First Words 11-12/02

By Staff

“HOLLYWOOD SEPARATES personal and social issues be-cause the producers are afraid of alienating anyone. They are salesmen and every salesman knows better than to discuss religion or politics. You might lose a customer if you actually took a stand on anything that mattered. Remember Antonioni’s description of Hollywood? ‘Being nowhere, saying nothing, about no one.'”
Ray Carney, author and professor of Film and American Studies at Boston University, MovieMaker (Summer 2002)

“AFTER A RECENT TRIP to New York one French journalist remarked that leafing through a copy of Forbes or Fortune is like reading the operating manual of a strangely sanctimonious pirate ship.”
Adam Gopnik, former Paris correspondent
for the New Yorker, Paris to the Moon

“WE ARE ALL OF US in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Elvis Costello, musician, quoting Oscar Wilde
in Orange County Weekly (July 19, 2002)

“IN MEXICO, I first encountered the attitude that was missing from the optimistic innocence of living in the United States: a tragic sense of life. Such a sense doesn’t force us into a closed somber cone of depression and futility; it urges the opposite. The tragic sense opens a human being to the exuberant joys of the present. To laughter, carnality, the comical varieties of love, to music and art, to the small human glories of the day.
Pete Hamill, writer, Cigar Aficionado (February 2002)

“ONE THING. . . ought to be every human being’s birthright–namely, a beloved person to share cookies with before turning in to bed.”
Yi-Fu Tuan, geographer, The Chronicle of
Higher Education (March 16, 2001)

“I HAVE NEVER MET a man who didn’t feel uneasy about masculinity, who didn’t feel that in some way he wasn’t living up to what it meant to be a man. There’s a reason for that: Masculinity is a fraud; it’s a trap. None of us are man enough.”
Robert Jensen, writer, Clamor (Sept./Oct. 2002)

“WHEN I LOOK at my job and the platforms that I stand on and the microphone that I get to speak into, I don’t see that as a responsibility so much as an opportunity to create change in an imperfect world. We all share that responsibility–I just have a good job for making some noise.”
Ani DiFranco, musician, Sojourners magazine (May/June 2002)

“A BIG HURDLE that none of us is spared (whether we know it or not): how to keep going and going, doing and doing, learning and learning, without becoming so set in our ways that we lose sight of (or our taste for) the stray, the different, the unexpected.”
William Carlos Williams, poet, quoted
in DoubleTake (Summer 2002)

“THE FACTS OF this world seen clearly are seen through tears.”
Margaret Atwood, author,
Notes Towards a Poem That Can Never Be Written

“THE DIFFERENCE between communism and capitalism is that communism is man’s inhumanity to man, while capitalism is exactly the opposite.”
Joke making the rounds in Budapest cafes, as quoted by George Lang, author, in Saveur (April 2002)

“TO BE WITHOUT some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”
Bertrand Russell, philosopher, The Sun (August 2002)

IF IT WERE all so simple!
If only there were evil people somewhere
insidiously committing evil deeds,
and it were necessary only to separate them
from the rest of us and destroy them.
But the line dividing good and evil
cuts through the heart of every human being.
And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, exiled Russian novelist,
quoted in Yes! (Winter 2002)

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