“Perché veramente ogni errore umano, poetico, spirituale, non è, in essenza, se non disattenzione. Chiedere a un uomo di non distrarsi mai, di sottrarre senza riposo all’equivoco dell’immaginazione, alla pigrizia dell’abitudine, all’ipnosi del costume, la facoltà di attenzione, è chiedergli di attuare la sua massima forma. È chiedergli qualcosa di molto prossimo alla santità in un tempo che sembra perseguire soltanto, con cieca furia e agghiacciante successo, il divorzio totale della mente umana dalla propria facoltà di attenzione.”—Cristina Campo, “Attenzione e poesia”, ne Gli imperdonabili [via Paolo Nori]
“I don’t know anything about my story when I start. I just grope along without the faintest idea about where I’m going or what the story is going to be about. […] If I figure it all out ahead of time, I don’t feel like telling it anymore.”—Michael Chabon [via explore-blog]
THE PRIME MINISTER:I mean, why should we bug Hugh Halifax’s telephone? I mean, one of my own administration. Don’t know where they got such a daft idea. Sheer paranoia
SIR HUMPHREY APPLEBY:Yes, the only thing is…
PM:I mean, why should we listen in to MPs? Boring, stupid ignorant windbags, I do my best not to listen to them. He’s only a PPS. I have enough trouble finding out what’s going on at the Ministry of Defence, what could he know?
SIR HUMPHREY:So I gather you denied that Mr Halifax’s phone had been bugged.
PM:Well, obviously. It was the one question today to which I could give a clear, simple, straightforward, honest answer.
SIR HUMPHREY:Yes. Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated is such as to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.
PM:Epistemological? What are you talking about?
SIR HUMPHREY:You told a lie.
. . .
PM:But it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t know he was being bugged.
BERNARD WOOLEY:Prime Minister, you are deemed to have known. You are ultimately responsible.
PM:Why wasn’t I told?
SIR HUMPHREY:The Home Secretary might not have felt the need to inform you.
SIR HUMPHREY:Perhaps he didn’t know either. Or perhaps he’d been advised that you did not need to know.
PM:Well I did need to know.
BERNARD:Apparently the fact that you needed to know was not known at the time that the now known need to know was known, and therefore those that needed to advise and inform the Home Secretary perhaps felt that the information that he needed as to whether to inform the highest authority of the known information was not yet known and therefore there was no authority for the authority to be informed because the need to know was not at this time known or needed.
SIR HUMPHREY:We could not know that you would deny it in the House.
THE PM:Well, obviously I would if I didn’t know and I were asked.
SIR HUMPHREY:We did not know that you would be asked when you didn’t know.
THE PM:But I was bound to be asked when I didn’t know if I didn’t know.
“Either we complete a government project which is abhorrent to me, or we bring a new person into the department, which repulses me to my core. Reminds me of when my dad made me choose which of my pet calves to slaughter with my own hands for my sixth birthday. I couldn’t choose, so I slaughtered both of them. And they were delicious.”—Ron Swanson (S04E17)
“In 1987, he was invited to a White House dinner by Ronald Reagan. Few of the guests appeared to know who he was. During dinner, Nancy Reagan turned to him and asked what he’d done with his life to merit an invitation. Straight-faced, Davis replied: “Well, I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the president?”—The Guardian
“Mahler aveva mal di denti ma non sapeva che dente gli faceva male. Mi fu facile trovarlo. Rimasi nella sala d’aspetto del dentista, che era molto affollata. Improvvisamente Mahler spalancò la porta e gridò: “Ehi, Alma, qual è il dente che mi fa male?”. Risa di coloro che si trovavano nella sala d’aspetto. Meraviglia di Mahler.”—Alma Mahler, Diari [via consquisiteparole]
“In the early 60s [Miles Davis] was booked to play the Village Vanguard in New York. He turned up an hour late and walked on stage to rapturous applause. After counting in a blues tune he played just one note of it before walking off – to a standing ovation. “Why are they clapping if he only played one note?” one audience member asked the management. “You don’t pay to see him play,” came the reply, “you pay to see him think.”—The Guardian
“Un lavoro che si sta estinguendo è il ruffiano sul posto di lavoro. Io l’ho sempre fatto. Prima a scuola, poi militare e da 30 anni in tutti i posti di lavoro. Il ruffiano come lavoro è abbastanza semplice: senti in mensa e nello spogliatoio quello che dicono i tuoi colleghi e poi vai a dirlo al padrone. In cambio non ho mai voluto niente, per cui come ruffiano sono molto considerato; sia dai sindacati che da Confindustria.
Quando e come ruffianare?
La regola è: non si va mai in ufficio del padrone. Le impiegate ti vedono e vanno a loro volta a ruffianare ai delegati di fabbrica. Si vede il padrone di sabato pomeriggio a 70km dalla ditta. Qui, in un bar, si ruffiana di tutta la settimana. Ripeto: come ruffianello sono molto rispettato perché non ho mai voluto neanche il rimborso dei km. Andare e tornare sono 140km. Faccio il ruffiano per hobby. Per questo hobby.
Sono stato lasciato da cinque morose. Subito la prima sera che uscivo dicevo: “Faccio il ruffiano sul posto di lavoro”. Lei: “Se non me lo dicevi mi fidanzavo con te”. Io: “Ma il lavoro è lavoro, i sentimenti sono altra cosa”. Lei: “No! Un ruffiano non lo voglio”. Io: “Mi dispiace, ma non smetto di fare il ruffiano anche se ti amo”.
La ruffianata più potente che ho fatto è stata ieri. Avevo saputo dai miei colleghi che si sarebbero lamentati che non si può fidanzarsi sul posto di lavoro. Subito ho riferito al padrone, che è in conflitto di interessi avendo lui sposato l’impiegata più bella della ditta.
Il padrone mi fa: “Hanno ragione!”. Per cui da oggi ci si può fidanzare sul posto di lavoro, baciarsi e dirsi “ti amo”. Anche tra uomini (molto belli).”—Innamorato Fisso del 16 agosto 2013
“There, in Sauna 10, I saw Laura naked for the first time, and all I could do was smile and touch her shoulder and say I didn’t know which valve to turn to make the steam come out.”—Roberto Bolaño, Mexican Manifesto [via consquisiteparole]
“[Gödel] had an obsessive fear of being poisoned; he would eat only food that his wife, Adele, prepared for him. Late in 1977, Adele was hospitalized for six months and could no longer prepare Gödel’s food. In her absence, he refused to eat, eventually starving to death. He weighed 65 pounds (approximately 30 kg) when he died.”—Kurt Gödel - Wikipedia
“After having thus taken each individual one by one into its powerful hands, and having molded him as it pleases, the sovereign power extends its arms over the entire society; it covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated, minute, and uniform rules, which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot break through to go beyond the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; it rarely forces action, but it constantly opposes your acting; it does not destroy, it prevents birth; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, it represses, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupifies, and finally it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”—Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
“I have been in poor old Tocqueville for the last two months. I do not know if I told you that this place, which by our family arrangements has become mine, is a sort of large farmhouse, which has been uninhabited for the last half century. I am obliged, therefore, to make all sorts of alterations and repairs, which will never make it beautiful; but which, if I am permitted to live, will make the house habitable, and in a few years even comfortable. I am in the midst of workmen of every description—a detestable race, animals given to destruction and noise, whose vicinity does not suit a philosopher. I have, happily, no pretensions to direct the works myself. I have neither genius nor wish to attempt it. I leave it all to Madame de Tocqueville, who understands the matter better than I do; and I shut myself up from morning till night in a little room which she has been so good as to leave me. You see that I am a model husband.”—Alexis de Tocqueville, writing to Henry Reeve (1837)
“Noi socialisti dobbiamo essere propugnatori della scuola libera, della scuola lasciata all’iniziativa dei privati e dei Comuni. La libertà nella scuola è possibile solo se la scuola è indipendente dal controllo dello Stato. Dobbiamo conquistarci la libertà di creare la nostra scuola. I cattolici faranno altrettanto dove saranno in maggioranza: chi avrà più filo tesserà più tela.”—Antonio Gramsci, 1918 [via Luciano Capone]