Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Uncommon Terseness

A Slog reader who prefers to remain anonymous was kind enough to share her favorite pull-quotes from past postings. I honestly can't recall writing more than half of these (I remember more clearly the labored overlong ones!):

Most singers become singers because they want to be singers, not because they want to sing. That's why most singers are so awful. (link)

Admiring and supporting unheralded greatness is what the universe wants us to do. The angels swoon when we discover their hidden treasure - their fiendishly clever and luminously beautiful Easter eggs. (link)

We over-emphasize first-movers, crediting them with creating waves when, truly, they're just surfing them like everyone else. Causality has nothing to do with it. The first popping kernel doesn't make the other kernels pop. (link)

I wouldn't want to return to 1973. We went too far. You could feel society slogging and smell the rot (and pay a tax rate north of 90%). 1973 could have made a Tea Party partisan out of any but the most fervid of current liberals. (link)

When people are determined to misunderstand, misunderstanding's unavoidable. Per Maslow's hammer, if all you have is snark, everyone looks like an asshole. (link)

Billions of people yearn for greatness. Millions of people do things they hope will make them great. Thousands of people do great things with nary a thought about where it will leave them. (link)

Richard Scarry was right: it takes all kinds, and by contributing our respective expertise, we create a utopian whole (which liberals romanticize as cooperation and which conservatives theorize as competition - a false dichotomy that was the "original sin" of political theory). (link)

The opposite of being a discriminated-against minority isn't becoming an empowered minority, it's pluralism. Boring old pluralism. The reason gay rights have transformed with such miraculous speed is that this is exactly the tack they took. "We just want to love who we love, like any American." Not 'a gay thing', just an American thing. The message was delivered by boring, well-dressed, reasonable people, not dudes defiantly flaunting their nipple clamps. (link)

Why on earth would I want a female presidency, or a Jewish presidency? Administrations aren't like novelty flavors of KitKat bars. I don't want some glorious rainbow, I want smart governance. (link)

I've never met anyone who's consistently lived with integrity and who regrets it. (link)

The miracle of human beings is that we're finite - i.e. limited - in every respect, yet we're capable of infinite love, infinite creativity, infinite joy, and infinite wisdom within those limitations. (link)

The really good stuff arrives via epiphany, eureka, and inspiration - "out of nowhere" and hard to claim credit for. (link)

I never understood how anyone could experience transcendent greatness and not want to devote their lives to it. (link)

If you love transcendence, you've got to cherish the obstacles which spur it; the necessity which mothers the invention. (link)

Anxiety is the bain of deep-carers. (link)

The care, the love, the discipline and thoughtfulness we invest in our most prosaic actions changes absolutely everything. That's how the future is perpetually created. (link)

If you simply sweat the small stuff, sans self-consciousness or aspiration (just "because!"), angels will sing. (link)

While the present day feels like a new corporate era - one where a CFO might play bass in a punk band and vote Democrat, and the encubicled set deems themselves cool and creative - make no mistake about it: corporate attitude remains 1956ishly square. Deep-down, these guys are all still crewcuts-and-tie-clips. (link)

Just because people keep proposing really bad solutions doesn't mean there isn't a problem! (link)

Quality oughtn't be a side effect. (link)

You have no idea how disorienting it is to spend your life plying an art form that's so extraordinarily marginalized - even ridiculed - when that same art form is the unanimous commercial choice for setting a tone of hip urbanity. (link)

Racism, sexism, classism, etc. are nothing more than the incomplete registration of a perfectly appropriate misanthropy. (link)

As a member of five or six minority groups, myself, I find myself cringing whenever I see groups to which I belong depicted or discussed with anxious care and glossy patina. What awful thing, after all, are they so carefully dancing around?!?"(link)

If you've got a zit on the tip of your nose, all injustice appears to stem from that. (link)

I no longer plug mishaps into my narrative of woe. And without that, it's all just stuff happening. (link)

Qualities such as kindness, intelligence, generosity, and a sense of humor are of service to others. Beauty, by contrast, serves only its possessor. (link)

I like to be told that I'm being an idiot. This helps me be less of an idiot. By contrast, most people recoil quite strongly from acknowledging to themselves any idiocy in their thought or behavior. They'd much rather be idiots than feel like idiots. (link)

Nationalism is always a noble-seeming mask for xenophobia. Show me someone who loves "Us", and I'll show you someone who hates "Them". (link)

History always unfolds via a succession of immoderately reactive pendulum swings. Will we human beings ever learn to react to extremism with enlightened moderation rather than with reciprocal extremism? (link and another)

Scientists say it's very difficult to learn new skills after one's mid-twenties. I think they're slicing that wrong. What happens is that it becomes very difficult to imagine (and to tolerate) change as one's self-image solidifies. And learning is change. (link)

America is so rich that we mistake mere discomfort for bona fide poverty. (link)

Anyone in the first world yearning to get rich is really just dreaming of getting richer. (link)

Better to be a hapless shmuck who occasionally surprises than to be a hero who inevitably disappoints. (link)

Hell is a place human beings voluntarily condemn themselves to. (link)

The real secret is not to learn to get what you want. It's to learn to want what you get. link

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