From a two-year-old interview with Quentin Tarantino:
“People discover North by Northwest at 22 and think it’s wonderful when actually it’s a very mediocre movie. I’ve always felt that Hitchcock’s acolytes took his cinematic and story ideas further. I love Brian De Palma’s Hitchcock movies. I love Richard Franklin’s and Curtis Hanson’s Hitchcock meditations. I prefer those to actual Hitchcock.” And Tarantino also prefers—passionately defends—Gus Van Sant’s meta art-manque shot-by-shot remake of Psycho over the original Hitchcock film.
I always knew my sensibilities were incompatible with this guy’s, even if he does know how to compose a nice shot.
“People change over the years, and we hope that the we that is us never changes. Yesterday we were kids, and tomorrow we’ll be old, and we think we’re the same people we were, despite all evidence to the contrary.
“But sometimes we play music that lets us be us then and us now and us still to come, and it’s all worth it, every minute, every aching second, every gaping now.”
Here’s something I’ve been needing to hear recently:
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
— Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times
Back in the heady days of my career as a technical writer — which, as it happened, more or less coincided with the heady days of the Internet going mainstream and the dot-com boom — we used to talk a lot about “content is king,” i.e., the most important thing. Of course, people said a lot of things back then that later got re-evaluated.
“Content isn’t king, conversation is king. Content is only something to talk about.”
I never thought I’d be quoting John McCain, of all people, but when you’re right, you’re right:
“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain the last best hope of earth for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history,
“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did.
“We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”
… our public religion is, in large measure, an invention of the modern era. The ceremonies and symbols that breathe life into the belief that we are “one nation under God” were not, as many Americans believe, created alongside the nation itself. Their parentage stems not from the founding fathers but from an era much closer to our own, the era of our own fathers and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers. This fact need not diminish their importance; fresh traditions can be more powerful than older ones adhered to out of habit. Nevertheless, we do violence to our past if we treat certain phrase — “one nation under God,” “In God We Trust” — as sacred texts handed down to us from the nation’s founding. Instead, we are better served if we understand these utterances for what they are: political slogans that not to the origins of our nation but to a specific point in its not-so-distant past.
— Kevin M. Kruse, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America
America is the promise of liberty and justice for all.
Sometimes we forget that promise. Sometimes we misunderstand it. Sometimes we even get stupid, because we have forgotten who we are supposed to be. We get scared, angry, desperate.
But when we stop, when we remember, when we recommit ourselves to our better selves, we rediscover not only our nation’s potential for greatness, but our own as well.
Our greatness comes from our ability to imagine better — to see America as a vision of a better future, for ourselves, for our children. America was built by men and women who took that journey step by step. Yes, mistakes were made, crimes were committed, horrific things were done, slavery, genocide, eco-catastrophe — because there were many different visions of a better future, [and] because greed and corruption tainted our commitments.
Some of us have learned better. Some of us have not. And those with the wisdom to see the potential for damage always run the risk of falling into despair.
But we’re still a young nation, still suffering from our own growing pains, still learning how to be a nation, with all the responsibilities that attend. As long as we the people can remember what the founding fathers promised — a commitment to justice — we will be okay.
And those who forget that commitment… History will have it’s say about them as well. They will be the examples of what not to do and who not to be.
Our job, as we approach America’s birthday, is to celebrate the possibilities that are still available — and recommit ourselves to create them as realities: a nation that works for ALL of us, with no one and nothing left out.”
“I heard someone say once that many of us only seem able to find heaven by backing away from hell. And while the place that I’ve arrived at in my life may not precisely be everyone’s idea of heavenly, I could swear sometimes — if I’m quiet enough — I can hear the angels sing.