Archive for the 'quote of the day' Category

Quote of the Day: CONFIDENCE

March 16, 2019


Schumer has always been anchored by a core of confidence, as the photo here of her running naked across a park demonstrates. She said she always knew she would be famous and once gave back a $1 million book advance because she believed in herself and figured she would get more money when she was more famous in a few years. She was right…But what about those who lack this self-assurance, who can’t shake off the insults that women deal with every day online? Schumer pauses here. “I want to think on that,” she said: “How do you rise from that?” Less than a minute later, she returns to the question: “Therapy, meditation, weed.”

— Jason Zinoman, “Amy Schumer Doesn’t Care What You Think. Honest,” New York Times

photo by Heather Sten for the New York Times

Quote of the Day: BLUES

March 12, 2019


The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy, but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism.

–Ralph Ellison

Funny thing about the blues—you play ’em ’cause you got ’em. But, when you play ’em, you lose ’em.

–Buddy Guy

photo by Stefan Ruiz

Quote of the Day: WITNESS

March 10, 2019


To witness is to ignore as little as possible. Because a judgment so often impairs the ability to notice what doesn’t conform with it, the witness chooses for the time being to keep judgment at a distance.

If she watches a documentary about a singer’s alleged history of child abuse, she doesn’t fall back on the clichéd excuse that she couldn’t look away from it. She admits that she chose to look. Having chosen, she has a responsibility to herself to notice what she sees — the changing colors of the singer’s umbrellas as he goes each day into court, the leather chair in which the accuser sits before the camera.

It’s the thoughtless stare — agape, gawking, able to absorb only the most salacious aspects of the story — that leads to the quick high and nauseating crash of outrage. But the witness, by maintaining her sensitivity to these neutral details, and not only to the fraught allegations, breaks the habit of shaming and allows herself to fashion her own moral response.

Too often we may feel ourselves trapped in the jury box, but we put ourselves there, and we can choose instead to sit in the chair of the witness. Freed from the responsibility to deliver a verdict, our new role is to separate assumption from knowledge. Watching this way, whether on the page or on the street, releases us from the tyranny of our own estimations, even regarding people who have behaved in ways we might otherwise consider wicked.

It is a no less morally awake response than holding a person in judgment.

–Salvatore Scibona

illustration by Sarah Mazzetti


March 9, 2019


To live in Washington is to learn the technique of avoidance. My office sits at the corner of 22nd and I Streets NW, an intersection at the heart of George Washington University, frequented by nonprofit canvassers. Colleagues and I avoid walking by these people if possible, which it rarely is, or at least avoid engaging with them as we rush by, not listening to whatever cause they’re selling. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) keeps a steady stream of “fundraising associates” at this intersection, mostly young gay men who think working for the HRC buys some credibility, and young women who look like they were dressed by their gay male colleagues.

Recently a cute guy asked if I wanted to become an HRC member as I walked from office to Metro. “No, sorry,” I said, but he jogged to catch up: “Do you not care about gay rights?” I stopped and in no uncertain terms, barked a treatise on why the HRC does not represent my political interests or those of a queer politic writ large. Their politicking for most of the past decade has centered primarily on three issues: 1) the overturning of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” thus allowing gays to serve openly in the U.S. military, i.e., an intrinsically homophobic war machine whose very existence should be open to debate; 2) the expansion of state-sanctioned marriage to gay and lesbian couples on both the state and national level, which invites the government to enter into their relationships with the promise of certain benefits such as health care and tax breaks, which should be available to everyone; and 3) the ranking of companies as “gay friendly” on an annual “Corporate Equality Index.”

This last project drives me bat-shit crazy, as it labels otherwise horrible multinational corporations as stellar places for gays to work. The HRC’s 2015 list includes oil companies that are wreaking havoc on the environment (Chevron, Exxon-Mobil); pharmaceutical companies more concerned with inflated profits than providing essential medicines to the sick and suffering (GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer); defense companies developing weapons that allow the U.S. and its allies to take over countries and their resources (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman); financial conglomerates that caused the 2008 global economic crisis and used subsequent public bailouts to pay bonuses to already overcompensated executives (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase); and finally, because of its political maneuvering and takeover of the world’s farming and food, the one that many regard as the most evil corporation on the face of the earth: Monsanto. And yet, because these companies train employees in diversity, or give partner benefits, or financially support the gay rights lobby, they are deemed the best places for us to work.

–D. Gilson, “‘Homonormativity’ and Its Discontents,” Gay and Lesbian Review (reprinted in the essay anthology In Search of Stonewall )

Quote of the day: KNOWLEDGE

February 22, 2019


It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

–François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire

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