David Byrne on Love – Believer Magazine

“Love, it seems to me, is a joyous self-deception, practiced by two
people at the same time. No one is as wonderful as the object of one’s love appears to be, and yet who among us would trade that illusion for the truth? Being an illusion, it is not real, but despite not being something we can see or touch, feelings are as real as any physical object. So in that sense, love is absolutely real. Real and not real at the same time. Like some kind of quantum physics puzzle, it binds the universe.”

—David Byrne, “David Byrne in Conversation with David Byrne.” The Believer. August 1, 2019.

The Work of the Three Minds

“We have three minds, I reckon, one of which is the body, while the other two are forms of mentation: daylight consciousness and dreaming consciousness. If one of these is absent from a work, it isn’t complete; and if one or two of them are suppressed, kept out of sight, then the whole thing — whatever it is you’ve created — is in bad faith. Thinking in a fusion of our three minds is how humans do naturally think, at any level above the trivial. The questions to ask of any creation are: What’s the dream dimension in this? How good is the forebrain thinking, but also how good is the dream here? Where’s the dance in it, and how good is that? How well integrated are all three; or if there is dissonance, is that productive? And, finally, what larger poem is this one in? Who or what does it honor? Who does it want to kill?”

—Les Murray, “Les Murray, The Art of Poetry No. 89.The Paris Review. Spring 2005, quoted in Alan Jacobs, “The Work of Three Minds.” Snakes & Ladders. June 28, 2019.

Chomsky Explains U.S. Politics on Democracy Now!

“Republicans face a difficult problem. They have a primary constituency, a real constituency: extreme wealth and corporate power. That’s who they have to serve. That’s their constituency. You can’t get votes that way, so you have to do something else to get votes. What do you do to get votes? This was begun by Richard Nixon with the Southern strategy: try to pick up racists in the South. The mid-1970s, Paul Weyrich, one of the Republican strategists, hit on a brilliant idea. Northern Catholics voted Democratic, tended to vote Democratic, a lot of them working-class. The Republicans could pick up that vote by pretending—crucially, “pretending”—to be opposed to abortion. By the same pretense, they could pick up the evangelical vote. Those are big votes—evangelicals, northern Catholics. Notice the word “pretense.” It’s crucial. You go back to the 1960s, every leading Republican figure was strongly, what we call now, pro-choice. The Republican Party position was—that’s Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, all the leadership—their position was: Abortion is not the government’s business; it’s private business—government has nothing to say about it. They turned almost on a dime in order to try to pick up a voting base on what are called cultural issues. Same with gun rights. Gun rights become a matter of holy writ because you can pick up part of the population that way. In fact, what they’ve done is put together a coalition of voters based on issues that are basically, you know, tolerable to the establishment, but they don’t like it. OK? And they’ve got to hold that, those two constituencies, together. The real constituency of wealth and corporate power, they’re taken care of by the actual legislation.”

—Noam Chomsky in an interview with Amy Goodman, “Chomsky: By Focusing on Russia, Democrats Handed Trump a ‘Huge Gift’ & Possibly the 2020 Election.” Democracy Now. April 18, 2019.

Of course, the Democratic Party has the same constituency, the wealthy and corporate power but focused on removing inefficiencies that come from discrimination, i.e., racism and sexism reduce the pool of workers and ameliorating the worst problems of late-stage capitalism.

Emily Wilson on Translations and Language – Conversations with Tyler

“I think Homer is psychologically truthful and ethically helpful. The whole question about, ‘Is it literature’s job or poetry’s job to train a politician?’ — I’m not sure that’s quite the right way to see it. By inhabiting worldviews which aren’t our own, we can grow in some way, which doesn’t necessarily have to be, ‘I agree with x, y, z political gnomon that’s articulated in this line or that line of Homer.’…

I think we should stop selling classics as, ‘These are the societies that formed modern America, or that formed the Western canon’— which is a really bogus kind of argument — and instead start saying, ‘We should learn about ancient societies because they’re different from modern societies.’ That means that we can learn things by learning about alterity. We can learn about what would it be to be just as human as we are, and yet be living in a very, very different society…

…So I’m interested in whether all educators are somehow in that double bind of ‘Am I actually helping you find something out, or am I imposing my own vision on you?'”

—Emily Wilson in at interview with Tyler Cowen, “Emily Wilson on Translations and Language.” Conversations With Tyler. March 27, 2019

Emily Wilson is a treasure.

The Great Lost John Malkovich Interview

“I remember once doing some auditions with an actress, and I remember her telling me, sort of during the audition, when the director had stepped out for a minute, her reaction to having watched a film I was in [Dangerous Liaisons], which she passed in the ladies’ room three times during the film, and I thought, ‘Wait, what?’ She had gone to masturbate. All I could think was, ‘Thanks for sharing.'”

—John Malkovich in on interview with Erik Hedegaard, “The Great Lost John Malkovich Interview.” Rolling Stone. April 2, 2019.

Why do people want to be famous? Although, I guess this kind of situation could happen to anyone.

Also, try imagining this scenario from different identities. How does the dynamic change if the woman is a gay man? Or the genders switch?

Or what about slightly different situations, like a wife sharing a fantasy with her spouse? Is it only weird because she’s saying it to John Malkovich?

Such a weird little detail.

The Personal Isn’t For Mass Consumption

“Divorce is hard. Love is hard. All those things were so personal. They weren’t for mass consumption. The complexity of a life or a marriage is never going to exist in a headline or a tabloid.”

—Meg Ryan interviewed by David Marchese, “Meg Ryan on romantic comedies, celebrity and leaving it all behind: ‘The feeling with Hollywood was mutual.’The New York Times. February 15, 2019.

The parallels of social media making the problems of fame something everyone experiences now is an interesting connection Meg Ryan makes during the course of this interview.