Excerpts: Marilyn Monroe and the newspaper/cheesburger connection
Just finished John Irvin's A Prayer for Owen Meany on my quest to finish BBC's The Big Read Top 100 Novels. Besides the annoyance of Owen only talking in capitals-- good stuff.
“When someone you love dies, and you're not expecting it, you don't lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time -- the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes -- when there's a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she's gone, forever -- there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”
"Newspapers are a bad habit, the reading equivalent of junk food. What happens to me is that I seize upon an issue in the news—the issue is the moral/philosophical, political/intellectual equivalent of a cheeseburger with everything on it; but for the duration of my interest in it, all my other interests are consumed by it, and whatever appetites and capacities I may have had for detachment and reflection are suddenly subordinate to this cheeseburger in my life! I offer this as self-criticism; but what it means to be "political" is that you welcome these obsessions with cheeseburgers—at great cost to the rest of your life."
“Never confuse faith, or belief – of any kind - with something even remotely intellectual.”
“If watching television doesn't hasten death, it surely manages to make death very inviting; for television so shamelessly sentimentalizes and romanticizes death that it makes the living feel they have missed something - just by staying alive.”
“IT’S A BEAUTIFUL, SEXY, BREATHLESS COUNTRY, AND POWERFUL MEN USE IT TO TREAT THEMSELVES TO A THRILL! THEY SAY THEY LOVE IT BUT THEY DON’T MEAN IT. THEY SAY THINGS TO MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR GOOD—THEY MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR MORAL. THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT KENNEDY WAS: A MORALIST. BUT HE WAS JUST GIVING US A SNOW JOB, HE WAS JUST BEING A GOOD SEDUCER. I THOUGHT HE WAS A SAVIOR. I THOUGHT HE WANTED TO USE HIS POWER TO DO GOOD. BUT PEOPLE WILL SAY AND DO ANYTHING JUST OT GET THE POWER; THEN THEY’LL USE THE POWER JUST TO GET A THRILL. MARILYN MONROE WAS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE BEST MAN—MAYBE SHE WANTED THE MAN WITH THE MOST INTEGRITY, MAYBE SHE WANTED THE MAN WITH THE MOST ABILITY TO DO GOOD. AND SHE WAS SEDUCED, OVER AND OVER AGAIN—SHE GOT FOOLED, SHE WAS TRICKED, SHE GOT USED, SHE WAS USED UP. JUST LIKE THE COUNTRY. THE COUNTRY WANTS A SAVIOR. THE COUNTRY IS A SUCKER FOR POWERFUL MEN WHO LOOK GOOD. WE THINK THEY’RE MORALISTS AND THEN THEY JUST USE US. THAT”S WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU AND ME,” said Owen Meany. “WE’RE GOING TO BE USED.”