Thursday, August 16, 2007

After the Deposition

After I testified all day I felt like I had climbed a mountain, or defended my village against intruders or something.
Lynda Barry says: "You know that feeling? when you finish a book you really love, that you almost want to make out with it?"* I'm feeling that way about this Steinberg book, Reflections and Shadows.

I wish it would go out with me.

* not an exact quote

Saul Steinberg on America

"Here there is every sort of felicita, including the horrendous happiness of Florida, concentration camps for old people, the happiness of the rich, who want only to buy things, and the happiness of the bums, the human wrecks. In every large city there's a place called skid row (in New York, it's the Bowery), which is the free zone for derelicts and drunkards, people who want to end their lives in their own way, looking for happiness until the end according to their own judgment, even if they're idiots or lunatics. As long as they don't bother others too much, the police leave them alone. When winter comes they arrest them all and put them in jail, just to keep them warm, so they don't freeze to death...There are those who work steadily for years, businessmen with families, and all of a sudden they enter the skid-row world, and prefer to spend the rest of their lives there. Suicide, except it takes a little longer.

On the Bowery you see many noble faces, marked by life's sufferings, but without the degradation of vulgarity and cunning. There are artists there, painters (I'm not talking about musicians or writers, who don't belong to the same family), defenseless, childish creatures who use their intelligence and courage not for survival, who are primarily concerned with their integrity; who don't exploit anyone, or live on this earth like those who are born with a specific purpose and think of life as something from which to gain the greatest possible advantage."

Saul Steinberg with Aldo Buzzi, Reflections and Shadows (The Saul Steinberg Foundation, 2001. Published in the United States by Random House, Inc., NY, 2002, English translation copyright 2002 by John Shepley)