Saturday, 8 October 2011

Philipp Roth - The Counterlife

On the surface a book about being Jewish and potency and what it means – more fundamentally it raises the question of what makes us who we are. What is nature and what isn’t.

“As long as he was potent there was some give in his life between what was routine and what is taboo. But without the potence he feels condemned to an ironclad life wherein all issues are settled. “ (Roth, 2005, p.34).

“the humbling realization of what the affair with Maria had so painfully exposed: the fact that he was somehow not quite coarse enough to bow to his desires, and yet not quite fine enough to transcend them.” (Roth, 2005, p.52).

“Henry appears to have left his wife, his kids, and his mistress to come to Israel to become an authentic Jew.” (Roth, 2005, p.78).

“Then it wasn’t roots that he had unearthed (in Israel) (…) It was the opportunity to be uprooted, to depart from the path that had been posted with his ame the day he was born, and in the disguise of a Jew to cunningly defect.” (Roth, 2005, p.136).

“The treacherous imagination is everybody’s maker – we are al the invention of each other, everybody a conjuration conjuring up everyone else. We are all each other’s authors.” (Roth, 2005, p.149).

the pastoral:”at the core is the idyllic scenario of redemption through the recovery of a sanitized, confusionless life. In dead seriousness, we all create imagined worlds, often green and breastlike, where we may finally be ‘ourselves.’” (Roth, 2005, p.326).

“Well, that’s over. The pastoral stops here and it stops wth circumcision. (…) Circumcision makes it clear as can be that you are here and not there, that you are out and not in (…) Circumcision is everything that the pastoral is not and, to my mind, reinforces what the world is about, which isn’t strifeless unity. (…) To be born is to lose all that.” (Roth, 2005, p.327)

Dave Trott - Creative Mischief

A great collection of wisdon on advertising from the most outlandish sources – thus being all the more exciting.

“If it’s funny it’s not bad taste.” (Trott, 2009, p.5).

“There’s the story of two explorers walking through the jungle. Suddenly they hear a tiger roar. One explorer sits down and takes a pair of running shoes out of his back pack. “Your’re crazy, you’ll never outrun a tiger,” says the other explorer. “I don’t have to outrun the tiger,” he replies. “I just have to outrun you.” Conventional thinking is that the best man wins. That’s also lazy thinking. How do you beat someone who’s better than you? As Maurice Saatchi used to say. “I don’T have to win. I just have to make you lose.” (Trott, 2009, p.16).

“AS Chruchill said, “Never let the truth spoil a good story.” (Trott, 2009, p.28).

“On a voyage to of constant discovery. That way you squeeze every drop of your time on the planet.” (Trott, 2009, p.48).

“See he was a guy who was interested in rising inside BMP, and the only way he knew how to do that waby internal politics. I was interested in building a career in advertising. And I thought the only way to do that was through the work. So internal politics didn’t interest me.” (Trott, 2009, p.57).

“That’s why every agency has one type of briefing form. And every problem gets shoe-horned into that template. And every answer looks the same. As they say, “When the only tool you’ve got is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.” (Trott, 2009, p.68).

“If the final film is the same as what’s in our heads, we accept that because we’re comfortable with it. It’s expected. But if it’s not what’s in our head, we’re disappointed. We feel let down. That’s why it’s worth remembering, we could be wrong. We have to keep an open mind.” (Trott, 2009, p.71).

“My point is, that was a pretty stupid risk I took, but I learned from it. I learned never to take a risk that can kill you. But I also learned: no risk, no reward. And, by and large, no risk that you take in advertising can kill you.” (Trott, 2009, p.75).

As professionals we can’t simply say: I like it or I don’t like it. We have to say ‘It works, because..’ or ‘It doesn’t work because…’: “ “It works because …” is right on three counts. Number one: “It”, we’re talking about the piece of work, not just someone’s opinions. Number two: “works”, we’re talking about the function it’S supposed to deliver, not how it makes us feel. Number three: “because”, we have to back up what we say, with reasoned argument.

“It was rainng as the two leading Zn masters met to debate their different styles of teaching. The first Zen master was seated drinking tea. The second master entered and sat opposite him. The first master said, “On which side of your shoes did you leave your umbrella?” The second maser paused and realised he didn’t know. He immediately gave up being a master and became a pupil of the first Zen master. By not knowing something as simple as that. He realised he had been thinking about the debate instead of actually being alive. You see, the only time you can be alive is now. (…) We worry about the future, and we regret the past. (…) So we live our lives, not out in the world, but in our minds.” (Trott, 2009, p.125).

“John (Webster) had no memory of what happened yesterday. (…) So nothing was ever boring.” (Trott, 2009, p.126).