Plus Ratio Quam Vis

A favorite motto inscribed at Collegium Maius in Krakow, Poland.


Jagiellonian motto with globe

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Philip Roth on adolescence

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“Far from being the classic period of explosion and tempestuous growth, my adolescence was more or less a period of suspended animation. After the victories of an exuberant and spirited childhood — lived out against the dramatic background of America’s participation in World War II — I was to cool down considerably until I went off to college in 1950. […] From age 12, when I entered high school, to age 16, when I graduated, I was by and large a good, responsible, well-behaved boy. […] The best of adolescence was the intense male friendships — not only because of the cozy feelings of camaraderie they afforded boys coming unstuck from their close-knit families, but because of the opportunity they provided for uncensored talk. These marathon conversations, characterized often by raucous discussions of hoped-for sexual adventure and by all sorts of anarchic joking, were typically conducted, however, in the confines of a parked car — two, three, four, or five of us in a single steel enclosure just about the size and shape of a prison cell, and similarly set apart from ordinary human society.”

A few reactions to “The Darjeeling Limited” (2007)

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In lieu of a full-blown review of this film (which is my favorite of Anderson’s movies), here a few miscellaneous reactions I had while watching it yesterday:

1. Suggestions have been made by critics that Anderson infantilizes his characters and creates a cartoon, childhood fantasy world. Isn’t this missing the point, perhaps? While yes he does do this in a way, it is not to be cute as cynics suggest. The brothers sit eating the breakfast their mother made them, indian-legged, like three little man-children. The point is not to be cute or to revel in infantilism. It is to return to one’s origins to face the past, to heal after years of brushing over past heartache. It is about how we are all overgrown children trying to act like adults, and Anderson’s characters are lovable because they have a certain childish innocence and vulnerability, unlike the impenetrable bravados of many real-world adults. This isn’t just about hipster sheik, it is in fact much deeper and more meaningful.

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