On Surveillance: A Conversation

“Remember that great line from 1984? ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on the human face—forever.’ The way I look at these recent revelations about our surveillance capacities—I think that what’s been revealed to us, essentially, is the boot of the future. This massive surveillance/intelligence system, documented by Snowden and others—this is the boot of the future. And the question is going to be, eventually, who wears the boot?”

A Conversation with Andrés Neuman

“I think that poetry has a very specific kind of freedom, which has to do with almost always not knowing what you’re saying until you’re saying it, or to be more precise, being able to improvise one hundred percent of the syntax. That is a very specific type of freedom, both powerful and dangerous. It’s so easy to write a silly thing with that freedom and yet it’s so moving when you arrive at a meaning at the end of the syntax…”

Imagined Conversations (4.28.14)

A: It’s just that yesterday she had a small crisis. She is recovering from an operation. She doesn’t feel well.
B: Unforgivable behavior… I just assumed it would be all roses. She signed a letter of resignation?

Imagined Conversations (4.14.14)

B: Ok, but if we find out you voted—your five fingers? Michele? You might not see them anymore. There is not a shortage of what we can use. Like, Bible. You’ll be like, “Everything was very efficient. I was knocked out for a bit while they looked in my stomach, and was home again a few hours later. Man, was I impressed.”
A: Brutality stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation.
B: No. Brutality, cynicism…those too are civil rights worth fighting for…

Imagined Conversation (4.7.14)

A: A trained ape…
B: We need to get this behind us. This nation admits its errors, as painful as they may be.
A: A trained ape preventing surveillance of millions of people at a time? That is totally within our abilities.

Ask Katharine

Use that fear. Wear that fear proudly like a communion dress, like a charm bracelet, where each charm symbolizes a life experience. Do not actually wear any charm bracelets. They show weakness.

Imagined Conversations (4.1.14)

A: We’re French, we had to put wine in the story. And so life had champagne parties.
B: Well, a party without champagne…
A: —Is a war without weapons. You know, if I was younger, we’d have had a great passionate affair for two years and been friends the rest of our lives. I can tell you that frankly. That said, if you violate my airspace, there will not be a funeral!