It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
So this is the boom, eh?' I said. 'Not exactly Scott Fitzgerald, is it?' 'I'll tell you what it's like, ' he said glumly. 'It's like being in Caligula's Rome, and everyone around you's having an orgy, and you're the mug stuck looking after the horse.' He pulled heavily on his cigarette. 'The whole thing'll come crashing down, ' he said bleakly, 'and all anyone'll have done is eaten a lot of expensive cheese.
here's why I take comedies seriously: they present and celebrate the world in which we survive our own and others' mistakes, follies, transgressions, and deep sins. However lightly, dimly, or bleakly, comedies revel in our survival-in the delaying of death and the staying of the curse. Comedies tell the story of ruined folk somehow avoiding ruin.
Shakespeare's ambiguous lubricity in Venus is less disturbing than the bleakly moral emphasis of Lucrece, where virtue is so low-spirited, its exclamation so lachrymose and its justification the nasty realpolitik of Roman Republicanism. The sun has not dried the dew on the grass in Venus, but the ill-lit world of Livy's Rome darkens Lucrece. The first poem lives out of doors; the second is in a permanent chiaroscuro.
Just as there are broken people, there are broken places on this earth. Some have always been broken. All cities have such neighborhoods at their edges, and this city is all edges ... block after block of bleakly hopeless outskirts. People don't bury dead cities. They abandon them. They abandon them to the poorest of the poor, to the lost and the doomed.
Maybe I'll be watching super-8 home videos, ' Alecto told her, smiling bleakly. 'I love my super-8 camera, it's an Eastman Kodak one... Kodak stopped manufacturing them, the world went digital and now Kodak has stopped making Kodachrome film and all kinds of traditional film products... it's sad.' 'Well, uh... well, have fun watching your home movies then, ' Mandy finished, but she didn't have the slightest idea what he was talking about.
She loved sinking into her bed on evenings like this, but apparently she shouldn't, because it worried her aunts, who thought she ought to be out dancing. It worried her a little bit, too, because what if they were right, and because sometimes a great loneliness welled up in her and threatened all the dams she built to hold it back. You couldn't cure loneliness by wallowing in it, up above the world, on an island removed from everything. She knew that. But she had such a hard time with all the cures. They seemed rough and brusque and brutal, as if they abused her skin with a pot scrubber... forcing herself into a mass of people, a stranger among strangers... But it was much more tempting to curl up with a book under her thick white comforter. Still, sometimes after she curled up, she regretted her lack of courage and felt bleakly lonely. It was important to have a really good book.