Oh, there was a certain pleasure. And don’t ever underestimate people, don’t ever underestimate the pleasure they receive from viewing pain that is not their own, from delivering bad news, watching bombs fall on television, from listening to stifled sobs from the other end of a telephone line. Pain by itself is just Pain. But Pain + Distance can = entertainment, voyeurism, human interest, cinéma vérité, a good belly chuckle, a sympathetic smile, a raised eyebrow, disguised contempt.
If religion is the opiate of the people, tradition is an even more sinister analgesic, simply because it rarely appears sinister. If religion is a tight band, a throbbing vein, and a needle, tradition is a far homelier concoction: poppy seeds ground into tea; a sweet cocoa drink laced with cocaine; the kind of thing your grandmother might have made. To Samad, as to the people of Thailand, tradition was culture, and culture led to roots, and these were good, these were untainted principles. That didn't mean he could live by them, abide by them, or grow in the manner they demanded, but roots were roots and roots were good. You would get nowhere telling him that weeds too have tubers, or that the first sign of loose teeth is something rotten, something degenerate, deep within the gums. Roots were what saved, the ropes one throws out to rescue drowning men, to Save Their Souls.
[..] as midnight inevitably came and went without the horsemen of the apocalypse making an appearance, Clara surprised herself by falling into a melancholy.For ridding oneself of faith is like boiling sea-water to retrieve the salt something is gained but something is lost. Though her friends Merlin, Wan-Si, et al. clapped her on the back and congratulated her for exorcizing those fervid dreams of perdition and redemption, Clara quietly mourned the warmer touch she had waited for these nineteen years, the all-enveloping bear hug of the Saviour, the One who was Alpha and Omega, both the beginning and the end; the man who was meant to take her away from all this, from the listless reality of life in a ground-floor flat in Lambeth. What now for Clara? Ryan would find another fad; Darcus need only turn to the other channel; for Hortense another date would of course materialize, along with more leaflets, ever more faith. But Clara was not like Hortense. Yet a residue, left over from the evaporation of Clara's faith, remained. She still wished for a saviour. She still wished for a man to whisk her away, to choose her above others so that she might Walk in white with Him: for [she] was worthy. Revelation 3:4.
İnsanları asla küçümsemeyin, kendilerinin olmayan acıyı izlerken, kötü haber verirken, televizyonda bombaların düşüşünü seyrederken, telefonun öbür ucundaki bastırılmış hıçkırıkları dinlerken, aldıkları keyfi de asla küçümsemeyin. Acı tek başına sadece Acı'dır. Fakat, Acı + Mesafe = eğlence, röntgencilik, insani ilgi, gerçekçi sinema, keyifli bir kahkaha, anlayışlı bir tebessüm, kalkık bir kaş veya gizlenmiş nefret olabilir.
They were properly mad in the Shakespearean sense, talking sense when you least expected it. In North London, where councillors once voted to change the name of the area to Nirvana, it is not unusual to walk the streets and be suddenly confronted by sage words from the chalkfaced, blue-lipped, or eyebrowless. From across the street or from the other end of a tube carriage they will use their schizophrenic talent for seeing connections in the random (for discerning the whole world in a grain of sand, for deriving narrative from nothing) to riddle you, to rhyme you, to strip you down, to tell you who you are and where you’re going (usually Baker Street—the great majority of modernday seers travel the Metropolitan Line) and why. But as a city we are not appreciative of these people. Our gut instinct is that they intend to embarrass us, that they’re out to shame us somehow as they lurch down the train aisle, bulbous-eyed and with carbuncled nose, preparing to ask us, inevitably, what we are looking at. What the fuck we are looking at. As a kind of preemptive defense mechanism, Londoners have learned not to look, never to look, to avoid eyes at all times so that the dreaded question “What you looking at?” and its pitiful, gutless, useless answer —“Nothing”—might be avoided.