“I tried. Almost on bended knee. In my personal loft sitting with four Republicans, pouring good wine. Going to their house. It was almost like Camus’s theater of the absurd: The human heart yearns for meaning, and the universe is silent. Well, I yearned for a vote on my tax initiative, but the Republicans were silent.”
Jerry Brown, from How Jerry Brow Scared California Straight [Business Week]
It’s definitely akin to Camus’s theater of the absurd.
Here’s another gem from the same piece,
Even more compelling, Brown has a natural curiosity. When he quotes the Yeats poem Byzantium and I say it describes an opium dream, he tells me I was mistakenly thinking of Shelley’s Ozymandias, then quotes that, too. I tell him how academic that is. “It’s not academic! Yeats was not in the academy, as far as I know,” he says. Which is so academic.
He says his spiritual journeys have made him immune to the public’s love. “My soul is elsewhere,” he says. “I’m not beguiled by the fleshpots of Egypt here.”
And my favorite,
“I’m aware of the Roman Empire. It’s hard to have a rally after 80 BC because you can’t walk the streets. It’s bad news.” As he’s pulled away by his staff, he yells something positive about California—“The sun is still rising in the West”—and quotes Antonio Gramsci: “I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” Brown is a politician long past being afraid of quoting a Marxist.
“We want police to distinguish between the woman selling tamales and the gang member who has a record.”