A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (22)

Mr. I. Abelman, Mongoloid, Esq.,

           We have received via post your absurd comments about our trousers, the comments revealing, as they did, your total lack of contact with reality. Were you more aware, you would know or realize by now that the offending trousers were dispatched to you with our full knowledge that they were inadequate so far as length was concerned.

        “Why? Why?” you are in your incomprehensible babble, unable to assimilate stimulating concepts of commerce into your retarded and blighted worldview.

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Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (21)

When I admire someone, I try at once to resemble him. So I also imitated Malfenti. I wanted to be very clever, and I felt that I was. Indeed, I once dreamed I was smarter than he. I thought I had discovered a flaw in his business organization: I decided to tell him immediately in order to win his esteem. One day at the Tergesteo table I stopped him when, in a business argument, he was calling his interlocutor a jackass. I told him I thought it a mistake for him to proclaim his cleverness far and wide. In my view the truly clever man in business matters should take care to appear foolish.

The Future Isn’t What it Used to Be

The marketing catchphrase used by RCA forty years ago, “Often Copied, Never Equalled” has much truth to it. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) marked the culmination and close of the most sustained attempt to inject high artistry and radical individualism into popular music, while still maintaining the dirtiest of 70s funk riffs. Robert Fripp’s guitar work is stellar. In lesser hands, electronic music became the ubiquitous derivative and effete pap that has come to dominate. Here is a decent enough article on SMSC.

A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (21)

So we see that even when Fortuna spins us downward, the wheel sometimes halts for a moment and we find ourselves in a good, small cycle within the larger bad cycle. The universe, of course, is based upon the principle of the circle within the circle. At the moment, I am in an inner circle. Of course, smaller circles within this circle are also possible.

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Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (20)

The few ideas that stirred in his immense head would then be expounded with such clarity, examined so thoroughly, and applied to so many new situations every day, that they became part of him, of his limbs, his character. I was quite lacking in such ideas, and I hung on to him, to enrich myself.

He soon became aware of my admiration and repaid it with a friendship that immediately struck me as paternal. Can he have known at once how things were to end?

He was more than willing to instruct me, and in my notebook he actually wrote in his own hand the three commandments he considered sufficient to make any firm prosper:

1. There’s no need for a man to know how to work, but if he doesn’t know how to make others work, he is doomed. 2. There is only one great regret: not having acted in one’s own best interest. 3. In business, theory is useful, but it can be utilized only after the deal has been made.
I know these and many other axioms by heart, but they were of no help to me.

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (19)

My deeply felt desire for novelty was satisfied by Giovanni Malfenti, so different from me and from all the people whose company and friendship I had sought in the past. Having gone though two university departments, I was fairly cultivated, thanks also to my long inertia, which I consider highly educational. He, on the contrary, was a great businessman, ignorant and active. But from his ignorance he drew strength and peace of mind, and I, spellbound, would observe him and envy him.

Paranoid @ 50

On this day, Paranoid, was released. To mark this milestone, Rhino have released a fancy vinyl package. This classic album was the first of a three classic album run of 70s foundational soundscapes, the others being Master of Reality and Volume IV, my mother buying them for me back in the day. These three albums, but especially Paranoid, have stood the test of time. Ask any millennial YouTuber in the reaction genre, and wherever their own primary musical tastes are, they will say that Paranoid sounds fresh to them as it ever was. Most come to the realization that Paranoid is in a class of its own. My favourite track off the album is Fairies Wear Boots. See the AllMusic take.

The Moviegoer: quotes (21)

“One last question to satisfy my idle curiosity. What has been going on in your mind during all the years when we listened to music together, read the Crito, and spoke together—or was it only I who spoke—good Lord, I can’t remember—of goodness and truth and beauty and nobility?”

Another cry and the ramoneur is gone. There is nothing for me to say.
“Don’t you love these things? Don’t you live by them?”
“What do you love? What do you live by?”
I am silent.
“Tell me where I have failed you.”
“You haven’t.”
“What do you think is the purpose of life—to go to the movies and dally with every girl that comes along?”

. . .

Now in the thirty-first year of my dark pilgrimage on this earth and knowing less than I ever knew before, having learned only to recognize merde when I see it, having inherited no more from my father than a good nose for merde, for every species of shit that flies—my only talent—smelling merde from every quarter, living in fact in the very century of merde, the great shithouse of scientific humanism where needs are satisfied, everyone becomes an anyone, a warm and creative person, and prospers like a dung beetle, and one hundred percent of people are humanists and ninety-eight percent believe in God, and men are dead, dead, dead; and the malaise has settled like a fall-out and what people really fear is not that the bomb will fall but that the bomb will not fall—on this my thirtieth birthday, I know nothing and there is nothing to do but fall prey to desire.

Nothing remains but desire, and desire comes howling down Elysian Fields like a mistral. My search has been abandoned; it is no match for my aunt, her rightness and her despair, her despairing of me and her despairing of me and her despairing of herself. Whenever I take leave of my aunt after one of her serious talks, I have to find a girl.