Books

from Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

  • Danger and possibility are sisters.
  • Imagine the world as a theater. The acts of the powerful and the official occupy center stage. The traditional versions of history, the conventional sources of news encourage us to fix our gaze on that stage. The limelights there are so bright that they blind you to the shadowy spaces around you, make it hard to meet the gaze of the other people in the seats, to see the way out of the audience, into the aisles, backstage, outside, in the dark, where other powers are at work. A lot of the fate of the world is decided onstage, in the limelight, and the actors there will tell you that all of it is, that there is no other place.

from A Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron Gikandi

  • Trust your feelings, but not your emotions.
  • You get exactly what you think and are. 

from Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

  • People in France have a phrase, The Spirit of the Stairway.” Esprit d’Escalier. It means that moment when you find the answer, but it’s too late. Say you’re at a party and someone insults you. You have to say something. So, under pressure, with everybody watching, you say something lame. At the moment you leave the party, as you start down the stairway, then–magic. You come up with the perfect thing you should’ve said. The perfect crippling put-down. That’s The Spirit of the Stairway.
  • This is what people want. The same reason we go to the racetrack to watch the cars crash. Why the Germans say,  “Die reinste Freude ist die Schadenfreude.” Our purest joy comes when people we envy get hurt. That most genuine form of joy. The joy you feel when a limousine turns the wrong way down a one-way street.
  • “It’s the mark of a very, very young soul,” Mr. Whittier used to say, “To try and fix the world. To try and save anyone from their ration of misery.”
  • “We were both full of that energy that makes dogs dance just before they get fed.” -Mrs Clark
  • Every apostle or disciple, “Mrs Clark says, “as much as they’re running to follow their savior–they’re running just as hard to escape something else.”
  • With the kids in school, and God at the office, the angels have all day to kill.

 

Journalism

from Who Are All These Drumpf Supporters? by George Saunders for The New Yorker

  • Above all, Drumpf supporters are “not politically correct,” which, as far as I can tell, means that they have a particular aversion to that psychological moment when, having thought something, you decide that it is not a good thought, and might pointlessly hurt someone’s feelings, and therefore decline to say it. 

Podcasts

from Code Switch episode 2, “Can We Talk About Whiteness

  • If you’ve been dealing with privilege, equality feels like oppression.  

from Invisibilia, “Frame of Reference” in which a woman with Aspergers named Kim, makes sense of human behavior that confounds her

  • It never made any sense to me as to why people would be mean to somebody else. Why would you be mean to somebody? And what I saw is that when the two employees were there and then were talking together and then they were giving Frank a hard time, the primary thing is not that they were trying to be mean to Frank, the primary thing is that they were bonding. Those two people were actually building a bond between the two of them and simply, the means to do it was to be nasty to Frank. And I then I was like oh, maybe that’s what these kids were doing when they were bullying me. The primary thing is that they were bonding, the secondary thing is that I was being bullied.

 

Television

from In Treatment

  • She was the only person he ever trusted. He was at war with the rest of the world. And the war ain’t over, believe me.  -Alex Prince, about his mom and dad