Notable Quotes

From this week’s New Yorker:
Fine Tuning: Reassessing Radiohead

Radiohead has much in common with the Grateful Dead, including passionate fans who follow the band from city to city, trade bootleg recordings of shows, puzzle out the meanings of the band’s cryptic lyrics, and (in Boston, at least) dance badly while smoking expensive-smelling weed. But Radiohead’s main interest is not improvisation, nor do the band’s affinities to modern classical music and electronica mask the fact that its dominant syntax is pop. The songs mutate briskly, and are larded with hummable motifs. Even when Jonny Greenwood is fiddling with a radio and Yorke is ululating toward the great unknown, the band obeys an internal clock that arrests its elaborations before tedium defeats wonder. —Sasha Frere-Jones

Acid Redux: The life and high times of Timothy Leary

After his experience with Mexican mushrooms, Leary read [Aldous Huxley’s] “The Doors of Perception” with excitement. This was a style of mystico-pseudoscience that suited him perfectly, a kind of shamanistic psychology delightfully immune to empirical challenges. As it happened, Huxley was then lecturing at M.I.T., and Leary arranged a meeting. They had lunch at the Harvard Faculty Club, which was, and remains, the unlikeliest venue in which to plan the future of a psychedelic movement. But that is what Leary and Huxley did. Huxley’s idea was that, if the world’s leaders could be turned on, the lion would lie down with the lamb, and peace would be at hand. The vision was appealing to Leary. It was, after all, simply psychiatric social work on a global scale, and administered not to convicts and juvenile delinquents but to the political, social, and artistic élites—much more fun. —Louis Menand

Comment: Name That Tone

The point is that mental and physical development never stops, no matter how old you are, and development is one of the things that make it interesting to be a being. We imagine that we change our opinions or our personalities or our taste in music as we ripen, often feeling that we are betraying our younger selves. Really, though, our bodies just change, and that is what changes our views, our temperament, and our tolerance for Billy Joel. We can’t help it. The chemistry has altered. — Louis Menand