Saturday, January 27, 2024

Winner, best follow-up question, perhaps ever:

LUCE IRIGARAY: ...what a feminine syntax might be is not simple nor easy to state, because in that "syntax" there would no longer be either subject or object, "oneness" would no longer be privileged, there would no longer be proper meanings, proper names, "proper" attributes... instead, that "syntax" would involve nearness, proximity, but in such an extreme form that it would preclude any distinction of identities, any establishment of ownership, thus any form of appropriation.

Q: Can you give some examples of that syntax?

-This Sex Which Is Not One, pg.134

Friday, June 2, 2023

Where is that Netflix show?

 Kierkegaard was a Danish pastor, a great admirer of Hegel. Suddenly he declared war on him, in one of culture's most dramatic moments.

 —  A Guide to Philosophy in six hours and fifteen minutes by Witold Gombrowicz, pg. 46

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Forecast: stay inside

The harsh sobbing air dries the membranes of throats and noses... Clouds of dried blood walk the streets like prophecies.

-Lawrence Durrell, describing dust storm season in Alexandria, Egypt in Justine

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

You didn't read that in Freud

 “the lapel is a gentleman’s expression of vulva-envy.”

-Lisa Robertson, The Bauderline Fractal, pg 1??

Hegel 0, The Planets 1

I like Hegel, really. I like him even in all his moments of madness that you mentioned. He even tried to deduce the exact number of planets as an attribute of the absolute. That was a big risk, which was immediately rewarded by the discovery of another planet [Uranus].

-Alain Badiou, in German Philosophy: A Dialogue, pg. 23 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Child philosophy...


Do you think that animals have a soul? Andrée asked. If they don't, that's just too unfair! They're just as unhappy as people are. And they don't understand why. It's worse when you don't understand.
Inseparable, Simone de Beauvoir, pg. 35

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Revenge for the smiles

Sydney's eyes went over Tessa's shoulder, fixing the doorway; Tessa's little smiles at her withered unnoticed.

"Hasn't Mrs. Kerr come in yet?" said Tessa at last, her penetration innocently revenging the death of the smiles.

— The Hotel, Elizabeth Bowen, pg. 24

National lunch struggles

Miss Pym [who had been crying] looked diffidently at the waiter. She had cut herself off from the omelette, so he shrugged his shoulders and brought her up a plate of macaroni from the servants' lunch. This the bruised creature pitifully but with evidence of hunger began to eat; the traditional British struggle with macaroni brought her down sharply from tragedy to farce.

—The Hotel, Elizabeth Bowen, pg. 26

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Questions while stranded at sea

 Why are people named after flowers and not fruits? There is nobody named Strawberry [Fresa] or Raspberry [Frambuesa] or Apricot [Albaricoque], which are lovelier than Lily [Liria].

What is falling in love, anyway? Letting go of disgust, of fear, letting go of everything.

Flying fish remind me of butterflies in flight.

What is magical about the sea is that living deep inside it no one can speak.

—The Promise, by Silvina Ocampo, pg. 32

Friday, January 28, 2022

So cheesy it should be served with crackers...

 Soon, just as a wind moist with rain loosens, detaches, scatters, rots the most fragrant flowers, the sorrow of sensing the loss of her friend drowned all these voluptuous thoughts beneath a wave of tears. The face of our souls changes as often as the face of the sky. Our poor lives drift at whim between the currents of a voluptuousness where they dare not stay and the harbour of virtue that they don't have the strength to reach.

— The Mysterious Correspondent, Marcel Proust, pg. 51

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Changing moods of the artist's pet...

 The ocelot seems more nervous than on the previous day. 

—Alain Bosquet, Conversations with Dali, pg. 11

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Voltaire 1, Rousseau 0

Voltaire started the rumour that Rousseau suffered from venereal disease.

— Julian Barnes' footnote in In the Land of Pain by Alphonse Daudet, pg. 39

Thursday, August 29, 2019

i.e., he was balding

...and on his broad, insolent temples the first white hairs were visible, announcing the imminent arrival of the barbarians, and the end of the Empire.

Don Juan's Crowning Love-Affair by Jules Barbey D'Aurevilly

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Personal Solar System...

For instance, choosing my big leather armchair as the main celestial body, having around it and at a distance of fifty centimeters in east-west position a wooden table (originally, a carpenter's bench and strongly imbued with artisanal emotions); behind the armchair, at a distance of two and a half meters, the skull of a crocodile; to the left of the armchair, among other objects, a pipe inlaid with fake diamonds, and to the right, at a distance of three meters, a green earthenware pitcher; I have a solar system (I won't go into a detailed description of the whole, it would be too long), which I can move at will, knowing beforehand the effects I can generate, though at times the unpredictable is generated, provoked by the rapid trajectory of an unexpected meteor across my established order. The meteor is none other than my cat...

— Letters, Dreams & Other Writings by Remedios Varo, pg. 24

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Problem child...

I did a quick eenie-meenie with my chin and the words inside my head so no one would know. I landed on 'sit with the chair between us,' then knew I didn't want that, so I sat down next to her and asked why she [was being sent to principal's office.] She said she was there for talking in Spanish.
I said, that's racist.
June said, Spanish. Class.
— The Instructions, by Adam Levin, pg. 19

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Homunculus Rex

“I once had a toy, a little wooden man in a blue coat who was moved by strings. When I played with him, I made him walk and bow, and spoke for him. I practiced until I thought myself very clever. One day I saw my mother holding the two sticks that held his strings, and my little man saluting my youngest sister much more cleverly than I could have made him do it, and laughing with his head thrown back, then mourning with his face in his hands. I never spoke of it to my  mother, but I was angry and ashamed.
— On Blue's Waters by Gene Wolfe, pg. 158

Thursday, January 24, 2019

What Ray Monk didn't tell us about Wittgenstein...

When people are about to die, all they want to do is fuck. People in jails and hospitals, all they want to do is fuck. The helpless, the impotent, the castrated, all they want to do is fuck. The seriously injured, the suicidal, the impenitent disciples of Heidegger. Even Wittgenstein, the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century, all he wanted to do was fuck. Even the dead, I read somewhere, all they want to do is fuck. Sad to say and hard to admit, but that's the way it is.

— Illness + Illness = Illness in The Insufferable Gaucho by Roberto Bolaño

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Don't let Helmholtz catch you crying...

   “Sound is vibration. Trembling ought to make a noise. How come I can't hear it?

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, pg. 95, Clarence Brown translation

Monday, June 4, 2018

Favorite book?

CHARLOTTE: Have you got a favorite book?
HENRY: Finnegans Wake.
CHARLOTTE: Have you read it?
HENRY: Don't be silly.

— The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Man vs. Ocean

Man says: “I am more intelligent than the ocean. That is possible, even more or less true. But the ocean inspires more dread in him than he in the ocean.

— Les Chants de Maldoror, by the Comte de Lautrémont, pg. 22

Not a fan of California pizza...

Praire worked at the Bodhi Dharma Pizza Temple, which a little smugly offered the most wholesome, not to mention the slowest, fast food in the region, a classic example of the California pizza concept at its most misguided. Zoyd was both a certified pizzamaniac and a cheapskate, but not once had he ever hustled Prarie for one nepotistic slice of the Bodhi Dharma product. Its sauce was all but crunchy with fistfuls of herbs only marginally Italian and more appropriate in a cough remedy, the rennnetless cheese reminded customers variously of bottled hollandaise or joint compound, and the options were all vegetables rigorously organic, whose high water content saturated, long before it baked through, a stone-ground twelve-grain crust with the lightness and digestibility of a manhole cover.

— Vineland, by Thomas Pynchon, pg. 45 

Sunday, September 24, 2017


– Bad Machinery: The Case of the Lonely One by John Allison, pg. 110

Sunday, September 17, 2017

If power were horses...

   Stupid things they say: If it were in my power, I would never permit this or that.
   It's possible, if the power was given to you now, miraculously. But if you'd grown up enclosed in your power, slave of your power, you'd be on the side of the ones who do the beating.

— Diary of Andrés Fava, by Julio Cortázar, pg. 46

Critical reading

One afternoon I was reading The Brothers Karamazov, and idly wondering which brother I'd like to fuck, Dimitri or Ivan, when the phone rang.

— Conversations with Stalin, by Elanor Antin, pg. 111


And if we live, we live to tread on kings.

— Henry IV, Part I by Shakespeare