First, there was Confucius. Then, the sayings of Chairman Mao. And now the pithy, ironic, and humorous insights of Ai Weiwei. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection, which reflects a well-developed philosophy as well as a keen understanding of the Chinese Communist system. This is China made easy and interesting.
Jerome A. Cohen
We communicated with pithy, rather monosyllabic thoughts: viz. Run, Jump, Where? Left, Up, Duck, ect. (This latter was an observation I made on the edge of a lake. Nathaniel unfortunately took it as a command, which resulted in our temporary immersion.) We didn't ever quite say Ug, but it was a close-run thing.
Quinn Cummings is a master story-teller and her book is nothing short of delightful. Her insights into topics like celebrity, parenting, and cats with a taste for homicide are pithy and uproarious and not to be missed. Notes from the Underwire is charming, hilarious, and just snarky enough to be ultimately satisfying.
Booker T. Jones sounds more pithy and forceful than ever on "Potato Hole"... Mr. Jones still jabs terse, unhurried melodies that sound as if he knows the lyrics but would never tell. Where the M.G.'s suavely underplayed their aggression, the rockers' multiple-guitar attack, with distortion and feedback, gives the music teeth.
Unrequited love, " I'd say. He'd look at me sideways in that cunning way he did and say, "what about it?" and I'd reply, "it's not your color." Pithy. Just to show him that I'd noticed. Or maybe I'd show myself to her and say, "Guess I'm not the only one who uses humans around here." And then I'd summon some of Owain's hounds to chew off the bottom bits of her legs. Then she wouldn't fit just right into his arms. She'd be too short. It'd be like hugging a midget. Nuala- pg. 75
Unrequited love," I'd say. He'd look at me sideways in that cunning way he did and say, "what about it?" and I'd reply, "it's not your color." Pithy. Just to show him that I'd noticed. Or maybe I'd show myself to her and say, "Guess I'm not the only one who uses humans around here." And then I'd summon some of Owain's hounds to chew off the bottom bits of her legs. Then she wouldn't fit just right into his arms. She'd be too short. It'd be like hugging a midget. Nuala- pg. 75
The Americans, who are the most efficient people on the earth, have carried [phrase-making] to such a height of perfection and have invented so wide a range of pithy and hackneyed phrases that they can carry on an amusing and animated conversation without giving a moment's reflection to what they are saying and so leave their minds free to consider the more important matters of big business and fornication.
W. Somerset Maugham
This wobbly world host to insects and lint and a thousand pithy ways to feel unserious each minute It brings about a great softening of the mind, like the clouded edges of sea glass (this filter you could download and apply) A poultice or an opiate, rigidly individual. Alone and erasing sentences to splinters. (Poem No. 5)
Erin J. Watson
We took a bus to the nearby monastery of one of the last great Tang dynasty Chan masters, Yun-men. Yun-men was known for his pithy 'one word' Zen. When asked 'What is the highest teaching of the Buddha?' he replied: 'An appropriate statement.' On another occasion, he answered: 'Cake.' I admired his directness.
There is an old Italian proverb about the nature of translation: "Traddutore, traditore!" This means simply, "Translators-traitors!" Of course, as you can see, something is lost in the translation of this pithy expression: there is great similarity in both the spelling and the pronunciation of the original saying, but these get diluted once they are put in English dress. Even the translation of this proverb illustrates its truth!
My identity as Jewish cannot be reduced to a religious affiliation. Professor Said quoted Gramsci, an author that I'm familiar with, that, and I quote, 'to know thyself is to understand that we are a product of the historical process to date which has deposited an infinity of traces, without leaving an inventory'. Let's apply this pithy observation to Jewish identity. While it is tempting to equate Judaism with Jewishness, I submit to you that my identity as someone who is Jewish is far more complex than my religious affiliation. The collective inventory of the Jewish people rests on my shoulders. This inventory shapes and defines my understanding of what it means to be Jewish. The narrative of my people is a story of extraordinary achievement as well as unimaginable horror. For millennia, the Jewish people have left their fate in the hands of others. Our history is filled with extraordinary achievements as well as unimaginable violence. Our centuries-long Diaspora defined our existential identity in ways that cannot be reduced to simple labels. It was the portability of our religion that bound us together as a people, but it was our struggle to fit in; to be accepted that identified us as unique. Despite the fact that we excelled academically, professionally, industrially, we were never looked upon as anything other than Jewish. Professor Said in his book, Orientalism, examined how Europe looked upon the Orient as a dehumanized sea of amorphous otherness. If we accept this point of view, then my question is: How do you explain Western attitudes towards the Jews? We have always been a convenient object of hatred and violent retribution whenever it became convenient. If Europe reduced the Orient to an essentialist other, to borrow Professor Said's eloquent language, then how do we explain the dehumanizing treatment of Jews who lived in the heart of Europe? We did not live in a distant, exotic land where the West had discursive power over us. We thought of ourselves as assimilated. We studied Western philosophy, literature, music, and internalized the same culture as our dominant Christian brethren. Despite our contribution to every conceivable field of human endeavor, we were never fully accepted as equals. On the contrary, we were always the first to be blamed for the ills of Western Europe. Two hundred thousand Jews were forcibly removed from Spain in 1492 and thousands more were forcibly converted to Christianity in Portugal four years later. By the time we get to the Holocaust, our worst fears were realized. Jewish history and consciousness will be dominated by the traumatic memories of this unspeakable event. No people in history have undergone an experience of such violence and depth. Israel's obsession with physical security; the sharp Jewish reaction to movements of discrimination and prejudice; an intoxicated awareness of life, not as something to be taken for granted but as a treasure to be fostered and nourished with eager vitality, a residual distrust of what lies beyond the Jewish wall, a mystical belief in the undying forces of Jewish history, which ensure survival when all appears lost; all these, together with the intimacy of more personal pains and agonies, are the legacy which the Holocaust transmits to the generation of Jews who have grown up under its shadow. -Fictional debate between Edward Said and Abba Eban.