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Martin Amis

Datum narození: 25. srpen 1949
Další jména: Martin Louis Amis

Martin Louis Amis je anglický spisovatel narozený ve Walesu. Je synem spisovatele Kingsley Amise. K jeho nejznámějším dílům patří romány Peníze , Londýnská pole a The Information , které tvoří tzv. Londýnskou trilogii. Dvakrát byl nominován na Man Bookerovu cenu, roku 1991 za Šíp času a 2003 za Yellow Dog. Do roku 2011 byl profesorem tvůrčího psaní na Univerzitě v Manchesteru. Pracoval též jako novinář v týdeníku New Statesman a v deníku The Observer, díky čemuž úzce spolupracoval s Christopherem Hitchensem, s nímž se stali blízkými přáteli. Napsal též scénář ke sci-fi filmu Saturn 3, zkušenost s filmovým průmyslem pak popsal v románu Peníze. V roce 1998 byl hostem Pražského festivalu spisovatelů.

„Like all "acts of terrorism" (easily and unsubjectively defined as organised violence against civilians), September 11 was an attack on morality: we felt a general deficit.“

—  Martin Amis

"The Palace of the End" (2003)
Kontext: Like all "acts of terrorism" (easily and unsubjectively defined as organised violence against civilians), September 11 was an attack on morality: we felt a general deficit. Who, on September 10, was expecting by Christmastime to be reading unscandalised editorials in the Herald Tribune about the pros and cons of using torture on captured "enemy combatants"? Who expected Britain to renounce the doctrine of nuclear no-first-use? Terrorism undermines morality. Then, too, it undermines reason. … No, you wouldn't expect such a massive world-historical jolt, which will reverberate for centuries, to be effortlessly absorbed. But the suspicion remains that America is not behaving rationally — that America is behaving like someone still in shock.

„And we're not going to do that.“

—  Martin Amis

"Fear and loathing" (2001)
Kontext: Weirdly, the world suddenly feels bipolar. All over again the west confronts an irrationalist, agonistic, theocratic/ideocratic system which is essentially and unappeasably opposed to its existence. The old enemy was a superpower; the new enemy isn't even a state. In the end, the USSR was broken by its own contradictions and abnormalities, forced to realise, in Martin Malia's words, that "there is no such thing as socialism, and the Soviet Union built it". Then, too, socialism was a modernist, indeed a futurist, experiment, whereas militant fundamentalism is convulsed in a late-medieval phase of its evolution. We would have to sit through a renaissance and a reformation, and then await an enlightenment. And we're not going to do that.

„Weirdly, the world suddenly feels bipolar. All over again the west confronts an irrationalist, agonistic, theocratic/ideocratic system which is essentially and unappeasably opposed to its existence.“

—  Martin Amis

"Fear and loathing" (2001)
Kontext: Weirdly, the world suddenly feels bipolar. All over again the west confronts an irrationalist, agonistic, theocratic/ideocratic system which is essentially and unappeasably opposed to its existence. The old enemy was a superpower; the new enemy isn't even a state. In the end, the USSR was broken by its own contradictions and abnormalities, forced to realise, in Martin Malia's words, that "there is no such thing as socialism, and the Soviet Union built it". Then, too, socialism was a modernist, indeed a futurist, experiment, whereas militant fundamentalism is convulsed in a late-medieval phase of its evolution. We would have to sit through a renaissance and a reformation, and then await an enlightenment. And we're not going to do that.

„It was explained that the North Korean matter was a diplomatic inconvenience, while Iraq's non-disarmament remained a "crisis". The reason was strategic: even without WMDs, North Korea could inflict a million casualties on its southern neighbour and raze Seoul. Iraq couldn't manage anything on this scale, so you could attack it.“

—  Martin Amis

"The Palace of the End" (2003)
Kontext: It was explained that the North Korean matter was a diplomatic inconvenience, while Iraq's non-disarmament remained a "crisis". The reason was strategic: even without WMDs, North Korea could inflict a million casualties on its southern neighbour and raze Seoul. Iraq couldn't manage anything on this scale, so you could attack it. North Korea could, so you couldn't. The imponderables of the proliferation age were becoming ponderable. Once a nation has done the risky and nauseous work of acquisition, it becomes unattackable. A single untested nuclear weapon may be a liability. But five or six constitute a deterrent. From this it crucially follows that we are going to war with Iraq because it doesn't have weapons of mass destruction. Or not many. The surest way by far of finding out what Iraq has is to attack it. Then at last we will have Saddam's full cooperation in our weapons inspection, because everything we know about him suggests that he will use them all. The Pentagon must be more or less convinced that Saddam's WMDs are under a certain critical number. Otherwise it couldn't attack him.

„For those thousands in the south tower, the second plane meant the end of everything. For us, its glint was the worldflash of a coming future.“

—  Martin Amis

"Fear and loathing" (2001)
Kontext: For those thousands in the south tower, the second plane meant the end of everything. For us, its glint was the worldflash of a coming future.
Terrorism is political communication by other means. The message of September 11 ran as follows: America, it is time you learned how implacably you are hated. United Airlines Flight 175 was an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile aimed at her innocence. That innocence, it was here being claimed, was a luxurious and anachronistic delusion.

„I think enlightenment is incremental, and I see it in my children.“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: I think enlightenment is incremental, and I see it in my children. I was six-years-old when I met a black person. My father tutored me and said, "We're going to meet two men who have black skin." And on the bus in Swansea on the way there, I accepted this and thought this would be no trouble for me. As it was, I went into the room and burst into tears and pointed at the man and said, "You've got a black face."
This wouldn't happen with my children. They've known, they've mingled with black people all their lives. This certainly is not going to occur. And so it goes on in this incremental way. … I think this is the only way it can be achieved. The trouble with proclaiming yourself to be cleansed of atavism is that it's not the case. It's an illusion. It's an illusion that can only be maintained by ideology and executive policing. It is forced consciousness. It's a lie to say, I have no racial feelings. Honesty and slow progress is a better policy, I think.

„Much more recently I reclassified myself as an agnostic. Atheism, it turns out, is not quite rational either. The sketchiest acquaintance with cosmology will tell you that the universe is not, or is not yet, decipherable by human beings. It will also tell you that the universe is far more bizarre, prodigious and chillingly grand than any doctrine, and that spiritual needs can be met by its contemplation. Belief is otiose; reality is sufficiently awesome as it stands.“

—  Martin Amis

"The voice of the lonely crowd" (2002)
Kontext: My apostasy, at the age of nine, was vehement. Clearly, I didn't want the shared words, the shared identity. I forswore chapel; those Bibles were scribbled on and otherwise desecrated, and two or three of them were taken into the back garden and quietly torched.
Later — we were now in Cambridge — I gave a school speech in which I rejected all belief as an affront to common sense. I was an atheist, and I was 12: it seemed open-and-shut. I had not pondered Kant's rather lenient remark about the crooked timber of humanity, out of which nothing straight is ever built. Nor was I aware that the soul had legitimate needs.
Much more recently I reclassified myself as an agnostic. Atheism, it turns out, is not quite rational either. The sketchiest acquaintance with cosmology will tell you that the universe is not, or is not yet, decipherable by human beings. It will also tell you that the universe is far more bizarre, prodigious and chillingly grand than any doctrine, and that spiritual needs can be met by its contemplation. Belief is otiose; reality is sufficiently awesome as it stands.

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„Only it was much, much worse than that. In fact, words alone cannot adduce how much worse it was than that. September 11 was an attack on words: we felt a general deficit.“

—  Martin Amis

"The world: an explanation" in The Daily Telegraph (8 March 2003) http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/custom?q=cache:hZVARej7mn0J:www.martinamisweb.com/documents/world_explanation.doc&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=1&ie=UTF-8&client=pub-4015880282924246
Kontext: What happened on September 11? On September 11 — what happened? Picture this: two upended matchboxes, knocked over by the sheer force of paper-darts.
Only it was much, much worse than that. In fact, words alone cannot adduce how much worse it was than that. September 11 was an attack on words: we felt a general deficit. And with words destroyed, we had to make do, we had to bolster truth with colons and repetition: not only repetition: but repetition and: colons. This is what we adduce.

„I think it's the whole impulse to judge and censor and euphemize, that is the enemy.“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: I think it's the whole impulse to judge and censor and euphemize, that is the enemy. … What fun, to feel superior to T. S. Eliot. And that's the impulse that I am suspicious of.

„This moment was the apotheosis of the postmodern era — the era of images and perceptions.“

—  Martin Amis

"Fear and loathing" (2001)
Kontext: This moment was the apotheosis of the postmodern era — the era of images and perceptions. Wind conditions were also favourable; within hours, Manhattan looked as though it had taken 10 megatons.

„Terror always has its roots in hysteria and psychotic insecurity; still, we should know our enemy. The firefighters were not afraid to die for an idea. But the suicide killers belong in a different psychic category, and their battle effectiveness has, on our side, no equivalent. Clearly, they have contempt for life. Equally clearly, they have contempt for death.
Their aim was to torture tens of thousands, and to terrify hundreds of millions. In this, they have succeeded.“

—  Martin Amis

"Fear and loathing" (2001)
Kontext: The bringers of Tuesday's terror were morally "barbaric", inexpiably so, but they brought a demented sophistication to their work. They took these great American artefacts and pestled them together. Nor is it at all helpful to describe the attacks as "cowardly". Terror always has its roots in hysteria and psychotic insecurity; still, we should know our enemy. The firefighters were not afraid to die for an idea. But the suicide killers belong in a different psychic category, and their battle effectiveness has, on our side, no equivalent. Clearly, they have contempt for life. Equally clearly, they have contempt for death.
Their aim was to torture tens of thousands, and to terrify hundreds of millions. In this, they have succeeded.

„Viewed at its grandest, P.C. is an attempt to accelerate evolution. To speak truthfully, while that's still okay, everybody is a racist or has racial prejudices. This is because human beings tend to like the similar, the familiar, the familial.“

—  Martin Amis

"Political Correctness: Robert Bly and Philip Larkin" (1997)
Kontext: Viewed at its grandest, P. C. is an attempt to accelerate evolution. To speak truthfully, while that's still okay, everybody is a racist or has racial prejudices. This is because human beings tend to like the similar, the familiar, the familial. Again, I say, I am a racist. I am not as racist as my parents. My children will not be as racist as I am. Freedom from racial prejudice is what we hope for down the line. Impatient with this hope, this process, P. C. seeks to get things done right now. In a generation or at the snap of a finger, you can simply announce yourself to be purged of these atavisms.

„I think it's a very confused culture. On the one hand, no one is better than anyone else; no one is prettier. On the other hand, everyone is completely obsessed by their looks and by how they strike the world.“

—  Martin Amis

Playboy interview (2003)
Kontext: I think it's a very confused culture. On the one hand, no one is better than anyone else; no one is prettier. On the other hand, everyone is completely obsessed by their looks and by how they strike the world. On the one hand, we're all equal; on the other hand, everyone's a superstar. It's all very irrational, like all ideology.

„It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment.“

—  Martin Amis

"Fear and loathing" (2001)
Kontext: It was the advent of the second plane, sharking in low over the Statue of Liberty: that was the defining moment. Until then, America thought she was witnessing nothing more serious than the worst aviation disaster in history; now she had a sense of the fantastic vehemence ranged against her.

„All publicity isn't good publicity.“

—  Martin Amis, kniha Experience

Part I: Thinking with the Blood
Experience (2000)
Kontext: All publicity isn't good publicity. As a New York publicist put it: "What: the guy's an asshole so I'll go and buy his novel?"

„It now seems that pornography is the leading sex educator in the Western world.“

—  Martin Amis

Playboy interview (2003)
Kontext: It now seems that pornography is the leading sex educator in the Western world. And the idea of having your sexual nature determined by a medallion-in-the-chest-hair artist out in Los Angeles is really humiliating. I'm not talking about me, but I'm talking about my children's contemporaries, kids aged 18. They're getting their sex tips from some charlatan at Wicked Video.

„Saddam's hands-on years in the dungeons distinguish him from the other great dictators of the 20th century, none of whom had much taste for "the wet stuff".“

—  Martin Amis

"The Palace of the End" (2003)
Kontext: Saddam's hands-on years in the dungeons distinguish him from the other great dictators of the 20th century, none of whom had much taste for "the wet stuff". The mores of his regime have been shaped by this taste for the wet stuff — by a fascinated negative intimacy with the human body, and a connoisseurship of human pain.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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