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October 24, 2011 / Rachel Bednarski

30 Day Book Meme: Day 7: A Book I Can Quote

I wrote my dissertation partly on Douglas Coupland’s Generation X and, as Coupland undoubtedly intended given the style and structure of his novella, I can happily quote it until I’m blue in the face.

Here are some of those beautiful, poignant, classically Couplandian quotes for you to ponder and enjoy:

‘When someone tells you they’ve just bought a house, they might as well tell you they no longer have a personality. You can immediately assume so many things: that they’re locked into jobs they hate; that they’re broke; that they spend every night watching videos; that they’re fifteen pounds overweight; that they no longer listen to new ideas. It’s profoundly depressing.’

‘After you’re dead and buried and floating around whatever place we go to, what’s going to be your best memory of earth? What one moment for you defines what it’s like to be alive on this planet. What’s your takeaway? Fake yuppie experiences that you had to spend money on, like white water rafting or elephant rides in Thailand don’t count. I want to hear some small moment from your life that proves you’re really alive.’

‘Negative? Moi? I think realistic might be a better word. You mean to tell me we can drive all the way here from L.A. and see maybe ten thousand square miles of shopping malls, and you don’t have maybe just the weentsiest inkling that something, somewhere has gone very very cuckoo?’

‘So I came down here, to breathe dust and walk with the dogs– to look at a rock or a cactus and know that I am the first person to see that cactus and that rock.’

‘We live small lives on the periphery; we are marginalized and there’s a great deal in which we choose not to participate. We wanted silence and we have that silence now. We arrived here speckled in sores and zits, our colons so tied in knots that we never thogught we’d have a bowel movement again. Our systems had stopped working, jammed with the odor of copy machines, Wite-Out, the smell of bond paper, and the endless stress of pointless jobs done grudgingly to little applause. We had compulsions that made us confuse shopping with creativity, to take downers and assume that merely renting a video on a Saturday night was enough. But now that we live here in the desert, things are much, much better.’

Not particularly digestible quotes I realise, but the best ones. We should all listen to what Douglas Coupland has to say, he knows what he’s talking about.

 

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