Quote of the Day postsSaturday October 25, 2008
New Yorker Quote of the Day - III
“Marlon’s going to class to learn the Method was like sending a tiger to jungle school.”—Fellow-student Elaine Strich on Marlon Brando in Claudia Roth Pierpont's article, "Method Man," in the Oct. 27th New Yorker
This is a great issue of the New Yorker but this may be the best article in it. I've read about method acting for years but this is the first time I really got it. The piece begins with an incredible performance by Brando in a failed play, "Truckline Cafe" in 1946. A young Pauline Kael saw the play and near the end had to turn away because one of the actors appeared to be having a seizure on stage; then her companion grabbed her arm and said "Watch this guy!" Kael: That's when "I realized he was acting."
Or wasn't acting. Brando says of his teacher, Stella Adler, "She taught me to be real, and not to try to act out an emotion I didn't personally experience during a performance." That's when I understood — as much, I suppose, as a non-actor can understand. He's got to actually feel what he's saying or it doesn't work. It accounts for the unevenness of his work. The subtitle of the piece is "How the greatest American actor lost his way," but the article is also about how the greatest American actor found his way. Everyone loses their way — everyone — but not everyone finds their way in the first place. There's a My god, what might have been? quality to the article, but, again, and maybe this is the Minnesotan in me, there's also, in the article, a sense that: My god, what WAS. The author ticks off the five or six great performances that Brando gave us in great movies, and, because of the ferociousness of his talent, that's a lament. For me, that's the pinnacle. I go back to David Mamet's Bambi vs. Godzilla: "Mike Nichols told me long ago that there is no such thing as a career—that if a person has done five great things over three decades of work he is indeed blessed." Brando was more than blessed; he blessed us.
New Yorker Quote of the Day - II
To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."
—David Sedaris in the June 27th New Yorker
New Yorker Quote of the Day - I
"Kristol was out there shaking the pom-poms."
—from Jane Mayer's article on how John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in the Oct. 27th New Yorker.
More precise, it's a piece on how she wound up on everyone's radar. Blame those National Review/Weekly Standard luxury cruises that stopped off in Juneau in 2007. "The Governor was more than happy to meet with these guys," her aide said, and they were more than happy to meet with her. Starbursts followed. William Kristol was particularly smitten, to the point where, in a Fox News discussion on possible VEEPs this June, Chris Wallace told Kristol, "Can we please get off Sarah Palin?" Others beat the drums, and some beat those drums right next to John McCain. I suppose the real money quote is near the end: "By the time he announced her as his choice, the next day, he had spent less than three hours in her company." Yikes.
British Quote of the Day
"Democracy and capitalism are the two great pillars of the American idea. To have rocked one of those pillars may be regarded as a misfortune. To have damaged the reputation of both, at home and abroad, is a pretty stunning achievement for an American president."
—Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the conservative mayor of London, channeling Oscar Wilde in his Daily Telegraph endorsement of Barack Obama for president of the United States.
Movie Quote of the Day
"Tonight we got Hayfield. Like all the other schools in this conference they're all white. They don't have to worry about race. We do. But we're better for it."
—Coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) in Remember the Titans. It's not a good movie — there are very dishonest parts — but these lines, part of the "big game" speech, resonate beyond the film. They articulate my hopes about our country. Other countries, in Asia, in Europe, haven't really been dealing with racial matters for as long as we have, and haven't gone as far as we have. And I like to think we're better for it.