More Judgments

by Richard Kostelanetz

The elephant who never forgets has little to remember.

The truest criminal is worth more dead than alive.

While Pablo Picasso was a great visual artist, Marcel Duchamp was esthetically more profound.

He was the sort of person whom some people trusted until they didn’t.

Only when you hear someone else quoting approvingly your radical opinions can you know how sensible they might be (and how stupid he or she is).

Honest must be the physician who with his patients finds nothing wrong.

Be afraid less of death than of knowing that your life is not worth living.

Only by eschewing thoughtless opinions does anyone become mature.

Even a religious author would rather sit at his writing desk and think about church than sit in church and think about his writing desk.

No one’s as faultless as the person portrayed in his or her application form.

Some professional soccer players are smart only below their ankles.

More than 90% of popular culture is not worth anyone’s attention, though evidence suggests that much of it has an audience.

Three wrongs make no more right than two.

Courageous is the person who risks death to live better.

Everything other than facts and figures is opinion.

Fresh truths are no less true than old ones.

The measure of an extremist is denying the humanity of his or her opponents.

When an autobiographer lies about other people, the reader knows the writer’s also untruthful about himself.

Intelligence is intelligent only to those smart enough to appreciate.

About their enthusiasms are enthusiasts more likely to speak truly.

When a painter concentrates more upon painting than life, his art’s more likely “to come to life.”

Paul Cezanne painted apples as no one before him had.

A book devoid of anything worth quoting or citing will be forgotten.

Upon superior esthetic forms one’s eye alights and stays focused.

If some paintings are about scale, light, and form, masterpieces feature form and then light and scale.

The art of stained glass is less about form and color than about sublime luminosity.

Considering images from time long past, we realize how scarce photography once was and so accept esthetically insufficient representations as the best we’ll ever have.

Respect the opinions of young people for their independence; disrespect for their susceptibility to fads.

Cities are lost without people who know them.

Slavery failed to eliminate the inevitable tension in human relationships.

Any generation that fails to transcend its predecessor(s) has died an early death.

Ignorance of ignorance is worse than ignorance per se.

The best sex enhances both loving and living.

The history of accidents is more interesting than any record of realized intentions.

No success feels as successful as doing what you want most to do.

Smarts about anything other than poetry is irrelevant in poets.

One truth of pornography is that licentious art is limited.

An artist who does something unique can’t be compared with others.

Political humorists despise governments that are funnier than they are.

Wiser are those who make their lives worth living.

Treasure the teacher who offers different information and alternative interpretations.

“Poetry” devoid of distinguished language or enhancing form ain’t poetry, notwithstanding “the poet”’s claim to the contrary.

An old couch and an old grouch share too much.

What makes a book a superior medium is that its reader, when bored, can turn the page.

The most hurtful lies are those I refuse to hear.

Richard Kostelanetz is an American author, artist and critic from Ridgewood, NY.