…in every generation there are a few souls, call them lucky or cursed, who are simply born not belonging, who come into the world semi-detached, if you like, without strong affiliation to family or location or nation or race; that there may even be millions, billions of such souls, as many non-belongers as belongers, perhaps; that, in sum, the phenomenon may be as “natural” a manifestation of human nature as its opposite, but one that has been mostly frustrated, throughout human history, by lack of opportunity. And not only by that: for those who value stability, who fear transience, uncertainty, change, have erected a powerful system of stigmas and taboos against rootlessness, that disruptive, anti-social force, so that we mostly conform, we pretend to be motivated by loyalties and solidarities we do not really feel, we hide our secret identities beneath the false skins of those identities which bear the belongers’ seal of approval. But the truth leaks out in our dreams; alone in our beds (because we are all alone at night, even if we do not sleep by ourselves), we soar, we fly, we flee. And in the waking dreams our societies permit, in our myths, our arts, our songs, we celebrate the non-belongers, the different ones, the outlaws, the freaks. What we forbid ourselves we pay good money to watch, in a playhouse or movie theatre, or to read about between the secret covers of a book. Our libraries, our palaces of entertainment tell the truth. The tramp, the assassin, the rebel, the thief, the mutant, the outcast, the delinquent, the devil, the sinner, the traveller, the gangster, the runner, the mask: if we did not recognize in them our least-fulfilled needs, we would not invent them over and over again, in every place, in every language, in every time.

Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

(via safranfoer)

The philosopher was seated on the lawn. He said: ‘signs form a language, but not the one you think you know’.

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The philosopher was seated on the lawn. He said: ‘signs form a language, but not the one you think you know’.

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

What is interesting, is that the Frida Kahlo venerated by American feminists is a very different Frida Kahlo to the one people learn about in Mexico, in the Chicano community. In her country, she is recognized as an important artist and a key figure in revolutionary politics of early 20th century Mexico. Her communist affiliations are made very clear. Her relationship with Trotsky is underscored. All her political activities with Diego Rivera are constantly emphasized. The connection between her art and her politics is always made. When Chicana artists became interested in Frida Kahlo in the ‘70s and started organizing homages, they made the connection between her artistic project and theirs because they too were searching for an aesthetic compliment to a political view that was radical and emancipatory. But when the Euro-American feminists latch onto Frida Kahlo in the early ‘80s and when the American mainstream caught on to her, she was transformed into a figure of suffering. I am very critical of that form of appropriation.

Coco Fusco on her Amerindians piece from 1992 with Guillermo Gómez-Peña

(via dwsc)

Every intelligent man laughs in his soul at “bookish” views. And are not books the work of the wise? They are often extremely interesting—but only in so far as they do not contain general rules. Woe to him who would build up his life according to Hegel, Schopenhauer, Tolstoy, Schiller, or Dostoevsky. He must read them, but he must have sense, a mind of his own to live with. Those who have tried to live according to theories from books have found this out. At the best, their efforts produced banality. Man will at last have to realise that clichés are worthless, and that he must live from himself.

Lev Shestov, All Things are Possible

(via lyingseason)