oh, look. meaning.
"We are humanity, Kant says. Humanity needs us because we are it. Kant believes in duty and considers remaining alive a primary human duty. For him one is not permitted to “renounce his personality,” and while he states living as a duty, it also conveys a kind of freedom: we are not burdened with the obligation of judging whether our personality is worth maintaining, whether our life is worth living. Because living it is a duty, we are performing a good moral act just by persevering."
"All of them stress the singularity of the cinematic enterprise. At least in the fantasies these movies contain, there is no writers’ room, no network hierarchy, none of the comforts and second chances of the long, serial form. The larger structures on which the characters depend […] represent the powerful, soulless studios. They can initiate, finance or support your mission, but you can’t count on them to save you when things go wrong. At the movies, you have just one shot, and you’re always on your own."
"To look into the tender, unformed face of Titian’s Ranuccio Farnese—twelve-year-old scion of the ancient Italian clan—and see a boy whose destiny it was to become a corpse! And this despite his red doublet’s intricate embroidery, the adult sword hung about his narrow hips, the heavy weight of inheritance suggested by that cloak his father surely insisted he wear… All the signs of indelible individuality are here, yet none proved sufficient to halt the inevitable. (No amount of “selfies” will do it, either.)"
~ Zadie Smith, “Man vs. Corpse,” NYTimes Review of Books I think about this in museums every time. I never realized it, perhaps, but art museums feel strange and holy to me because they make me think about death.
Zadie Smith, “Man vs. Corpse,” NYTimes Review of Books
I think about this in museums every time. I never realized it, perhaps, but art museums feel strange and holy to me because they make me think about death.
"There is nothing more difficult to outgrow than anxieties that have become useful to us, whether as explanations for a life that never quite finds its true force or direction, or as fuel for ambition, or as a kind of reflexive secular religion that, paradoxically, unites us with others in a shared sense of complete isolation: you feel at home in the world only by never feeling at home in the world."
"Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon. The crescent is very beautiful and perhaps that is all one like I am should or could see; but what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing."
"The truth is you’ve already heard this. That this is what it’s like. That it’s what makes room for the universes inside you, all the endless in-bent fractals of connection and symphonies of different voices, the infinities you can never show another soul. And you think it makes you a fraud, the tiny fraction anyone else ever sees? Of course you’re a fraud, of course what people see is never you. And of course you know this, and of course you try to manage what part they see if you know it’s only a part. Who wouldn’t? It’s called free will, Sherlock. But at the same time it’s why it feels to good to break down and cry in front of others, or to laugh, or speak in tongues, or chant in Bengali— it’s not English anymore, it’s not getting squeezed through any hole."
"So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better."
"…you know there must be others perhaps in this very theatre or in this city, surely in other theatres in other cities, now, in the past or future, who react as you do. And because movies are the most total and encompassing art form we have, these reactions can seem the most personal and, maybe the most important, imaginable. The romance of movies is not just in those stories and those people on the screen but in the adolescent dream of meeting others who feel as you do about what you’ve seen."
"If sentimentality is a literary sin, surely it cannot be the only sin. Yet in much fiction, especially that written by men, overload is not a problem for other emotional states. There can never, for instance, be too much violence; an extremely bloody book like, say, The Road, is taken more of a test of the reader’s willpower than a test of the writer’s skill. Too much violence? Can’t take it, can you? There is no word, either, for a book that is too angry, or too cruel, or even too removed from the emotional world. “Emotionless” would seem the worst a reviewer could say, but that’s not particularly damning; it is also a kind of praise, as is the word “restraint.” Violence, anger, cruelty, lack of emotion—none of these can ever be deadly criticisms; they still reaffirm the “manliness” of the piece. As it is in the schoolyard, so it is in the book section: the only style that gets a male writer beaten up is wearing his heart on his sleeve. Boys don’t cry."
~ Andrew Sean Greer, “Boys Don’t Cry: In Praise of Sentiment,” The Daily Beast
Well, it’s not like we’re never read an anti-irony/pro-sincerity think piece, but this one is interesting in the way it touches on criticism and the gendered way we think about sentimentality.
Andrew Sean Greer, “Boys Don’t Cry: In Praise of Sentiment,” The Daily Beast