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The Sixties are most generously described as a time when people took part - when they stepped out of themselves and acted in public, as people who didn't know what would happen next, but who were sure that acts of true risk and fear would produce something different from what they had been raised to take for granted.
No failure in America, whether of love or money, is ever simple; it is always a kind of betrayal, of a mass of shadowy, shared hopes.
If 'Mystery Train' is my Nixon book and 'Lipstick Traces' my Reagan book, 'Invisible Republic' is my Bill Clinton book. I really liked Clinton. He made me proud to be part of this country again. For all of his failings, the way he put all that he'd done in jeopardy, I supported him from beginning to end.
It is a sure sign that a culture has reached a dead end when it is no longer intrigued by its myths.
Patriotism in America, as I understand it, is a matter of suffering, when the country fails to live up to its promises, or actively betrays them.
We make the oldest stories new when we succeed, and we are trapped by the old stories when we fail.
You're going to react to a painting in a way that the painting demands you react.
I had tremendous fun fooling around with the way people talked about songs, just the way that became another way of understanding the world.
Bob Dylan continues to release odd and unsettling records, and to do odd and unsettling things on stage. So the term 'still' seems meaningless to me. But the real answer is simple: I listen to Bob Dylan for pleasure more than I listen to anyone else for pleasure.
Farber had a huge effect on me as a writer. I don't mean I write like him. Farber is, first of all, a great stylist, a great writer. Anyone can read Manny Farber's film criticism, whether that person is a novelist, a poet, another critic, a historian, and learn a lot about writing by reading him.
I learned that when something just has to be said to move the discussion along, or broaden it or deepen it, if I can just keep my mouth shut for five minutes a student will say it. So for me a lot of teaching is about keeping my mouth shut.
I'm a fan of Oliver Stone. I like his movies, I like his excess, and I think he has a great capacity for empathy and it comes out more powerfully in this movie than in any of his other films, even the formal 'I'm identifying with the underdog' movies like 'Born on the Fourth of July.'
I never find myself even catching lyrics until something in the sound has taken me captive. Thinking about anything else is just the pleasurable byproduct of wow.
It may be that the most interesting American struggle is the struggle to set oneself free from the limits one is born to, and then to learn something of the value of those limits.
Elvis transcends his talent to the point of dispensing with it altogether.
Elvis' early music has drama because as he sang he was escaping limits.
Hearing things like 'Wake Up' by Lora Logic, or the Raincoats' 'In Love' - that was something I wasn't prepared for. I couldn't hear anything that came before it in the music, and I didn't want to. I was absolutely in love with its out-of-nowhereness.
I want another idea, another project, but you can't make them up. They show up.
Records that were the sound of somebody - more often than not, a she - speaking with a voice that had never been heard before. Somebody who'd never had the nerve to speak up before. I felt: 'I wanna meet these people.' Which is unusual for me: I don't usually want to meet the people who are making music that I like. But they sounded interesting.
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Henry David Thoreau
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