Chasaveen's Commonplace Book

Like a scrap-book, but better

Mar 27

“I think, I mean, that we have very gravely underestimated the damage that apartheid inflicted on all of us. You know, the damage to our psyches, the damage that has made — I mean, it shocked me. I went to Nigeria when I was working for the World Council of Churches, and I was due to fly to Jos. And so I go to Lagos airport and I get onto the plane and the two pilots in the cockpit are both black. And whee, I just grew inches. You know, it was fantastic because we had been told that blacks can’t do this … And we have a smooth takeoff and then we hit the mother and father of turbulence. I mean, it was quite awful, scary.

Do you know, I can’t believe it but the first thought that came to my mind was, “Hey, there’s no white men in that cockpit. Are those blacks going to be able to make it?” And of course, they obviously made it — here I am. But the thing is, I had not known that I was damaged to the extent of thinking that somehow actually what those white people who had kept drumming into us in South Africa about our being inferior, about our being incapable, it had lodged somewhere in me,” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu.


Feb 28

Jun 20

Jan 17

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

H. P. Lovecraft


Jan 12

Dec 31

Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.

George Sand


Dec 19

Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.

Christopher Hitchens, Author, Essayist, Journalist (1949-2011)


Nov 28
“We trudged over the scutch grass and found our spot, a vacant parcel of sand among the families there, and we sat down in our funeral clothes. There were three voluminous women behind us with a gaggle of kids and the women screamed at the kids when the kids displeased them. ‘Come back here, you simple cunt,’ the largest of them shouted, looking like a circus lady, and a naked girl ran back, was told to call her brother from the water and ran off again. ‘Hamlet,’ the water baby screamed at the sea, and Gerry wondered idly what kind of mother would call her son after the melancholy prince. ‘Hamlet,’ she screamed again, ‘you’re fucking dead, you are.’” Mistaken by Neil Jordan (via spanishexposition)

Nov 13

There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other. Without art science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery. The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous.

Raymond Thornton Chandler, writer (1888-1959) 


Oct 25

The hospital is a vast, humid Petri-dish in which infection, disease and despair run rampant, cross-pollinating with a gleeful disregard for rules, protocols, hygiene and molecular structure. The antiseptic smell pumped through the air-conditioning is intended as a reassuring placebo. I am not reassured.

I request a meeting with my supervisor, Joe. I request, yet again, that I be allowed to wear a face mask whilst going about my duties. This request is denied, on the unspoken and not unreasonable basis that it would cause the patients, their visitors and most of the staff to ask awkward questions.

'Joe, this place is an asylum for microbes. A hospital is where airborne infections come for a little tropical R-'n'-R. I have it on good authority that the alumni of the German measles eradication programme are planning their ten-year reunion on the fourth floor next month.'

But he’s not listening.

'Karlsson, you know as well as I do that studies have shown a hospital to be one of the safest environments in which to work. If you want, I can print you up summaries of those reports. If that's what it'll take to set your mind at rest, then I'll do it.'

I can tell by his tone that he does not expect me to agree to his proposal, that he anticipates I will accept his word as law.

'That'd help a lot, Joe. I'd appreciate that. Would you mind? Maybe just a summary.”

He grits his teeth behind an artificially whitened smile. ‘Not in the slightest. That’s my job, to keep you happy.’

This is PC bullshit run amok. Back in the day I would have received precisely one boot in the hole followed by a warning to never darken his door again, on pain of immediate unemployment and the poverty and starvation that would inevitably ensue. But people like Joe have created the culture of political correctness, equal opportunities and affirmative action, so that people like Joe can wear ironically thick spectacles and not be hurled over the edge of a cliff into a rocky gorge.

Thus, this: he has made his bed, and so he must sleep in it.

He is my princess. I am his pea.

Absolute Zero Cool by Declan Burke


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