Reflections on Reading

On first reading Adorno

“I can see the necessity for applying a negative dialectic to all religious thought and practice. It’s necessary to keep things honest. In order to have some faith, you absolutely have to doubt. You have to wonder whether yesterday’s truth still applies today. You have to ask if it does or not. Be willing to tear down today’s truth to find something, if anything, behind it. This makes life—and religion—alive.”

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My Promised Land

“Read Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, the book about Israel that has been all over the American press in recent months. It’s the first book I know of in English — and widely available here (outside of Benny Green’s early historical works) — that is brutally honest about Israeli history.”

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McHale's Navy

“The other day while I was exercising I found a TV channel that was showing 1960's sitcoms. McHales's Navy was on, a show I remember well from the early sixties. Starring Earnest Borgnine, who was famous for his role in the movie Marty, it was one of those light comedies about World War II. Yes, that's right, light comedies about World War II, a genre common in those days. There were several such shows. Their basic promise of all of them was that the War was loonie and lots of fun.”

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No halfway measures will do

“Acting is interesting, very much like practice in that in both cases you have to project yourself imaginatively into your life, be fully committed to the truth of who you are, what you are about, at any moment — be willing to open up your life completely, no halfway measures will do. Ritual is like acting— in fact theater comes from ritual — in which you heighten your presence in order to perform a non-ordinary imaginative act.”

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