And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country. —
Taken from his “Message to Grassroots Speech,” 1964.
Keep the Aspidistra Flying
My cousin Bethany, who’s been awesome long before she gave me a place to stay in NY, bestowed upon me a copy of George Orwell’s somewhat autobiographical Keep the Aspidistra Flying, and it is phenomenal. Some quotes from the first two chapters:
“He couldn’t cope with rhymes and adjectives. You can’t, with only twopence halfpenny in your pocket.”
“For here was he, supposedly a ‘writer,’ and he couldn’t even ‘write’!”
“That noxious, horn-spectacled refinement! And the money that such refinement means! For after all, what is there behind it, except money? Money for the right kind of education, money for influential friends, money for leisure and peace of mind, money for trips to Italy. Money writes books, money sells them. Give me not righteousness, O Lord, give me money, only money.”
“If we did get a writer worth reading, should we know him when we saw him, so choked as we are with trash?”
“Of all types of human being, only the artist takes it upon him to say that he ‘cannot’ work.”
“Only five minutes ago his poem had still seemed to him a living thing; now he knew it unmistakably for the worthless tripe that it was. With a kind of nervous disgust he bundled the scattered sheets together, stacked them in an untidy heap and dumbed them on the other side of the table, under the aspidistra. He could not even bear to look at them any longer.”
In the hours I haven’t been aimlessly wandering the streets of Manhattan, getting caught in the snow and freezing my hands and ears to sterility, it’s touched my soul — a nice break from all that non-fiction I dirty myself with.
Again, I’ve only gotten past the first two chapters of the novel, but I’m fairly certain the aspidistra is a symbol for dreams. Pretty sweet stuff.
“I will not lose, for even in defeat / There’s a valuable lesson learned, so it evens out for me.”
Friedrich Nietzsche (via cavum)
Paul Graham, in his latest essay “How To Get Startup Ideas”.
He actually further refines the quote later on to be “Live in the future and build what seems interesting,” but I like this one more. Great stuff.