Monthly Archives: September 2008

Noam Chomsky

When I’m driving, I sometimes turn on the radio and I find very often that what I’m listening to is a discussion of sports. These are telephone conversations. People call in and have long and intricate discussions, and it’s plain that quite a high degree of thought and analysis is going into that. People know a tremendous amount. They know all sorts of complicated details and enter into far-reaching discussion about whether the coach made the right decision yesterday and so on. These are ordinary people, not professionals, who are applying their intelligence and analytic skills in these areas and accumulating quite a lot of knowledge and, for all I know, understanding. On the other hand, when I hear people talk about, say, international affairs or domestic problems, it’s at a level of superficiality which is beyond belief. In part, this reaction may be due to my own areas of interest, but I think it’s quite accurate, basically. And I think that this concentration on topics such as sports makes a certain degree of sense. The way the system is set up, there is virtually nothing people can do anyway, without a degree of organization that’s far beyond anything that exists now, to influence the real world. They might as well live in a fantasy world, and that’s in fact what they do.
The Chomsky Reader (1987, p. 33)

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Filed under Ephemeron, Quotes

William Shakespeare

When you do dance, I wish you
A wave o’ the sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that.
The Winter’s Tale, Florizel, scene iv

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Filed under Plays

Mahmoud Darwish

by Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008)

The difference between narcissus
and sunflower
is a point of view: the first
stares at his image in water
and says, there is no I but I
and the second looks
at the sun and says I am
what I worship.
And at night, difference shrinks
And interpretation widens.

Translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah. Appears in The New York Review of Books, Volume 55, Number 14 · September 25, 2008.

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Filed under Poems, Subjectivity


A coinage … combining a number of roughly synonymous Latin stems. Latin flocci, from floccus, a wisp or piece of wool + nauci, from naucum, a trifle + nihili, from nihilum, nothing + pili, from pilus, a hair, something insignificant (all therefore having the sense of “worthless” or “nothing”) + -fication.

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Filed under Bagatelle, Etymology