‘I met Andy Warhol at a really chic party’ / Blow it out your hairdo, ’cause you work at Hardee’s!
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We must harness the revolutionary Poles in the fight against Russia, we must promise the separation of this land from Russia even if it means sacrificing Galicia, so that this giant may be weakened and driven back on Asia, unless the whole earth is not to be sooner or later divided between two powers: the North Americans and the Russians. (Field-Marshal Franz Kuhn von Kuhnenfeld of Austria, 1870)
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Sipping drinks on the porch in the sunset, Farsheed Shomloo, an immigration lawyer, pointed to a book on the patio table and told Jim, “You should read this new book about Iran, it’s really interesting.” Jim replied:
“I don’t want to read it. I know the outcome already. In Iran, there is beautiful poetry and everything turns out a disaster. Here the poetry is not so beautiful, but people are free to discover the best in themselves; that’s why America has happy endings. Here it’s a negative system: there is no entrenched despotism, no will to dominate. We immigrants can remake the whole country if we want to. It’s ours for the taking, as if there is a perpetual clean slate where nobody is ever owed anything. I’ll tell you, the Iranian revolution was a disaster for Iran and a success for America, because it brought a lot of talented, ambitious Iranians here. Every time there is a disaster in the Third World, it’s a good thing for America, since the best of the middle class finds its way here.” (Robert Kaplan, from An Empire Wilderness)
“And the good thing about feeling really happy, you know, Valentin? … It’s that you think it’s forever, that one’s never ever going to feel unhappy again.” (Manuel Puig, from Kiss of the Spider Woman)
Out of the seven days of creation, four were successful and three were unsuccessful. Only one day held sway and made this world a successful world. That was the seventh day, the day of rest, when the Creator did nothing. (Milorad Pavić, from Landscape Painted with Tea)
People aren’t supposed to look back. I’m certainly not going to do it any more.
I’ve finished my war book now. The next one I write is going to be fun.
This one is a failure, and had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt. (Kurt Vonnegut, from Slaughterhouse-5)
We have done as much with the matter of birth and parenting, dividing ourselves into different teams – pro-Thisers or pro-Thaters – with no middle ground, as there seldom is in matters of life and death. The debate is controlled by the extremes, each side shouting answers and accusations over the heads of the people in between, who are kept from formulating questions by the din of the argument all around them. Each paints the other with a broader brush. Each has an arsenal of names and adjectives to deploy against the other side. No one listens. Everyone screams. (Thomas Lynch, from The Undertaking)
“How do you feel, Yossarian?”
“Fine. No, I’m very frightened.”
“That’s good,” said Major Danby. “It proves you’re still alive.” (Joseph Heller, from Catch-22)
For them it might stave off what he could not help but see with clarity: that the world was silent and cold and bare and that in this lay its terrible beauty. (David Guterson, from Snow Falling on Cedars)