Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wendell Berry

Wendell BerryOkay, so I've been reading Wendell Barry's collection of essays, What Are People For?

I'm hoping to gather the mental energy to discuss his many ideas. But in the meantime, here are some quotes I found particularly compelling. unlimited economic competition, the winners are losers; that they may appear to be winners is owing only to their temporary ability to charge their costs to other people or to nature. From "Economy and Pleasure," 1988
[For women t]o have an equal part in our juggernaut of national vandalism is to be a vandal. To call this vandalism "liberation" is to prolong, and even ratify, a dangerous confusion that was once principally masculine. From "Feminism, the Body, and the Machine," 1989
We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and each other.... The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependent on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do. From "Word and Flesh," 1989
A sense of justice, though essential, grows pale and cynical when it stands too long alone in the face of overpowering injustice. From "Harry Caudill in the Cumberlands," 1981
In writing of Edward Abbey, Berry wrote, "He is prejudiced against sacred cows, the favorite pets of tyrants." From "A Few words in Favor of Edward Abbey," 1985
Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence. From "A Poem of Difficult Hope," 1990
Berry was writing these essays in the 1980s and earlier about issues that have been popularized of late by Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle. Wish I had read him sooner.

No comments: