Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

20

I wish I were really in those rooms right now, one of those rooms instead of this one. This whole hotel smells like laundry. No, like a smell sprayed from a can. That time Ali and I were in line at the pharmacy and saw, on a storage shelf over the cashier’s shoulder, a cardboard box labeled “Farts in a Can” and “Made in China”—because they sell a lot of gag gifts in that place. Me of course thinking instantly about all the waste, the environmental cost of shipping consumerist crap from China, the Texas-sized trash heap in the middle of the Pacific, and how my daughter’s generation will never know the sense of well-being my own took for granted, the limitless security we felt but never realized we were feeling. Silently thinking all that but actually saying to her, to be funny, to keep it upbeat: Those farts came all the way from China.

But Ali, serious-faced: Who made them?

Some factory.

No, who made them?

Oh, who made them. Beats me!

Then a fidgety sort of silence, until out in the car she started rattling them off, old people and young, rich and poor, tall and short, one by one, all the different people she’d imagined in China who had taken time out of their busy days to fart into those cans in our pharmacy. That was only a couple of years ago. She’s still little. Still mine. Actually, this room doesn’t smell so bad. It doesn’t smell like much of anything.

lol

—p.20 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

I wish I were really in those rooms right now, one of those rooms instead of this one. This whole hotel smells like laundry. No, like a smell sprayed from a can. That time Ali and I were in line at the pharmacy and saw, on a storage shelf over the cashier’s shoulder, a cardboard box labeled “Farts in a Can” and “Made in China”—because they sell a lot of gag gifts in that place. Me of course thinking instantly about all the waste, the environmental cost of shipping consumerist crap from China, the Texas-sized trash heap in the middle of the Pacific, and how my daughter’s generation will never know the sense of well-being my own took for granted, the limitless security we felt but never realized we were feeling. Silently thinking all that but actually saying to her, to be funny, to keep it upbeat: Those farts came all the way from China.

But Ali, serious-faced: Who made them?

Some factory.

No, who made them?

Oh, who made them. Beats me!

Then a fidgety sort of silence, until out in the car she started rattling them off, old people and young, rich and poor, tall and short, one by one, all the different people she’d imagined in China who had taken time out of their busy days to fart into those cans in our pharmacy. That was only a couple of years ago. She’s still little. Still mine. Actually, this room doesn’t smell so bad. It doesn’t smell like much of anything.

lol

—p.20 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago
34

But he failed to foresee our shortcomings. Presumably he did not actually believe the next hundred years would be free of wars and population growth, but he had no way of knowing, for example, that TV would arrive, filling our days with its nonsense. Then the internet. How mass psychological manipulation by the advertising industry would amp up the consumerist side of our natures, causing us to care so much more and so vapidly about what other people have. The rampant increase in per capita consumption. The endless distractions of modern life. The rise of the military-industrial complex and how it would soak up our surpluses in the accumulation of weapons of mass destruction. Of weapons of any size of destruction. He did not foresee the “Great Acceleration,” which only really got going after he died. The explosive expansion not just of technology but of all kinds of Earth-altering activities, how capitalism would reshape the planet, the environmental and social and economic costs that climate catastrophe would impose unequally but without exception around the world. The down-the-road consequences of endless growth. How the income inequality caused by globalization would render traditional political structures increasingly susceptible to the very sort of authoritarian takeover bids that keep popping up these days. Attacks on democracy! Two whole years, now, of that hideous man and his ghoulish cronies. Two years of terrifying obviousness, of conspiracy theories and white nationalists, climate denial, double down, hashtag, “Lock her up!,” sad. That voice. That voice. That vacuum of leadership. I wouldn’t have imagined it two and a half years ago, let alone in 1930. It was one of those impossible possibilities, the kind that movies have convinced us can’t happen. America asleep at the wheel, no one to witness and adjust, now I’m letting poetry into this. No one to witness and adjust, no one to drive the car. Which is the last line, actually. The poem starts: The pure products of America go crazy. In between, the poet talks about his maid. William Carlos Williams, high school English. The first adult poem I ever understood. The car is America and there’s nobody to drive it.

—p.34 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

But he failed to foresee our shortcomings. Presumably he did not actually believe the next hundred years would be free of wars and population growth, but he had no way of knowing, for example, that TV would arrive, filling our days with its nonsense. Then the internet. How mass psychological manipulation by the advertising industry would amp up the consumerist side of our natures, causing us to care so much more and so vapidly about what other people have. The rampant increase in per capita consumption. The endless distractions of modern life. The rise of the military-industrial complex and how it would soak up our surpluses in the accumulation of weapons of mass destruction. Of weapons of any size of destruction. He did not foresee the “Great Acceleration,” which only really got going after he died. The explosive expansion not just of technology but of all kinds of Earth-altering activities, how capitalism would reshape the planet, the environmental and social and economic costs that climate catastrophe would impose unequally but without exception around the world. The down-the-road consequences of endless growth. How the income inequality caused by globalization would render traditional political structures increasingly susceptible to the very sort of authoritarian takeover bids that keep popping up these days. Attacks on democracy! Two whole years, now, of that hideous man and his ghoulish cronies. Two years of terrifying obviousness, of conspiracy theories and white nationalists, climate denial, double down, hashtag, “Lock her up!,” sad. That voice. That voice. That vacuum of leadership. I wouldn’t have imagined it two and a half years ago, let alone in 1930. It was one of those impossible possibilities, the kind that movies have convinced us can’t happen. America asleep at the wheel, no one to witness and adjust, now I’m letting poetry into this. No one to witness and adjust, no one to drive the car. Which is the last line, actually. The poem starts: The pure products of America go crazy. In between, the poet talks about his maid. William Carlos Williams, high school English. The first adult poem I ever understood. The car is America and there’s nobody to drive it.

—p.34 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago
51

Ed said: Maybe we won’t have to move? But how could we possibly stay? Those that don’t know how to be pros get evicted. Said Queen Latifah. It’s not just a question of money, though his adjunct salary is not going to cut it. It’s that one way or another, one or the other of us is going to have to find a new job, a raise-a-family sort of job, a position, which means either becoming something new, launching into some entirely different profession, preferably one that pays well and requires no particular skills or enthusiasm, or else—at best—means lingering on as a less impressive version of the academic outlier I already am, but in a new town, a new life, a situation much less promising. A position with no future, at a school no one’s heard of, with a teaching load twice as large. A one-way dead-end move to a town with nothing for Ed to do and far fewer opportunities for Ali. No history museums or art galleries or science centers, just weedy soccer fields out past the public pool. Just a Cineplex with twelve screens showing the same three movies, a strip of fast-food drive-thrus and car dealerships, and a high school that looks like it was designed in the 1960s by a notorious architect of prisons. The town’s population will be almost entirely white, with a range of business-conservative, rural-conservative, and suburban-liberal values, but with zero interest in activism or public debate. A deeply homogenous town. A willfully insular town. Worst of all, there will be nothing to suggest to a curious promising young person like Ali that the world outside might be more interesting or varied or in any way different from the town itself. It will be exactly like where I grew up.

lol

—p.51 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

Ed said: Maybe we won’t have to move? But how could we possibly stay? Those that don’t know how to be pros get evicted. Said Queen Latifah. It’s not just a question of money, though his adjunct salary is not going to cut it. It’s that one way or another, one or the other of us is going to have to find a new job, a raise-a-family sort of job, a position, which means either becoming something new, launching into some entirely different profession, preferably one that pays well and requires no particular skills or enthusiasm, or else—at best—means lingering on as a less impressive version of the academic outlier I already am, but in a new town, a new life, a situation much less promising. A position with no future, at a school no one’s heard of, with a teaching load twice as large. A one-way dead-end move to a town with nothing for Ed to do and far fewer opportunities for Ali. No history museums or art galleries or science centers, just weedy soccer fields out past the public pool. Just a Cineplex with twelve screens showing the same three movies, a strip of fast-food drive-thrus and car dealerships, and a high school that looks like it was designed in the 1960s by a notorious architect of prisons. The town’s population will be almost entirely white, with a range of business-conservative, rural-conservative, and suburban-liberal values, but with zero interest in activism or public debate. A deeply homogenous town. A willfully insular town. Worst of all, there will be nothing to suggest to a curious promising young person like Ali that the world outside might be more interesting or varied or in any way different from the town itself. It will be exactly like where I grew up.

lol

—p.51 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago
58

“That you are personally not bound by your institution’s metrics and expectations for tenure, for example, simply because you find them archaic? That you are not fully aware that tenure assessments are at the discretion of the tenured faculty and require no explanation at all? Or that in embarking upon an unsanctioned book project, you were taking obvious risks with both your publication record and your time? That you hold no responsibility for the quality or the critical reception of that book? That you in no way allowed your own conflicted feelings about what sort of book it ought to be clutter the clarity of the book’s argument? That you were perhaps not actually ready to write that book, which, unlike the scholarly articles you’d written, forced you to manufacture a more personal speaker, a ‘self’ in language, that would represent you, yourself, to the world? That you never managed to regain, in writing that book, the earnest confidence of the original article, from back when you thought your audience was only a few friends and you didn’t constantly second-guess your rhetorical ‘pose’? That for too long you’d held in your head many self-romanticizing notions about your position as an outsider, notions that allowed you to feel sure of yourself and important to yourself as long as you were never forced to share them—the notions—with anyone else? That as long as you didn’t share this side of yourself with anyone else, it was all unadulterated potential, never forced to perform, never exposed to judgment. That some glimmer of this ‘self’ had materialized long enough to write that article but this self was not really you, it didn’t sufficiently encompass what you care about or what you want to say. Because at the end of the day, you are uniquely ill-equipped to convey to the world what you care about or what you want to say. You know these things in your mind, or think you know them, and you are capable of saying these things or writing them, but the moment you do, you immediately doubt them. You are capable of being many selves but the moment you commit to one, it becomes an imposter, a dummy to dress up and roll out into the world in your place. And you hate the dummy, hate everything it says, even though it only says what you give it to say, and even though the words you give it to say are the best you can come up with. Which means, must mean, that the fault is not with the dummy but with you. That you are not as brilliant as you’ve always wanted to believe. As you’ve needed to believe. That it is easy to be impressed with yourself in private but another thing entirely to project a public self into the world—that this is a skill they don’t teach in school, yet so so so many people seem to have learned it. How did all these people, effortless at parties, easy on social media, how did they learn to be public? There must have been a moment, an afternoon in elementary school, when an imposing gray eminence showed up to class and passed out everyone’s public personas while you were in the bathroom. And here you are decades later still forced to pretend you’d been in class that day, that like everyone else you received your persona, that you’ve displayed it proudly on your wall ever since. Perhaps the real revelation today is not that these men seated before you wanted you to fail, even if that is obviously the case. Perhaps the real revelation is simply that life has caught up with you. All this time, when you thought you were fooling everyone, that was only because no one was paying attention. But eventually the world does pay attention, and suddenly it is you who are on trial, not the world but you. The trial you’d managed to put off for years is finally underway and you see, now, that you are not the plaintiff, as you’d always assumed, but the defendant, not the accuser but the accused. The person who puts herself out there is always the accused. How did this never occur to you? No doubt it occurred to a part of you, the part that kept putting it off. No doubt that’s why you postponed the trial as long as possible, preferring instead to live in a juvenile state of perpetual expectation, not because of the part that assumed you would someday be amazing, but because of the part that knew you would end up here, and what now? Now the box is open, reality spills out, and there’s no way to stuff it back in. Judgment has been meted out, the first sentence handed down, first of many because once this trial gets going there is no going back. The proceedings are irreversible, the stakes existential, the accusations keep piling up, the prosecution is relentless, the prosecution never rests, the defense never rests, nobody in this whole damn place ever rests, and if everyone else seems unfazed by this, the endlessness of everything, that isn’t because they live any less in the midst or on the spot or under the gun but because they manage it better than you do, or at least they are better at hiding it. You’re better at hiding than at hiding it, better at avoiding than bearing it, better at hoping it will all go away if you lie still eyes closed hands clenched hands clenched breathe—

—p.58 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

“That you are personally not bound by your institution’s metrics and expectations for tenure, for example, simply because you find them archaic? That you are not fully aware that tenure assessments are at the discretion of the tenured faculty and require no explanation at all? Or that in embarking upon an unsanctioned book project, you were taking obvious risks with both your publication record and your time? That you hold no responsibility for the quality or the critical reception of that book? That you in no way allowed your own conflicted feelings about what sort of book it ought to be clutter the clarity of the book’s argument? That you were perhaps not actually ready to write that book, which, unlike the scholarly articles you’d written, forced you to manufacture a more personal speaker, a ‘self’ in language, that would represent you, yourself, to the world? That you never managed to regain, in writing that book, the earnest confidence of the original article, from back when you thought your audience was only a few friends and you didn’t constantly second-guess your rhetorical ‘pose’? That for too long you’d held in your head many self-romanticizing notions about your position as an outsider, notions that allowed you to feel sure of yourself and important to yourself as long as you were never forced to share them—the notions—with anyone else? That as long as you didn’t share this side of yourself with anyone else, it was all unadulterated potential, never forced to perform, never exposed to judgment. That some glimmer of this ‘self’ had materialized long enough to write that article but this self was not really you, it didn’t sufficiently encompass what you care about or what you want to say. Because at the end of the day, you are uniquely ill-equipped to convey to the world what you care about or what you want to say. You know these things in your mind, or think you know them, and you are capable of saying these things or writing them, but the moment you do, you immediately doubt them. You are capable of being many selves but the moment you commit to one, it becomes an imposter, a dummy to dress up and roll out into the world in your place. And you hate the dummy, hate everything it says, even though it only says what you give it to say, and even though the words you give it to say are the best you can come up with. Which means, must mean, that the fault is not with the dummy but with you. That you are not as brilliant as you’ve always wanted to believe. As you’ve needed to believe. That it is easy to be impressed with yourself in private but another thing entirely to project a public self into the world—that this is a skill they don’t teach in school, yet so so so many people seem to have learned it. How did all these people, effortless at parties, easy on social media, how did they learn to be public? There must have been a moment, an afternoon in elementary school, when an imposing gray eminence showed up to class and passed out everyone’s public personas while you were in the bathroom. And here you are decades later still forced to pretend you’d been in class that day, that like everyone else you received your persona, that you’ve displayed it proudly on your wall ever since. Perhaps the real revelation today is not that these men seated before you wanted you to fail, even if that is obviously the case. Perhaps the real revelation is simply that life has caught up with you. All this time, when you thought you were fooling everyone, that was only because no one was paying attention. But eventually the world does pay attention, and suddenly it is you who are on trial, not the world but you. The trial you’d managed to put off for years is finally underway and you see, now, that you are not the plaintiff, as you’d always assumed, but the defendant, not the accuser but the accused. The person who puts herself out there is always the accused. How did this never occur to you? No doubt it occurred to a part of you, the part that kept putting it off. No doubt that’s why you postponed the trial as long as possible, preferring instead to live in a juvenile state of perpetual expectation, not because of the part that assumed you would someday be amazing, but because of the part that knew you would end up here, and what now? Now the box is open, reality spills out, and there’s no way to stuff it back in. Judgment has been meted out, the first sentence handed down, first of many because once this trial gets going there is no going back. The proceedings are irreversible, the stakes existential, the accusations keep piling up, the prosecution is relentless, the prosecution never rests, the defense never rests, nobody in this whole damn place ever rests, and if everyone else seems unfazed by this, the endlessness of everything, that isn’t because they live any less in the midst or on the spot or under the gun but because they manage it better than you do, or at least they are better at hiding it. You’re better at hiding than at hiding it, better at avoiding than bearing it, better at hoping it will all go away if you lie still eyes closed hands clenched hands clenched breathe—

—p.58 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago
71

If these days most economists tend to dismiss “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” as either frivolous or deeply flawed, this is because they suffer from what I would call a failure of imagination. They think the sole purpose of writing is to convey information, and they refuse to acknowledge that any effort at writing, even the driest assemblage of mathematical models and stilted prose, has not only logical and informative aspects but also aspects of performance and persuasion, and therefore its purpose is not limited only to the facts and figures it conveys. There is, in other words, a rhetorical side to economics. Rhetorical not in the sense of a question that you’re not supposed to answer, but in the sense of belonging to the art of rhetoric, an art that economists, like most people, tend to look down upon—“That’s all just rhetoric!”—as if rhetoric is some horrible thing.

—p.71 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

If these days most economists tend to dismiss “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” as either frivolous or deeply flawed, this is because they suffer from what I would call a failure of imagination. They think the sole purpose of writing is to convey information, and they refuse to acknowledge that any effort at writing, even the driest assemblage of mathematical models and stilted prose, has not only logical and informative aspects but also aspects of performance and persuasion, and therefore its purpose is not limited only to the facts and figures it conveys. There is, in other words, a rhetorical side to economics. Rhetorical not in the sense of a question that you’re not supposed to answer, but in the sense of belonging to the art of rhetoric, an art that economists, like most people, tend to look down upon—“That’s all just rhetoric!”—as if rhetoric is some horrible thing.

—p.71 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago
71

Are you really going to mourn your kitchen? That’s what you’re going to mourn?

One upside to living in the apocalypse is that it puts your problems into perspective.

It’s not just a kitchen, though. The kitchen is metonymic.

And also, yes, I am allowed to mourn my kitchen.

—p.71 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

Are you really going to mourn your kitchen? That’s what you’re going to mourn?

One upside to living in the apocalypse is that it puts your problems into perspective.

It’s not just a kitchen, though. The kitchen is metonymic.

And also, yes, I am allowed to mourn my kitchen.

—p.71 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago
98

[...] What Maggie’s career had amounted to. The work she’d done had meant something to the world, and her teaching had meant quite a lot to me personally. But I could already see, from the professional perch I had just recently assumed, looking out across the future of my own burgeoning career and thinking about what it would look like when I myself was retiring—I could see how even a career as productive as Maggie’s might look small, in the end, to the person who lived it. I was not depressed, or annoyed at Maggie, but instead was enjoying a kind of pride at how understandable it all seemed. Maggie’s feelings. Maggie’s situation. Everyone’s situation, in the end. How human it was. How inevitable, but also, if you handled it right, if you approached life with the right attitude, how manageable. The toil I’d experienced in my twenties, the struggle with my own fantasies of greatness, or whatever, the mental work I’d done to disabuse myself of vague romantic notions of what I would someday accomplish, all of that seemed, in light of this new completely reasonable mindset, to have paid off. I was an adult. I had a career. I understood what Maggie’s career amounted to, and I did not need to pretend that I would accomplish more. Or that my end point would be any better. My career would be what it would be. My life was not larger than anyone else’s. I felt present, prepared. I even knew enough to know that I could not hang on to this wonderfully enlightened perspective. This was just another attitude I was moving through, and my future self would cycle through all my other moods as regularly as ever.

—p.98 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

[...] What Maggie’s career had amounted to. The work she’d done had meant something to the world, and her teaching had meant quite a lot to me personally. But I could already see, from the professional perch I had just recently assumed, looking out across the future of my own burgeoning career and thinking about what it would look like when I myself was retiring—I could see how even a career as productive as Maggie’s might look small, in the end, to the person who lived it. I was not depressed, or annoyed at Maggie, but instead was enjoying a kind of pride at how understandable it all seemed. Maggie’s feelings. Maggie’s situation. Everyone’s situation, in the end. How human it was. How inevitable, but also, if you handled it right, if you approached life with the right attitude, how manageable. The toil I’d experienced in my twenties, the struggle with my own fantasies of greatness, or whatever, the mental work I’d done to disabuse myself of vague romantic notions of what I would someday accomplish, all of that seemed, in light of this new completely reasonable mindset, to have paid off. I was an adult. I had a career. I understood what Maggie’s career amounted to, and I did not need to pretend that I would accomplish more. Or that my end point would be any better. My career would be what it would be. My life was not larger than anyone else’s. I felt present, prepared. I even knew enough to know that I could not hang on to this wonderfully enlightened perspective. This was just another attitude I was moving through, and my future self would cycle through all my other moods as regularly as ever.

—p.98 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago
107

Why did she like me? Not an irrelevant question, because the certainty that she liked me, and that other cool people I’ve known have liked me, has been my only reliable evidence, through the years, that I must be an interesting person. When my feelings about myself take a bad turn, this is the one proof that even my deepest insecurities can’t controvert. Cool people aren’t idiots, after all. You can’t fool them into liking you. If they like you, then something about you must be at least a little bit likable.

—p.107 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

Why did she like me? Not an irrelevant question, because the certainty that she liked me, and that other cool people I’ve known have liked me, has been my only reliable evidence, through the years, that I must be an interesting person. When my feelings about myself take a bad turn, this is the one proof that even my deepest insecurities can’t controvert. Cool people aren’t idiots, after all. You can’t fool them into liking you. If they like you, then something about you must be at least a little bit likable.

—p.107 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago
114

It was senior year, those exciting few days before the semester gets going, when everyone’s back but nothing’s started. I was supposed to meet her at a party that night, but she took the bus and came over to my place early. I’d moved off campus, to the old house with the big back porch next to the gas station. You could sit on the porch and watch, over the wall, the round sign rotating on its pole. She simply showed up. She’d been in Brazil all summer, staying with family. She’d wanted to take an ethnomusicology class but it hadn’t worked out, so instead she’d gone around on her own, meeting musicians, having adventures, every bit of which she was ready to recount for me. We talked in the kitchen for a while before she took out a bag of shriveled-up psychedelic mushrooms, which she wanted us to eat. It was the first time anyone ever offered me any drug other than pot, and I think I was a little bit flattered, just as I’d felt flattered freshmen year when someone first offered me pot. That I, Abby, could be mistaken for a person you simply offer pot to.

lol

—p.114 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

It was senior year, those exciting few days before the semester gets going, when everyone’s back but nothing’s started. I was supposed to meet her at a party that night, but she took the bus and came over to my place early. I’d moved off campus, to the old house with the big back porch next to the gas station. You could sit on the porch and watch, over the wall, the round sign rotating on its pole. She simply showed up. She’d been in Brazil all summer, staying with family. She’d wanted to take an ethnomusicology class but it hadn’t worked out, so instead she’d gone around on her own, meeting musicians, having adventures, every bit of which she was ready to recount for me. We talked in the kitchen for a while before she took out a bag of shriveled-up psychedelic mushrooms, which she wanted us to eat. It was the first time anyone ever offered me any drug other than pot, and I think I was a little bit flattered, just as I’d felt flattered freshmen year when someone first offered me pot. That I, Abby, could be mistaken for a person you simply offer pot to.

lol

—p.114 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago
161

I’ve always hated feeling that I have power. I like responsibility, but I hate the power that comes with it.

What the hell is wrong with me?

—p.161 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago

I’ve always hated feeling that I have power. I like responsibility, but I hate the power that comes with it.

What the hell is wrong with me?

—p.161 by Martin Riker 2 months, 1 week ago