An Utne round up of quotable quotes
"I’M INTERESTED IN bottom-up history. The stories of the people you don’t hear about in other books. There’s a poem by Bertolt Brecht that says, 'Who built Thebes of the seven gates?' In it he asks, Who hauled those rocks up there? When they were building the pyramids, what did the workers eat for lunch? In 1588, when the Spanish Armada sank and the Queen of Spain cried, who cried the other tears? That’s what I’m interested in, the other tears."
Studs Terkel, oral historian, Sojourners
"TO BE SENSUAL, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread. It will be a great day for America, incidentally, when we begin to eat bread again, instead of the blasphemous and tasteless foam rubber that we have substituted for it."
James Baldwin, author, The Fire Next Time (Dial, 1963)
"A WORLD WHERE one-tenth of the population gets to be extremely wealthy and six-tenths very poor is not, in the long run, a stable place."
Bill McKibben, environmental advocate and author,
Mother Jones (Jan./Feb. 2002)
"JOHN BERGER ONCE DEFINED music by saying that it began as a howl, became a prayer, then a lament, and still contains the elements of all three. I think that’s pretty wise. That’s about the only way I know how to explain what music is."
John K. Samson, rock musician, Punk Planet (#44)
"IT’S NOT ENOUGH to hate your enemy. You have to understand how the two of you bring each other to a deep completion."
Don DeLillo, from his 1997 novel, Underworld, as quoted in Adbusters (Jan./Feb. 2002)
"THE VERY ACT of storytelling, of arranging memory and invention according to the structure of the narrative, is by definition holy. We tell stories because we love to entertain and hope to edify. We tell stories because they fill the silence death imposes. We tell stories because they save us."
James Carroll, author, quoted by Kerry Temple in Notre Dame Magazine (Autumn 2001)
"WHAT WE NEED to search for and find, what we need to hone and perfect into a magnificent, shining thing, is a new kind of politics. Not the politics of governance, but the politics of resistance. The politics of opposition. The politics of forcing accountability. The politics of slowing things down. The politics of joining hands across the world and preventing certain destruction. In the present circumstances, I’d say that the only thing worth globalizing is dissent."
Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things, in The Nation (Feb. 18, 2002)
"WHEN I’M FEELING DREARY, annoyed, and generally unimpressed by life, I imagine what it would be like to come back to this world for just a day, after having been dead for a while. I imagine how sentimental and excited I would feel about the very things I once found stupid, hateful, or mundane. ‘Oh, there’s a light switch—I haven’t seen one in so long! I didn’t realize how much I missed light switches. Oh, oh, and look—the stairs up our front porch are still cracked. Hi, cracks! And there’s my sister, still punctuating all her sentences with 'You see what I’m saying?' Why did that used to bug me? It’s so . . . endearing.’ "
Amy Krouse Rosenthal, humorist, Writers’ Block Party: An Audio Magazine (Vol. 1)