Archives for category: Quotes

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Charles Blow, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times has written a rather intriguing column (and one among perhaps hundreds published in someone’s newspaper or blog or magazine each week) on America’s increasing impoverishment. It’s greatest asset, in my opinion: a salvaged James Baldwin quote:

Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.

Baldwin is apart of a slowly expanding cemetery of dead prophets whose relevance and clarity is revealed in inverse proportion to our national decline.


She [the girl above, Kiki Ostrenga] is an extreme case of an enormous uncontrolled experiment that is playing out across the world. Young people’s brains are developing while they are immersed in fast, multitasking technology. No one quite knows what effect this is having.

The culture of childhood is being compressed. Those things that young people once knew at 18, they now know at 10 or 12. No one quite knows the effect of that either.

– David Brooks, “The Saga of Sister Kiki,” The New York Times 

I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I wasn’t poor, I was needy. Then they told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy. I was deprived. (Oh not deprived but rather underprivileged.) Then they told me that underprivileged was overused. I was disadvantaged. I still don’t have a dime. But I have a great vocabulary.

– Jules Feiffer

Roger Cohen’s New York Times Op-Ed piece on Greece’s fiscal fiasco, published yesterday, is worthy reading if only for introducing me to a new, perhaps era-defining, term. While I’ll admit that the word doesn’t have quite the effluence or verbal flourish or catchall potential or ease of pronunciation of other words deployed in various class-wars of the past to describe the people getting fucked (see proletariat, for instance), it does have a certain ring to it, the specific qualification of which I’m not entirely certain:

I’ve never seen Europe in such dire straits. Greece is full of the aganaktismenoi, or the outraged, who resent the sharp cuts and sales of state industries made necessary because there is no drachma to devalue in order to regain competitiveness.

Like protesters in Spain, they feel the poor and unemployed are paying for the errors of politicians, the evasions of the rich, and the whole globalized system that rewards the tech-savvy initiated while punishing those left behind.

Of course, categorizing is always problematic. History seems replete with one side (the fuckers) inventing names to describe the other (the fucked), and vice versa (from bon sauvage to robber baron; from welfare queen to yuppie); but I don’t frequently come across words or terms that go past the merely nominative and attempt to describe what the nominal group is actually feeling. This would require some empathy on the part of those creating the name. With that said, I wonder which side came up with “outraged” – the fuckers, the fucked, or (here’s a party I didn’t consider) the cognoscenti.

A son cannot judge his father, – least of all such a father who, like you, has never dampened my liberty in anything.

For those who want a respite from the ‘getting and spending’ this Father’s Day and wouldn’t mind a take on fatherhood – particularly the relationship between father and son – that goes a little deeper than the celebratory, Hallmark variety, I’d recommend reading at least a few chapters of this Ivan Turgenev classic: a modern, realistic meditation on Wordsworth’s freighted truism: ‘The child is father of the man.’

Today…’every child is either learning-disabled, gifted, or both – there’s no curve left, no average.’

Our children are not our masterpieces.

– Wendy Mogel, clinical psychologist and parenting expert quoted in Lori Gottlieb’s Atlantic cover story, “How To Land Your Kid In Therapy,” about the cult of youth self-esteem

Martin Schoeller/Time

“The reality is that Zuckerberg isn’t alienated, and he isn’t a loner. He’s the opposite. He’s spent his whole life in tight, supportive, intensely connected social environments: first in the bosom of the Zuckerberg family, then in the dorms at Harvard and now at Facebook, where his best friends are his staff, there are no offices and work is awesome. Zuckerberg loves being around people. He didn’t build Facebook so he could have a social life like the rest of us. He built it because he wanted the rest of us to have his.”*

– Lev Grossman’s cover piece on Mark Zuckerberg,Time’s 2010 Person of the Year

*CNBC, by way of the Chicago Sun-Timesreports that Facebook’s IPO (its Wall Street coming-out party) might be valuated at $100 billion. Skeptics warn that the figure might indicate a nascent bubble forming similar to the 1990s dot-com inflation and subsequent pop. Mr. Zuckerberg, I suspect, still owns his black Acura TSX.

“Work destroys your soul by stealthily invading your brain during the hours not officially spent working; be selective about professions.”

– Nassim Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical                                    Aphorisms 

What will be the physiognomy of painting, of poetry, of music in a hundred years? No one can tell. As after the fall of Athens, of Rome, a long pause will intervene, caused by the exhaustion of the means of expression, as well as by the exhaustion of consciousness itself. Humanity, to rejoin the past, must invent a second naivete, without which the arts can never begin again.

– E.M. Cioran, The Trouble With Being Born

They say ‘life is a game,’ so I play hard / Writin for my life cause I’m scared of a day job

– Common, “They Say” from the album Be

There’s a Chinese official I talked to who said something to me which I thought was just vivid. He said, ‘We used to be the students in the classroom and you used to be the teacher.  We always used to listen to you. We wanted to be the brightest kids in the classroom, we always wanted to copy the Americans. If we were regulating our securities industry the first question we’d ask is how do the Americans do it?’ He said, ‘Now we look back and we think to ourselves we were the kids in the classroom, but suddenly we realize the teacher was a moron.’

Fareed Zakaria, interviewed on Charlie Rose, talking about the new swagger of the BRICs (and other emerging nations)