The reason ... our pervasive cultural irony is at once so powerful and so unsatisfying is that an ironist is impossible to pin down.
The psychological need to believe that others take you as seriously as you take yourself. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, as psychological needs go, but yet of course we should always remember that a deep need for anything from other people makes us easy pickings.
The individual's right to pursue his own vision of the best ration of pleasure to pain: utterly sacrosanct.
I mean, Tarantino is such a SHMUCK 90 percent of the time. But ten percent of the time, I've seen genius shining off the guy.
Shall I spend much of your time pointing out the degree to which televisual values influence the contemporary mood of jaded weltschmerz, self-mocking materialism, blank indifference, and the delusion that cynicism and naïveté are mutually exclusive?
LaMont, the truth is that the world is incredibly, incredibly, unbelievably old. You suffer with the stunted desire caused by one of its oldest lies. Do not believe the photographs. Fame is not the exit from any cage.
True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care--with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world.
You decide. You be the judge. It says You are welcome regardless of severity. Severity is in the eye of the sufferer, it says. Pain is pain.
Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude -- but the fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense.
Hear this or not, as you will. Learn it now, or later -- the world has time. Routine, repetition, tedium, monotony, ephemeracy, inconsequence, abstraction, disorder, boredom, angst, ennui -- these are the true hero's enemies, and make no mistake, they are fearsome indeed. For they are real.
To be a mass tourist, for me,...is, in lines and gridlock and transaction after transaction, to confront a dimension of yourself that is as inescapable as it is painful: As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.
He knew what the Beats know and what the great tennis player knows, son: learn to do nothing, with your whole head and body, and everything will be done by what's around you.
Quentin Tarantino is interested in watching somebody's ear getting cut off; David Lynch is interested in the ear.
We live in an era of terrible preoccupation with presentation and interpretation, one in which relations between who someone is and what he believes and how he expresses himself have been thrown into big time flux.
People who're somehow burned at birth, withered or ablated way past anything like what might be fair, they either curl up in their fire, or else they rise.
It's no accident that in a bureaucracy getting fired is called 'termination,' as in ontological erasure.
The sound of wind had become, for me, silence. When it went away, I was left with the squeak of the blood in my head and the aural glitter of all those little eardrum hairs quivering like a drunk in withdrawal.
The first time I lay actual eyes on the real David Lynch on the set of his movie, he's peeing on a tree...Mr. David Lynch, a prodigious coffee drinker, apparently pees hard and often.
What if, when Tracy Austin writes that after her 1989 car crash, 'I quickly accepted that there was nothing I could do about it,' the statement is not only true but exhaustively descriptive of the entire acceptance process she went through?
Mario, what do you get when you cross an insomniac, an unwilling agnostic and a dyslexic? I give. You get someone who stays up all night torturing himself mentally over the question of whether or not there's a dog.
The real, many-veiled answer to the question of just what goes through a great player's mind as he stands at the center of hostile crowd-noise and lines up the free-throw that will decide the game might well be: nothing at all.
Footnote: 79) The anchor is gigantic and must weigh a hundred tons, and -- delightfully -- it really is anchor-shaped, i.e. the same shape as anchors in tattoos.
I will be conveyed to an Emergency Room of some kind, where I will be detained as long as I do not respond to questions, and then, when I do respond to questions, I will be sedated; so it will be an inversion of standard travel, the ambulance and ER: I'll make the journey first, then depart.
American human beings are a slippery and protean bunch in real life, hard as hell to get any kind of universal handle on.
The Moms revealed that if you're not crazy then speaking to someone who isn't there is termed apostrophe and is valid art.
The thing about people who are truly and malignantly crazy: their real genius is for making the people around them think they themselves are crazy. In military science this is called Psy-Ops, for your info.
We're all lonely for something we don't know we're lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we've never even met?
No wonder we cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke: that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from the horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home.
Why do prostitutes when they get straight always try and get so prim? It's like long-repressed librarian-ambitions come flooding out.
These worst mornings with cold floors and hot windows and merciless light -- the soul's certainty that the day will have to be not traversed but sort of climbed, vertically, and then that going to sleep again at the end of it will be like falling, again, off something tall and sheer.
Hal Incandenza has an almost obsessive dislike for deLint, whom he tells Mario he sometimes cannot quite believe is even real, and tries to get to the side of, to see whether deLint has a true z coordinate or is just a cutout or projection.
The Great White Male is rap's Grand Inquisitor, its idiot questioner, its Alien Other no less than Reds were for McCarthy.
I think at seventeen now I believe the only real monsters might be the type of liar where there's simply no way to tell. The ones who give nothing away....That they walk among us. Teach our children. Inscrutable. Brass-faced.
Think of the old cliché about the mind being 'an excellent servant but a terrible master'. This, like many clichés, so lame and banal on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth.
To experience commitment as the loss of options, a type of death, the death of childhood's limitless possibility, of the flattery of choice without duress-this will happen, mark me. Childhood's end.
Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.
Qandamp;A with Larry McCaffery, Review of Contemporary Fiction, Summer 1993, Vol. 13.2.
You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.
This wise old whiskery fish swims up to three young fish and goes, 'Morning, boys, how's the water?' and swims away; and the three young fish watch him swim away and look at each other and go, 'What the fuck is water?' and swim away.
It's all very confusing. I think I'm very honest and candid, but I'm also proud of how honest and candid I am -- so where does that put me?
I never, even for a moment, doubted what they'd told me. This is why it is that adults and even parents can, unwittingly, be cruel: they cannot imagine doubt's complete absence. They have forgotten.
I have always tried to avoid talking to pretty girls, because pretty girls have a vicious effect on me in which every part of my brain is shut down except for the part that says unbelievably stupid things and the part that is aware that I am saying unbelievably stupid things.
Talent is its own expectation, Jim: you either live up to it or it waves a hankie, receding forever.
What I know about auto racing could be inscribed with a dry Magic Marker on the lip of a Coke bottle.
All I'm saying is that it's shortsighted to blame TV. It's simply another symptom. TV didn't invent our aesthetic childishness here any more than the Manhattan Project invented aggression.
Am I a good person? Deep down, do I even really want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so that people (including myself) will approve of me? Is there a difference? How do I ever actually know whether I'm bullshitting myself, morally speaking?
I'm not afraid of new things. I'm just afraid of feeling alone even when there's somebody else there. I'm afraid of feeling bad. Maybe that's selfish, but it's the way I feel.
Like most North Americans of his generation, Hal tends to know way less about why he feels certain ways about the objects and pursuits he's devoted to than he does about the objects and pursuits themselves. It's hard to say for sure whether this is even exceptionally bad, this tendency.
There's good self-consciousness, and then there's toxic, paralyzing, raped-by-psychic-Bedouins self-consciousness.
There is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote.
In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote.
Most Substance-addicted people are also addicted to thinking, meaning they have a compulsive and unhealthy relationship with their own thinking.
You have a great deal of yourself on the line, writing-- your vanity is at stake. You discover a tricky thing about fiction writing; a certain amount of vanity is necessary to be able to do it all, but any vanity above that certain amount is lethal.
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.
There is no hatred in my love for you. Only a sadness I feel all the more strongly for my inability to explain or describe it.
Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved.
Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties -- all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name's Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion -- these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.
Lonely people tend, rather, to be lonely because they decline to bear the psychic costs of being around other humans. They are allergic to people. People affect them too strongly.
Mario, what do you get when you cross an insomniac, an unwilling agnostic and a dyslexic?
You get someone who stays up all night torturing himself mentally over the question of whether or not there's a dog.
Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.
It seems important to find ways of reminding ourselves that most familiarity is meditated and delusive.
We're not keen on the idea of the story sharing its valence with the reader. But the reader's own life outside the story changes the story.
What TV is extremely good at -- and realize that this is all it does -- is discerning what large numbers of people think they want, and supplying it.
TV's real agenda is to be liked, because if you like what you're seeing, you'll stay tuned. TV is completely unabashed about this; it's its sole raison.
The problem is that once the rules of art are debunked, and once the unpleasant realities the irony diagnoses are revealed and diagnosed, then what do we do?
We're kind of wishing some parents would come back. And of course we're uneasy about the fact that we wish they'd come back -- I mean, what's wrong with us?
To be willing to sort of die in order to move the reader, somehow. Even now I'm scared about how sappy this'll look in print, saying this.
The problem is that once the rules of art are debunked, and once the unpleasant realities the irony diagnoses are revealed and diagnosed, 'then' what do we do?
Rap's conscious response to the poverty and oppression of U.S. blacks is like some hideous parody of sixties black pride.
It looks like you can write a minimalist piece without much bleeding. And you can. But not a good one.
I think TV promulgates the idea that good art is just art which makes people like and depend on the vehicle that brings them the art.
TV's 'real' agenda is to be 'liked,' because if you like what you're seeing, you'll stay tuned. TV is completely unabashed about this; it's its sole raison.
This might be one way to start talking about differences between the early postmodern writers of the fifties and sixties and their contemporary descendants.
Pleasure becomes a value, a teleological end in itself. It's probably more Western than U.S. per se.
We're not keen on the idea of the story sharing its valence with the reader. But the reader's own life 'outside' the story changes the story.
For these cultures, getting rid of the pain without addressing the deeper cause would be like shutting off a fire alarm while the fire's still going.
One of the things that makes Wittgenstein a real artist to me is that he realized that no conclusion could be more horrible than solipsism.
It seems important to find ways of reminding ourselves that most 'familiarity' is meditated and delusive.
What TV is extremely good at -- and realize that this is 'all it does' -- is discerning what large numbers of people think they want, and supplying it.
This is so American, man: either make something your God and cosmos and then worship it, or else kill it.
It can become an exercise in trying to get the reader to like and admire you instead of an exercise in creative art.
Nuclear weapons and TV have simply intensified the consequences of our tendencies, upped the stakes.
The great thing about irony is that it splits things apart, gets up above them so we can see the flaws and hypocrisies and duplicates.
I often think I can see it in myself and in other young writers, this desperate desire to please coupled with a kind of hostility to the reader.