20th Century Boys
“What of the success of the Expulsion?” Carranque asked. The driver was momentarily silenced.
“Success for the Catholics?” I ventured.
“Certainly not, Señora.” Now it was Carranque who laughed. “The Expulsion of the Jews was an unmitigated disaster for the Catholics. For a brief time, Their Catholic Majesties feasted on the properties and treasures left behind by the running Jews. But after a very short while they awoke to the truth that their best and their brightest had fled. Gone were their merchants, their statesmen, their doctors, their artisans and their artists, their poets, their musicians, their singers, and their leatherworkers. Without its Jews, Spain dried up into the shriveled olive it is today.”
“So the success?”
“Was the success of the Jews — the Jews who fled to Morocco, to Italy, to Greece, to Turkey, to the Netherlands. They spread their art and learning across the Mediterranean, through the Strait of Gibraltar and northward into Europe. They made a virtue of exile, found their greatest reward in exile, found their humanity, their lost identity, in exile.” (Jonathan Levi, from A Guide For The Perplexed)
“It’s all right. Keep right on lying to me. That’s what I want you to do.” (Ernest Hemingway, from A Farewell To Arms)
As you might be able to figure out, there’s a NSFW panel below. No gold star for figuring out which comic it comes from! I just thought it would be better to tell you now!
Continue Reading »
“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.” (Italo Calvino, from Invisible Cities)
“There were little white puffs of clouds all across it, like a cat stepped in milk and then walked across the blue. I thought it was so beautiful I told Dmetro about it. He just stared at me. ‘I ain’t looked at the sky in ten years,’ he said.” (W. P. Kinsella, from The Iowa Baseball Confederacy)
“Truth, Vinicius, dwells somewhere so high that the gods themselves cannot see it from the top of Olympus. To you, carissime, your Olympus seems higher still, and, standing there, you call to me, ‘Come, you will see such sights as you have not seen yet!’ I might. But I answer, ‘I do not have feet for the journey.’ And if you read this letter to the end, you will acknowledge, I think, that I am right.” (Henryk Sienkiewicz, from Quo Vadis)
My granddaughter Andrea wrote a composition for school in which she said that she liked her “grandmother’s imagination.” I asked her what she was referring to, and without hesitation she replied, “You remember things that never happened.” Don’t we all do that? (Isabel Allende, from My Invented Country)
“Nevetheless, you’ll have to reconcile yourself to the fact that I am,” retorted Woland with a twisted smile. “No sooner do you appear on the roof than you blab nonsense, and I’ll tell you what it is – it’s in your intonation. You pronounced your words as if you refuse to acknowledge the existence of either shadows or evil. But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and from living things. Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You’re stupid.” (Mikhail Bulgakov, from The Master and Margarita)
For it is the greatest truth of our age: information is not knowledge. (Caleb Carr, from Killing Time)
“You remember those birds that were getting sucked into the jet engines? Sometimes I lie in bed at three or four in the morning and I imagine myself flying miles above the earth, very cold, and one of those black secret spy planes is up there with the huge round engines with the spinning blades in it, the blades that look like the underside of mushrooms? The black plane’s going very fast and I’m going very fast in the opposite direction and we intersect, and I fly right through one of those jet engines, and I exit as this long fog of blood. I’m miles long, and, because it’s so cold, I’m crystalline. Very long arms, you’ll be pleased to hear. And then I recondense in bed, sshhp, as my short warm self. It must have something to do with my estrogen level. But that’s what telephone travel would be like out there, I think. What am I saying, that’s what it is like.” (Nicholson Baker, from Vox)
What can be broken, should be broken. (Dimitri Pisarev, 1840-1868)
“Keep away, keep away,” Hungry Joe screamed. “I said keep away, keep away, you goddam stinking lousy son of a bitch.”
“At least we found out what he dreams about,” Dunbar observed wryly. “He dreams about goddam stinking lousy sons of bitches.” (Joseph Heller, from Catch-22)
“That’s why opera is important, Baron. Because it’s realer than any play! A dramatic poet would have to put all those thoughts down one after another to represent this second of time. The composer can put them all down at once – and still make us hear each one of them. Astonishing device: a Vocal Quartet! … I tell you I want to write a finale lasting half an hour! A quartet becoming a quintet becoming a sextet. On and on, wider and wider – all sounds multiplying and rising together – and the together making a sound entirely new! … I bet you that’s how God hears the world. Millions of sounds ascending at once and mixing in His ear to become an unending music, unimaginable to us! That’s our job! That’s our job, we composers: to combine the inner minds of him and him and him, and her and her – the thoughts of chambermaids and Court Composers – and turn the audience into God.” (Peter Shaffer, from “Amadeus”)