novel The Dark Fields
Now I will tell Meader’s story; I have a moral in view.
He was pestered by a grizzly so bold and malicious
That he used to snatch caribou meat from the eaves of the cabin.
Not only that. He ignored men and was unafraid of fire.
One night he started battering the door
And broke the window with his paw, so they curled up
With their shotguns beside them, and waited for the dawn.
He came back in the evening, and Meader shot him at close range,
Under the left shoulder blade. Then it was jump and run,
A real storm of a run: a grizzly, Meader says,
Even when he’s been hit in the heart, will keep running
Until he falls down. Later, Meader found him
By following the trail – and then he understood
What lay behind the bear’s odd behavior:
Half of the beast’s jaw was eaten away by an abscess, and caries.
Toothache, for years. An ache without comprehensible reason,
Which often drives us to senseless action
And gives us blind courage. We have nothing to lose,
We come out of the forest, and not always with the hope
That we will be cured
-- Czeslaw Milosz
“Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years—whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative—went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards “performance bonuses” that they felt compelled to change the name to “retention bonuses” (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.”
-- Joseph E. Stiglitz, ”Of the 1%, By the 1%, For the 1%”
“You go to war with the liquor cabinet you have, not the liquor cabinet you wish you had.”
-- Memzilla, commenter on Wonkette