josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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25 May '07 07:59:47 AM

'This friendliness has a functional Aristotelean role (see Nic. Ethics 8-9) in Frye's approach to literature in general. One of the qualities of friendship is that it implies taking the friend's style, accomplishments, daily doings, and so on, for granted. With close acquaintance it is not really necessary to recall always, and for all audiences, that one's friend or neighbor has done this and not done that - the facts are known to the community, and let's not dwell on the obvious. On the other hand, there is a style by which the character of an intimate may be publicly revealed, and it is the style we usually associate with comedy and comic portrayal. As long as one is humorous about it, one can praise one's friend, or even one's beloved, to an unfamiliar audience. By the same token, a critic can convey what and how he knows about his subject, when he and his author have intertwined their minds, if only he can preserve a comical distance between himself and his subject. Comedy is required, if not irony.'

29 Apr '07 05:27:32 AM

'we set controls for the heart of the sun / - one of the ways that we show our age'

26 Apr '07 07:05:26 AM

A marginal note M. discovered tonight at the tip of an arrow pointing very directly at line 375 of a used copy of Hesiod's 'Works and Days' (here translated, 'the man who trusts womankind trusts deceivers'):

'fuck you, Hesiod'

22 Apr '07 10:07:31 AM

'I have a style now pared straight to the bone and can make the reader's nerve jump by moving my little finger.'

18 Apr '07 08:34:12 AM

'Beside the greater abundance of goods within reach even of the poor, the decline of present-giving might seem immaterial, reflection on it sentimental. However, even if amidst superfluity the gift were superfluous - and this is a lie, privately as much as socially, for there is no-one today for whom imagination could not discover what would delight him utterly - people who no longer gave would still be in need of giving. In them wither the irreplaceable faculties which cannot flourish in the isolated cell of pure inwardness, but only in live contact with the warmth of things. A chill descends upon all they do, the kind word that remains unspoken, the consideration unexercised. This chill finally recoils on those from whom it emanates. Every undistorted relationship, perhaps indeed the conciliation that is part of organic life itself, is a gift. He who through consequential logic becomes incapable of it, makes himself a thing and freezes.'

7 Apr '07 07:27:03 AM

'America, which I invented -'

(boos)

(Jefferson flips off audience)

1 Apr '07 06:32:59 AM

'Morality must leave itself open to repudiation; it provides one possibility of settling conflict, a way of encompassing conflict which allows the continuance of personal relationships against the hard and apparently inevitable fact of misunderstanding, mutually incompatible wishes, commitments, loyalties, interests and needs, a way of mending relationships and maintaining the self in opposition to itself or others. Other ways of settling or encompassing conflict are provided by politics, religion, love and forgiveness, rebellion, and withdrawal. Morality is a valuable way because the others are so often inaccessible or brutal; but it is not everything; it provides a door through which someone, alienated or in danger of alienation from another through his action, can return by the offering and the acceptance of explanation, excuses and justifications, or by the respect one human being will show another who sees and can accept the responsibility for a position which he himself would not adopt. We do not have to agree with one another in order to live in the same moral world, but we do have to know and accept one another's differences. And what we can respect, and how far and how deeply, are not matters of what "feeling" a "reason" "causes" in us.

But although morality is open to repudiation, either by the prophet or the raging and suffering self, or by the delinquent or the oldest and newest evil, and though it cannot assure us that we will have no enemies nor that our actions are beyond reproach even when they pass all moral tests; not just anybody, in any way, can repudiate it.'

28 Mar '07 05:54:19 AM

'extremely dead / but talkative'

26 Mar '07 08:00:10 AM

'Dear Mr. Berryman, frankly I hope to be promoted from assistant professor to associate professor by writing a book about you. Are you willing to join me in this unworthy endeavor?'