"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

Yes, of course, this gargantuan aimlessness has a purpose: it is that in life all things hang together, that personalities persist through the ages and bad people can become good if they bear witness to love and truth. It’s so vague and stupid it seems worthy of Mitt Romney, but of course he hasn’t had three hours to spare in years, and for all I know he eschews the movies.

[Cloud Atlas : David Thomson, The New Republic]

Posted by stronzo on 11.12.2012

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On photographer Platon's comment that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is "a very childlike man....He giggles like a boy. I didn't want to paint a caricature of him: tough and mean. I wanted to show this irony that there's an innocence about his eyes": These pictures are exercises in a stylized neutrality, a willful indifference to everything we know about their subjects. There is not an "innocence" about Ahmadinejad's eyes, or ears, or nose. He is, in his every detail, guilty. He represses his society and subjugates its women and shoots its young people and steals its elections and threatens to incinerate another country. Fuck his giggle.

[World leaders: Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic]

Posted by stronzo on 01.08.2010

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Sex in this series is like a sandbox. Its presence here is as unreal as its absence was on network television forty years ago.

[Sex and the City: Lee Siegel, The New Republic]

Posted by stronzo on 01.05.2010

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Today, any time some large group of people behaves in a way that defies a logical calculation of potential gains and losses, the people in question are said to be reacting to "humiliation," or what used to be called "ressentiment." Humiliation, though, taken as a political experience, exists only where it has been ideologically constructed, and not otherwise. Germany, having been defeated in World War I, was afterwards said to be undergoing "humiliation"; and yet, after World War II, having been defeated ten times more cruelly, Germany was no longer said to be "humiliated." That was because the German political doctrines promoting a feeling of "humiliation" disappeared after World War II. It was the doctrines, not the experience of misfortune, that had created "humiliation."

[humiliation: Paul Berman, The New Republic]

Posted by Daniel on 08.21.2008

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"The experimenters created a meaningless lecture on "Mathematical Game Theory as Applied to Physician Education," larded with double talk, neologisms, non sequiturs, and contradictions. Fox delivered this nonsense to three separate audiences of medical professionals, psychologists, and graduate students, but with humor and a pleasant and confident air. The evaluations were overwhelmingly positive."

[Dr Fox effect: Simon Blackburn, The New Republic]

Posted by Daniel on 08.12.2008

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"Every generation holds every variety of individual. But I will not be given lessons on self-abnegation from Facebookers. The history of vanity has never seen anything quite like them. And I must morbidly warn them that connectivity will not protect them from the way of all flesh. When they come to bury a father or a friend, when their beauty begins to wither and their vigor to wane, when they awake one morning to the fear that they may have more to look back on than to look forward to--when the inevitabilities poke them, may their eight hundred "friends" stand them in good stead."

[grumpy old manliness: Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic]

Posted by Daniel on 08.09.2008

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