A Change of Scenery In My Mind’s Day

William HazlittThis is the story of why I do not comment my quotes. Ultimately it is the story of why I like quotes.

The quotes are taken out of context because context can sometimes spoil the quote. The quotes disregard what the author meant (and sometimes I disapprove of the author’s writings!). Without the context, they are a collection of words where the context is created by the thoughts they evoke. It means whatever it means at the time the quote is read.

Some quotes are trite, some quotes are funny, and some quotes are obvious; they all resonate. I do not explain what a quote means to me when I chose it because I believe that the magic of a quote are the thoughts it provokes in the moment.

The naked quotes lead me down new paths of thought. They stimulate my mind. Commenting would attach a context to the quote and take away the pleasure of seeing them again.

It’s Not What He Says, It’s Who He Is

I have not seen or heard any of the Charlie Sheen interviews. I have only read about them and I have seen a lot of quotes.

I was struck by the thought that for a lot of the quotes, it was the person saying them that made them sound crazy. If a popular and charismatic person had said these things, they would be considered motivational or inspirational:

“That’s how I roll. And if it’s too gnarly for people, then buh-bye.”

“I have one speed, I have one gear: Go.”

“It’s perfect. It’s awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it’s scary. People say it’s lonely at the top, but I sure like the view.”

“I think the honesty not only shines through in my work, but also my personal life. And I get in trouble for being honest. I’m extremely old-fashioned. I’m a nobleman. I’m chivalrous.”

“I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars, and people can’t figure me out; they can’t process me. I don’t expect them to.”

“They could have fleeced the sheep a thousand times, but they chose to skin it once.”

“I don’t live in the middle anymore. That’s where you get embarrassed in front of the prom queen.”

“I’m not taking it. I had to pay for it.”

“I am grandiose. Because I live a grandiose life.”

“Shut up. Stop. Move forward.”

Even the tiger’s blood analogy would be taken differently if it had been said by someone influenced by eastern philosophies.

Not Indifferent

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” — Elie Wiesel

A common French way to express feelings towards someone is to tell them “you don’t leave me indifferent”. The negation of a negation – the infamous double negative. The French-speaking Swiss do this a lot. Things aren’t good or delicious, they are not bad. If something is really good, it is not bad at all.

Using the double negative to say something good is wrong to me. It is a fear of expressing true feelings and opinions. I wish I could find something that has the subtlety of the “you don’t leave me indifferent”. Saying “I have feelings for you” sounds like the guy who is too scared to say “I have this mad crush on you”.

I guess that I am stuck with the phrase with the double negative. Between the wimps that kill the positive version and the meaning infused into the phrase through years of common usage, there really isn’t a better way of saying someone doesn’t leave you indifferent. It even seems to work in English 😦