“Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?” —Clarice Lispector, A Hora Da Estrela
“‘Like a work of art,’ she repeated, looking from her canvas to the drawing-room steps and back again. She must rest for a moment. And, resting, looking from one to the other vaguely, the old question which traversed the sky of the soul perpetually, the vast, the general question which was apt to particularise itself at such moments as these, when she released faculties that...
“Tell the truth and run.” —Robert Byrne
“Your heart is my piñata.” —Chuck Palahniuk
“Where to begin?-that was the question, at what point to make the first mark? One line placed on the canvas committed her to innumerable risks, to frequent and irrevocable decisions. All that in idea seemed simple became in practice immediately complex […]. Still the risk must be run; the mark made.” —Virginia Woolf
He took the fingers of his right hand, and pulled on each one by one, until they came to form 5 straight, parallel lines. Then he massaged his palm as if to examine the birth lines ran across them, how their brownness was so incongruous with the whiteness of the rest of his palm, how that whiteness was so incongruous with the brownness of his skin, and mashed with his thumb the fleshy mass until...
“You don’t have a revolution in which you love your enemy, and you don’t have a revolution in which you are begging the system of exploitation to integrate you into it. Revolutions overturn systems. Revolutions destroy systems.” —Malcolm X
AT THE CLOSE OF MY FRESHMAN YEAR I’VE REALIZED JUST HOW MUCH WE’RE CONDITIONED TO CONSUME; AND ADDITIONALLY, HOW CONDITIONED WE ARE TO WANT TO CONSUME, AND TO SEE CONSUMPTION AS THE IDEAL, DESIRABLE, AND PREFERRED DEFAULT STATE. I AT FIRST THOUGHT OF THIS WHEN THINKING ABOUT MY COLLEGE’S CORE CURRICULUM, BUT THAT SEEMED TOO EASY; THOSE COURSES, WHILE FORCE-FEEDING BY DEFINITION,...
“The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone.” —James Baldwin
THERE’S SOMETHING VERY WEIRD ABOUT THE WAY BLACK BODIES ARE COMMODIFIED. I THINK IT IS HAS TO DO SOMETHING WITH THE NOTION OF ‘COOL.’ IN MY AFRICAN-AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHIC CULTURE CLASS WE DISCUSSED THE WAY IN WHICH THIS HAPPENS WITH BARACK OBAMA BEING DEPICTED AS THE ‘COOL,’ DOWN TO EARTH PRESIDENT WHO APPEALS TO A YOUNGER DEMOGRAPHIC. THE COTERMINOUS EVOLUTION OF...
Language and Race/Ethnicity “A superficial examination of Roget’s Thesaurus of the English Language reveals the following facts; the word WHITENESS has 134 synonyms; 44 of which are favorable and pleasing to contemplate, i.e. purity, cleanness, immaculateness, bright, shining, ivory, fair, blonde, stainless, clean, clear, chaste, unblemished, unsullied, innocent, honorable, upright,...
“The American idea of racial progress is measured by how fast I become white.” —James Baldwin, “On Language, Race, and the Black Writer”
I LITERALLY CAN NOT BEAR TO LOOK AT MY SELF 5 MONTHS, 1 YEAR, 5 YEARS AGO. IT MAKES ME UNUSUALLY UNCOMFORTABLE, IN WAYS NOT MUCH ELSE DOES. MAYBE IT’S MY PROPENSITY FOR SELF-EFFACEMENT, BUT THEN AGAIN I RUN A POPULAR BLOG THAT -IS- ABOUT MYSELF; MAYBE I SOCIALLY FLOAT, AND LOOKING BACK ON PAST CROWDS MEANS ADMITTING TO AN ASSOCIATIVE IDENTITY I’M NOT QUITE COMFORTABLE WITH; OR...
“For speaking either truth or comfort I have no more tongue than a wound.” —W. S. Merwin, from “The Nails”
“I see Obama as Sisyphus in the first four years, and nobody would speak about the size of the rock, or the elevation of the hill. All you hear people talk about is what he didn’t do. To come from what he has asked to take over and do in the time, to behave as an American, to put up with those, who were, in my estimation, acting very un-American to get rid of those people, it took longer than...
“For years I’d longed to be alone in the middle of fields and forests, silent, without need of words. Knowing how ecstatic I can be simply lying on a hillside in the sun, I realized I will probably be happiest - anticipating all of my possible incarnations - as a blade of grass.” —Alice Walker, Preface to Living by the Word: Selected Writings 1973-1987.
“Look within and life, it seems, is very far from being “like this”. Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind receives a myriad impressions — trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel. From all sides they come, an incessant shower of innumerable atoms; and as they fall, as they shape themselves into the life of Monday or Tuesday, the...