Friday, November 21, 2008

The Stuckenschmidtian Ethics

For Jeff Stuckenschmidt:
Il miglior Fabio

Definition of umbrella: "a light portable device consisting of a circular canopy of cloth mounted by means of a collapsible metal frame on a central stick; carried for protection against lectures on the hazards of not carrying an umbrella."

Annual tally of 'thank-yous' addressed to Suzy Stuckenschmidt, 10,548; annual tally of 'fuck-yous' addressed to Suzy Stuckenschmidt, 10,547. Net result: Love for Suzy Stuckenschmidt. Annual tally of 'thank-yous' addressed to Suzy Stuckenschmidt, 10,547; annual tally of 'fuck-yous' addressed to Suzy Stuckenschmidt, 10,548. Net result: Hatred for Suzy Stuckenschmidt.

There is no such thing as a morally and socially admissible reply to an unfunny joke cracked by an evil person.

Offscreen, all acting is method acting, and all actors are method actors.

Vulgar relativism is the first refuge of a dickhead.

The dirtiest word in the English language: because.

Unfalsifiable retort to a philistine: If you spent an hour inside my head while I was asleep, you would come to envy me my dreams.

To say 'we' and mean 'they' or 'you all' is one of the most exoteric compliments.

Contempt for chronological precision numbers among the coarsest vices of the intellectual petit bourgeois (of the sort of person who is bound to assert, for example, that Proust's apparently blithe disregard of dates issued merely from a conveniently flaky absent-mindedness [I say conveniently because such an interpretation endorses an unreflective wallowing in the minutiae of one's own personal history under the aegis of the assumption that history writ large/as such, etc. is simply irrelevant], whereas one suspects this disregard issued merely from a conscientious and mortality-minded pragmatism; for, as any reader of Proust who has charted the progress of his affective-cum-metaphysical disposition toward a given calendrically-enumerated year will have discovered, dates, for all of their graphically superficial affiliation with the aridly atemporal realm of arithmetic, behave much in the same manner as Proustian names: he will have discovered, say, that 1987 in 2007 is not at all the same sort of creature that it was in 1997). This is not to say, prevailingly, that a clearer view of the contemporaneuosness of certain people and events clues us in to hidden affinities among such people and events across geographical distance; it is to say, rather (and prevailingly) that such a view guards us against the perfidious license of the principle of historical induction, against the assumption that the appearance on the world scene of such-and-such a person or such-and-such an event marked a signal epoch-making moment, against which all conspicuously contrasting people and events are to be regarded (depending on the line of argument) either as epigones of ye bad olde days or as harbingers of the golden age yet to come. How bracing it is to realize, for example, that W. C. Fields, that iconic misanthrope of the post-silent-age of Hollywood, whose living physiognomy stands as an exemplar to stand-up comics of our own day, was an exact contemporary of Robert Musil, but nine years' Proust's junior, and three years' Kafka's senior!

True grit is nurture to advantage pressed,
What oft was fought but ne'er so well redressed.

"Booty is tooth, and tooth booty,"--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Not even rocket science is rocket science; correlatively, not even brain surgery is brain surgery--but, paradoxically enough, rocket science is brain surgery and brain surgery rocket science.

There is no "e" in "Tim."

If politics is show business for ugly people, it is likewise cinema, theater, cabaret, or vaudeville for people with bad taste.

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