April 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

Luxury is the enemy of observation, a costly indulgence that induces such a good feeling that you notice nothing. Luxury spoils and infantilizes you and prevents you from knowing the world. That is its purpose, the reason why luxury cruises and great hotels are full of fatheads who, when they express an opinion, seem as though they are from another planet.

From Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 19, 2010 3:27 AM
Theroux is a great writer, and I've read many of his books, but he is such a curmudgeon.

When he lived in Singapore for a while, he decided he didn't like Chinese culture all that much. When he wrote a few books about taking trips by train, he decided that he was tired of train travel. So why did he then decide to take an interminably long trip to China, suffering all the while, to write "The Iron Rooster"..? There's a man who is not addicted to luxury...
Posted by: Mary Madigan at April 19, 2010 9:07 am
You want as much luxury as possible in the world, because it fosters consumption, creates jobs etc. It also fosters excellence in product design and it encourages competition among people which is a good thing (even if these people are vain). You may not want people who indulge in luxuries to be your philosophers and statesmen, but that does not mean luxury overall is a negative contributor to society.

Wikipedia says 'Theroux currently resides in Hawaii and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U.S.A' Not exactly the most un-luxurious choices of residences. Just affording the real estate in these places is a luxury. I have a walk-up studio in East Boston for you, Paul, if you choose to match your lifestyle with your opinions.
Posted by: Joe Hayek at April 19, 2010 9:38 am
I've read both Great Railway Bazaar books, as well as Dark Star Safari and the one about kayaking around the south Pacific. I enjoy his works. He is a curmudgeon, but I sort of like that.
Posted by: semite5000 at April 19, 2010 9:58 am
Joe Hayek,

Yes, agreed. He's a travel writer, though, and was referring to luxury abroad, hence his references to cruises and great hotels.

I always stay in cheap hotels abroad, partly because I can't afford the expensive ones, but also because they really are little bubbles of unreality.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 19, 2010 11:13 am
A studio's probably about what I could afford in Beantown today, Joe. Thanks for the offer.

"bubbles of unreality" prompts images of network anchors, in their safari jackets. Michael Yon has had more than a few choice words about drop-in journalism.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 19, 2010 4:24 pm
Meanwhile, on the ground...

Agents of the evil empire at work:

Ninewa province, Iraq
"Task: 150 school renovations in 100 days"

""We've seen bullet holes in the windows of the schools. We've known personally how hot it gets in those buildings. They are often overcrowded and unsanitary," said (Spc.) Winebarger. "Having seen all this, it definitely gives a somewhat personal sense of urgency and makes us even more dedicated to the job."

Posted by: Paul S. at April 19, 2010 4:28 pm

A great quote too.....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 19, 2010 7:02 pm
"...which (consequently) increases earthquakes”

Mullahlogic at least provides comic relief; 'takes me back to Baghdad Bob. So at least protestors don't cause them. And a crappy economy is triggered by...what?
Posted by: Paul S. at April 19, 2010 10:36 pm
See, once the women start wiggling, the men start jiggling, and then...
Posted by: Paul S. at April 20, 2010 12:16 am

Maybe not a quote, but the former IAEA head decries the Egyptian Steel Wall. I rather doubt that medical supplies require the tunnels. I hear Hamas is burning painkillers right now in broad daylight. Perhaps their use is causing global warming.........
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 20, 2010 9:23 am
There's a quote I can agree with!
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 20, 2010 12:36 pm
Maybe the kids at Columbia should have asked Mymood I'minajihad about this; Sir, why, then, is California not in a constant, cataclysmic state of seismic activity, given what California girls wear at the beach. Of course, gays can't cause Iranian quakes because...they're aren't any.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 20, 2010 2:54 pm
Ombra, you'll have to remind me what nuttier things the commies said in their "early" days.

Iran's worst earthquakes were before the current fashions. Maybe those past quakes were due to the Shah.

Let's be real. The Mullahs want to move the protesters to Qom where they can be used as human shields. They outlawed the last two opposition parties today. So whose Big Brother now? And a dim one at that....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 20, 2010 3:08 pm

It does fit you rather well.
Posted by: del at April 20, 2010 8:27 pm

In recent years Iran has moved more towards pragmatism from ideology? I guess the guys making this report don't read the news.......

And I don't see the S-300s Iran recently paraded mentioned, or were they just mock-ups?;

Posted by: Maxtrue at April 21, 2010 5:45 am
Maxtrue - I like one of MJT's quotes and I make you think of "crazy commies"?

del - Greed is one of the biggest problems we face today.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 21, 2010 9:49 am
Ombi: del - Greed is one of the biggest problems we face today.

Right up there with ill-informed and mendacious ideologues.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 21, 2010 7:04 pm
I'll drink to that! Hopefully the Washington Post, among other very distinguished publications, will stop giving them a weekly column!
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 23, 2010 3:49 pm
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