Friday, August 20, 2010

Quotes of the day

Without even realizing it he’d fallen into one of those Let’s Be Friends Vortexes, the bane of nerdboys everywhere. These relationships were love’s version of a stay in the stocks, in you go, plenty of misery guaranteed and what you got out of it besides bitterness and heartbreak nobody knows. Perhaps some knowledge of self and women.--Junot Díaz

Everybody wants to win on Sunday. Not everybody wants to do what it takes Monday through Saturday in order to win on Sunday.--Bill Parcells

As the Anglican theologian John Macquarrie observed, "We must avoid the mistake of thinking that because human sexuality is personal, it is also private." Macquarrie went on to say that sex has any number of social ramificiations--sex leads to babies, babies get property, and so on. But Christians have an additional reason to worry about sex--what I am or am not doing in bed affects my relationship with God as much as what I do in church does, and it's the job of my sister in Christ to hold me accountable. The problem isn't that Sarah made my sex life her business. It's that her evangelical vocabulary left her with nothing to say but "whore."--Lauren Winner

Shakespeare always got a kick out of intellectual vanity. And luckily, the Bard’s paying customers didn’t care one jot about the snobs who aimed to knock him down; they voted with their money and saved his works from the oblivion that swallowed up most of his literary contemporaries. Thank God Shakespeare’s audiences had the freedom to do that. This is where a scary specter walks onto the stage, and I’m sorry to say that it happened right here on American soil a few weeks ago, just as I thought I had shaken all that fatal European conceit off my feet. I found myself at a book event in New York, where I heard a fellow author pride himself on giving his books away for free. In the same breath he swooned over the fact that I was from Denmark and declared that he adores Denmark because of all the public arts funding. In his opinion, art should be created without regard for the demands of the market (it’s awfully distracting to have to worry about whether anyone actually wants to read the stuff you’re writing) and funded exclusively by the state, whose representatives will then determine what deserves funding and dish out other people’s money accordingly. Rather than all of you readers wasting your hard-earned cash on a Swedish detective story, your taxman-turned-arts connoisseur will send those twenty bucks to a scrawny poet living in some studio loft, so he can buy another Che Guevara T-shirt. “You know what,” I told him, “we tried that already. It’s called communism. So, unless you really like poems about tractors and paintings of smiling Stalins, I don’t recommend it.”--Anne Fortier

I like that God made everybody speak different languages at the tower of Babel. It was as if He didn’t want human progress to move too fast, because human progress was bad for humans. I wonder if I worked all the time, without sleep, what stupid thing I would create, what stupid thing that might make me feel like I could somehow be like God.--Don Miller

China has formally overtaken Japan as the world's second largest economy. Yet, for all the recent excited commentary, there's less cause for baijiu toasts in Beijing than they might think. That's because China's economic growth has followed what's sometimes called "the Japanese model." In Japan and other Asian countries, this model has proved extraordinarily successful in the short term in generating eye-popping rates of growth -- but it always eventually runs into the same fatal constraints: massive overinvestment and misallocated capital. And then a period of painful economic adjustment. In short: Beijing, beware. Japan's "lost decade" of the 1990s -- from which it still has not emerged -- followed a period of high growth, at the heart of which were massive subsidies for manufacturing and investment. The Japanese model channels wealth away from the household sector to subsidize growth by restraining wages, undervaluing the currency, and, most powerfully, forcing down the cost of capital. In every prior case, once the train gets rolling, it has been very difficult to correct course. That's because too much of the economy depends on hidden subsidies to survive.--Michael Pettis

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