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Apr 27, 2021 09:32AM

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John Steinbeck
“I have always fancied myself as a fairly objective looker, but I’m beginning to wonder whether I do not miss whole categories of things. Let me give you an example of what I mean, Alicia. Some years ago the U.S. Information Service paid the expenses of a famous and fine Italian photographer to go to America and to take pictures of our country. It was thought that pictures by an Italian would be valuable to Italians because they would be of things of interest to Italy. I was living in Florence at the time and I saw the portfolio as soon as the pictures were printed. The man had traveled everywhere in America, and do you know what his pictures were? Italy, in every American city he had unconsciously sought and found Italy. The portraits—Italians; the countryside—Tuscany and the Po Valley and the Abruzzi. His eye looked for what was familiar to him and found it. . . . This man did not see the America which is not like Italy, and there is very much that isn’t. And I wonder what I have missed in the wonderful trip to the south that I have just completed. Did I see only America? I confess I caught myself at it. Traveling over those breathtaking mountains and looking down at the shimmering deserts . . . I found myself saying or agreeing—yes, that’s like the Texas panhandle— that could be Nevada, and that might be Death Valley. . . . [B]y identifying them with something I knew, was I not cutting myself off completely from the things I did not know, not seeing, not even recognizing, because I did not have the easy bridge of recognition . . . the shadings, the nuance, how many of those I must not have seen. (Newsday, 2 Apr. 1966)”
John Steinbeck, America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction

Jake Adelstein
“Sometimes in the mountains the animals make paths by using the same route again and again. If you don't know what you're doing, you might think it's a path made by humans--it looks that way. If you follow that path, the path of beasts, you won't get anywhere at all. People lost in the wilderness, they follow these paths and only get more and more lost. Sometimes they lose their way and they die. It's not a path for humans, it's a dangerous diversion. Are you sure that's the road you want to take? It won't get you where you want to go.”
Jake Adelstein

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