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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30 May '12 09:14:42 AM

'a human solo, a being cold, and lone'

26 May '12 08:24:33 AM

'Each one in turn paying his debt to nature due and leaving the excess to the next link in the name's chain. They began as fur traders, cordwainers, salters and smokers of bacon, went on into glassmaking, became selectmen, builders of tanneries, quarriers of marble. Country for miles around gone to necropolis, gray with marble dust, dust that was the breaths, the ghosts, of all those fake-Athenian monuments going up elsewhere across the Republic. Always elsewhere. The money seeping its way out through stock portfolios more intricate than any genealogy: what stayed at home in Berkshire went into timberland whose diminishing green reaches were converted acres at a clip into paper—toilet paper, banknote stock, newsprint—a medium or ground for shit, money, and the Word. They were not aristocrats, no Slothrop ever made it into the Social Register or the Somerset Club—they carried on their enterprise in silence, assimilated in life to the dynamic that surrounded them thoroughly as in death they would be to churchyard earth. Shit, money, and the Word, the three American truths, powering the American mobility, claimed the Slothrops, clasped them for good to the country's fate.

But they did not prosper . . . about all they did was persist…'

18 May '12 05:35:46 AM

How strange, after everything that's happened, dogs still bite people.

20 Apr '12 05:52:50 PM

'I was talking to a friend the other day and telling her how difficult is was sometimes to get down to work. She was so surprised. She thought it was easy and assumed that as all artists love their work all they had to do was just to do it. I explained to her that it wasn't like that at all. It takes so much effort sometimes just to begin and although going on is mostly a pleasure it is also a great effort. And no one cares whether or not you do it. No one asks you to do it and mostly no one wants it when you have done it and although as a creative artist you accept that it mostly has to be like that, nevertheless it is hard. She was surprised.'

15 Apr '12 04:22:12 AM

'You do not murmur in so many words, I know this doomed to fail and yet persist. No. For the first person singular and a fortiori plural pronoun had never had any place in your vocabulary.'

14 Apr '12 08:40:44 PM

'In order to be company he must display a certain mental activity. But it need not be of a high order. Indeed it might be argued the lower the better. Up to a point. The lower the order of mental activity the better the company. Up to a point.'

12 Apr '12 01:40:17 AM

'Q: Why didn't you make it larger so that it would loom over the observer?

A: I was not making a monument.

Q: Then why didn't you make it smaller so that the observer could see over the top?

A: I was not making an object.'

31 Mar '12 08:43:01 PM

'There are all sorts of reasons that people have for stating the absolutely obvious. The obvious truth may be important, as when two people have both been looking out for the same thing ("Here he is!"). Again, an exchange may be merely companionable, as when two people comfortingly rehearse that they do see the same things, share the same familiar scene. It is true, of course, that a primary use of language is to tell people things they do not know—it is the point from which we started—but it is a mistake, one predictably made by instructors, to forget the immense importance that human beings find in exchanging assertions which offer no news to any of them. The point is not confined to comments on what is immediately obvious; human beings notoriously love being told stories they already know.'

20 Mar '12 02:27:12 AM

Here's a new one: a mother says to her child, 'He looks like a sherpa, doesn't he?'.