Marginal Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 64 quotes )
Literary fiction and poetry are real marginalized right now. There's a fallacy that some of my friends sometimes fall into, the ol' "The audience is stupid. The audience only wants to go this deep. Poor us, we're marginalized because of TV, the great hypnotic blah, blah." You can sit around and have these pity parties for yourself. Of course this is bullshit. If an art form is marginalized it's because it's not speaking to people. One possible reason is that the people it's speaking to have become too stupid to appreciate it. That seems a little easy to me.
So when modern-day religious conservatives wax nostalgic about how marriage is a sacred tradition that reaches back into history for thousands of uninterrupted years, they are correct, but in only one respect - only if they happen to be talking about Judaism. Christianity simply does not share that deep and consistent historical reverence toward matrimony. Lately it has, yes- but not originally. For the first thousand or so years of Christian history, the church regarded monogamous marriage as marginally less wicked that flat-out whoring but only very marginally.
Going public was a difficult decision, and I had misgivings. My subjective experience was now an objective fact in the wider world. It didn't belong to just me anymore - though I quickly learned that it hadn't belonged to just me in the first place. More than a million Americans and their families were going through the same thing; some openly, some in secret due to concerns of being misunderstood and marginalized.
Scientific education is based in the main on statistical truths and abstract knowledge and therefore imparts an unrealistic, rational picture of the world, in which the individual, as a merely marginal phenomenon, plays no role. The individual, however, as an irrational datum, is the true and authentic carrier of reality, the concrete man as opposed to the unreal ideal or “normal” man to whom the scientific statements refer.
For some people, the time differentials established in youth never really disappear: the elder remains the elder, even when both are dribbling greybeards. For some people, a gap of, say, five months means that one will perversely always think of himself--herself--as wiser and more knowledgeable than the other, whatever the evidence to the contrary. Or perhaps I should say because of the evidence to the contrary. Because it is perfectly clear to any objective observer that the balance has shifted to the marginally younger person, the other one maintains the assumption of superiority all the more rigorously. All the more neurotically.
Billy tried to imagine the birth of Cyril's wife's baby. It would happen in grim lights violently. A dripping thing trying to clutch to its hole. Dredged up and beaten. Blood and drool and womb mud. How cute, this neon shrieker made to plunge upward, odd-headed blob, this marginal electric glow-thing. Dressed and powdered now. Engineered to abstract design. Cling, suck and cry. Follow with the eye. Gloom and drought of unprotected sleep. Had there been a light in her belly, dim briny light in that pillowing womb, dusk enough to light a page, bacterial smear of light, an amniotic gleam that I could taste, old, deep, wet and warm? Return, return to negative unity.
Dreams, memories, the sacred--they are all alike in that they are beyond our grasp. Once we are even marginally separated from what we can touch, the object is sanctified; it acquires the beauty of the unattainable, the quality of the miraculous. Everything, really, has this quality of sacredness, but we can desecrate it at a touch. How strange man is! His touch defiles and yet he contains the source of miracles.
We are accustomed to repeating the cliche, and to believing, that 'our most precious resource is our children.' But we have plenty of children to go around, God knows, and as with Doritos, we can always make more. The true scarcity we face is practicing adults, of people who know how marginal, how fragile, how finite their lives and their stories and their ambitions really are but who find value in this knowledge, even a sense of strange comfort, because they know their condition is universal, is shared.
We are not alien visitors to this planet, after all but natural residents and relatives of every living entity here. This earth is where we came from and where we'll all end up when we die, and during the interim, it is our home, And there's no way we can ever hope to understand ourselves if we don't at least marginally understand our home.
I didn't plan on either children or writing. Once I realized that writing satisfied me in some enormous way, I had to make adjustments. The writing was always marginal in terms of time when the children were small. But it was major in terms of my head. I always thought that women could do a lot of things. All the women I knew did nine or ten things at one time. I always understood that women worked, they went to church, they managed their houses, they managed somebody else's houses, they raised their children, they raised somebody else's children, they taught. I wouldn't say it's not hard, but why wouldn't it be? All important things are hard.
The encrusted religious structure is not changed by its institutional dependents--they are part of the crust. It is changed by one who goes alone to the wilderness, where he fasts and prays, and returns with cleansed vision. In going alone, he goes independent of institutions, forswearing orthodoxy ("right opinion"). In going to the wilderness he goes to the margin, where he is surrounded by the possibilities--by no means all good--that orthodoxy has excluded. By fasting he disengages his thoughts from the immediate issues of livelihood; his willing hunger takes his mind off the payroll, so to speak. And by praying he acknowledges ignorance; the orthodox presume to know, whereas the marginal person is trying to find out. He returns to the community, not necessarily with new truth, but with a new vision of the truth; he sees it more whole than before.
On the morning appointed for her departure Tess awoke before dawn? at the marginal minute of the dark when the grove is still mute save for one prophetic bird, who sings with a clear-voiced conviction that he at least knows the correct time of day, the rest preserving silence, as if equally convinced that he is mistaken.
And now, while he didn't particularly think any of these stories was a bit truer, he did realize that he didn't really know his wife at all; and that in fact the entire conception of knowing another person--of trust, of closeness, of marriage itself--while not exactly a lie since it existed someplace if only as an idea (in his parents' life, at least marginally) was still completely out-of-date, defunct, was something typifying another era, now unfortunately gone. Meeting a girl, falling in love, marrying her, moving to Connecticut, buying a fucking house, starting a life with her and thinking you really knew anything about her--the last part was a complete fiction, which made all the rest a joke.
The nights are filled with explosion and motor transport, and wind that brings them up over the downs a last smack of the sea. Day begins with a hot cup and a cigarette over a little table with a weak leg that Roger has repaired, provisionally, with brown twine. There's never much talk but touches and looks, smiles together, curses for parting. It is marginal, hungry, chilly - most times they're too paranoid to risk a fire - but it's something they want to keep, so much that to keep it they will take on more than propaganda has ever asked them for. They are in love. Fuck the war.
If the Palestinian people really wish to decide that they will battle to the very end to prevent partition or annexation of even an inch of their ancestral soil, then I have to concede that that is their right. I even think that a sixty-year rather botched experiment in marginal quasi-statehood is something that the Jewish people could consider abandoning. It represents barely an instant in our drawn-out and arduous history, and it's already been agreed even by the heirs of Ze'ev Jabotinsky that the whole scheme is unrealizable in 'Judaea and Samaria,' let alone in Gaza or Sinai. But it's flat-out intolerable to be solicited to endorse a side-by-side Palestinian homeland and then to discover that there are sinuous two-faced apologists explaining away the suicide-murder of Jewish civilians in Tel Aviv, a city which would be part of a Jewish state or community under any conceivable 'solution.' There's that word again...
But artists aren’t the only marginalized folks controlling real estate. Think about the colonizing role that wealthy white gay men have played in communities of color; they’re often the first group to gentrify poor and working-class neighborhoods. Harlem is a good example. Gays have moved in and driven up rents, as have renegade young white students, who want to be cool and hip. This is colonization, post-colonial-style. After all, the people who are “sent back” to recover the territory are always those who don’t mind associating with the colored people! And it’s a double bind, because some of these people could be allies. Some gay white men are proactive about racism, even while being entrepreneurial. But in the end, they take spaces, redo them, sell them for a certain amount of money, while the people who have been there are displaced. And in some cases, the people of color who are there are perceived as enemies by white newcomers.
Cultures of honor tend to take root in highlands and other marginally fertile areas, such as Sicily or the mountainous Basque regions of Spain. If you live on some rocky mountainside, the explanation goes, you can't farm. You probably raise goats or sheep, and the kind of culture that grows up around being a herdsman is very different from the culture that grows up around growing crops. The survival of a farmer depends on the cooperation of others in the community. But a herdsman is off by himself. Farmers also don't have to worry that their livelihood will be stolen in the night, because crops can't easily be stolen unless, of course, a thief wants to go to the trouble of harvesting an entire field on his own. But a herdsman does have to worry. He's under constant threat of ruin through the loss of his animals. So he has to be aggressive: he has to make it clear, through his words and deeds, that he is not weak.
There's a grosser irony about Politically Correct English. This is that PCE purports to be the dialect of progressive reform but is in fact--in its Orwellian substitution of the euphemisms of social equality for social equality itself--of vastly more help to conservatives and the US status quo than traditional SNOOT prescriptions ever were. Were I, for instance, a political conservative who opposed using taxation as a means of redistributing national wealth, I would be delighted to watch PC progressives spend their time and energy arguing over whether a poor person should be described as "low-income" or "economically disadvantaged" or "pre-prosperous" rather than constructing effective public arguments for redistributive legislation or higher marginal tax rates. [...] In other words, PCE acts as a form of censorship, and censorship always serves the status quo.
It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that "revolution must necessarily begin with atheism." That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.