G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Friday, March 09, 2007

the passage of time

Simone Weil
“All the tragedies which we can imagine return in the end to the one and only tragedy: the passage of time.”

Artist : Dean Victor Publication: The New Yorker 30 May 2005

Existing or Pre-existing?

Indians are increasingly being asked to save more for their health care by going in for health insurance. Their neighbourhood doctor no more treats them without myriad and expensive diagnostic tests. Health insurance we are told is the way to go.

Paul Krugman recently asked in his NYT column: "Is the health insurance business a racket?" He concludes: "It’s the ugly incentives provided by a system in which giving care is punished, while denying it is rewarded."

My limited personal experience has taught me that insurance companies invent ways to deny you benefit. Language is a powerful tool in their hand..........

Artist: Michael Crawford Publication: The New Yorker 23 May 1994

He's from Texas

George W. Bush has finally arrived with all his horns blazing!

Artist : Dana Fradon Publication: The New Yorker 7 March 1994

Let them eat cake

Marie Antoinette may or may not have said: "Let them eat cake". But we all know the sentiment behind such a statement.

For sure, ordinary folks have always suffered through history. Suffering on a scale, most of blog reading/writing people like us cannot imagine.

I am reading "The Last Mughal" by William Dalrymple. The debate whether 1857 events should be called first war of Indian independence or mutiny will go on but the overwhelming sense I get is the suffering of ordinary people of Delhi all through that.

Similarly M V Dhond's Marathi book "Marhati Lavani" describes the painful struggle of population of Pune while rule of Peshwa degenerated in late 18th/early 19th century.

Therefore, you wonder if D D Kosambi amongst all is closest to the truth when he says: “It seems to me that Gita philosophy, like so much else in India’s ‘spiritual’ heritage, is based in the final analysis upon the inability to satisfy more than the barest material needs of a large number”

There could be many Quixotian solutions to this. Use politically correct language. Stop calling poor, poor! Stop calling third class compartment, third class. That is what Indian Railway did when one day they just erased one line from III to make it II!


Artist : Bernard Schoenbaum Publication: The New Yorker 28 Mar 1994

मैं तुम्हारे बच्चे कि माँ बनने वाली हूँ

A lot of Hindi films has this dialogue- "I am going to be mother of your child."

And then all hell breaks loose! It always is 'information of startling nature' to the receipent of the news. As if stokes indeed got the babies.

Artist : Peter Arno Publication: The New Yorker 26 Dec 1936

Nasty but cute!

Every generation has its fads. (needless to say older generations don't like most of them. Socrates: “Children nowadays love luxury, have bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect for elders”).

Most interesting of those fads is their language. You would be very lucky to understand it if you are not one of them. SMS makes it even worse -that 'weird' language is further transformed.
Artist : Barbara Shermund Publication: The New Yorker 20 Jun 1936