Untethered Dog

A Commonplace By Tom Swift


Arguably the best response to this situation is to recommend not more sweet forgetting, but more politically effective memory than our age of victimhood has known. After the dead are dead, their memory matters for the sake of our campaigns for justice: to inspire them in the first place or to give them strength.

-Samuel Moyn, “You Must Remember This,” New Republic, June 2016


The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

-Thomas Szasz


And sometimes even music
Cannot substitute for tears

-Paul Simon, “Cool, Cool River” (1990)


… for it is those who cherish their own wounds who are likeliest to inflict new ones on others.

-Samuel Moyn, “You Must Remember This,” New Republic, June 2016


Gustav Holst seemed to consider The Planets a progression of life … Perhaps “Jupiter” represents the “prime” of life.

-The Gustav Holst Website, “Compositions: (1914-1916) The Planets, Op. 32”


In Simon’s lyrics, the decisions are invariably mixed: he once told the music journalist Paul Zollo, “I try to get all the opposites into the same song, if I can.”

-Kelefa Sanneh, “Cool Papa,” New Yorker, 5-9-16


He has managed to become neither a wizened oracle nor an oldies act, and his best songs convey the appealing sensation of listening to a guy who is still trying to figure out what he’s doing. “I’m never gonna stop,” [Paul Simon] sings.

-Kelefa Sanneh, “Cool Papa,” New Yorker, 5-9-16


Where some of his contemporaries were effortlessly cool, [Paul] Simon always seemed like a rock star who “tries really hard,” as [Rob] Sheffield (Village Voice, 1997) put it. But now, more than a half century into Simon’s career, it is much easier to see his determination to try hard as an asset, a weapon against complacency and cheap sentiment.

-Kelefa Sanneh, “Cool Papa: Paul Simon’s Musical Afterlives,” New Yorker, 5-9-16


The open palm of desire
Wants everything
It wants everything
It wants everything

-Paul Simon, “Further to Fly” (1990)


What is the point of this story?
What information pertains
The thought that life could be better
Is woven indelibly
Into our hearts
And our brains

-Paul Simon, “Train in the Distance” (1981)