Talking Stick


| May/June 1999 Issue


THAT DISPLAY OF sentimentality and emotion is not to be trusted in Anglo-Saxon culture. It's something to be looked upon with suspicion and distrust, as something that disrupts your life rather than being an important part of your life. But music is such an important part of Brazilian culture. Life without music would be inconceivable. It's just so important to people's lives. It's a part of living, as opposed to something that is being sold or marketed to people."
--David Byrne on Brazilian music, Rhythm (Jan./Feb. 1999)

"GOD STARTS GETTING nervous after more than a few minutes inside buildings of any kind, so if we have to go in, let's make sure we can see the sky and a tree or two from our seats."
--Roger Paine, minister, ArchitectureBoston (Nov. 3, 1998)

"IT'S LIKE LIVING on the outside of society and seeing what a crock of shit it is, but then approaching it again with a sense of humor. I mean, when you're able to see society as this sort of funky, funny illusion, it makes it easier to deal with it because there is no rhyme or reason to the way it works."
--RuPaul on fringe culture, Genre (March 1999)

"AMERICA HAS THIS blind conceit about itself that we are civilized and progressive, evolved and enlightened. The rest of the civilized world scorns us, they hate us, and think we are barbaric."
--Tony Serra, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski's lawyer, Speak (Oct./Dec. 1998)

"WOODY GUTHRIE WROTE a song which has become the alternative national anthem in the U.S.รณ'This Land Is Your Land.' The kids sing it at school, but there are two verses they miss. One says: 'As I went walking I saw a sign there, and on the sign it said "Private Property." On the other side it didn't say nothin'. This side was made for you and me.' The other verse is: 'In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people. At the relief office I saw my people. As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if this land was made for you and me.' Now they don't sing those verses because nobody feels comfortable criticizing the American dream. Woody Guthrie asked difficult questions of the American people, and he was quite unflinching in that."
--Billy Bragg, musician, Speak (Sept./Oct. 1998)

"SCIENCE IS NOT religion and it doesn't just come down to faith. Although it has many of religion's virtues, it has none of its vices. Science is based upon verifiable evidence. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops."
--Richard Dawkins, biologist, Humanist in Canada (Winter 1999)

"IT BRINGS ME back to Audre Lorde, that wonderful quote, 'The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.' With all due respect to Ms. Lorde, I wish she had continued and said, 'nor use those tools to build an extra room and a glass ceiling for yourself. Don't hone your skills with power tools and leave your sisters locked up in the basement.' Unfortunately, this is exactly what has happened."
--Judith Witherow, writer and activist, off our backs (Feb. 1999)