Saturday, February 02, 2013

Great Lines From Good Books

First, a line from Cold Mountain, after Inman kills a young bear cub who has just lost its mother, not out of meanness or for the meat, but to spare it from even greater cruelty in the wilds of nature:

He had not eaten bear of such youth before, and though the meat was less black and greasy than that of older bear, it still tasted like sin.  He tried to name which of the deadly seven might apply, and when he failed he decided to append an eighth, regret.
 I have to say, I'm glad I listened to Cold Mountain rather than read it.  Reading it, I know there would have been times when I dozed off and lost my place or scanned through pages as my mind wandered, my eyes taking in the words but not allowing them into my brain.  Listening to it has allowed me to savor every word and its been worth it.

Second, a line from Steve Martin's autobiography Born Standing Up, which I listened to in its entirety (4 discs from the library!) last night working my last night of the night shift.  Coincidentally I found a copy of it at the thrift store this morning, and I quote from it now:

Around this time I smelled a rat.  The rat was the Age of Aquarius.  Though the era's hairstyles, clothes, and lingo still dominated youth culture, by 1972 the movement was tired and breaking down.  Drugs had killed people, and so had Charles Manson.  The war in Vietnam was near its official end, but its devastating losses had embittered and divided America.  The political scene was exhausting, and many people, including me, were alienated from government.  Murders and beatings at campus protests weren't going to be resolved by sticking a daisy into the pointy end of a rifle.  Flower Power was waning, but no one wanted to believe it yet, because we had invested so much of ourselves in its message.  Change was imminent.
 The bolded part is a notion that has just recently been dawning on me, which I think is kind of sad considering I was born well after the Age of Aquarius, raised in an era when its naivete was exposed for all to see, and yet still clung to this notion that non-violent peaceful protest is not only right, but also somehow effective.

I have no such notions now. I mean, I have no grand ideas on how to be both righteous and strong, but I've come around to the idea that being righteous alone is not enough.

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