postcards from the end of the world


This comic intentionally rips texts out of context in an effort to represent someone grappling with a chaotic storm of voices and information. My intent is for those quotes to inform the emotional context of a given moment in the piece, but I wanted to include sources here because this use of quotes has potential to misrepresent the intent of the original speaker and some of the quotes I’m not sure are even real. For instance, I quote Audre Lorde as saying “Unless one lives and loves in the trenches it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless.” In my piece, I think this quote takes on a broad inspirational tone when in its original context it seems to me that Lorde is specifically indicting white women for abandoning black women in the fight against patriarchy. I’ve quoted this paragraph in full below as well as linked to the essay it came from in an effort to prevent the harmful effects of decontextualizing this quote. This use of quotes feels true to how information is moving in the online space and therefore artistically compelling, but also feels ethically iffy so I hope readers will investigate any of the quotes at greater depth themselves should they find them compelling.

  • Natalie Wynn (Creator of youtube series Contrapoints) | Interview by Ben Burgis
  • Vaclav Havel | The Power and the Powerless
  • James Lecesne | This quote might be apocryphal as I found it via googling for a quote of his. Lecesne founded The Trevor Project and the spirit of this quote feels representative of a talk I saw him give, so I elected to use it.
  • Grant Morrison | The Invisibles vol. 1; This quote is mentioned by Tom O’Bedlam, a shambling homeless mystic in the first volume of the Invisibles during an initiation sequence and it’s really stuck with me ever since I first read (and then reread) the book.
  • Paul B. Preciardo | Your Body Is a Cultural Archive
  • Audre Lorde | Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference ; “Today, with the defeat of ERA, the tightening economy, and increased conservatism, it is easier once again for white women to believe the dangerous fantasy that if you are good enough, pretty enough, sweet enough, quiet enough, teach the children to behave, hate the right people, and marry the right men, then you will be allowed to co-exist with patriarchy in relative peace, at least until a man needs your job or the neighborhood rapist happens along. And true, unless one lives and loves in the trenches it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless.”
  • Harvey Milk |I also couldn’t find any context for this quote so it may be false.
  • Valentina | Valentina says this on episode 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4.
  • Dorian Corey | Corey is quoted saying this during the documentary Paris is Burning.
  • Oscar Wilde | De Profundis; I’m fairly certain this is also a false quote but this more complex quote from a famous letter Wilde wrote to a lover relates to the same concept: “As regards the other subject, the Relation of the Artistic Life to Conduct, it will no doubt seem strange to you that I should select it.  People point to Reading Gaol and say, ‘That is where the artistic life leads a man.’  Well, it might lead to worse places.  The more mechanical people to whom life is a shrewd speculation depending on a careful calculation of ways and means, always know where they are going, and go there.  They start with the ideal desire of being the parish beadle, and in whatever sphere they are placed they succeed in being the parish beadle and no more.  A man whose desire is to be something separate from himself, to be a member of Parliament, or a successful grocer, or a prominent solicitor, or a judge, or something equally tedious, invariably succeeds in being what he wants to be.  That is his punishment.  Those who want a mask have to wear it.
    But with the dynamic forces of life, and those in whom those dynamic forces become incarnate, it is different.  People whose desire is solely for self-realisation never know where they are going.  They can’t know.  In one sense of the word it is of course necessary, as the Greek oracle said, to know oneself: that is the first achievement of knowledge.  But to recognise that the soul of a man is unknowable, is the ultimate achievement of wisdom.  The final mystery is oneself.  When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself.  Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?  When the son went out to look for his father’s asses, he did not know that a man of God was waiting for him with the very chrism of coronation, and that his own soul was already the soul of a king.”
  • Hannah Arendt | Quoted on Throughline; I heard this quote on a podcast being used to give context to a conversation with Masha Gessen about how autocracy functions.
Relevant Articles

Additional Articles of interest on the topics included in this piece.