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."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Who's Going to Plunge Us into Fascism Today?

There are number of things that bother me about today’s Maharashtra.

Following is the most disturbing.

PRAFUL BIDWAI wrote in Frontline March 14, 2008:

“…not a single major leader of Maharashtra – from Deshmukh to the Nationalist Congress Party’s Sharad Pawar, from State Congress chief Prabha Rau to Home Minister R.R. Patil – has condemned Raj Thackeray’s campaign of crass chauvinism or his goon tactics. They have not uttered a word against the intimidation and beating up of scores of working people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They have been silent on the MNS’ glorification of all that is Marathi and its nauseating condemnation of the culture of the north. Although the progressive and secular intelligentsia has spoken out, the politicians’ silence is revealing.

The top leadership of the United Progressive Alliance too has chosen to refrain from deploring the MNS’ hate campaign. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken to frequent exhortations to crush and eradicate “the virus” of “left extremism” (naxalites). But not once has he spoken in a similar vein against right extremism, which has caused far greater destruction to this society and posed a much more virulent challenge to its constitutional-democratic order. Leave alone “crush” the forces of vicious nativism and xenophobia such as the MNS and Shiv Sena, Manmohan Singh does not even talk of restraining, discouraging or combating them. About his expression of solidarity with the terrorised victims of the recent hate campaign, the less said the better.

This is creating a peculiar polarisation along narrow ethnic-linguistic lines…”

Jonah Goldberg defines fascism as:

“It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore defined as the enemy.

Please note words- uniformity of thought and action and ominous warning- “Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore defined as the enemy.”

Artist: Perry Barlow The New Yorker 14 September 1940