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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bombs are obsolete

JAMES CARROLL “60 years of faulty logic” on March 12 2007:

“……………….Last week, the Bush administration announced plans for the first new nuclear weapon in more than 20 years, a program of ultimately replacing all American warheads. So much for the nuclear elimination toward which the United States is legally bound to work by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Washington simultaneously assured Russia and China that this renewal of the nuclear arsenal was no cause for them to feel threatened. Hello? Russia and China have no choice but to follow the US lead, inevitably gearing up another arms race. It is 1947 all over again. A precious opportunity to turn the world away from nuclear weapons, and away from war, is once more being squandered -- by America.”
Artist : Rober J. Day The New Yorker 18 Aug 1945
p.s. On August 6, 1945, the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, followed on August 9, 1945 by the detonation of the "Fat Man" nuclear bomb over Nagasaki.
Did Day finish his picture before or after Aug 6, 1945?

Bringing up Berlin

JAMES CARROLL “60 years of faulty logic” on March 12, 2007:

“SIXTY YEARS AGO today, Harry Truman went before a joint session of Congress to announce what became known as the Truman Doctrine. "At the present moment in world history, nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life."

With that, an era of bipolarity was inaugurated, dividing the world between forces of good and evil.

The speech amounted, as one of Truman's advisers characterized it, to a declaration of religious war. In the transcendent struggle between Moscow and Washington, "nonalignment" was not an option. Truman declared that the United States would actively support "free" people anywhere who were resisting either internal or external threats to that freedom. The "free world" was born, but so, eventually, were disastrous wars in Korea and Vietnam.

The occasion of Truman's pronouncement was his decision to militarily support one side in the civil war in Greece, and with that, the deadly precedent of American intervention in foreign civil wars was set. Fear of communism became a driving force of politics and a justification for vast military expenditures…….”

Gore Vidal is one of the sanest American voice still occasionally heard.

When he was asked if cold war was complete illusion, he said : “ No, it was a complete fact. But it was based on an illusion that the Russians were coming. This was the propaganda that never ever let up, until finally Gorbachev dissolved the whole story. We had maintained the myth in order to keep 51% of the US budget for a military which has no enemy. “

Berlin was a shining symbol of the Cold war. ( Remember, JFK’s "Ich bin ein Berliner”?)

Many conversations were ruined by the very mention of it!

Artist: Alan Dunn The New Yorker 29 July 1961

The desert is in my heart

Global warming, pollution have now become household words. Partly because they now are part of our children’s curriculum. Partly because our lives seem to be affected by some of them. Summers start early, winters never arrive.

It is also because we can blame some one else for it! Just like the way we blame all ills in our society on politicians. It is sooooooooooo convenient.

But our greed is responsible for global warming. Mahatma Gandhi asked us to simplify our habits. We are constantly engaged in complicating them. We want larger houses. Larger cars. Larger air conditioners, many clothes, footwears...............

Remember what T S Eliot said:

“The desert is not remote in southern tropics,
The desert is not only around the corner,
The desert is squeezed in the tube-train next to you,
The desert is in the heart of your brother.”

Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar has an interesting take on our fondness of cars - "The hidden social cost of vehicles” Times of India March 25,2007:

“……….There is little appreciation among politicians or the middle class of the huge social cost of cars. They cannot see that huge subsidies, mostly hidden, are being ladled out to car-owners. These need to be abolished and replaced with user charges or taxes that reflect the full social cost of cars. The Left front, which once supported high taxes on petrol, now acts as though petrol is a Fundamental Right. So does Sonia Gandhi……I am not among those who want cars to be abolished and replaced entirely by buses and trams. Public transport has an important place in cities, but so does private transport. I believe in the freedom of people to travel where and when they want. But this freedom imposes a wide array of hidden costs on a city economy, and car-owners should pay these costs in full. Otherwise we will be subsidising pollution, fuel adulteration, congestion, respiratory disease, and the disappearance of green spaces”

Artist: Joseph Farris The New Yorker 5 Dec 1964