“For sublime objects are vast in their dimensions, beautiful ones comparatively small: beauty should be smooth and polished; the great, rugged and negligent; beauty should shun the right line, yet deviate from it insensibly; the great in many cases loves the right line, and when it deviates it often makes a strong deviation: beauty should not be obscure; the great ought to be dark and gloomy: beauty should be light and delicate; the great ought to be solid, and even massive.”
“Today’s opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest” for purposes of proscribing that conduct, ante, at 18; and if, as the Court coos (casting aside all pretense of neutrality), “[w]hen sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring,” ante, at 6; what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising “[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution,” ibid.? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry. This case “does not involve” the issue of homosexual marriage only if one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of this Court. Many will hope that, as the Court comfortingly assures us, this is so.”
“the amount of knowledge in any culture is far greater than the capacity of individuals to learn or figure it all out on their own. He suggests that individuals tap that cultural storehouse of knowledge simply by mimicking (often unconsciously) the behavior and ways of thinking of those around them. We shape a tool in a certain manner, adhere to a food taboo, or think about fairness in a particular way, not because we individually have figured out that behavior’s adaptive value, but because we instinctively trust our culture to show us the way. The unique trick of human psychology, these researchers suggest, might be this: our big brains are evolved to let local culture lead us in life’s dance.”
The best way to untangle the pileup, Burke and Shields decided, was to sever the heads of two of the deer and remove their bodies; then the third deer would be removed intact, with the racks of the first two bucks still locked in its antlers.
We walked several blocks to a massive metal building and took a rumbling elevator up five floors. Triggered by movement, the florescent lights above traced our progress through a maze of long sterile-white corridors, so bright it made my eyes ache. Nate found his unit. It was packed with repurposed boxes covered by images of fruit flies and fruit fly breeding equipment. Nate’s day job is to raise the insects for a cancer research laboratory.
“Oh God,” he cried, “I hope your manuscript is in there! Oh, Shit! There’s Death Bear stuff I know I wouldn’t have thrown out…”
“Like what?” I asked.
“A soldier,” Nate answered slowly, “gave me a bullet once… and implied that his girlfriend might have been killed in wartime. We met in a playground. I remember I started crying after I left him.”
Nate handed me a giant cartoon panda head and a chest protector. That was from the artist’s Punch Me Panda project where he invited angry strangers to pummel him. One by one, he passed armfuls of his half-wanted possessions to me - things not valuable enough to keep at hand and not worthless enough to throw away. I made a line with them, all the way down the corridor. Luckily, we were the only ones in the place. Every now and then, the lights cut out and we had to jump and wave our hands to turn them back on.
“Now listen! Can’t you see that when the language was new — as it was with Chaucer and Homer — the poet could use the name of a thing and the thing was really there? He could say “O moon,” “O sea,” “O love” and the moon and the sea and love were really there. And can’t you see that after hundreds of years had gone by and thousands of poems had been written, he could call on those words and find that they were just worn-out literary words? The excitingness of pure being had withdrawn from them; they were just rather stale literary words. Now the poet has to work in the excitingness of pure being; he has to get back that intensity into the language. We all know that it’s hard to write poetry in a late age; and we know that you have to put some strangeness, something unexpected, into the structure of the sentence in order to bring back vitality to the noun. Now it’s not enough to be bizarre; the strangeness in the sentence structure has to come from the poetic gift, too. That’s why it’s doubly hard to be a poet in a late age.”
— Taken from a speech by Gertrude Stein at the University of Chicago. Recorded by Thornton Wilder in the introduction to Four in America (1947). (via stilleatingoranges)