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"It's not for you to know, but for you to weep and wonder/When the death of your civilization precedes you."

--Neko Case

"The insane are always mere guests on earth, eternal strangers carrying around broken decalogues that they cannot read."

— F. Scott Fitzgerald

"We are accidents/Waiting to happen."

--Radiohead

Archive

Jun
22nd
Sun
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Today two groups of Americans follow soccer most keenly. The first are immigrants, chiefly the country’s approximately 53 million Hispanics. The second are the educated elite. There’s a growing American tribe of “soccer nerds,” who insist on calling the game “football” and can knock you out with long analyses of Manchester City’s defensive issues… Soccer—especially European soccer—makes American fans feel like cosmopolitans. That may be why American soccer fans tend to be Democrats, even though sports fans overall lean Republican.
— Simon Kuper, “The Global Game,” Harper’s Magazine, July 2014.
Jun
19th
Thu
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Holding out for a hero.

Jun
10th
Tue
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"I grasped the simple secret of the universe that had been disclosed to me: I could be gunned down anywhere, at any time."
Imre Kertesz in Fiasco, his memoir of the Holocaust.

"I grasped the simple secret of the universe that had been disclosed to me: I could be gunned down anywhere, at any time."

Imre Kertesz in Fiasco, his memoir of the Holocaust.

Jun
3rd
Tue
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It didn’t occur to me then, though it certainly does now, that it was years since I’d roused myself from my stupor of misery and self-absorption; between anomie and trance, inertia and parenthesis and gnawing my own heart out, there were a lot of small, easy, everyday kindnesses I’d missed out on; and even the word *kindness* was like rising from unconsciousness into some hospital awareness of voices, and people, from a stream of digitized machines.
— Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
May
12th
Mon
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I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked

May
10th
Sat
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She could disappear here. The arch would lead to another, and that to yet another, and take her far beyond any hope of return to the human world. Eden again. Return to animal awareness; the eternal Now before the Fall armed humanity with consciousness and care. Beyond money, beyond power and telecom and tax bills, beyond mortgages and bank loans and pensions and insurance. Beyond the day-to-day drudge of pushing the boulder of living in a society up the asymptotic slope of Mt. Entropy. Freedom without a bar code. She did not wonder the Western industrials wanted it ring-fenced… But it is an insidious Eden where everything may be had by reaching out to take. It is the determination to push that boulder of hopes and dreams through the relentless material world that makes you human. If you were to get up from this place and walk in there and never come back, the [person] that you have made yourself become would evaporate.

"It’s beautiful, it’s awe inspiring, it’s the closest I’ve come to a religious experience, and it’s the end of everything it means to be human."

"Or a gate into new ways of being human," Jake said. "What the Chaga says to me is, now you don’t need to compete for resources, now all the rules of supply and demand are torn up: there is enough here for everyone, so now you can experiment with new ways of living, new ways of interacting, new societies and structures and sociologies, knowing that you have permission to fail. Screw it up and it won’t cost you and your children your lives. Like America was, back in the pioneer days when all the religious communities came over from Europe because there was space for them to follow their beliefs without interference. Continual experiment."

— Ian McDonald, Evolution’s Shore
Apr
26th
Sat
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The next weekend she took the train to see Jonas at Princeton. The ride was pleasant and she felt very grown-up, in a strange land traveling by herself. She did not think she could ever get used to how green everything was. And yet everywhere you stopped, there was a faint odor of mold, of decay, as if no matter what you did, the trees would come back, the vines would grow over, your work would be covered up and you would rot into the moist earth, no different from anyone who had come before you. It had once been like Texas, but now it was just people, endless people; there was no room for anything new.
— Phillipp Meyer, The Son.
Apr
8th
Tue
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Oklahoma Territory…was a wild border country, a primitive and violent place where life was rough and cheap; its inhabitants were mostly fugitive slaves and savages and the most barbaric savages were white. The worst elements…were mixed together in an accursed hinterland of mud and loneliness, race prejudice, rotgut liquor, blood, and terrible tornadoes where the civilization left behind was a dream of the far past, all but forgotten. There was little worship and no law, no culture, morals, nor good manners, and nothing the least bit romantic about any of it.
— Peter Matthiessen, Shadow Country
Apr
7th
Mon
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"What season are you?"

He was silent for the space of three sips of whiskey.

"Fall," he said. "Fall in Nebraska, which is all silver and gold; silver of frost, gold of Halloween pumpkins in backyards and yellow tomatoes on the vine and bare fields of corn stubble and a yellow edge to the horizon under the purple snow clouds that come down from the Dakotas. A fall that is the cold of evenings when you make a fire and your whiskey catches the light and the heat of it, that is just like the line in the song about when the wind comes whistlin’ down the plain, and gets into the eaves and you hear the roof shingles rattle, but you’re in no hurry to worry about them, not just yet."

My God, Gaby thought, I am about to have sex with a Frank Capra movie.

— Ian McDonald, Evolution’s Shore
Mar
15th
Sat
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Tell someone he’s a Nazi long enough, and he may just become one, just for the hell of it and as a way of saying fuck you to the powers-that-be.
— Alexander Cockburn, A Colossal Wreck: A Road Trip Through Political Scandal, Corruption, And American Culture