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Words of wisdom for a chilly February day


Last updated 2/19/2020 at 11pm | View PDF

I've discovered words of wisdom in unexpectedly places recently and thought I'd share.

In response to my favorite closing question in an interview - "Anything else?" - Penn Jillette told Tim Ferris ("The Tim Ferris Show" #405) his goal is to stop using the words "us" and "them."

"They say one of the worst things about Hitler was he turned his enemies into him," Jillette said. "The people that really, really dislike Trump, for very good reasons, have become so unkind and so angry."

He said he's been trying a "thought experiment" in which he no longer uses the words "us" and "them."

"I've tried to say the sentence, 'Those of us who voted for Trump,' which is a very difficult sentence to say, but if you say it, it's very profound, because it is, 'Those of us who voted for Trump.' It's not 'them' who voted for Trump, it's 'us.' "

He believes our biggest challenge is to stay kind to one another in this political environment.

"They have found a way to weaponize hate in the social media that we thought was going to lead to utopia. It's heartbreaking to me," he said.

"My obsession right now is to try to find a way to use an insane phrase: 'Weaponize kindness,' " he said, adding that he doesn't want people to divide themselves into teams.

"I know it's impossible, but gosh darnit, we've got to work on that or we've got bigger problems coming up," he said (yes, I cleaned up the language).

I also was surprised, watching the Oscars Feb. 9, by the acceptance speech of Bong Joon Ho, who won for directing for "Parasite." He offered us all a lesson in humility and grace.

The 49-year-old South Korean writer and director was up against heavyweights Martin Scorsese ("The Irishmen"), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"), Todd Phillips ("Joker") and Sam Mendes ("1917").

He spent all of his 3-minute-48-second speech complimenting his fellow nominees.

He opened - through his translator - by sharing a quote that has stuck with him since his early days of studying film: "The most personal is the most creative."

"That quote was from our great Martin Scorsese," he offered in English, at which point Scorsese received a standing ovation and Ho beamed.

He went on to thank Tarantino for his support through his translator.

"Quentin, I love you," he said in English.

He acknowledged Todd and Sam as great directors, too.

"If the academy allows, I would like to get a Texas chainsaw, split the Oscar into five and share it with all of you," he said through his translator.

To close, I'd like to share one quote from Martha Beck, a writer I've long admired and whose blog I just discovered this week. This is from her "Finding Silence in a Storm" entry:

"Each time we touch stillness, in memory or in real-time perception, we fire a neural connection that becomes stronger each time we repeat it. Focus on noise a thousand times, and you'll have a brain that can't experience anything else. Focus on silence a thousand times, and you'll literally build a sanctuary inside your own skull. Because what shapes us isn't what we hear. It's what we listen to."

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected]

Author Bio

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext. 104


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