mark baumer

@markbaumer | every day yeah | reading list | word documents | culturally significant moments


“If a man makes a soup, a patently bad soup, and another tastes it on the end of a spoon and says to the first, “This is a good soup,” the soup then is known as good. It is acknowledged good. It fulfills its purpose as soup. The consensus regarding the soup is that the soup is good. It perhaps will be made again in the same way. Others arriving on the scene, perhaps with doubt in their hearts as to their ability to accurately judge a soup to be good or not, they hear this verdict of the soup. They taste the soup and know it to be good. They are not judging the soup themselves. This power they have not obtained. Rather they listen to that initial agreement.”

– "Silence Once Begun" by Jesse Ball

“If some say that a man and a woman must live together or that they must see each other, even that they must live in the same time in order to love, well, they are mistaken. A great lover has a life that prepares him for his love.”

– "Silence Once Begun" by Jesse Ball

“I believe in discovering the love that exists and then trying to understand it. Not to invent a love and try to make it exist, but to find what does exist, and then to see what it is. I believe in trying to understand such love through other loves, other loves that have existed before.”

– "Silence Once Begun" by Jesse Ball

“Out in the street there was a man selling batteries and he smiled at me. I couldn’t understand him. He was saying something, but I could understand none of it. When he saw that, he held up a handful of the batteries as if in victory. He smiled again.”

– "Silence Once Begun" by Jesse Ball

“I had a feeling I wouldn’t see him again, so I didn’t want to leave. I put all of myself into just watching and stood there looking at him as powerfully as I could. Eventually, I had to go. And as it turned out, I was wrong. I did get to see him again. But, I was glad I stayed as long as I could that day.”

– "Silence Once Begun" by Jesse Ball

“There was a small store about a half mile from the prison entrance where they sold soda, candy, newspapers, maps, etc. I asked the man what he thought about the prison. He said it kept him in business. Apparently people would buy things there to take to inmates when they visited. What’s the most popular thing, I inquired. He held up some peculiar candy that I had never tried. I bought some of it.”

– "Silence Once Begun" by Jesse Ball

“Education reflects a culture’s values. If that culture is warped, you get a warped education, with white Janes and Dicks in the schoolbooks and white pale-faced guys who made history. There are so many insidious ways you can get brainwashed to think white equals good—white Howdy-Doody, white Captain Kangaroo. I didn’t feel like a crusader once. I do now. I’ve always been fair with all people. I always wanted to be a solid citizen. I went to college. I graduated. I have put in time in the armed services. I treat all people equally—rich, poor, black, white. I am fairly generous. Nobody can find fault with that. But in the spirit of the times—in some people’s eyes—I’m an Uncle Tom. The phrase is empty.”

– "Levels of the Game" by John McPhee

“Because Ashe is black, many people expect him to be something more than a tennis player—in fact, demand that he be a leader in a general way. The more he wins, the more people look to him for words and acts beyond the court. The black press has criticized him for not doing enough for the cause. He has repeatedly been asked to march and picket, and he has refused. Militant blacks have urged him to resign from the Davis Cup Team. Inevitably, they have called him an Uncle Tom. Once, in Milwaukee, he was asked to march with Stokely Carmichael but said no, and on the same day he visited a number of Milwaukee playgrounds, showing black children and white children how to play tennis.”

– "Levels of the Game" by John McPhee

“When I played in Spain I had nothing to worry about. It’s a great feeling to get away from all this crap in the United States. Mentally and spiritually, it’s like taking a vacation. It’s like going from New York to the black world of Richmond and Gum Spring. Your guard goes down. Everywhere else I go, my sensors are out. Everywhere. It’s a waste of energy, but maybe I can do two things at one time—think about something else and have my sensors out, too.”

– "Levels of the Game" by John McPhee