|"The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters," by Goya (Metropolitan Museum of Art)|
They veer from true to false, profound to ridiculous, current to outdated. No. 144, for instance, begins, “When a woman has scholarly inclinations, there is usually something wrong with her sexuality,” which I guess passed for insight in 1886, when the book was published, but has not aged well, beyond offering a glimpse into how certain guys thought then and no doubt still do.
Others are sharp and useful, such as No. 68, worth bearing in mind as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh does or does not remember what he might or might not have done at a party in high school:
“I did that,” says my memory. “I could not have done that,” says my pride, and remains inexorable. Eventually — the memory yields.”Does it ever. People whitewash their pasts trying to fit their own pristine estimations of themselves. Which is stupid, given the universality of sin, and the freeing effect of simply admitting the wrongs you’ve done. Honesty can be hard, which is why people lie and distort. But it rewards us in the long run.
No. 146 is my favorite, useful in all sorts of situations — really, it’s like a cordless electric drill — and came fluttering to mind earlier this week, as Twitter lit up with anatomical details from the new memoir by Stormy Daniels, the porn star who had sex with Donald Trump, who botched the payoff meant to silence her.
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