What is the use of beauty in woman? Provided a woman is physically well made and capable of bearing children, she will always be good enough in the opinion of economists.What is the use of music? -- of painting? Who would be fool enough nowadays to prefer Mozart to Carrel, Michael Angelo to the inventor of white mustard?There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need and man's needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the water-closet.For my part, saving these gentry's presence, I am of those to whom superfluities are necessaries and I am fond of things and people in inverse ratio to the service they render me. I prefer a Chinese vase with its mandarins and dragons, which is perfectly useless to me, to a utensil which I do use and the particular talent of mine which I set most store by is that which enables me not to guess logogriphs and charades. I would very willingly renounce my rights as a Frenchman and a citizen for the sight of an undoubted painting by Raphael, or of a beautiful nude woman, -- Princess Borghese, for instance, when she posed for Canova, or Julia Grisi when she is entering her bath. I would most willingly consent to the return of that cannibal, Charles X., if he brought me, from his residence in Bohemia, a case of Tokai or Johannisberg; and the electoral laws would be quite liberal enough, to my mind, were some of our streets broader and some other things less broad. Though I am not a dilettante, I prefer the sound of a poor fiddle and tambourines to that of the Speaker's bell. I would sell my breeches for a ring and my bread for jam. The occupation which best befits civilized man seems to me to be idleness or analytically smoking a pipe or cigar. I think highly of those who play skittles and also of those who write verse. You may perceive that my principles are not utilitarian and that I shall never be the editor of a virtuous paper, unless I am converted, which would be very comical.Instead of founding a Monthyon prize for the reward of virtue, I would rather bestow -- like Sardanapalus, that great, misunderstood philosopher -- a large reward to him who should invent a new pleasure; for to me enjoyment seems to be the end of life and the only useful thing on this earth. God willed it to be so, for he created women, perfumes, light, lovely flowers, good wine, spirited horses, lapdogs and Angora cats; for He did not say to his angels, 'Be virtuous,' but, 'Love,' and gave us lips more sensitive than the rest of the skin that we might kiss women, eyes looking upward that we might behold the light, a subtile sense of smell that we might breathe in the soul of the flowers, muscular limbs that we might press the flanks of stallions and fly swift as thought without railway or steam-kettle, delicate hands that we might stroke the long heads of greyhounds, the velvety fur of cats and the polished shoulder of not very virtuous creatures and, finally, granted to us alone the triple and glorious privilege of drinking without being thirsty, striking fire and making love in all seasons, whereby we are very much more distinguished from brutes than by the custom of reading newspapers and framing constitutions.
Théophile Gautier
There is no solution for Europe other than deepening the democratic values it invented. It does not need a geographical extension, absurdly drawn out to the ends of the Earth; what it needs is an intensification of its soul, a condensation of its strengths. It is one of the rare places on this planet where something absolutely unprecedented is happening, without its people even knowing it, so much do they take miracles for granted. Beyond imprecation and apology, we have to express our delighted amazement that we live on this continent and not another. Europe, the planet's moral compass, has sobered up after the intoxication of conquest and has acquired a sense of the fragility of human affairs. It has to rediscover its civilizing capabilities, not recover its taste for blood and carnage, chiefly for spiritual advances. But the spirit of penitence must not smother the spirit of resistance. Europe must cherish freedom as its most precious possession and teach it to schoolchildren. It must also celebrate the beauty of discord and divest itself of its sick allergy to confrontation, not be afraid to point out the enemy and combine firmness with regard to governments and generosity with regard to peoples. In short, it must simply reconnect with the subversive richness of its ideas and the vitality of its founding principles.Naturally, we will continue to speak the double language of fidelity and rupture, to oscillate between being a prosecutor and a defense lawyer. That is our mental hygiene: we are forced to be both the knife and the wound, the blade that cuts and the hand that heals. The first duty of a democracy is not to ruminate on old evils, it is to relentlessly denounce its present crimes and failures. This requires reciprocity, with everyone applying the same rule. We must have done with the blackmail of culpability, cease to sacrifice ourselves to our persecutors. A policy of friendship cannot be founded on the false principle: we take the opprobrium, you take the forgiveness. Once we have recognized any faults we have, then the prosecution must turn against the accusers and subject them to constant criticism as well. Let us cease to confuse the necessary evaluation of ourselves with moralizing masochism. There comes a time when remorse becomes a second offence that adds to the first without cancelling it. Let us inject in others a poison that has long gnawed away at us: shame. A little guilty conscience in Tehran, Riyadh, Karachi, Moscow, Beijing, Havana, Caracas, Algiers, Damascus, Yangon, Harare and Khartoum, to mention them alone, would do these governments and especially their people, a lot of good. The fines gift Europe could give the world would be to offer it the spirit of critical examination that it has conceived and that has saved it from so many perils. It is a poisoned gift, but one that is indispensable for the survival of humanity.
Pascal Bruckner
Yep. We’re his Lieutenants, Day answered, picking up the largest coffee cup Furi had ever seen and taking a huge gulp. You guys had a trying evening last night, so we thought we’d check in on you.Syn just nodded. Hmm. Right.Nice bandage. God peeked around his paper again angling his head at Syn’s hand. Nothing broken?Syn looked at his hand. Furi wrapped it up for me last night. Just a little torn skin, it’s nothing really.He tried to be all tough but I had to blow on it to make it feel better. Furi’s teasing had Syn smiling.Glad you’re okay, Syn. Day winked mischievously.Furi looked at Syn. You just don’t realize how awesome it is to have such great bosses. Came to check up on you, considerate enough to bring you breakfast, I mean just all around awesome guys.Just wait for it, Furi, Syn cut him off.What? Furi’s brow creased in confusion.All the warm compliments you’re giving God and Day ... just wait for it.Furi looked confused. I don’t know what you’re–What else did you have to blow on to make feel better? Day said around a snort. Really hate to have missed that show, spanky. Day smiled broadly at Furi.Furi groaned and dropped his head as he ran both hands through his hair. You guys watched my videos.Hell yeah. Day grinned.For evidence and research purposes only, God chimed in.Five times, Day yelled, punching God in his large bicep.Okay guys. Shut up, Syn huffed.I’m just saying, you lucky fuck. You get to date a hot porn puppy and we can’t say anything. Day stared at Furi, completely ignoring Syn’s fuming.
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