Archive for the 'quote of the day' Category

Quote of the day: MISSION

August 2, 2021


The word “mission” comes from the Latin for “send.” In English, historically, a mission is Christian, and means sending the Holy Spirit out into the world to spread the Word of God: a mission involves saving souls. In the seventeenth century, when “mission” first conveyed something secular, it meant diplomacy: emissaries undertake missions. Scientific and military missions—and the expression “mission accomplished”—date to about the First World War. In 1962, J.F.K. called going to the moon an “untried mission.” “Mission statements” date to the Vietnam War, when the Joint Chiefs of Staff began drafting ever-changing objectives for a war known for its purposelessness. (The TV show “Mission: Impossible” débuted in 1966.) After 1973, and at the urging of the management guru Peter Drucker, businesses started writing mission statements as part of the process of “strategic planning,” another expression Drucker borrowed from the military. Before long, as higher education was becoming corporatized, mission statements crept into university life. “We are on the verge of mission madness,” the Chronicle of Higher Education reported in 1979. A decade later, a management journal announced, “Developing a mission statement is an important first step in the strategic planning process.” But by the nineteen-nineties corporate mission statements had moved from the realm of strategic planning to public relations. That’s a big part of why they’re bullshit. One study from 2002 reported that most managers don’t believe their own companies’ mission statements. Research surveys suggest a rule of thumb: the more ethically dubious the business, the more grandiose and sanctimonious its mission statement.

–Jill Lepore in The New Yorker

photographed by Kayana Szymczak for the New York Times

Quote of the day: HUNGER

April 6, 2021

I consoled myself for my difficulties with Nichole by keeping company with an Indian woman from the reservation in nearby Yakima. I met her playing pool in La Conner, and although she was pretty drunk, she was deadly at the table. She was exciting and unpredictable, not above winging a pool ball at an idiot who offended her. She looked about thirty-five, and confessed to having a “clutter” of children back in Yakima….

One morning she dropped by as I was cooking, I asked her if she was hungry and she said nothing. When I asked a third time, she said, “Don’t make people *say* that they’re hungry. Put food in front of them. If they’re hungry, they’ll eat.”

This protocol attending the offering of food interested me. It highlighted our culture’s carelessness about food (which has resulted in an obsession with obesity). Living on the road, I’d noticed that you could visit a white person’s home and wait for hours before being offered food or water. This was equally true in many counterculture homes. White people assumed that people are or drank when they *wanted* to; they were not being deliberately rude, they just never had to think about hunger. Travelers in need learn to search out people of color — black people, Chicanos, and Indians — who rarely let you sit long without putting something to eat or drink in front of you.

–Peter Coyote, Sleeping Where I Fall

Quote of the day: DEMAGOGUERY

December 7, 2020


We must never forget that the spellbinders, the rabble-rousers, the potential Hitlers are always with us. We must never forget that it is very easy for such men to turn an innocent orgy into an instrument of destruction, into a savage, mindless force directed toward the overthrow of liberty. To prevent them from exploiting crowd intoxication for their own sinister purposes we must be perpetually on our guard. Whether a world inhabited by potential Hitlers on the one hand and potential herd-poison addicts on the other can ever be made completely safe for rationality and decency seems doubtful, but at least we can try to make it a little safer than it is at present. For example, we can give our children lessons in the elements of general semantics. We can tell them about the frightful dangers of intellectual sin. We can make their flesh creep by reciting to them the disastrous consequences to societies and to individuals of the rabble-rouser’s oversimplification, overgeneralization, and overabstraction. We can remind them to live in present time and to think concretely and realistically, in terms of observable fact. We can unveil the absurd and discreditable secrets of propaganda and illustrate our lectures with examples drawn from the history of politics, religion, and the advertising industry. Would such a training be effective? Perhaps – or perhaps not. Herd poison is a very powerful intoxicant. Once they get into a crowd, even upright and sensible men are apt to lose their reason and accept all the suggestions, however nonsensical or however immoral, that may be given them. All we can hope to accomplish is to make it more difficult for the rabble-rouser to do his nefarious work.

–Aldous Huxley, “History of Tension,” 1956

Quote of the day: WRITING

October 31, 2020


One of the few things I know about writing is this: Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.

–Annie Dillard

Quote of the day: QUEENS

August 29, 2020


A block from The Chateau [in the Jackson Heights neighborhood in Queens], I wanted to point out Community United Methodist Church. There’s a street sign at the corner commemorating the invention of Scrabble, which was played in the church in 1938. It was the invention of a Jackson Heights resident (an unemployed architect) named Alfred Butts. Legions of Scrabble devotees now make pilgrimages to the church, which you will notice also advertises services in Punjabi, Urdu, Bahasa, Korean, Chinese and Spanish. I love that God is worshiped in so many languages in the house where Scrabble was invented. Brooklyn may be known as the Borough of Churches. But Jackson Heights is where, for example, the Jewish Center, on 77th Street, also hosts Pentecostal services, Hindu services and the annual Iftar celebration of Bangladeshi and other Muslims.

–Suketu Mehta (interviewed by Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times)

                                                    photo by Victor Llorente

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