Monday, June 06, 2011

Quotes of the day

We are a democracy, and as such do not generally elect our best people to office. How could we? They weren’t running.--David Mamet

... we get both more, and less out of a work than the author intended, and we are never actually getting the author themselves. They are always hiding some piece of themselves from us, the piece they can't bear for us to know. Trying to judge a book by an author, or an author by their book, is like trying to judge a glass of milk by looking at the cow. ... But there's another reason I do not think that we should reject books because their authors have terrible opinions, which is that virtually all authors have some terrible opinions. Maybe you don't know about them, or maybe you share their terrible opinions, but you cannot improve your library by purging all the authors with terrible ideas; you can only empty it. ... if you wanted to pick a group of people to model your life on, it's hard to think of a less likely group than successful writers. ... Writers, especially, spend the bulk of their workday not interacting with other people. They are people who have in large part dealt with the hardest human question--how do I live with all these difficult people around me?--by escaping into a world where the people are puppets. Why would we expect that they have some sort of special insight into how to be just and good?--Megan McArdle

I often joke that my main qualification for cancer research is that I am unencumbered by any prior knowledge of the subject.--Paul Davies, physicist

Difference between reporting on business and politics: if I get an interview scheduled with a businessman, he keeps the appointment.--Megan McArdle

[Bill] Simmons is what you might call the Peter Pan of sports fandom. He still has good days when his teams win and rough ones when they lose. He wouldn’t go to the old Yankee Stadium — “just too many bad memories there” — and he doesn’t travel on football Sundays, when he spends 12 hours in the Neverland of his four-flat-screen “man cave.” As a cultural phenomenon, Simmons is a member of the new class of man-boys, defined most famously by Judd Apatow and Todd Phillips, who make movies about men who can’t or won’t grow up. They got rich staying true to their 17-year-old selves and, along the way, helped make losers sort of cool. Simmons knows that the only people his age who obsess about sports the way he does are geeks — in his columns, he refers to his fantasy-baseball league as “the League of Dorks” — and he recognizes the quasi-pathetic nature of a grown man living and dying for his teams. But at the same time he’s unapologetic about it. “I always thought that by the time I turned 40 I wouldn’t care about sports so much,” Simmons told me. “I’d seen it happen to so many other people. But it hasn’t happened to me.” Simmons is not a literary sportswriter. You can’t capture his resonance with lyrical quotes from his oeuvre, because they don’t really exist.--Jonathan Mahler

... the truth is that when they are both right, Federer cannot beat Nadal. It has been talked about time and again: Federer is the greatest player of all time. And he's not the greatest player of his own time. ... Federer's game is scissors. Nadal's game is stone.--Joe Posnanski
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