“When American fiction ignores the fact of war and its effects remain hidden, without even brief mentions as simple markers of time and place, it also accepts peace as the background for the stories we tell. And that is, in its own way, the lie that denial tells.”
“We found that Martha’s Vineyard was a summer retreat frequented by people of a great variety of opinions on the left. There were Communists, Trotskyites, independent socialists of all kinds, and even one or two rather moth-eaten Anarchists. Arguments raged on all kinds of topics, from art forms to politics, from theories of psychoanalysis to someone’s latest novel.”
— Jessica Mitford, Hons and Rebels
In a couple weeks I’ll be looking for the ghosts of moth-eaten anarchists. Lillian Hellman’s too.
“Finding or cultivating ideas is the heart of the game. Unlike basic needs, which can be actively found, made, or purchased, or even natural specimens, which can be discovered, ideas are linked to the player’s overall balance with nature. When the player is in balance, the woods themselves seem rich with ideas, sparkling like the native artifacts that Thoreau was good at finding. These “arrowhead moments,” as the development team calls them, are key thoughts culled from the text of Walden that are the highlights and the narrative thread of the game. Like the arrowheads of a long-past civilization that Thoreau found while digging his cellar at Walden, his writings will be embedded in this virtual landscape as “durable relics” of another life, one that may point the way for the player’s own meandering philosophical sojourn.”
“And then there’s the lesson in peeling oranges—pull from one end of an orange to the other to create a swath of rind, about an inch thick and three inches long, that is twisted to express its oils and dropped into drinks as a garnish. I am confident I’ve mastered this until I see a customer (a fairly well-known bartender himself) pick his orange peel out of the glass and hold it up to his buddies, laughing. The peel, split in the middle, looks like a vagina.”
“When I was very young, I most wanted to be a scientist, isolated and brilliant, probing and illuminating mysteries, a pure soul floating in a laboratory universe, detached, cool, exalted. Then I wanted to be famous and a bit rich, noted for having political power without the mess of political responsibility, a speech-writing ghost but still a sort of pure soul floating in a marble-halled universe, detached, cool and celebrated. What I want now is so different. It requires nothing but space and time and work. It does not float, it walks in the neighborhood. It is not detached, it is a mosaic of meetings, friendships, tasks, celebrations (without celebrity). It still includes science but it knows science as the most social of human actions, a shared heritage, an age-long persistence of reason, something that floats beautifully in the head, but not in outer space, an occasion for the pleasures of creativity more than the proddings of pride. For honor it substitutes, simply, honesty and for loyalty it certainly substitutes friendship.”