Archive for the ‘Quotations’ Category

Iain M. Banks

“There is a saying that some foolish people believe: what does not kill you makes you stronger. I know for a fact, having seen the evidence — indeed often enough having been the cause of it — that what does not kill you can leave you maimed. Or crippled, or begging for death in one of those ghastly twilights experienced — and one has to hope that that is entirely not the right word — by those in a locked-in or persistent vegetative state. In my experience the same people also believe that everything happens for a reason. Given the unalleviatedly barbarous history of every world we have ever encountered with anything resembling Man on it, this is a statement of quite breathtakingly casual retrospective and ongoing cruelty, tantamount to the condonation of the most severe and unforgivable sadism.”

–“Tem” in Iain M. Banks’ Transition

(In the first sentence, Banks is referring to Nietzsche’s most idiotic aphorism: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” from Twilight of the Idols)

Ursula Le Guin

“There’s always room for another story. There’s always room for another tune, right? Nobody can write too many tunes. So if you have stories to tell and can tell them competently, then somebody will want to hear it if you tell it well at all. To believe that there is somebody who wants to hear that story is the kind of confidence a writer has to have when they’re in the period of learning their craft and not selling stuff and not really knowing what they’re doing.”

Ursula Le Guin interview with Choire Sicha

Sidelife, by Steve Toutonghi, front cover“. . . he picked up Sophie’s [the cat’s] food dish and began to rinse it in the sink, his finger burrowing into the remainder of Sophie’s previous meal,  a dried brown gunk. . . . he was mildly repulsed by a mental image of the cultivation of small animals, caged hens swelling like fat bacteria in a large damp petri dish of a factory before being rousted by numbed workers who shackled their feet so they’d hang upside down as they were dragged through a paralyzing electric bath, their throats cut, blood drained, bodies plucked, shredded and ground, passed on a belt through an oven, pressed and canned, the cans stacked on a pallet and shipped from one country to another, one state to another, to a central warehouse and then all the way to a local grocery; and from there in his car to this house where he would peel open the sealed band of metal and scoop out a gelatinous paté, a cream of chicken bodies, mash and stir it . . . so that Sophie could nourish herself on a small portion of it and leave the rest to dry into this cadaverous glue he was now rinsing into the garbage disposal.”

–Steve Toutonghi in Sidelife

In keeping with our no-euphemisms, no-bullshit policy, the above is an accurate portrayal of the horrors involved in the production of chicken-based wet cat food. If you have cats and choose to feed them this gross, expensive crap, literally based in industrial-strength cruelty, you are complicit in this appalling abuse.

(If you’re wondering, I had a cat — Spot Bob, my best buddy — for 15 years, and still miss him. I mostly fed him dry food [which is bad enough], but occasionally would give him wet food, including cans of chicken. Like almost all cat owners, I chose to be unaware of the miserable lives and deaths of the poor birds my pal, Spot Bob, was eating. As an aside, his rather odd name came from two places, the first obvious to most sci-fi fans; the second from a girlfriend I had at the time who grew up in a double-wide in a junkyard — her dad managed the place — and who insisted that the proper middle name of all males was “Bob,” as in Jim Bob, Joe Bob, and hence Spot Bob. But I digress . . . . .)

If you feel that you absolutely have to give your kitty wet food, please give them fish-based wet food. It consists mostly of “trash” fish caught by fishing fleets, and doesn’t involve the horrendous animal suffering inherent to chicken-based cat food. If your cat won’t eat fish-based wet food, he or she won’t die from lack of the worst form of canned cruelty.

Please think about it

— Anonymous (attributed to many different people)

Iain M. Banks

“Ferbin’s father had had the same robustly pragmatic view of religion as he’d had of everything else. In his opinion, only the very poor and downtrodden really needed religion, to make their laborious lives more bearable. People craved self-importance, they longed to be told that they mattered as individuals, not just as part of a mass of people or some historical process. They needed the reassurance that while their life might be hard, bitter and thankless, some reward would be theirs after death. Happily for the governing class, a well-formed faith also kept people from seeking recompense in the here and now, through riot, insurrection or revolution.

“A temple was worth a dozen barracks; a militia man carrying a gun could control a small unarmed crowd only for as long as he was present; however, a single priest could put a policeman inside the head of every one of their flock, for ever.”

Iain M. Banks, Matter

Voltairine de Cleyre


“And now, what has Anarchism to say to all this, this bankruptcy of republicanism, this modern empire that has grown up on the ruins of our early freedom? We say this, that the sin our fathers sinned was that they did not trust liberty wholly. They thought it possible to compromise between liberty and government, believing the latter to be a ‘necessary evil,’ and the moment the compromise was made, the whole misbegotten monster of our present tyranny began to grow.”

–Voltairine de Cleyre, “Anarchism and American Traditions” (1908)

Emma Goldman

“History tells us that every oppressed class gained true liberation from its masters through its own efforts. It is necessary that woman learn this lesson, that she realize that her freedom will reach as far as her power to achieve her freedom reaches.  It is therefore necessary for her to begin with her inner regeneration, to cut loose from the weight of prejudices, traditions, and customs. The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved. Indeed, if partial emancipation is to become a complete and true emancipation of woman, it will have to do away with the ridiculous notion that to be loved, to be sweetheart and mother, is synonymous with being slave or subordinate. It will have to do away with the absurd notion of the dualism  of the sexes, or that men and women represent two antagonistic worlds.”

–Emma Goldman, “The Tragedy of Women’s Emancipation”