1946) In 1960, CBS radio ran a series called The Hidden Revolution [...] The idea was that, since the end of the Second World War, the world had been put through profound upheavals, which were paradoxically so quiet and, in a way, secret - with atomizing cities replacing smaller communities, increased hierarchy in everyday affairs, growing distrust of business and government from ordinary people, the removal of centers of information and power from democratic control or indeed any kind of public accountability - that these drastic changes were felt rather than understood. This was "The Hidden Revolution," which produced "The Cool Rebellion" [of the Beats] - a withdrawal, a refusal, a small, then growing band of exiles in their own country. [...] The struggle [...] is about materialism and soullessness, empty abundance and the need to create, the monolith and the self: "the battle for survival [...] of the individual personality in a tragic century."
Greil Marcus "The Bob McFadden Experience" Puncture (Spring 1993) The Dustbin of History (1996)
1947) [Some schools of history assert] that all "facts" claiming objective existence are simply intellectual constructions. In short, there is no clear difference between fact and faction. But there is, and for historians, even for the most militantly antipositivist ones among us, the ability to distinguish between the two is absolutely essential. We cannot invent our facts. Either Elvis Presley is dead or he isn't. The question can be answered unambiguously on the basis of evidence, insofar as reliable evidence is available, which is sometimes the case. Either the present Turkish government, which denies the attempted genocide of the Armenians in 1915, is right or it is not.
Eric Hobsbawm "The New Threat to History" in New York Review of Books (12/16/1993) quoted by Greil Marcus in The Dustbin of History (1996)
1948) History will be what we say it is, the newspapers impl[y] - if only we could agree.
The legend we use for history is more resistant than that - and that is why the most contrived, nonsensical counter-legend can cast a spell the most scrupulous narrative may never match. The legend we use for history is a master-narrative, a narrative that cannot be easily interrupted, revised, or seized, but can only, in certain moments, be replaced. The insertion into that master-narrative - which is America is a tale of equality, individualism, virtue, and success - of the so-called contributions of people previously excluded from the narrative (African Americans, women, Asian Americans, and so on) will not necessarily change the narrative in any way.
Such insertions may only initiate those one excluded by the master-narrative into its untruth.
Any society's master-narrative is by definition an untruth. It is an interested construction rather than a literal, all-seeing account of what really happened (as if such a thing were possible) - and this may actually be its justification. Cultural awakening comes not when one learns the contours of the master-narrative, but when one realizes - thanks to a teacher, a book, or the disruptions of the unpredicted historical fact - that what one has always been told is incomplete, backward, false, a lie. There is nothing more liberating, there is nothing that leads more surely to the need to question whatever is presented as fixed, certain, inevitable. And it makes sense that the means to such a liberation are not always where one has been taught to look for them.
Greil Marcus "History Lesson" Threepenny Review (Summer 1992) The Dustbin of History (1996)
1949) How much history can be communicated by pressure on a guitar string?
Robert Palmer Deep Blues (1981) quoted by Greil Marcus in The Dustbin of History (1996)
1950) Culture is elusive. It passes secretly, often silently, telepathically, between a parent and a child who does not even realize she has been looking on or listening until years later, when she somehow discovers what she has learned and can now do herself; it ripens, unintended, often unconsciously, in dreams, suddenly and unexpectedly to reveal itself in an expression or a turn of phrase, in a way of relating to one's children or one's spouse, or, at another level, in our musical or pictorial preferences, in the narratives we construct about ourselves and others and to which we turn for understanding. It may arise by accident, from a half-remembered memory, from fingers or hands idling with instruments and tools. Or it may simply persist, with a peculiar life of its own, in a circuitous transit over several centuries, from courtly to commercial to domestic culture and back again.
Robert Cantwell Ethnomimesis: Folklore and the Representation of Culture (1993) quoted by Greil Marcus in The Dustbin of History (1996)
1951) You're not going to have enough locks on the doors or police in the street to protect you from a generation of people who are not part of the mainstream of American life.
Congressman Thomas Downey before the House Subcommittee on Human Resources (c.1996), commenting on the growing disparity between the incomes of the rich and the poor quoted by Greil Marcus in The Dustbin of History (1996)
1952) Fascism attempts to organize the newly created proletarian masses without affecting the property structure which the masses sought to eliminate. Fascism sees its salvation in giving the masses not their right [to change property relations] but instead a chance to express themselves. [...] The logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into politics.
Walter Benjamin "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1936) in Reflections (1971) Peter Demetz, ed. quoted by Greil Marcus in The Dustbin of History (1996)
1953) The good thing about American crime films is that sometimes 20 people die during that film, and you're not sorry. You're not sorry for any one of them!
Mikhail Gorbachev interviewed by Alan Cranston "The World According to Gorby" Rolling Stone (8/25/1990) quoted by Greil Marcus in The Dustbin of History (1996)
1954) There are four kinds of people in this world [...] cretins, fools, morons, and lunatics. [...] Cretins are of no interest to [publishers]. They never come to publishers' offices [...] Fools don't interest us either. They're never creative, their talent is all second-hand, so they don't submit manuscripts to publishers. [Unlike cretins, fools] don't claim that cats bark, but they talk about cats when everybody else is talking about dogs. [...] [Morons] get their reasoning wrong. Like the fellow who says that all dogs are pets and all dogs bark, and cats are pets, too, and therefore cats bark [...] A lunatic is easily recognized. He is a moron who doesn't know the ropes. The moron proves his thesis; he has a logic, however twisted it may be. The lunatic, on the other hand, doesn't concern himself at all with logic; he works by short circuits. For him, everything proves everything else. The lunatic is all idee fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration [...]
Umberto Eco Foucault's Pendulum (1988) quoted by Greil Marcus in The Dustbin of History (1996)
1955) In bad times, I did not abandon the city; in good times, I had no private interests; in desperate times, I feared nothing.
unknown quoted by Guy Debord in Panegyric (1993) quoted by Greil Marcus in The Dustbin of History (1996)
1956) [T]here are times when saying no - to one's society, culture, to one's civilization as a whole - is to say yes to one's audience: to take the easy way out, to ask the easy questions and provide the easiest answers, to offer the safest and most shallow satisfactions.
Greil Marcus "Happy Endings" Village Voice (8/4/1975) The Dustbin of History (1996)
Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began). As of today, there are 397 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.