Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you live in times of authoritarian rule one of the first things that end up in the cross hairs is culture. We believe firmly that artists and writers and dramatists and actors and musicians play a vital role in defending the integrity of who we are as human beings.
— Jeremy Scahill, on the Trump’s Cabinet of Killers and Why Orange is the New Anti-Black episode of The Intercepted.
I have never been more grateful for organizations like the ACLU and the plethora of lawyers we have in this country. Likewise, I am inspired by the power of our marches and protests as we stand up for our values. But, in addition to the direct tangible actions we can take, we also need a 100 million voices writing and singing and laughing and, in general, sounding our barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world.
Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.
— Clay Shirky
Look, I really don’t want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you’re alive, you’ve got to flap your arms and legs, you got to jump around a lot, you got to make a lot of noise, because life is the very opposite of death. And therefore, as I see it, if you’re quiet, you’re not living. You’ve got to be noisy, or at least your thoughts should be noisy, colorful and lively.
— Mel Brooks
Choose the experiences in life that offer the most anecdotal value — that is, look for the opportunities that have the most likelihood of producing a cool story.
At the The Moth Chicago Grand Slam this year Peter Sagal (yes, that Peter Sagal) relayed these words of wisdom, passed on to him by a theater professor at Lewis and Clark College many years before.
With a tip of the hat to The Moth, make it a story-worthy life.
We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.
Goethe lived from 1749 to 1832. In the two centuries since his death I am please to report that the planet has made great strides in mental health. At the dawn of the 21st century we have managed to confine the majority of our disordered minds to the executive suites and the board rooms of our largest corporations. A small consolation to the millions of us who must work in these corporations but progress nonetheless.