Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quotation Corner: 7 February

I frown upon people who underline passages in library books. Strange annotations can be entertaining, though rarely enlightening.  But simply higlighting passages — what's the point?  Are you underliners trying to highlight this for yourself or future readers?  Coz I hate to break it to you, but most of the time your passages aren't any more striking than the rest of the text.

Sometimes, however...
Bluebeard... moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world's champions.
The entire planet can get along nicely now with maybe a dozen champion performers in each area of human giftedness.  A moderately gifted person has to keep his or her gifts all bottled up until, in a manner of speaking, he or she gets drunk at a wedding and tap-dances on the coffee table like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers.  We have a name for him or her. We call him or her an "exhibitionist."
— Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (p.76)
It was a tad depressing to read this on Friday during my lunch hour, then trudge back to the office. I wonder what sort of job the underliner has, what light he or she hides under their bushel? They seem like the kind of library vandal I would like to meet.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I'm just reading Slaugherhouse 5 at the moment! It's soooo good.