Ex Libris. Miscellaneous quotations NOS (Not Otherwise Specified)

More useful things to quote:
    • White light for Wokies
    • What men are willing to put up with
    • IGO
    • A liberal is
    • Where woke (political correctness) came from
    • What secrets tell
    • Claude Levi-Strauss
    • Arnold Gehlen
    • Levinas, the word by way
    • Individuality and Society (UNESCO, "Impact of science on society", 31(4), 461-466)
    • Harper's magazine Open Letter
    • Clifford Stoll
    • Husserl's Plato
    • Rabelais on time
    • Milton Glaser
    • J. Robert Oppenheimer
    • Alcatraz
    • Truth speaks to power (Ben Ali; Tunesia)

No institution is more sacred than the individuals it serves. (Hugh Burns, Dominican priest, NPR Morning Edition, 25Jan02 06:30AM EST. Father Burns was referring to sexual abuse of children by relatives and priests.)

The Rich Are Different. They Know When To Leave. (Louis Uchitelle, "Exit Strategies", NYT Week in Review, 20Jan02, p.W1: "In a trend not only limited to Enron, top executives are walking away with money in their pockets while their employees have watched their savings disappear.")

I've been wondering lately what multiculturalism was.... I remember all the talk about overthrowing the 'dead white males' of the old canon and opening it up to the 'subaltern' and the 'displaced' and the 'other.'... [/] Meanwhile, disciplines that might once have sponsored in-depth study of other cultures -- political science, for example -- were taken over by scholars who eschewed fieldwork in favor of computer models and game theory.... [/] Multiculturalism may not have prodded us to study cultures fundamentally different from our own; the war on terrorism will have to. (Margaret Talbot, "Other Woes: Multiculturalism's triumph, tied to weak foreign-language skills, has deafened us to many of the world's dangers", NYT Magazine, 18Nov01, pp.23,24.)

There are good days,
and there bad days.
And this has been one of them.
(Lawrence Welk (1903-1992; bio), conductor of "The Champagne Music Makers" band/orchestra. Ref. lost.)

President Bush poked fun at perceptions that he is a little short of intelligence... as he made his first appearance in the Gridiron Club's 116th annual spoof Saturday night.... Bush [said]... he has been told that his lips 'are where words go to die.' ("Bush Gives His First Talk at Gridiron Club", 25Mar01, The New York Times on the Web (Associated Press, filed 4:43AM EST))

In the military, order and discipline are paramount, command authority absolute. At the same time, it has long been thought that the greatest strength of the American military is its empowerment of junior officers, sergeants, chiefs, even the enlisted troops, to speak their minds. [/] "We instill the mind-set that if we're about to go on the rocks, it doesn't matter if you're a boatswain's mate, you turn around and say, 'Yo, skipper, what the hell are you doing?' " a senior naval officer said. ("Sub's Crew May Have Hesitated to Question a Trusted Captain", by Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times on the Web, 12Mar01)

Because you could not come to me, I came to you. (Pope John XXIII, said concerning his visits to Italian prisons to give mass to the prisoners (heard on NPR Morning Edition radio program, 28Oct00).)

At age 100 Birnbaum remarked, "If I was only 90 again... the things I would do!' ("In Memory of Aaron Birnbaum 1895-1998", advertisement by K.S. Art, Winter 1998/99 "Folk Art" magazine, p.27.)

No one should expect an honest answer to a question which no one is entitled to ask.... In this instance, a lot of things matter more than the truth. (Matt Miller (Senior Writer, U.S. News and World Report), National Public Radio Morning Edition (31Jul98), "Halting the Lewinsky Madness".) See also: here.

"French fashion people... like their businessmen erudite and protective.... [Christian] Dior... put his talent in the service of his workers' skills with a humility that manifested itself whenever he encountered an employee, however lowly, in one of the house's corridors. Invariably, Dior would step aside to let the employee pass." (Holly Brubach, NYT Magazine (12Jul98, p.29, "And Luxury for All", an article about Bernard Arnault, who has bought up Dior and other producers of luxury items: "Arnault reportedly keeps walking, head down. He has not taken the time to get to know the people at Dior...." (p.29))

"So is there a beast wrestling with an angel in each of us? ....[My mother] affirmed her belief one day in 1940 as she ran desparately around Berlin wondering how she and I -- marked as Jews and also as Polish 'enemy aliens' in wartime -- might obtain a permit to escape from Nazi Germany at last. She came upon a commissioner of police who, though angered by her invasion of his office, nonetheless dared to close the door and whisper the name and location of the Gestapo chief to whom she should apply. As she thanked him and turned to leave, the commissioner suddenly asked, Where did you say you want to go?" [reply:] To America. [commissioner:] If you get there, will you tell them we're not all bad? To her last day, she did." (Max Frankel, NYT Book Review (28Jun98, p.7; review of: A Nation on Trial: The Goldenhagen Thesis and Historical Truth).)

"If someone has a pain in his hand ... one does not comfort the hand, but the sufferer: One looks into his face" ([Philosophical Investigations] §286)

In Poland... the very notion that Western-style capitalism will work in the eastern nation that embraced it perhaps most heartily is under attack.... [E]conomist... Krzysztof Bledowski... said... "There is an apropos graffiti[:] 'Free market, enslaved people' ....The mood has shifted. Capitalism is not seen by many people as a system for justice, growth, better times for kids and so on." (Ian Fisher, "As Poland Endures Hard Times, Capitalism Comes Under Attack", NYT, 12Jun02, p.A1 (emphasis added).)

...24-7... relies upon its agents to abide by an agreement they must keep secret, even from themselves[:]... we will so conduct ourselves that everything becomes an emergency. [/] Under that agreement, stress is how reality feels. (Thomas de Zengotita, "The Numbing of the American Mind", Harper's Magazine, April 2002, emphasis added (quoted in: NetFuture, Issue #131))

Look at the Taliban. Look at the Vatican. Now, look at the bonobo. Bonobos, or pygmy chimpanzees, live in the equatorial rain forests of Congo, and have an extraordinarily happy existence. And why? Because in bonobo society, the females are dominant. Just light dominance, so that it is more like a co-dominance, or equality between the sexes. "They are less obsessed with power and status than their chimpanzee cousins, and more consumed with Eros," The Times's Natalie Angier has written. "Bonobos use sex to appease, to bond, to make up after a fight, to ease tensions, to cement alliances...." The males were happy to give up a little dominance once they realized the deal they were being offered: all those aggressive female primates, after a busy day of dominating their jungle, were primed for sex, not for the withholding of it. There's no battle of the sexes in bonoboland. (Maureen Dowd, "The Baby Bust", The New York Times on the Web, 10Apr2002)

"We're not out to beat Interbrew," the big Belgian brewery that competes with the likes of Anheuser-Busch and Heineken for global dominance. "Quality has to be first -- quality in the product, and in the working conditions, in relations among people." (John Taglibue, "Monks' Brew Showers Blessings on Belgian Town", NYT, 15Jan03, p.A4)

A study conducted by two academics at Iowa State University has shown a remarkably high rate of "decay" for online citations. Michael Bugeja, professor of journalism and communication, and Daniela Dimitrova, assistant professor of communication, looked at five prestigious communication-studies journals from 2000 to 2003 and found 1,126 footnotes that cite online resources. Of those, 373 did not work at all, a decay rate of 33 percent; of those that worked, only 424 took users to information relevant to the citation. In one of the journals in the study, 167 of 265 citations did not work.... Anthony T. Grafton, a professor of history at Princeton University and author of a book on footnotes, agreed that citation decay is a real and growing problem, describing the situation as "a world in which documentation and verification melt into air." ("STUDY SHOWS ONLINE CITATIONS DON'T AGE WELL", Chronicle of Higher Education, 14 March 2005, abstracted in Edupage, 14Mar05)

Mireille Guiliano... C.E.O. of Clicquot Inc. and a director of Champagne Veuve Clicquot... knows [Americans] eat too fast in front of the TV or with newspaper in hand, while French women make a ritual out of every meal. She knows we eat portions that are too big and food that is too bland. French women, on the other hand, stress flavor and variety over quantity and, therefore, are more satisfied with less. (Bland food and too much of one kind, a big bowl of pasta for example, breeds boredom, which leads you to alleviate it by eating more.) She knows our tendency to gorge ourselves on Snickers bars rather than savoring a single piece of fine dark chocolate. French women eat slowly and 'with all five senses.'... And then there is the fact that while close to two-thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight, French women really don't get fat. The reason behind that most enviable difference, says Guiliano, is that "French women take pleasure in staying thin by eating well, while American women see it as a conflict and obsess over it." Put another way, "French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat.".... (Julia Reed, "'French Women Don't Get Fat': Like Champagne for Chocolate", NYT Book Review, 06Feb05, pp.12-13)

All trash to recycling!CARVILLE: Can we agree that masturbation does not cause pregnancy, just -- it's simple enough. Yes or no?
[GENEVIEVE] WOOD[, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL]: I'm not going to debate that thing -- no, I'm not talking going to talk -- that's not what this is about.
CARVILLE: Well, can you...
WOOD: That's not what this is about. What this is about is a political agenda.
(CNN CROSSFIRE, "Sex Talk in Schools", Aired December 2, 2004 - 16:30 ET)[1]

[After a professor told his class some idea he believed that is not generally acceptable to say: A]cademic freedom has nothing to do with content. It is not a subset of the general freedom of Americans to say anything they like (so long as it is not an incitement to violence or is treasonous or libelous). Rather, academic freedom is the freedom of academics to study anything they like.... / [T]he number of viewpoints Mr. Barrett presents to his students is not the measure of his responsibility. There is, in fact, no academic requirement to include more than one view of an academic issue, although it is usually pedagogically useful to do so. The true requirement is that no matter how many (or few) views are presented to the students, they should be offered as objects of analysis rather than as candidates for allegiance. (Stanley Fish, Prof. of Law, Florida International Univ., "Conspiracy Theories 101", Op-Ed Piece, NYT, 23Jul06, p.WK13)Go get plain text copy of this text!
See also: "Harper's Magazine letter on justice and open debate.

An Amazon executive was confronting his new role as a buyer of large appliances, like dishwashers, after several years as a book buyer. "We had beaten publishers into submission," the executive said, noting giddily that when "Amazon asked for a nickel, publishers know to give a dime.... We aren't there yet with the Whirlpools and the Samsungs," he added. "We'll get them under our thumb." (Greg Bensinger, "A Final Word Before Mr. Bezos Blasts Off", NYT OpEd, +2021.06.27)

Well now, of course, we know that the superior mind does not learn by comparison, it learns by analysis. The inferior mind will learn by comparing this to that, which is how I guess we got to the old saying that "comparisons are odious." They're not enlightening, they're odious, because you don't get to the truth of anything that way; you simply slip around on the surface. But here, if you get the habit of analysis, and you study a thing for its nature, then come to a decision -- that's enlightenment, not conditioning. The conditioned mind will learn by comparison. The enlightened mind will learn by analysis. (Frank Lloyd Wright)

The story of the Boeing 737 Max would end up exposing corporate deception and a broken regulatory process. But at the center was a software system supposed to keep people safe but instead led to their deaths. (PBS Frontline, "Boeing's Fatal Flaw". The 737 Max Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) problem)

"'As much as I love my job, I'm realizing that it's not worth my life,' [Cutter Ray Palacios, a low-paid worker in th film industry] said. 'It's unhealthy when your whole life is tied to a waged job. You don't realize how bad that is until it's too late.'" ("The Film Industry Wants to Keep the Status Quo? Then Shut It Down.", NYT, +2021.10.08)

"Yes, I had read John Wild's essays back in the early 1960s, found them interesting, but also found them oversimplifying. Wild, however, had the great merit of encouraging and promoting interest in the phenomenological classics and in this way helped bring about the emergence of a whole new dimension for the Anglo-American philosophic world." (Prof. R.B., personal email, Dec04; R.B. must be Ronald Bruzina)

Parole hearings create a terrible Catch-22 for wrongfully convicted people. If they admit guilt, they can undermine any attempt to overturn their conviction. If they continue to assert their innocence, they can doom their best chance at freedom -- parole -- because parole applications effectively require statements of remorse. (NYT, "The Morning", +2021.12.06)

As Peter Robison demonstrates in "Flying Blind: The 737 Max Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing" ultimate blame for the crashes lies with the highly paid executives who waged a decades-long campaign to transform Boeing from a company "once ruled by engineers who thumbed their noses at Wall Street" into "one of the most shareholder-friendly creatures of the market," a company that "celebrated managers for cost cutting, co-opted regulators with heaps of money and pressured suppliers with Walmart-style tactics." ("The Crash of Two Airplanes and the Crisis at Boeing", NYT, +2021.12.01, David Gelles)

"So I want to say first of all this as a principle: A historic period needs to be interpreted with the hermeneutic of that epoch, not with that of ours. For example, take the case of slavery: We say the abuses of 100 years ago were a brutality, but the way they understood it then was not the same as today.... We must always interpret things with the hermeneutic of that time, not ours." ("Pope Francis:'I accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Paris not on the altar of truth but on the altar of hypocrisy'", +2021.12.06, America: The Jesuit Review, Gerard O'Connell)

All known cultures have in one way or another depersonalized as well as personalized, so that no human culture has been worth preerving the way it was -- although all have been worth improving. (Walter Ong, "Fighting for life", p. 201, Note the implicit value judgment here: that a person has velue as an individual, not only as a member of a group, a worker bee in a hive.)

Behind every joke is a grievance. The funny man is a man with a grudge. (Marshall McLuhan)

"Food for powder" (Shakespeare's Falstaff)

"Naturally, the common people don't want war ... but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." (Hermann Göring, at the Nuremberg trials)Go get plain text copy of this text!

THINK about computersMy virtual reality experiment: I was driving up a 6 lane superhighway early one August afternoon in clear bright sunlight at about 65 miles per hour in my clunky Toyota Corolla DX, with no other cars on the road. I decided to look intently at the little image in the car's rear view mirror -- no high tech apparatus. I really really really really intently focused all my attention on that little image! It was entirely convincing. That "little" image became my whole experienced reality: I was driving where I had been, not where the automobile was going. Fortunately I "snapped out of it" in time to avoid becoming a one car crash in the ditch on the right side of the road. (It was a very good place to have conducted this experiment, because there was a police barracks, a teaching hospital, and both Christian and Jewish cemeteries nearby, just in case.) You may try to repeat my virtual reality experiment at your own risk; I strongly advise you against doing so. I assure you: It worked. (Of course it will not work if you don't "give in to it", just like a video game won't work if you just look at the pixels as what some computer programmer coded up with branching instructions depending on what inputs you enter.) Moral of this story: VIRTUAL REALITY CAN KILL YOU. Forewarned is forearmed. (BMcC[18-11-46-503])Go get plain text copy of this text!

[Concerning sexual abuse allegations against New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo:] The question of the generation gap re-emerges: "I'm old, which doesn't make me tolerant of abuse of women, whether in the home or the workplace, far from it. But women my age distinguished -- and I still do -- between the Trumps, Kavanaughs, Weinsteins, Cosbys and the millions of males flirting or leering .... Until someone proves that Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually assaulted a woman or made sex the price of a hire, I see the cries for impeachment or resignation as ridiculous. (Emita Hill, former vice president of Lehman College, CUNY; NYT, +2021.03.17)

What having baby can do to a woman's body.

After the balloon deflates...

I expect to be skewered on a stick for posting this comment, but here it goes. I never wanted children for a lot of reasons, never had them, and never regretted my decision for one minute and I'm decades past menopause. When I was a teenager, I saw my mother's pendulous breasts, flabby belly and my grandmother's prolapsed uterus, quickly figured out the reason, and decided I wanted no part of that. Humans are in no danger of dying out. There will always be women who, for some unfathomable reason, lust after the idea of getting pregnant and giving birth -- I'm just not one of them. And if humanity doesn't succeed in doing self in, within a few decades the artificial womb will have been perfected, and articles like this one will be a historical curiosity and a moot point. (Letter to the Editor, NYT, "Opinion: After Birth: How Motherhood Changed My Relationship With My Body", +2019.01.19)Go get plain text copy of this text!

There is a long-standing conflict between scientists, who see themselves as citizens of a cosmopolitan republic of unrestricted inquiry, and the state, which is likelier to assign a property value to knowledge. Benjamin Franklin held that "science must be an international pursuit'" in service of the "improvement of humanity's estate." ("Reporter at large: Dangerous Minds", Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, +2022.03.21, p.&bsp;44)

Cavalier witnesses of online shaming have been known to recommend that their targets "just log off" and resume existence IRL. But logging off --- and returning to the sphere in which people are apt to forgive one another for venal offenses --- is no longer an option. Reality is less real than the Internet, where jobs are lost and lives are ruined in a few clicks. There is no "off" left. ("Hang your head: Why shaming became a national pastime", Becca Rothfeld, The New Yorker, +2022.03.28, p. 83. Reminds me of: "The Activist")


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  1. "SHORT TAKE The church can help prevent sexual violence—by doing a better job teaching about sex Far from encouraging sexual activity, the right kind of sex education can teach children that they have the agency to say "no." Parishes and faith-based groups are ideal for delivering this message." (From American Media, The Jesuit Review) But shouldn't young persons also be taught to seek out situations where thay can healthily say "Yes"? What are the benefits of privation?

BMcC signature seal stamp. Modelled on 18th century messenger's letter box in collection of Suntory Museum, Tokyo. Japanese write poems and prayers on slips of paper which they tie into knots like this shape although with longer legs. Prayers are often tied to branches of trees which can look like they are covered with snow. "Symbol of a symbol, image of an image, emerging from the destiny that is sinking into darkness...." (H. Broch, "The Sleepwalkers", p.648) Always remember. Add value. (This image created not later than 21 May 2003)Invenit et fecit

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2022-05-17 08:38:26