“There is no freedom of speech when people are terrified to be wrong.”
“There is no freedom of speech when people are terrified to be wrong.”
“Nobody can disappear. The old man tried that. Look where it got him. He lost his teeth. First he lost his real teeth, then he lost his false teeth. You never knew that did ya’? He never confided in you. Yeah, he lost his real teeth one at a time. Woke up every morning with another tooth lying on the mattress. Finally, he decides he’s gonna’ get ’em all pulled out but he doesn’t have any money. Middle of Arizona with no money and no insurance and every morning another tooth is lying on the mattress. So what does he do? He begs the government. G.I. Bill or some damn thing. Some pension plan he remembers in the back of his head. And they send him out the money. They send him the money but it’s not enough money. Costs a lot to have all yer teeth yanked. They charge by the individual tooth, ya’ know. I mean one tooth isn’t equal to another tooth. Some are more expensive. Like the big ones in the back… So he locates a Mexican dentist in Juarez who’ll do the whole thing for a song. And he takes off hitchhiking to the border. So how long do you think it takes him to get to the border? A man his age. Eight days it takes him. Eight days in the rain and the sun and every day he’s droppin’ teeth on the blacktop and nobody’ll pick him up ’cause his mouth’s full a’ blood. So finally he stumbles into the dentist. Dentist takes all his money and all his teeth. And there he is, in Mexico, with his gums sewed up and his pockets empty. Then I got out to see him, see. I go out there and I take him out for a nice Chinese dinner. But he doesn’t eat. All he wants to do is drink Martinis outa’ plastic cups. And he takes his teeth out and lay’s ’em on the table ’cause he can’t stand the feel of ’em. And we ask the waitress for one a’ those doggie bags to take the Chop Suey home in. So he drops his teeth in the doggie bag along with the Chop Suey. And then we go out to hit all the bars up and down the highway. Says he wants to introduce me to all his buddies. And in one a’ those bars, in one a’ those bars up and down the highway, he left that doggie bag with his teeth laying in the Chop Suey. We went back but we never did find it. Now that’s a true story. True to life.”
“Damon Wayans… said that it was impossible for a standup comedian like him to discipline his kids for being smart asses. ‘All I can really do,’ Wayans said, ‘is tell them they need to work on their timing.'”
—Sherman Alexie, “Reading Light”
I truly believe that we impeached Clinton not because he was a lying asshole who slept with an intern, but because he was a lying asshole who slept with a chubby intern.
—Sherman Alexie, “Vilify”
Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh, either.
—Golda Meir, by way of Sherman Alexie
Still and all, why bother? Here’s my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.’
—Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake
At the time of their invention, books were devices as crassly practical for storing or transmitting language, albeit fabricated from scarcely modified substances found in forest and field and animals, as the latest Silicon Valley miracles. But by accident, not by cunning calculation, books, because of their weight and texture, and because of their sweetly token resistance to manipulation, involve our hands and eyes, and then our minds and souls, in a spiritual adventure I would be very sorry for my grandchildren not to know about.
—Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake
Women are afraid of meeting a serial killer. Men are afraid of meeting someone fat.
When Strangers Click, a 2011 documentary about online dating.
It reminds me of that famous Margaret Atwood quote: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” It also reminds me of something written by one of the mods of Sex Worker Problems: “Misandry irritates. Misogyny kills.”
I mean, it’s just true.
“Misandry irritates. Misogyny kills.”
That’s it. That’s it right there.
‘Sartre says hell is other people. You should read him.’
‘I don’t want to read him. That’s silly, if he was serious. It sounds like something said just for people like you to quote him.’
In his work in the city Sammy found himself among Republicans for the first time in his life. Nothing in his background or higher education had conditioned him to expect than anyone but a bandit, sociopath, or ignoramus would ever want to be a Republican.
‘What I could never trust about high comedy,’ Yossarian mused, ‘is that people say funny things and the others don’t laugh. They don’t even know they are part of a comedy.’
I am responsible in America for people talking about slavery in a way that they have not in 30 years.
Quentin Tarantino, professional white savior here to save us all despite ourselves (for the price of admission of course)
I call bullshit.
The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us.
They were the most depressing group of people Yossarian had ever been with. They were always in high spirits. They laughed at everything. They called him ‘Yo-Yo’ jocularly and came in tipsy late at night and woke him up with their clumsy, bumping, giggling efforts to be quiet, then bombarded him with asinine shouts of hilarious good-fellowship when he sat up cursing to complain. He wanted to massacre them each time they did. They reminded him of Donald Duck’s nephews. They were afraid of Yossarian and persecuted him incessantly with nagging generosity and with their exasperating insistence on doing small favors for him. They were reckless. puerile, congenial, naïve, presumptuous, deferential and rambunctious. They were dumb; they had no complaints. They admired Colonel Cathcart and they found Colonel Korn witty. They were afraid of Yossarian, but they were not the least bit afraid of Colonel Cathcart’s seventy missions. They were four clean-cut kids who were having lots of fun, and they were driving Yossarian nuts.
There was no way of really knowing anything, he knew, not even that there was no way of really knowing anything.
Everyone agreed that Clevinger was certain to go far in the academic world. In short, Clevinger was one of those people with lots of intelligence and no brains, and everyone knew it except those who soon found it out.
In short, he was a dope. He often looked to Yossarian like one of those people hanging around modern museums with both eyes together on one side of a face. It was an illusion, of course, generated by Clevinger’s predilection for staring fixedly at one side of a question and never seeing the other side at all. Politically, he was a humanitarian who did know right from left and was trapped uncomfortably between the two. He was constantly defending his Communist friends to his right-wing enemies and his right-wing friends to his Communist enemies, and he was thoroughly detested by both groups, who never defended him to anyone because they thought he was a dope.
He was a very serious, very earnest and very conscientious dope. It was impossible to go to a movie with him without getting involved afterward in a discussion on empathy, Aristotle, universals, messages and the obligations of the cinema as an art form in a materialistic society. Girls he took to the theater had to wait until the first intermission to find out from him whether or not they were seeing a good or a bad play, and then found out at once. He was a militant idealist who crusaded against racial bigotry by growing faint in its presence. He knew everything about literature except how to enjoy it.
Yossarian tried to help him. ‘Don’t be a dope,’ he had counseled Clevinger when they were both at cadet school in Santa Ana, California.
[W]hile prose tends toward pure ‘interiority,’ coming to life in the reader’s mind, and cinema gravitates toward the ‘exteriority’ of experiential spectacle, perhaps ‘comics,’ in its embrace of both the interiority of the written word and the physicality of the image, more closely replicates the true nature of human consciousness and the struggle between private self-definition and corporeal ‘reality.’
Forcing a woman to wait three days and consult with some asshole trying to convince her not to abort will not change the fact that that woman does not want to have a child. Even if it changes her mind about terminating the pregnancy, it doesn’t change whatever circumstances brought her to an abortion clinic in the first place. She’ll still walk out just as devoid of choices, just as un- or underemployed, just as broke, just as in debt, just as uninsured, just as lacking daycare, just as unable to care for herself and/or her existing children, just as in need of medication that she can’t take while pregnant, just as enmeshed in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, just the same as she was when she walked in. She’ll just have been guilted into making sacrifices she doesn’t want to make, to honor someone else’s mistaken perceptions about her morality.
Now let’s enjoy ourselves, sisters. No men around, we can do what we like. Is that meat?!
Our system of government is fraudulent and always has been. From its inception it was a ‘democracy’ for rich white men with property. It is still that way to a discouraging extent. It was founded on terrorism and genocide, slavery and exploitation on a scale almost impossible to comprehend. I think the coming elections are a disgrace to the Planet. Imagine spending billions of dollars for elections that could be used for housing and decent drinking water for the millions who have none. I have written a new poem called Democratic Womanism that posits the direction I would like the world to move. With women of courage, mostly of color (and with our brave male allies) imbued with an understanding of democracy and socialism, leading all of us back to care of the earth as part of our duty to coming generations. And to the planet itself. Patriarchal leadership, including Obama’s, has been a huge disappointment, and this is an understatement.
Like the earth, sushi consists of layers and was apparently invented by someone who really liked the ocean.
It’s no wonder we don’t defend the land where we live. We don’t live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances.
We were not born critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or a month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness—embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio, and television. This would seem to lead to a simple conclusion: that we all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas.
The laws of capitalism, which are blind and are invisible to ordinary people, act upon the individual without he or she being aware of it. One sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon ahead. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller—whether or not it is true—about the possibilities of individual success. The amount of poverty and suffering required for a Rockefeller to emerge, and the amount of depravity entailed in the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible for the popular forces to expose this clearly…. It is a contest among wolves. One can win only at the cost of the failure of others.
I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.
I know that health reform politics gets covered as a mainstream partisan thing and the fight over reproductive rights, abortion access, and contraception is treated as a ladies thing, sort of a side bar issue. This is where they come together. Republicans are against the government forcing you to buy health insurance. Republicans say they want the government out of the health care business. Republicans don’t want government telling people what to do when it comes to their health. That’s a very awkward message to be trying to peddle when they are trying to achieve complete regulation down to specific medical procedures of every pregnancy in their jurisdiction.
The worker always has the right to leave his employer, but has he the means to do so? And if he does quit him, is it in order to lead a free existence, in which he will have no master but himself? No, he does it in order to sell himself to another employer. He is driven to it by the same hunger which forced him to sell himself to the first employer. Thus the worker’s liberty, so much exalted by the economists, jurists, and bourgeois republicans, is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means for its possible realization, and consequently it is only a fictitious liberty, an utter falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom—voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory in the economic sense—broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery.
the fact that “love your body” rhetoric shifts the responsibility for body acceptance over to the individual, and away from communities, institutions, and power, is also problematic. individuals who do not love their bodies, who find their bodies difficult to love, are seen as being part of the problem. the underlying assumption is that if we all loved our bodies just as they are, our fat-shaming, beauty-policing culture would be different. if we don’t love our bodies, we are, in effect, perpetuating normative (read: impossible) beauty standards. if we don’t love our individual bodies, we are at fault for collectively continuing the oppressive and misogynistic culture. if you don’t love your body, you’re not trying hard enough to love it. in this framework, your body is still the paramount focus, and one way or another, you’re failing. it’s too close to the usual body-shaming, self-policing crap, albeit with a few quasi-feminist twists, for comfort.
We don’t need to justify ourselves to anyone. We don’t need a reason to be queer. Maybe we were born this way, maybe we weren’t. Maybe sexuality is fluid for some people and not for others. It’s totally irrelevant either way. The message we need to send to heterosexists is not that our sexuality was foisted upon us and that they should be ‘tolerant’ and ‘understanding’. The message is: our sexuality is perfectly valid and none of your business, we offer you no excuses, and we are never going away.