Imagine a survivor of a failed civilization with only a tattered book on aromatherapy for guidance in arresting a cholera epidemic. Yet, such a book would more likely be found amid the debris than a comprehensible medical text.
Though the parallel is not complete, it is safe to say that science will never touch them unaided by its practical applications. Its wonders may be catalogued for purposes of education, they may be illustrated by arresting experiments, by numbers and magnitudes which startle or fatigue the imagination but they will form no familiar portion of the intellectual furniture of ordinary men unless they be connected, however remotely, with the conduct of ordinary life.
It was the kind of pure, undiffused light that can only come from a really hot blue sky, the kind that makes even a concrete highway painful to behold and turns every distant reflective surface into a little glint of flame. Do you know how sometimes on very fine days the sun will shine with a particular intensity that makes the most mundane objects in the landscape glow with an unusual radiance, so that buildings and structures you normally pass without a glance suddenly become arresting, even beautiful? Well, they seem to have that light in Australia nearly all the... Read more »
The arresting officer-who I had literally known all my life, you know what I mean? This guy lived four doors down from me in a town of less than 400 people. We've met. Anyway, at the station, he asks me if I have any aliases. And I was just being a smartass and said, "Yeah, they call me... Tater Salad." Seventeen years later, I'm handcuffed to a bench with blood coming out my nose, this cop comes up to me and says, "Are you Ron... 'Tater Salad' White?"
Contemporary scholars have little explored the preconditions of genocide. Still less have they asked whether a society's weapons policy might be one of the institutional arrangements that contributes to the probability of its government engaging in some of the more extreme varieties of outrage. Though it is a long step between being disarmed and being murdered-one does not usually lead to the other-but it is nevertheless an arresting reality that not one of the principal genocides of the twentieth century, and there have been dozens, has been inflicted on a population that was armed.
The US ... cultivates no origin or mythical authenticity; it has no past and no founding truth ... it lives in a perpetual present. in the US everything human is artificial. The country is without hope. What is arresting here is ... both the absence of architecture in the cities and the dizzying absence of emotion and character in the faces and bodies.