Sunday, November 23, 2003

more from LeGuin

More quotes from Ursula K. LeGuin's "Dancing at the Edge of the World: thoughts on words, women, places":

In a generally enthusiastic review of a book on depression in women LeGuin takes the author to task for insufficient insight into the plight of old women, "[I]f ECT [electroshock] is so safe ... why not use it on depressives of forty ... or fifteen? But [the author] doesn't suggest that, leaving me with an unhappy impression she thinks ECT is fine for old depressives. Why? Because the old depressives are right, at last? Because what they knew all along, waking alone in the black pit of 2:00 a.m., is true -- they don't matter any more?"

From a review of five poets: "While painting seems more the business of stockbrokers than of artists, while orchestras endlessly replay old symphonies and let living composers go unheard, poetry flourishes. Living way below the bottom line, unexploitable, it remains as threatened and ubiquitous as the trees and the wild grass. Our very lack of a 'great' poet may be a sign of the luxuriant vitality of the art."

From a review of a book about the primate language experiments: "That language -- genuine language including syntactics, jokes, lies, and disinterested or aesthetic observation -- may prove to be a skill accessible in some degree to several species: this is an idea so distasteful to certain behaviorists and linguists that they attack not only the results of experiments but the investigation of the subject. Academic territorialism plays a part in this tabooing, but its basis seems to be a need to believe in human uniqueness, human supremacy."

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