My Favourite Words

“My reality seemed to have left me and was now wandering around nearby. I hope it can find me I thought.”
–Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

“‘Nigger, white man, gentile, Jew…’
Mexicans, Europeans, Orientals, South Americans – and Filipinos, he added to the quartet. Southerners, Northerners, Easterners, Westerners – and Indians – this was manpower.
With the curious blend of native and migrant, racial and religious, current and traditional hatreds – this was culture.
Living in overcrowded houses and dilapidated shacks, deserted stores and trailer camps, four beds in the bedroom and two beds in the hallway – this was housing.
Sugar shortages and black-market meat, double prices for half values – this was food.
Overcrowded hospitals and brutal police, idle streetcars and hustling criminals, and bewildered administration and prejudiced lawmakers – this was welfare.”
–Chester Himes – Lonely Crusade

“The intellectual’s role is dialectically, oppositionally to uncover and elucidate…to challenge and defeat both an imposed silence and the normalized quiet of unseen power wherever and whenever possible. For there is a social and intellectual equivalence between this mass of overbearing collective interests and the discourse used to justify, disguise, or mystify its workings while also preventing objections or challenges to it.”
–Edward Said, Humanism and Democratic Criticism

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them to give birth to themselves.”
–Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Now in Slovenia the structure was that if you wanted to go abroad as a researcher you had to submit an invitation, and if the invitation was a serious one, then it was pretty automatic that you got the money. So, for example, a typical scene consisted of one of my friends coming to me and saying he wanted to go abroad. I say, ‘fine, where do you want to go?’ He says ‘Chicago’. I say ‘let’s see what I have for Chicago’. At some stage I think I have picked up notepaper from the University of Chicago’s German Department, and I think I have some from Northwestern also. ‘So, OK, here is the option, which would you prefer?’ He chooses one, and then I ask what kind of colloquium he would like to be invited to? So we faked it all, whatever was needed, all the data – and of course we always invented the colloquium. I mean, I simply said ‘on behalf of’ and I faked the name so that none of my friends would be offended if it all came out. At some point I remember once that there truly was a colloquium, but I said, no, this is not ethical and so I invented another one. I said I cannot stand writing the truth, it must be a lie. So although it would have been easier to tell the truth, I invented the colloquium. I am a workaholic: I do my work, but I have this terrible desire to fake things at this level; to fake institutional things. I think that everything to do with institutions should be faked. I don’t know what this is, I never analyze myself. I hate the very idea of analyzing myself.”

“We [Delio and I] played a lot. I made some little toys for him, and we lit fires out in the fields. There weren’t any lizards, so I couldn’t show him how to catch them.”
–Gramsci quoted in Antonio Gramsci: Life of a Revolutionary by Giuseppe Fiori

“Personally, I am convinced that the day a child puts his foot in his mouth is of prime importance: don’t fail to inform me immediately this act is accomplished, symbolizing as it does official possession of the outermost limits of national territory.”
— Gramsci (writing to his wife about his newborn son Delio) quoted in Antonio Gramsci: Life of a Revolutionary by Giuseppe Fiori

“…as Father had not been rooted in any woman’s heart, he could not merge with any reality and was therefore condemned to float eternally on the periphery of life, in half-real regions, on the margins of existence.”
–Bruno Schulz, Street of Crocodiles

“Through the copse, weasels wandered silently, martins and ichneumons, furry, ferreting elongated animals on short legs, stinking of sheepskins.”
–Bruno Schulz, Street of Crocodiles

“Who among us has not dreamt, in his ambitious days, of the miracle of a poetic prose? It would have to be musical enough to adapt itself to the lyrical stirrings of the soul, the wave motions of dreaming, the shocks of consciousness. This ideal, which can turn into an idee fixe, will grip especially those who are at home in the giant cities and the web of their numberless interconneting relationships.”
–Baudelaire, quoted in Walter Benjamin “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire”

“Yo llevé una lata de pintura y cientos de personas se pintaron las manos de blanco. Uno de los argumentos que venía de la procuradora de justicia del estado de Oaxaca, Lisbeth Caña Cabeza, es que este movimiento se había convertido en una guerrilla urbana, que era un movimiento de guerrilleros urbanos. Frente al punto de reunión de la policía sostuvimos nuestras manos pintadas en alto como una manera de decir: “Miren, estas son nuestras armas, aquí está la guerrilla.”
Hugo Tovar – Ensenado Rebeldia

Me dieron ganas de crear un mensaje poderoso. Cuando la policía ya estaba ingresando a la ciudad, yo pensé que quería una forma de ofrecer parte de mi vida y de mi trabajo para simbolizar que si querían sangre, ahí estaba.  Y saqué sangre a través del lado artístico.  Como en el seguro social habían designado a enfermeras que apoyaban a los campamentos, encontré una enfermera que me apoyaba. Estaba pintando en el suelo con mi sangre cuando comenzaron a llegar las tanquetas. Pinté rostros de gente de Oaxaca y escribí “Ni una gota de sangre más”.
Hugo Tovar – Ensenado Rebeldia

“Soy un economista descalzo…”
Carlos Beas – Ensenado Rebeldia

Pero me dijo mi mamá: “Tenemos que entrar en la lucha para exigir la libertad de tu papá”. Yo así entré, empecé a ir a las marchas. Hice una cartulina que decía: “Exijo la liberación de mi papá”. También le escribí una carta a Santa Claus.  Le puse, “Querido Santa: No quiero regalos este año. Lo que pido es la libertad de mi papá”. Pero no lo liberaron hasta el 31 de mayo.
Derwin – Ensenado Rebeldia

This was not, could not be, a chase. It was only two accelerations. We ran, he in his city, me close behind him, full of rage, in mine…I raised the pistol and shot him.”
China Mieville – The City and the City

“I always wanted to live where I could watch foreign trains.”
China Mieville – The City and the City

“Nothing is still as the dead are still.”
China Mieville – The City and the City

Monica Rambeau: “It’s the Gamma-Activated Bull Men From Beyond the Nineteenth Perimeter–and they’re naked.”
Captain Marvel: “Cover your eyes, go back to Avengers Mansion, and make my dinner.”
Next Wave: Agents of H.A.T.E

“I don’t read no papers, and I don’t listen to radios neither. I know this world’s been shaven by a drunken barber and I don’t need to hear it.”
Meet John Doe

“Show me an American who can keep his mouth shut, and I’ll eat him.”
Meet John Doe

Things to look for as a witchfinder:
1. Witches.
2. Unexplainable Phenomenons. Phenomenatrices. Phenomenice. Things, ye ken what I mean.
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

“I began to survey the island, taking along my stuffed parrot. It was evidence that I was not hallucinating: the hallucinating mind moves straight as robins on course, and has no sense of the ridiculous.”
The Muller-Fokker Effect – John Sladek

“At eight o’clock, in the ballroom of the Hotel Hoy No Hay in Havana, the finals of the Communist International Chess Tournament would begin. It was there (if Barnes’s information was correct) that the CIA man would try to murder Aa–thus destroying Albania’s chess prestige in the eyes of the world.”
The Muller-Fokker Effect – John Sladek

“Her eyes have to be narrow. Evil spirits dive into big eyes…and she will go mad, seeing things that aren’t there.”
On choosing a wife – Mongol

“‘No,’ he said, and then it no longer mattered, what he knew, tasting the salt of her mouth where tears had dried. There was a strength in her, something he’d known in Night City and held there, been held by it, held for a while away from time and death, from the relentless Street that hunted them all. It was a place he’d known before; not everyone could take him there, and somehow he always managed to forget it. Something he’d found and lost so many times. It belonged, he knew–he remembered–as she pulled him down, to the meat, the flesh the cowboys mocked. It was a vast thing, beyond knowing, a sea of information coded in spiral and pheremone, infinite intricacy that only the body, in its strong blind way, could ever read.”
William Gibson – Neuromancer

“His mouth filled with an aching taste of blue.
His eyes were eggs of unstable crystal, vibrating with a frequency whose name was rain and the sound of trains, suddenly sprouting a humming forest of hair-fine glass spines. The spines split, bisected, split again, exponential growth under the dome of the Tessier-Ashpool ice.”
William Gibson – Neuromancer

“Whaddya know, whaddya say?”
James Cagney – Angels With Dirty Faces

“Golem making is dangerous. Like all major creation it endangers the life of the creator–the source of danger, however, is not the golem… but the man himself.”
Gershom Scholem – “The Idea of the Golem,” quoted in Michael Chabon – Maps and Legends

“Those of us who cannot make it from one end of the street to another without being momentarily upended by some fragment of outmoded typography, curve of chrome fender, or whiff of lavender hair oil from the pate of a semiretired neighbor are compelled by the disrepute into which nostalgia has fallen to mourn secretly the passing of a million marvelous quotidian things.”
Michael Chabon – Maps and Legends

“When a man you know to be of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom window and eat him, you only have two basic options.”
Richard K. Morgan – The Steel Remains

“Who watches the Watchmen?”…or to show off my wikipedia powers, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” I know few phrases with deeper meaning.

“You people don’t understand. I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me!”
Rorshach – The Watchmen

“Two bottles of duty free Grappa, and next thing I know I’m riding him like a bitch from hell…”
Marsha – Spaced

“Made it Ma! Top of the World!”
Cody Jarrett – White Heat

“All Cagney breaks loose at the Strand tomorrow!”
publicity poster for White Heat

Ken: Harry, let’s face it. And I’m not being funny. I mean no disrespect, but you’re a cunt. You’re a cunt now, and you’ve always been a cunt. And the only thing that’s going to change is that you’re going to be an even bigger cunt. Maybe have some more cunt kids.
Harry: [furious] Leave my kids fucking out of it! What have they done? You fucking retract that bit about my cunt fucking kids!
In Bruges

“I was on a very strong horse tranquilizer today; Wasn’t waving hello to anybody. Except… maybe to a horse.”
Jimmy, In Bruges

“An Uzi? I’m not from South Central Los Angeles. I didn’t come here to shoot twenty black ten year olds in a drive-by. I want a normal gun for a normal person.”
Harry, In Bruges

Vivian: You go too far, Marlowe.
Marlowe: Those are harsh words to throw at a man, especially when he’s walking out of your bedroom.
The Big Sleep

“Sacramento ain’t worth moose piss.”
Lahood, Pale Rider

“I AM big. It is the pictures that are small.”
–Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard

“Rudy never asked questions about finances, he only had to look at your heels to know the score…”
–Joe, Sunset Boulevard

“Then came the stroke of midnight, and for a few moments gooseflesh ran up every leg in Lady Cusp-Canine’s party, swarmed up the thighs and mustered its hideous forces at the base of every backbone, sending forth grisly outriders throughout the lumbar landscape.”
–Mervyn Peake, Titus Alone

“Mr. Crabcalf was propped up, not against the pillows or a bolster of straw, but by books; and every book was the same book with its dark-gray spine. There at his back, banked up like a wall of bricks, were the so-called “remainders” of an epic, long ago written, long ago forgotten, except by its author, for his lifework lay at his shoulder blades.”
–Mervyn Peake, Titus Alone

“What a face you have,” said Titus. “It’s paradise on edge.”
–Mervyn Peake, Titus Alone

“Why, then, this visitation late at night to his one-time love? Why was he standing on the sill, blocking out the moon and staring at the embers of the fire? Because he longed to talk. To talk like a torrent. To put into words the scores of strange ideas that had been clamoring for release: clamoring to set his tongue on fire. All day he had longed for it…He wanted words, and in his wish, he realized as the sun went down, was the image of the only person in the wide world at the foot of whose bed he could sit; bolt upright, his head held very high, his jaw thrust forward, his face alight with an endless sequence of ideas.”
–Mervyn Peake, Titus Alone


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