Quote of the Day posts

Friday December 30, 2022

What Becomes an Artist Most

“An artist has got to be careful never to really arrive at a place where he thinks he's at somewhere. You always have to realize that you're constantly in a state of becoming, and as long as you can stay in that realm, you'd sort of be all right.”

-- Bob Dylan, “No Direction Home.” Did any artist do a better job of this—of sticking with not-sticking—than Dylan? He pissed off his entire fan base for not remaining what they wanted him to be. There's supposed to be an entire movie about it, “Going Electric,” directed by James Mangold, starring Timothée Chalamet. If it's made, I hope this is the kind of thing they tap into. 

Posted at 09:43 AM on Friday December 30, 2022 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Friday November 25, 2022

Quote for the Day

“Being judged by your ability to self-promote is a time-honored American mistake.”

-- Greg LaVallee, “You Can't Code Your Way Out of the Culture Problem,” Slate. LaVallee, the VP of tech at Slate, is reacting to Elon Musk's demand that Twitter employees who “actually write software”  send him “a bullet point summary of what your code commits have achieved in the past ~6 months, along with up to 10 screenshots of the most salient lines of code.” LaVallee goes into why this is idiotic and a waste of time—code tends to be written by teams, it has its own story, and Twitter has a culture problem not a code problem—but the above gets at the heart of it. For all American business. 

Posted at 03:24 PM on Friday November 25, 2022 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Tuesday June 28, 2022

Twitter Needs More Mr. Spectors

“When I was a boy, I had a religious-school teacher named Mr. Spector, whose job was to confront us with the peril we presented to ourselves. ... He seemed to take our moral failings for granted and, perhaps as a result, favored lively argument over reproach or condemnation.”

-- from Michael Chabon's essay “Secret Skin,” from 2008, on The New Yorker site

Posted at 08:09 AM on Tuesday June 28, 2022 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Wednesday June 22, 2022

Quote of the Day

I like that Ostlund could be talking about himself. At the least, with films like “Force Majeure,” “The Square” and I assume “Triangle of Sadness,” he's not interested in pleasing the audience. He's not interested in giving us a wish fulfillment fantasy—a vision of ourselves as younger and braver and humble and free, as Joe Henry sang. He's the opposite of that. And that of course makes him very interesting.

Posted at 09:31 AM on Wednesday June 22, 2022 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Friday June 10, 2022

Quote of the Year

“Tonight I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”

-- Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), during the opening night of the Jan. 6 hearings. The New York Times includes 5 Takeaways but the biggest one for me was how formidable Cheney is, and how expertly she laid out everything. Her tone was exactly right. Her storytelling was exactly right. We agree on almost nothing politically but we agree on Jan. 6 and Trump and the GOP's cowardice and culpability; and, save climate change, that's still the biggest issue today. It's still the gravest threat to American democracy.

ADDENDUM: Good stuff from James Fallows

Posted at 07:32 AM on Friday June 10, 2022 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Thursday May 26, 2022


“Life eventually humbles us all. What I love about experts, the best of them anyway, is that they get to their humility early. They have to. It's part of who they are. It's necessary for what they're doing. They set out to get to the bottom of something that has no bottom. And so they're reminded, constantly, of what they don't know. They move through the world focused not on what they know, but on what they might find out.” 

-- Michael Lewis, “Against the Rules” podcast, Season 3, Episode 7, “The Person Who Knows.” This season focused on experts and the whole thing is worth listening to. This particularly episode, dealing with pandemic response generally and our fucked-up Covid response in particular, was infuriating—having to listen again to those who spread misinformation and never bothered to correct matters; who never offered up even one small mea culpa for all the damage they did.

Posted at 08:20 AM on Thursday May 26, 2022 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Sunday March 06, 2022

Quote of the Day

“My life today is wonderful. I believe that I am needed. ... That's the most important sense of life—that you are needed, that you are not just an emptiness that breathes and walks and eats something.”

— Pres. Volodymyr Zelensky, via translator, March 3, when asked about his living conditions a week into the attack of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's Russia. David Remnick weighs in as well. 

Posted at 03:12 PM on Sunday March 06, 2022 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Tuesday January 18, 2022

Quote of the Day

“We are better off in a very big way now. Trump is not president. We don't have to react to his fucking insanity every goddamned hour of every goddamned day. That guy kicked the doors into people's brains, right and left, all around. Had a different effect on each. Some people, who never knew what the president did, and still don't, or don't have a firm understanding of how government even works, just let that guy into their brain and fucking kick it around and get them all excited. What Trump did ... through persistence, and aggravated will, and full-on narcissistic intent, was destroy people's understanding of the necessity of tolerance. Democracy can't work without tolerance. Civic duty, civic responsibility, civic structure—if this is supposed to work it's supposed to work for everybody. Now it's a fractured fucking mess. Because no one feels like they have to tolerate anything anymore. ...

”Personally, I'm fine with [President Biden]. I like not knowing what the president is doing every five fucking minutes. But this fucking monster we had for four years was so entertaining to so many craven idiots, they just got excited. They felt part of it. 'Hey, let's be part of the Big Fuck You. And now let's be part of the Big Lie. Hey, we were on board for the Big Fuck You, let's be on board for this bullshit.'"

-- Marc Maron, WTF Podcast, Jan. 6, 2022, on the one-year anniversary

Posted at 02:54 PM on Tuesday January 18, 2022 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Saturday December 18, 2021

JF Christie

“The night before the election, [Chris Christie] assured a Canadian interviewer that Trump and Biden were 'both responsible men' and that, should Biden win, there was 'no question in my mind that President Trump will participate in a peaceful transition of power.' Rather than admitting that he was wrong all along about Trump, he touts his own bravery when he tells George Stephanopoulos, on ABC, that 'I disagree' with Trump's seditious course. This is rather like disagreeing with the assault on Fort Sumter.”

-- David Remnick, in The New Yorker, reviewing Christie's new book, “Republican Rescue,” which is all about a path forward for the Republican party. Remnick calls it “MAGA Lite”: Continue to talk positively about Trump so as not to lose the Trumpites, the majority of the party now, talk about “election integrity” without owning up to Jan. 6, and then bring up socialism or Critical Race Theory or the meme of the moment when it comes to the Democrats. Basically go cynical and opportunistic and hope the middle American ground doesn't notice, as it tends not to, particularly during midyear elections. Which are just 11 months away.

Posted at 01:06 PM on Saturday December 18, 2021 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Monday October 04, 2021

Quote of the Day

“Coverage of the Democrats' efforts to craft a reconciliation bill has been relentlessly superficial. Reporting from inside the Beltway resembles campaign horse-race journalism, with an unwavering focus on minute-by-minute assessments of who's up and who's down. ... At times, it almost seems as if reporters are uncomfortable with the messy give-and-take of legislation and negotiation — preferring instead a cleaner, more autocratic style, in which a few highly-placed people snap their fingers and things get done in lockstep.”

-- Joe Ferullo, “Journalism has 'comforted the comfortable' for too long now,” in The Hill. Great article. Agree with so much of it. In this process, the messiness of the give-and take of democracy is dinged. I'd love for the Democrats to finally agree on an infrastructure bill, but at least they're having a discussion about what we value, how fair is society, and the role of the federal government in all of that. The Republicans are just a bunch of dicks dicking around. Useless.

Posted at 01:55 PM on Monday October 04, 2021 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Friday September 10, 2021

Quote of the Pandemic

“My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We've made vaccinations free, safe, and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot.

We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing. But just don't take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, 'If only I had gotten vaccinated. If only.' It's a tragedy. Please don't let it become yours.“

-- Pres. Joe Biden, announcing new federal regulations to combat the COVID pandemic, including requiring private-sector businesses with more than 100 employees to ensure that all of their employees are vaccinated or test negative once a week. He also called the Delta strain ”a pandemic of the unvaccinated,“ which is true, and admonished elected officials (Republicans, all, let's face it) who actively work ”to undermine the fight against COVID-19. Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they're ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in their communities. This is totally unacceptable." It's a disgrace is what it is. But I'm so thankful they're moving in this direction and I could give a flying fuck about the mewling from the worst of the GOP, who are letting people die because it's politicially convenient for them.

Posted at 09:59 AM on Friday September 10, 2021 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Monday August 23, 2021

Quote of the Day

“You're basically trying to create a new country in a country that's been around for centuries. ... If we're not planning to stay forever, why do we think Afghans will side with us or the government they know we're paying for? Whenever we leave, it's going to fall apart.”

-- Spc. Joshua Duren, to reporter Martin Kuz, in Logar province, Afghanistan, 2011, as remembered in Kuz's article “Looking back at Afghanistan as the past returns,” in The Christian Science Monitor. The feel is that throughout our attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan, everyone on the ground knew what the brass wouldn't say: It wasn't working. Kuz also reminds us that the Taliban offered to surrender in December 2001, but Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld rejected the offer. Add that to his list. 

Posted at 01:19 PM on Monday August 23, 2021 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Monday August 16, 2021

Quote of the Day

“The expression 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' actually isn't usually true for human beings. It is for bacteria, however.”

-- Michael Lewis, “The Premonition,” his new book about how America was best-prepared to handle a worldwide pandemic and how we botched it worse than anyone. It's mostly about the amazing people who saw what was coming and were willing to make the hard decisions to save lives; who was listened to, who wasn't, and why. The book was published before the delta variant became too much of a thing, but this line anticipates it. In mid-June we were averaging 79k cases a week in the U.S., down from our high of 1.7 million cases a week in mid-January. We're now back up to nearly a million cases a week. 

Posted at 07:34 AM on Monday August 16, 2021 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Tuesday August 03, 2021

Quote of the Day

“Florida is in the grip of a Covid surge worse than it experienced before the vaccines. More than 10,000 Floridians are hospitalized, around 10 times the number in New York, which has about as many residents; an average of 58 Florida residents are dying each day, compared with six in New York. And the Florida hospital system is under extreme stress.

”There's no mystery about why this has happened. At every stage of the pandemic DeSantis has effectively acted as an ally of the coronavirus, for example by issuing orders blocking businesses from requiring that their patrons show proof of vaccination and schools from requiring masks. More generally, he has helped create a state of mind in which vaccine skepticism flourishes and refusal to take precautions is normalized.“

-- Paul Krugman, ”'Freedom,' Florida and the Delta Variant Disaster," in The New York Times

Posted at 03:40 PM on Tuesday August 03, 2021 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  

Friday July 16, 2021

Quotes of the Day

“Monday's virtual proceedings did not bode well for Team Kraken. U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker expressed skepticism bordering on dismay about some of the evidence and experts from the original case [challenging the legitimacy of the 2020 election]. 'I don't think I've ever seen an affidavit that has made so many leaps,' she marveled at one point. 'How could any of you as officers of the court present this affidavit?'

”Generally speaking, it's not a good sign when a judge is characterizing one's evidence in terms such as 'fantastical,' 'speculative,' 'bad faith,' 'obviously questionable' and 'layers of hearsay.' Judge Parker brushed back Ms. [Sidney] Powell's assertion that the complaint's 960 pages of affidavits proved 'due diligence,' countering, 'Volume, certainly for this court, doesn't equate with legitimacy or veracity.'

-- from Trump's 'Team Kraken' Lands in Hot Water' by Michelle Cottle in The New York Times

Posted at 11:46 AM on Friday July 16, 2021 in category Quote of the Day   |   Permalink  
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