Commonplace Book: Readings, August 2011
“The plague of publishing these days is to mistake ubiquity for significance.”
-- Arts and Letters Daily and Alexander Nazaryan on Knotted: How the Necktie Changed the World. and other such titles
“I was turning 40 and thinking, Oh dear, I'm probably going to have one of those midlife crisis things which always just bore the hell out of everybody. So it would probably be better if, rather than just having a midlife crisis, I just went completely screaming mad and declared myself to be a magician. That would, at least, be more colorful. So, I announced, on the night of my 40th birthday party — probably after more beers than I should have had — that, ''from this point on, I'm going to become a magician.'' And then the next morning you have to think, Oh, what have I said now? Are we going to have to go through with this? So I had to go about finding out what a magician was and what they did.
.... The mystics all seem to want to go straight to the Godhead; the magicians tend to be more curious. They want to explore all of the other aspects of the universe. For me, there is very little difference between magic and art. To me, the ultimate act of magic is to create something from nothing: It's like when the stage magician pulls the rabbit from the hat. And then you can turn that idea into a film, a book, a painting, a piece of music, something that other people can experience. That in itself is stunning. And I suppose this is one of the reasons I got into magic, because I was tired of ducking that question that people always ask writers, which is, '’Where do you get your ideas from?’''
-- Alan Moore
“my family use to go see him [“Macho Man” Randy Savage] in his early career at hazard ky. my aunt loved leaping lenny. they wrested one time and the loser had to painted yellow.of couse macho man won.my aunt jumped up and ran to the ring.she was half way under the bottom ring where lenny was laying so she grabbed hold of him.she was calling macho names.he said come on old woman.she ended up with yellow paint all over her and two police officers had her by the legs trying to pull her out of the ring. everybody there was dying laughing at her. she almost went to jail, but macho man talked to the police to keep her from going to jail, so he was a good man.”
-- comment by msireta on news of Randy (Poffo) Savage’s death by natural causes
“Just by virtue of walking into a theater to see a movie called Transformers, I'm fully agreeing with just dispensing with a the laws of physics and accepting that nobody can tell which $200,000 car is a Transformer, for the same reason that James Bond is a secret agent who tells everyone his full name and drives around in the flashiest car he can. The problem is that it doesn't stop there. The movie brings things up as major plot points that are immediately contradicted, and even the internal logic of a movie about giant robots from space isn't consistent. ... You can make every allowance for it, you can talk about how it's about giant robots so it doesn't have to have logic or how it's for kids and they're dumb anyway, and you're still left with the core problem. Nothing makes sense, even from one scene to the next, and everyone's an asshole, so there's no reason to be interested or to care who lives or who dies.”
-- Chris Sims
Guillermo del Toro: In the next 10 years, we're going to see all the forms of entertainment—film, television, video, games, and print—melding into a single-platform "story engine." The Model T of this new platform is the PS3. The moment you connect creative output with a public story engine, a narrative can continue over a period of months or years. It's going to rewrite the rules of fiction.
Wired: It sounds like you're talking about an entirely new form of storytelling.
Guillermo del Toro:Think about the way oral tradition became written word—how what we know about Achilles was written many, many years after it made its way around the world with different names and different types of heroes. That can happen when you allow content to keep propagating itself through different kinds of platforms and engines—when you permit it to be retold with a promiscuous form of mythology. You see it when people create their own avatars in games and transfigure their game worlds.
Wired: How is that interactivity going to change Hollywood—and the way directors like you make movies?
Guillermo del Toro: [Legendary B-movie producer] Samuel Arkoff once told me there are only 10 great stories. That's where the engine and promiscuity come in. Hollywood thinks art is like Latin in the Middle Ages—only a few should know it, only a few should speak it. I don't think so.
-- Guillermo del Toro in Wired
“Many parts of sub-Saharan Africa are a libertarian's paradise. The region as a whole is a low-tax utopia....Rather than unleashing entrepreneurship, this low rate of taxation means that basic public services like health, education, and pothole filling are starved of funding. The physical infrastructure on which a modern economy rests like roads, courts and the police are missing....people are free to protect their own families, and indeed they are forced to.”
-- Francis Fukuyama, The Origins of Political Order