The most exciting place to discover talent is within yourself.
Nothing is as easy as it looks.
Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right.
Efficiency is the ability to do a job well plus the desire to do it better.
Cleverness is serviceable for everything but sufficient for nothing.
Ability (n): The natural equipment to accomplish some small part of the meaner ambitions distinguishing able men from dead ones. In the last analysis, ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a high degree of solemnity. Perhaps, however, this impressive quality is rightly appraised: it is no easy task to be solemn.
Cunning (n): The faculty which distinguishes a weak animal or person from a strong one. It brings its possessor much mental satisfaction and great material adversity. An Italian proverb says, "The furrier gets the skins of more foxes than asses."
People are always willing to admit a man's abilities after he gets there.
Robert C. Edwards
Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.
Ability is a wonderful thing, but its value is greatly enhanced by dependability. Ability implies repeatability and accountability.
Robert A. Heinlein
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Robert A. Heinlein
Different people have different duties assigned them by Nature; Nature has given one the power or the desire to do this, the other that. Each bird must sing with his own throat.
We should not judge a man's merits by his great qualities, but by the use he makes of them.
Francois la Rochefoucauld
There is no genius in life like the genius of energy and activity.
Donald G. Mitchell
Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
Ronald E. Osborn
Any man who's afraid of hiring the best ability he can find, is a cheat who's in a business where he doesn't belong. To me--the foulest man on earth, more contemptible than a criminal, is the employer who rejects men for being too good.
The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy and does not require too much from individuals. he takes individual talent into account and uses each man according to his capabilities.
Men are often capable of greater things than they perform. They are sent into the world with bills of credit, and seldom draw to their full extent.
The problem with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.
"I have nothing to declare except my genius."
Eccentricity (n): A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.
Abnormal (Adj): Not conforming to standard. In matters of thought and conduct, to be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested. Wherefore the lexicographer adviseth a striving toward a straighter resemblance to the average man than he hath to himself. Whoso attaineth thereto shall have peace, the prospect of death, and the hope of hell.
Mad (adj): Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence; not conforming to standards of thought, speech and action derived by the conformants from study of themselves; at odds with the majority; in short, unusual. It is noteworthy that persons are pronounced mad by officials destitute of evidence that themselves are sane. For illustration, this present (and illustrious) lexicographer is no firmer in the faith of his own sanity than is any inmate of any madhouse in the land; yet for aught he knows to the contrary, instead of the lofty occupation that seems to him to be engaging his powers he may really be beating his hands against the window bars of an asylum and declaring himself Noah Webster, to the innocent delight of many thoughtless spectators.
Being weird is the best defence.
Hunter S. Thompson
Crazy people who are productive are geniuses. Crazy people who are rich are eccentric. But crazy people who are neither productive nor rich are just plain crazy.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
Hunter S. Thompson
The funhouse of the postmodern academics was built around the two closely related themes of postmodernism and multiculturalism. Together they displaced the idea of truth and its cousin, empirical evidence, with the notion of "narrativity." All the world was simply words. There was no reality, just a series of competing stories all of which were mere social constructs and none of which was more correct than any other. In political terms, the campus postmodernists identified with the pre-modern rebels against modernity in the Arab world. But with the war in Iraq, those on campuses who, like Al Jazeera, believed "Baghdad Bob's" account of events discovered that lo and behold there is such a thing as an empirically grounded reality.
Fred Siegel and Joel Kotkin
[T]he snakepit of academic administration breeds minds Machiavellian enough to flourish in any other environment.
To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and call whatever you hit the target.
What you achieve depends on what you settle for.
Man's ego is the fountainhead of human achievement.
I am nothing special; of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I've loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.
Acting is a form of confusion.
Actors are the only honest hypocrites. Their life is a voluntary dream; and the height of their ambition is to be beside themselves.
Don't be too clever for an audience. Make it obvious. Make the subtleties obvious also.
The great thing about Errol Flynn was, unlike most other people in Hollywood, you always knew exactly where you stood with him because he'd always let you down.
I'm not a real movie star. I still got the same wife I started out with nearly twenty-eight years ago.
I'm not tired of actors speaking out; I will never tire of actors speaking out, because it provides the same amusement of watching dogs walk on their hind legs. The sight itself is hilarious, and it always ends with the performer falling over.
In a porn movie, the actors at least pretend to be whipped up: "Ooh, ja, baby, that pipphole bra rilly turns me on, etc." But in art-house erotica the participants increasingly affect a kind of inertia somewhere between sophisticated ennui and a general anaesthetic.
The important thing in acting is to be able to laugh and cry. If I have to cry, I think of my sex life; if I have to laugh, I think of my sex life.
Let me tell you this, Heidi: if you think that every problem in your life can be solved by hoisting your tank top and flashing the closest human of the male persuasion, then . . . well . . . you are going to have a long and prosperous career as an actress.
My wife went off to see a cabaret on Saturday night, one of those earnest community efforts in which people who have been denied paying jobs in the performing arts demonstrate the myriad reasons. My wife sees it through the prism of a reasonable person with rational criteria, so for her the act of seeing this performance art is, itself, performance art. Then she comes home and tells me about the acts, and I get hives the size of soup tureens just thinking about it.
Adam: History's only indispensable man.
Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is, knows how deep a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great benefactor of our race. He brought death into our world.
I realize my readers are generally conservative and that conservatives don't like hearing about ADD, but it's as real as Britney Spears's breasts — okay, more real than that — and it's a pain to deal with. One the one hand, it's nice to be creative and have all sorts of interesting thoughts all day. On the other, it would be nice to be able to think about what I'm supposed to think about. It would be nice to have a memory. I'd love to be able to get up in the morning and open the door to my closet and be confident that I wouldn't find a pint of ice cream on the shelf. It would be great to be absolutely certain, at all times, that there were no rented DVD's sitting under piles of mail, amassing late fees.
Adversity causes some men to break; it causes others to break records.
Illegitimi non Carborundum. (Don't let the bastards grind you down).
There seems to be no escape from troubles of our own creation.
Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man, but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.
Never, never, never quit.
Winston S. Churchill
Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it.
This, too, shall pass.
People adapt. It's amazing what we accept. That might just be the problem. Getting used to the possibility is the first step towards accepting it when it happens. It might almost be a relief: finally. The other shoe. Then you realize you're up against a millipede.
Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.
General George S. Patton
He that can't endure the bad will not live to see the good.
Hunger is the handmaid of genius.
Advertising is the art of making whole lies out of half truths.
Edgar A. Shoaff
Advertising raises the standard of living by raising the standard of longing.
Merchandising tie-ins are old news, of course. They're part of crafting any potential Hollywood blockbuster, an integral step that typically precedes the Ceremonial Removal of Nuance and follows the Insertion of Obligatory Comic Flatulence. Still, I'd like to think the late Dr. Seuss — were he to see his Cat in the Hat shill on television for Mastercard, were he to glimpse the sheer abundance of crummy products bearing the image of his sly, almost creepy creation — would be moved to write a new book from the beyond. Something about how the Grinch had the right idea after all.
Elsewhere on TV, Ford keeps taking out ads to tell me it's Truck Season. Give me a break: I'm hunting them as fast as I can! Even for an expert, it takes time to gut and skin an F-150, especially if it's full of arrogant yuppie.
All propaganda has to be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception of the least intelligent of those towards whom it intends to direct itself.
Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
I know I waste half of my advertising money, the only problem is I don't know which half.
Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.
Hype Theory (aka Tend-To Theory): Hyping oneself is toxic; believing one's own hype is fatal.
Robert J. Ringer
I regard magazine advertising as a big problem. I really hate it. It overwhelms the copy text, which is usually reduced to a dull, grey little stream trickling its way through enormous glaring billboard-like pages all of which are clamoring to draw your attention to stuff you don't want; and the first thing you have to do when you buy a new magazine is shake it over a bin in order to shed all the coupons, sachets, packets, CDs and free labrador puppies which make them as fat an unwieldy as a grandmother's scrapbook. And then, when you are interested in buying something, you can't find any information about it because it was in last month's issue which you've now thrown away.
The most intelligent people we know are those who ask advice.
A friend advises in his interest, not yours.
Advice (n): The smallest current coin.
Rash (adj): Insensible to the value of our advice.
When a man comes to me for advice, I find out the kind of advice he wants, and I give it to him.
[A]dvice should be seen in the same light as the Ten Commandments: Mostly admirable in theory, definitely worth bearing in mind, but unlikely to be entirely achieved in practice.
Advice: What a man gives when he gets too old to set a bad example.
Francois la Rochefoucauld
Advice is sought to confirm a position already taken.
Sir William Osler
Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.
Don't give a woman advice: one should never give a woman anything she can't wear in the evening.
Growing old isn't so bad when you consider the alternative.
I don't want to live to 150, not even in good health. I believe, in fact, that the idea of prolonging life is awful in and of itself. Imagine a world full of old farts! You may say: Ah, yes, but they will have the bodies of 30-year-olds. Come on — that's the worst kind of old fart. Old-fart-hood is a state of mind, and no amount of fiddling with genes is going to change that.
If we could be twice young and twice old we could correct all our mistakes.
I no longer have senior moments: that's my normal mode of operation. Now I have junior moments, when I remember something.
It's frightening to think that kids keep getting smarter. I plan to live to 140 and there's no telling how dumb I'll look to the youth of the future. I have this vision of myself in a rocking chair, body shrunken to the size of a newborn Chihuahua, gnawing on painkillers the size of cantaloupes, watching my Holotelevision and being very confused by anything said by people under the age of ninety.
It's better to wear out than to rust out.
Middle age is when your classmates are so gray and wrinkled and bald they don't recognize you.
The older I get, the more distance I try to put between myself and anyone who lacks a sense of humor.
Old people don't need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so that it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use.
Old people shouldn't eat health foods. They need all the preservatives they can get.
The old know more about being young than the young know about being old.
The paradox of age: the young want to be old, and the old, young.
People used to have children to take care of them in their old age. Social Security took care of this by socializing the benefits, but all of the costs still fell to individuals; worse, taking time out of the workforce to raise kids reduces your Social Security benefits. Rational actors will stop having kids to have a good retirement.
[She] is old enough to really know how to get into trouble and young enough to still want to.
Don Christian de Launey
There is, Adam Smith once said, a deal of ruin in a nation — by which he meant that a country's economic capital and cultural heritage are too vast to squander easily or quickly. His remark should stand as a warning to old fogies who see in the modern world nothing but decline. Just as there is a biologically determined age at which babies acquire language, so there seems to be a biologically determined age at which the middle-aged start to lament the passing of the good old days.
When you are over the hill, you pick up speed.
A youthful figure is what you get when you ask a woman her age.
Live fast, die young--leave a good-looking corpse.
Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarello
I have everything now I had 20 years ago--except now it's all lower.
Gypsy Rose Lee
It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.
The interesting thing about one's forties: the seasons seem to progress at just the right pace. Summer is always too short here, no matter how old you are, but since it no longer has the imperatives of one's 20s. Winter no longer seems interminable. As someone once explained to me, there's a logical reason for this: every year is a smaller fraction of your life. When you're four, a year is 25% of your life; it seems eternal. When you're 20, a year is 1/20th. When you're 42, it's a smaller portion, 1/42nd.
Now that I think of it, let's put it this way: Each year is a dose from the eyedropper, and they're all equal in size, but the glass into which they fall is larger. I like that image. Age is just an expansion of your glass.
Then it falls off the counter onto the tile floor of mortality and you DIE!
Unless you're Tupperware.
This metaphor isn't holding up to scrutiny, really. That's okay.
When I was 29 I thought running 19 year olds inot the dirt was fun, now I'm 39 and I can still do it . . .it just ain't fun no more.
Richard A. Macdonald
As the arteries grow hard, the heart grows soft.
It's easier to have the vigour of youth when you're old than to have the wisdom of age when you're young.
Richard J. Needham
Old age: A great sense of calm and freedom. When the passions have relaxed their hold, you have escaped, not from one master but from many.
Nothing is more beautiful than cheerfulness in an old face.
Jean Paul Richter
I look back with some satisfaction on what an idiot I was when I was 25, but when I do that, I'm assuming I'm no longer an idiot.
It is within the power of every man to live his life nobly, but of no man to live forever. Yet so many of us hope that life will go on forever, and so few of us aspire to live nobly.
Old age is the most unexpected of all things that happen to a man.
Youth is a silly, vapid state; Old age with fears and ills is rife; This simple boon I beg of Fate-- A thousand years of Middle Life!
Old age: The estuary that enlarges and spreads itself grandly as it pours into the Great Sea.
A poor excuse is better than no excuse at all.
There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life . . . Small wonder that the effort expended and the punishment endured in obtaining a good alibi often exceed the effort and grief requisite for the attainment of a most marked achievement.
Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain. But you feel it. You've felt it your entire life. That there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there. Like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?
There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies — and that is fighting without them.
Winston S. Churchill
The greatest position of strength is by exercising the best judgment in the pursuit of diplomacy, not in some trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted, but in a genuine coalition.
During the Afghan campaign, CNN's Larry King asked [American Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld], "Is it very important that the coalition hold?" The correct answer — the Powell-Blair-Gore-Annan answer — is, of course, "Yes". But Rummy decided to give the truthful answer: "No". He went on to explain why: "The worst thing you can do is allow a coalition to determine what your mission is." Such a man cannot be happy at the sight of the Guinean tail wagging the French rectum of the British hindquarters of the American dog.
Kindness (n): A brief preface to ten volumes of exaction.
Ingrate (n): One who receives a benefit from another, or is otherwise an object of charity.
Beware of Altruism: it is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.
Robert A. Heinlein
If tempted by something that feels "Altruistic", examine your motives and root out that self-deception. Then, if you still want to do it, wallow in it!
Robert A. Heinlein
The care of every man's soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills.
Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists.
A show of altruism is respected in the world chiefly for selfish motives--the usual human paradox. Everyone figures himself profiting by it tomorrow. It thus becomes creditable, and hence profitable, to the one who exhibits it. It makes him popular. In most cases that is probably all there is in it.
Altruism does not mean mere kindness or generosity, but the sacrifice of the best among men to the worst, the sacrifice of virtues to flaws, of ability to incompetence, of progress to stagnation--and the subordinating of all life and of all values to the claims of anyone's suffering.
Benevolent feeling ennobles the most trifling actions.
William Makepeace Thackeray
If ambition doesn't hurt, you don't have it.
Zeal (n): A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that goeth before a sprawl.
It was never what I wanted to buy that held my heart's hope. It was what I wanted to be.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Choose the greatest aim and the most decisive one you feel you can attain.
Karl von Clauswitz
Men are more often bribed by their loyalties and ambitions than by money.
Robert H. Jackson
In a country of pushers and yearners, what a joy it is to meet a man who envies no one and wants to be nothing that he is not!
America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the beningant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, she would involve herself beyond the power of extriation, in all the wars and interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assumed the colors and usurped the standards of freedom. . . She might become the dictatress of the world. She would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit.
John Quincy Adams
I've seen pictures of the Alaskan Wildlife Preserve and I can sum it up in just two words: North Dakota. Do we really need two North Dakotas? I mean, we already have South Dakota as an emergency spare.
American English is essentially British English without the redundancies, including the monarchy.
Ivan C. Amaya
Prayer of the modern American: Dear God, I pray for patience. And I want it right now!
We Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it.
Lunarian (n): An inhabitant of the moon, as distinguished from the Lunatic, one whom the moon inhabits. The Lunarians have been described by Lucian, Locke, and other observers, but without much agreement. For example, Bragellos avers their anatomical identity with Man, but Professor Newcomb says they are more like the hill tribes of Vermont.
Majesty (n): The state and title of a king. Regarded with a just contempt by the Most Eminent Grand Masters, Grand Chancellors, Great Incohonees, and Imperial Potentates of the ancient and honourable orders of republican America.
Presidency (n): The greased pig in the field game of American politics.
President (n): The leading figure in a small group of men of whom--and of whom only--it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of them for President.
Then there is the dream palace of the Europeans. In this palace, America is a bigger threat to world peace than Saddam Hussein. America is the land of rotting cities, the electric chair, serial killers, gun-crazed hunters, shallow materialists, religious nuts, savage capitalists, the all-powerful Jewish lobby, the oil lobby, the military-industrial complex, and bloodthirsty cowboy-presidents.
In this dream palace, the Hollywood clichés are taken to be real. George Bush really is Rambo, Clint Eastwood, and John Wayne rolled into one. American life really is "NYPD Blue" and "Baywatch." In this dream palace, Oliver Stone is as trustworthy as the Washington Post, Michael Moore accurately depicts the American soul, "Dr. Strangelove" is a textbook of American government, and Noam Chomsky tells it like it is.
If this was the Middle Ages, and Magellan was an American, and we sailed around the planet and found out it was round instead of flat, we wouldn't tell anybody so we could attack from the rear.
William S. Burroughs
No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.
America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.
You know the one thing that's wrong with this country? Everyone gets a chance to have their fair say.
William Jefferson Clinton
The Constitution is a radical document . . . it is the job of the government to rein in people's rights.
William Jefferson Clinton
How to make Americans, most of whom are descended from the most despised and wretched of the populations of the Old World — poor southern Italians, landless Irish peasants, ghetto Jews of eastern Europe — understand that much apparently political resistance to them is grounded in pure snobbery? The great American virtues — self-improvement, ambition, individualism — are, in European establishment eyes, the characteristics of vulgarity.
The consumer-led culture of America, so embarrassingly coveted by the poor peoples of the world, is crass, sentimental and socially gauche. Of course it is. It is the only popular culture there has ever been that is cosmopolitan and affluent, as opposed to the folk cultures of Europe, which dwell in provincial poverty but have their own "integrity" in patronising bien-pensant terms.
American virtues are much harder to convey, let alone imitate, than American vices. These virtues are, in a loose sense, spiritual, or at least philosophical. As Marx wrote in his Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, "Theory becomes a spiritual force when it is gripped by the masses." And Americans, en masse, believe that their lives are what they themselves make of them. It is from this belief that their wealth arises; and it is from their wealth that their high culture arises. What Virtual America [America as portrayed on television] does not convey is that the world's best universities, best libraries, best scientific research laboratories, best cultural institutions are American. America is simultaneously demotic and elitist, but only the demotic is communicated to consumers of Virtual America. But it is the products of the elitism that are admirable, and so essential to American affluence.
When I flew recently to Memphis, Tenn., the first thing that struck me at the airport was how many of the people (particularly employees) seemed to be wading through an invisible primeval swamp of high specific gravity. This was because they were so fat that they had to waddle, arms waving at their sides like useless appendages; and I presumed that they were herbivores who grazed not on primitive ferns, but upon the corn starch and high-calorie fructose syrup that seems to be added to all North American food.
Americans [. . .] don't travel well. I admit I'm saying this because the number-one-annoying-thing I encountered the one time in my life I did make it overseas, to London, was . . . other Americans. I mean, you spend some time among the soft-spoken English, and suddenly American voices sound very loud. And very demanding. And very obnoxious. And we never say "Please." For anything.
The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it.
America's the most boring country to tour already because everywhere looks like everywhere else.
People always talk about "the American public" as if it were some kind of slack-jawed, Guess-wearing brain trust. Politicians, many of whom got started as jury-ass-kissing trial lawyers, are always on TV saying "The American Public is too smart for THIS," and "The American Public is too smart for THAT." Well, guess what? If the American Public were a person, it would have to sleep in a bed with rails, wearing a hockey helmet. The American Public is the same bunch of goofs who made Jerry Springer rich and re-elected Bill Clinton. And if you spend enough money on advertising, the American Public will eat or drink anything you put in front of it.
America has always been immune to utopian fantasies — indeed, it has always opposed them. The skeptical Founding Fathers, influenced by the prudence and love of liberty of the British Enlightenment, built the American republic based on the anti-utopian belief that men are fallible and self-interested, love their property, and can best manage their affairs locally. The Founders saw the café theorizing of Continental elites and French philosophers as a danger to good government, which requires not some grand, all-encompassing blueprint but rather institutional checks and balances and a citizenry of perennially vigilant individual citizens.
Victor Davis Hanson
Our old-fashioned belief in right and wrong along with our willingness to act on that belief also infuriates the Europeans. Americans have an ingrained distrust of moral laxity masquerading as "sophistication," and our dissident religious heritage has made us comfortable with making clear-cut moral choices in politics — "simplistic" choices, Euros would say. It is precisely because we recognize the existence of evil, pure and simple, that we feel justified in using force to strip power from ogres like Mullah Omar and Saddam Hussein — or kill them, like Uday and Qusay Hussein. Europeans, cynical in politics and morals, think that this attitude makes us loose cannons.
Victor Davis Hanson
A feeling of superiority counteracts imitation. Had the millions of immigrants who came to this country been superior people--the cream of the countries they came from--there would have been not one U.S.A. but a mosaic of lingual and cultural groups. It was due to the fact that the majority of the immigrants were of the lowest and the poorest, the despised and the rejected, that the heterogeneous millions blended so rapidly and thoroughly. They came here with the ardent desire to shed their old world identity and be reborn to a new life; and they were automatically equipped with an unbounded capacity to imitate and adopt the new. The strangeness of the new country attracted rather than repelled them. They craved a new identity and a new life--and the stranger the new world, the more it suited their inclination. Perhaps, to the non-Anglo-Saxons, the strangeness of the language was an added attraction. To have to learn to speak enhanced the illusion of being born anew.
The difference between the Paleo-cranks and the Commie-cranks is that the Communists are in love with an America in the future that's designed in their image and the Paleos are in love with the America of the 18th Century. That's the difference, but they share a common attitude towards America as it exists today.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness . . .
[W]hen all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and we will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
No Freeman shall be debarred the use of arms in his own lands or tenements.
Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.
John F. Kennedy
This country with its constitution belongs to those who live in it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government they shall exercise their constitutional rights by amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
American English is essentially a tool to keep a person from ever being able to speak another language.
The U.S. has two major parties: the EVIL party and the STUPID party. the EVIL party is actively trying to instituted socialism and the STUPID party is trying to fine tune it.
I used to wonder why Woodrow Wilson was so excessively admired despite his palpable hypocrisy. Gradually the reason dawned on me. It is that hypocrisy is actually a kind of ideal in America. When the American cannot be really virtuous he becomes a hypocrite, and soon or late he convinces both himself and his neighbours that his hypocrisy is a sufficient surrogate for the virtue he lacks.
[Texas is] the place where there are more cows and the least milk and the most rivers and the least water in them, and where you can look the farthest and see the least.
The American people, taking one with another, constitute the most timorous, snivelling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the middle ages.
The typical American of today has lost all the love of liberty that his forefathers had, and all their disgust of emotion, and pride in self-reliance. He is no longer led by Davy Crocketts; he is led by cheerleaders, press agents, word mongers, uplifters.
Perhaps the most revolting character that the United States ever produced was the Christian business man.
The only way to success in American public life lies in flattering and kowtowing to the mob.
Nowhere in the world is superiority more easily attained, or more eagerly admitted. The chief business of the nation, as a nation, is the setting up of heroes, mainly bogus.
No-one has ever gone broke by underestimating the taste or intelligence of the American public.
The average American of the Anglo-Saxon majority, in truth, is simply a second-rate Englishman, and so it is no wonder that he is spontaneously servile, despite all his democratic denial of superiorities, to what he conceives to be first-rate Englishmen.
The New England shopkeepers and theologians never really developed a civilization; all they ever developed was a government. They were, at their best, tawdry and tacky fellows, oafish in manner and devoid of imagination.
For all its size and all its wealth and all the "progress" it babbles of, [the South] is almost as sterile, artistically, intellectually, culturally, as the Sahara desert.
The United States, to my eye, is incomparably the greatest show on earth . . . we have clowns among us who are as far above the clowns of any other great state as Jack Dempsey is above the paralytic -- and not a few dozen or score of them, but whole droves and herds.
Maine is as dead, intellectually, as Abyssinia. Nothing is ever heard from it.
The average American has the attention span of a ferret on double espresso.
The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing.
Gamel Abdel Nasser
The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge piñata--a papier-maché donkey, for example. The donkey is filled with full employment, low interest rates, affordable housing, comprehensive medical benefits, a balanced budget and other goodies. The American voter is blindfolded and given a stick. The voter then swings the stick wildly in every direction, trying to hit a political candidate on the head and knock some sense into the silly bastard.
It is capitalist America that produced the modern independent woman. Never in history have women had more freedom of choice in regard to dress, behavior, career, and sexual orietation.
Americans used to roar like lions for liberty, now we bleat like sheep for security.
Norman Vincent Peale
America is a country that doesn't know where it is going, but is determined to set a speed record getting there.
Lawrence J. Peter
America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation.
Lawrence J. Peter
The American Revolution was entrepreneurial and constructive. The French Revolution was vengeful and destructive. Even during the Great Depression, when extremist ideologies achieved their greatest popularity in the United States, nothing approaching a majority of Americans signed up for any totalitarian creed of either the right or left. In the words of Huey Long, who for all his faults spoke for the average Joe, we never stopped believing in the possibility of "every man a king."
Europeans are content with "every man a servant," as long as the terms of service are not too severe and the position comes with job security. Hitler did not cement his hold on power with anti-Semitism — that was an add-on — but with works projects, with jobs for Germans, with a promise of economic security, however low the level.
We elevate the individual; Europeans worship the group. We dream. Europeans fear. Indeed, the only belief that has been pronounced dead more often than religion is the American dream. Professors write its obituary almost daily. The rest of us live it.
We are products of the immigrant spirit and the pioneer mentality. Our ancestors (as well as today's new immigrants) dared to take a chance, instead of remaining in the "old country," with its degrading social and economic systems.
The Europeans with whom we must deal today are those whose ancestors lacked the courage to pack their bags and board the ships in Hamburg or Antwerp or Danzig. They chose a miserable security over hope that carried risks.
Europeans are correct when they insist that America has become a danger. We are, indeed, a tremendous threat to their self-satisfaction, to their dread of change, to their moral irresponsibility and to their dreary, state-supported cultures.
Our ancestors chose a new kind of human freedom. Europeans have resisted it ever since.
Despite eternally gloomy headlines, our country probably has the lowest wastage rate of human talent in the world. The United States is so chronically hungry for talent that we drain it from the rest of the planet at a crippling pace, and we have accepted that we cannot squander the genius of half our population. Even in Europe, "over-skilling," in which inherent and learned abilities wither in calcified workplaces, produces social peace at the cost of cultural and economic lethargy, security at the price of mediocrity. The occasional prime minister notwithstanding, it is far rarer to encounter a female executive, top professional, or general officer in that mythologized, "more equitable" Europe than in the United States. Life in America may not be fair, but neither is it stagnant. What we lose in security, we more than compensate for in opportunity.
There are, of course, many further differences between us and the Europeans, but the greatest other distinction relates to the first: American is the land of second chances. And of third, fourth and fifth chances, if only we have the gumption to seize them.
In Europe, there's little provision for late bloomers. The placement tests the student takes as a teenager determine his or her academic, economic and social fate to an extent that would spark another revolution in America.
Real anti-Americanism — the sort that lies behind so much of the hostility to President Bush — isn't about hating burgers and Matt Monro. It is far more subtle. The really damaging anti-Americanism — because it blinds its sufferers to reality — derives from that characteristically British sneering superiority which so permeates metropolitan and media circles. It is the conviction that the arriviste who has moved in next door with his flashy car and his gauche ex-model wife may have more money, own the business and be getting more sex, but he lacks what really matters: class. That Bush fellow is just so typically American: crude and unsophisticated.
You shake a slogan at an American and it's just like showing a hungry dog a bone.
[My country, right or wrong:] When right, to be kept right. When wrong, to be put right.
A wise man once pointed out that the American eagle eats carrion, never picks on anything its own size and will soon be extinct. That being so, perhaps Americans ought to select a symbol more in keeping with their current condition, like a milked cow, a sheared sheep, a plucked chicken, or a slaughtered steer.
L. Neil Smith
In America there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is — that is what makes America what it is.
In The Time Machine the Eloi were an effete upper class, supported by lots of subterranean Morlocks who kept the technological wheels turning. But in our world it's the other way round. The Morlocks are in the minority, and they are running the show, because they understand how everything works. The much more numerous Eloi learn everything they know from being steeped from birth in electronic media directed and controlled by book-reading Morlocks. So many ignorant people could be dangerous if they got pointed in the wrong direction, and so we've evolved a popular culture that is (a) almost unbelievably infectious and (b) neuters every person who gets infected by it, by rendering them unwilling to make judgments and incapable of taking stands.
Once the Invisible Hand has taken all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani brickmaker would consider to be prosperity — y'know what? There's only four things we do better than anyone else: music, movies, microcode (software), and high-speed pizza delivery.
In America, anyone can become president. That's one of the risks you take.
The fanatical Muslims despise America because it's all lapdancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it's controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too Godless, America is also too isolationist, except when it's too imperialist. And even its imperialism is too vulgar and arriviste to appeal to real imperialists: let's face it, the ghastly Yanks never stick it to the fuzzy-wuzzy with the dash and élan of the Bengal Lancers, which appears to be the principal complaint of Sir Max Hastings and his ilk. To the mullahs, America is the Great Satan, a wily seducer; to the Gaullists, America is the Great Cretin, a culture so self-evidently moronic that only stump-toothed inbred Appalachian lardbutts could possibly fall for it. American popular culture is utterly worthless, except when one of its proponents — Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon — attacks Bush, in which case he or she is showered with European awards and sees the foreign-language rights for his latest tract sell for six figures at Frankfurt. The fact that the best-selling anti-Americans are themselves American — Moore, Chomsky — is perhaps the cruellest manifestation of the suffocating grip of the hyperpower.
One of the great strengths of this republic is that it's a rawer, more responsive polity than the decayed democracies of Europe. On the Continent, the political elites of all mainstream parties have ruled more and more topics out of bounds, no matter how strongly the electors feel about them — the death penalty, immigration, the new euro currency — all are beyond discussion. The elites have pronounced, and that's that. So in recent elections, faced with a choice between Tweedleleft and Tweedleright, voters have turned increasingly to fringe parties — elderly fascists, gay libertarians, anti-crime xenophobes.
To most people in Bush-voting states, Vermont is a province of Canada and, unlike the kinky maple fetishist Paul Robinson and his commissioning editors at The Spectator, they don't mean that in a good way.
When Mr Hume calls America "fascist", he's not talking about the Administration's policy on, say, health care, which is heading in an alarmingly Canadian direction. He means that America is sufficiently neanderthal to have roused itself in its defence and overthrown two regimes, both of which, as it happens, were objectively fascist. The Taliban's most famous intervention in aesthetic matters was its detonation of those two ancient stone Buddhas. Its main architectural innovation was the purpose-built wall under which homosexuals were crushed to death. But no matter how many gays were buried in such fashion it wouldn't add up to the threat Bush poses to the world by being so crude as to do something about it.
Democrats (more correctly "Left-Wing Socialists") believe that everyone is a little bit stupid and need government to protect them. [. . .] Republicans (more correctly "Right-Wing Socialists") believe that everyone is a little bit evil and needs government to protect them.
This is the sole difference between the two political philosophies: Left-Wingers believe everyone is a little bit stupid, and Right-Wingers believe everyone is a little bit evil. Both believe government is necessary to protect a small minority of either intelligent or moral individuals from the excesses of the majority, who are either stupid or evil.
When reduced to the only fundamental difference between the Left- and Right-Wingers, it becomes pitiably simple to predict with 100% accuracy where they each will be in favor of government intervention. For the Left-Wing Socialists, since stupid people cannot be trusted to care for their own basic necessities, government is deemed necessary to provide food, clothing, and shelter. Since stupid people cannot be trusted with deadly weapons in their own defense, government is necessary to regulate self-defense.
William Stone III
When the Swiss are for nonintervention in war, they are called "neutral"; when Americans are for nonintervention, they are called "isolationists".
America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.
America--the only country where failing to promote yourself is regarded as being arrogant.
Americans are not only our neighbours and allies, but they are even our friends.
Pierre Elliot Trudeau
America's greatest strength, and its greatest weakness, is her belief in second chances, her belief that we can always start over, that things can be made better.
The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine.
I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.
America is a success machine. Yes, it's easy to fail in America. It is also the easiest place in the world to succeed, to do the big things — become wealthy or famous — or just carve out a comfortable little patch of ground to spend an afternoon barbequing or watch your teenage kid drive off in their brand new used car.
It's a siren song for many people, this idea of freedom, this dream of making your own life according to a script you wrote in your head. But it's not for everybody. It requires some courage, at times. It demands hard work. It can challenge your bland security. It's not cheap, this American Dream — nor should it be. And it lives and breathes optimism. Without that you're sunk.
Those that would have us disarm, withdraw, apologize and retreat make the assumption that by removing American Power from the world, the planet will become a harmonious village of diversity and mutual respect. Remove American capitalism, and the world's people will trade solar cars for indigenous beads, our European moral betters will hand over their cash to the third world until all are perfectly equal, and everyone will live in a sustainable ecological paradise. Remove American cultural power and Britney will be replaced with Beethoven, and an exquisite and reasonably priced Pate de Foi Gras Existentialist Meal can be had at a corner drive in where the former McDonald's once stood.
Today, on her 227th birthday, the United States stands astride the world as the most economically, militarily and culturally powerful force history has yet revealed.
Well, one reason is because here in America, a practically broke 19 year old kid can be the President of a Corporation, that's why. Of course some of these fail. Most of them fail, spectacularly fail, flaming wreckage, oh-the-humanity failures. I've had many of these, personally. More will no doubt come. It's easy to succeed in a country that lets you fail this often and this easily.
The United States is often referred to as a childish country, an adolescent nation, young and strong and stubborn, but unsophisticated and unseasoned. Up until a short while ago, there may have been some truth to this, for there is one adolescent quality that has long marked the American psyche when involved overseas, and that is the desire to be liked by everyone. As we mature as individuals (and this is not a universal phenomenon [. . .]), we begin to realize that not only is it impossible to be liked by everyone. . . it is, in fact, repugnant. I do not want to be admired by scumbags and liars and wife beaters. I want to be admired by good and decent, intelligent and just people, and in order to achieve this I need to do things that make me despised by their opposites.
Once lead this people into war and they'll forget there was ever such a thing as tolerance . . . The spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into every fiber of our national life.
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.
We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.
If all these Europinks (who, by the bye, really need to stop mistaking themselves for World Opinion) are so frightened of us, why don't they act like it? Why aren't they clamoring for a crash rearmament program to counter the American menace? Why aren't they begging their governments, in the meantime, not to do anything to provoke us?
To ask the question is to answer it. These are people who know perfectly well that they have nothing to fear from the US, but who share the belief (not limited to the left, but much more popular there) that the Argument from Personal Fright actually proves something.
An analogy is like instant coffee - it wakes you up, but it's not the real thing.
Peter da Silva
The map is not the territory.
Critical analysis is not an evaluation of the means actually employed, but of all possible means. One can, after all, not condemn a method without being able to suggest a better alternative.
Karl von Clausewitz
Support Free Trade — Smuggle!
Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle, and mutilate.
Anarchism: You have two cows. Keep them. Shoot the government.
Ask not what the government can do for you. Ask what the government is doing to you.
Humans are too stupid for anarchy. We become gods first, then anarchists.
Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it.
Henry David Thoreau
That government is best which governs not at all.
Henry David Thoreau
My political opinions lean more and more to anarchy. The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power stations. I hope that, encouraged now as patriotism, may remain a habit.
People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.
Temper is what gets most of us into trouble. Pride is what keeps us there.
Poise is the act of raising the eyebrows instead of the roof.
Anger is never without reason, but seldom with a good one.
Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.
Anyone can become angry, that's easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — that's not easy.
Never make a speech when you are angry. If you do, you will make the best speech you'll ever regret.
Sir Humphrey Appleby
Wrath (n): Anger of a superior quality and degree appropriate to exalted characters and momentous occasions as: "the wrath of God", "the day of wrath", etc.
I was angry at a friend I told my wrath; my wrath did end. I was angry at a foe I told him not; my wrath did grow.
[On "Road Rage"] Why should I be forced to divide my rage into separate categories? To me, it's just one big, all-around, everyday rage. I don't have time for fine distinctions.
"You're so cute when your vein sticks out like that."
The Forest Service has issued a BEAR WARNING in the national forests for this summer. They're urging everyone to protect themselves by wearing bells and carrying pepper spray.
Campers should be alert for signs of fresh bear activity, and they should be able to tell the difference between Black Bear dung and Grizzy Bear dung.
Black Bear dung is rather small and round. Sometimes you can see fruit seeds and/or squirrel fur in it.
Grizzly Bear dung has bells in it, and smells like pepper spray!
When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last.
Jumbo Shrimp: an oxymoron
Dogs would make totally incompetent criminals. If you could somehow get a group of dogs to understand the concept of the Kennedy assassination, they would all immediately confess to it. Whereas you'll never see a cat display any kind of guilty behavior, despite the fact that several cats were seen in Dallas on the Grassy Knoll area, not that I wish to start rumors.
I believe that lobsters are the result of a terrible genetic accident involving nuclear radiation and cockroaches.
[T]he most important part of a cow is the udder, because this is where the cow produces important dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and ranch dressing, via a process called "photosynthesis." As you know (like HECK you do), a standard cow has one udder, which is divided into quarters, each of which has a nipple, or "teat," except in Utah, where this is illegal.
Wolf: A big dame hunter.
Zebra: The largest size bra you can buy.
Adamant: The first crawling insect in the Garden of Eden.
Rattlesnake (n): Our prostrate brother, Homo ventrambulans.
Hog (n): A bird remarkable for the catholicity of its appetite and serving to illustrate that of ours. Among the Mahometans and Jews, the hog is not in favour as an article of diet, but is respected for the delicacy of its habits, the beauty of its plumage and the melody of its voice. It is chiefly as a songster that the fowl is esteemed; a cage of him in full chorus has been known to draw tears from two persons at once. The scientific name of this dicky-bird is Porcus Rockefelleri. Mr Rockefeller did not discover the hog, but it is considered his by right of resemblance.
Elephant (n): A mouse built to government specifications.
Hyena (n): A beast held in reverence by some oriental nations from its habit of frequenting at night the burial-places of the dead. But the medical student does that.
Monkey (n): An arboreal animal which makes itself at home in genealogical trees.
Mouse (n): An animal which strews its path with fainting women.
Obstinate (adj): Inaccessible to the truth as it is manifest in the splendour and stress of our advocacy. The popular type and exponent of obstinacy is the mule, a most intelligent animal.
Pig (n): An animal (Porcus omnivorous) closely allied to the human race by the splendour and vivacity of its appetite, which, however, is inferior in scope, for it sticks at pig.
Dogs come when they're called. Cats take a message and get back to you.
Cats sleep fat and walk thin.
Robert A. Heinlein
It should never be forgotten that all the time we were studying bats, bats had an excellent opportunity to study us.
Cats don't make noise when they sleep; it's one of the reasons I don't trust them. They just go into OFF mode. Dogs, on the other hand, snore. They sigh, they whimper, they weep as they're pursued by Giant Homicidal Fire Hydrants, or whatever lurks in their subconscious.
Maybe I'm wrong. It's been a long time since I lived with cats. Maybe the new ones sing in their sleep, or recite Chinese poetry. I don't want to know about it.
If there's anything that rivals a teen for pure black sullenness, it's a circus tiger.
I imagine a squirrel would be a bear's version of that chewing gum that has a liquid center.
Don't make the mistake of treating your dogs like humans, or they'll treat you like dogs.
Hanna-Barbera kept animation alive during its Darkest Period, and for this we should be grateful. Heard it before. It's like saying "we've revived Jayne Mansfield's body, minus the scalp, and for a buck we'll lift up the sheet and let you look."
Anti-Semitism, someone once said, is the socialism of fools: but he might just as well have said that socialism is anti-Semitism with the Jews left out, for both doctrines appeal to the same resentments, hatreds, and style of thought. It was no accident, as the Marxists used to put it, that Marx himself, though Jewish, was a ferocious anti-Semite who accepted the ancient stereotype of the Jew as a bloodsucking usurer. Socialist and anti-Semite alike seek an all-encompassing explanation of the imperfection of the world, and for the persistence of poverty and injustice: and each thinks he has found an answer.
Anti-Semitism has been called the most successful ideology of the 20th century, and it remains the universal joint of paranoiac crankdom all over the world. It unites neo-Nazis and hard-left globaphobes; Black Power groups and white supremacist militias; Shiite Iran and Wahabi Saudi Arabia [and] Russian communists and Czarists.
Put these people into the same room and they'd tear each other limb from limb. Yet they are all agreed on one point: Somehow, somewhere, a cabal of hook-nosed Hebrews is conspiring to foil them. They all see themselves as history's undeserving losers — humiliated by political failure, poverty, backwardness, or their conquest at the hands of others. And it annoys them to the point of mental illness that their group is struggling while a relatively miniscule religion — 13 million people, representing 1/500th of the world's population, has achieved prosperity and high positions in the Diaspora, not to mention their own restored language and country.
Except for a convention of European intellectuals, the only place on earth where you could draw applause by damning Jews for their alleged "invention" of human rights and democracy is the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a collection of miserably failed states represented largely by aging dictators.
There is a horrid but obvious dynamic going on here: At some deep level, Europeans, European politicians, European culture is aware that almost without exception every European nation was deeply complicit in Hitler's genocide. Some manned the death camps, others stamped the orders for the transport of the Jews to the death camps, everyone knew what was going on—and yet the Nazis didn't have to use much if any force to make them accomplices. For the most part, Europeans volunteered. That is why "European civilization" will always be a kind of oxymoron for anyone who looks too closely at things, beginning with the foolish and unnecessary slaughters of World War I, Holocaust-scale slaughter that paved the way for Hitler's more focused effort.
And so, at some deep level, there is a need to blame someone else for the shame of "European civilization." To blame the victim. To blame the Jews. And the more European nations can focus one-sidedly on the Israeli response to terror and not to the terror itself, the more they can portray the Jews as the real villains, as Nazis, the more salve to their collective conscience for their complicity in collective mass murder in the past. Hitler may have gone too far, and perhaps we shouldn't have been so cowardly and slavish in assisting him, but look at what the Jews are doing.
Mahathir Mohamad says that Jews "invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others." In other words, the idea that all human beings have inalienable rights and that people should be free to choose their governments are "Jewish tricks."
If history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.
We certainly have seen the results of appeasement. It's much easier to tolerate a dictator when he's dictating over somebody else's life and not your own.
I love the Egyptian documentaries. I keep waiting for some rotund bald fellow in a pith helmet to hunch down in a sandstone trench, face the camera, and cheerily say "essentially, when it comes down to it, we don't know squat."
Of course that wouldn't be entirely correct, but sometimes I wonder. What do we have in abundance from that sand-smothered era? Tombs. Tombs with wall-paintings. Reconstructing a civilization from this is like imagining the 20th century from a comics page left in a funeral home. And here again we see the recurring figure of Dag-wood, the earth spirit, who resides with the life-giver Blun-dae, and who is constantly thwarted by the Confuser, Mizder Dither, and the archetypal trickster figure Urb Wod'lae. The fact that this page was left on the bench where the mourners sat indicates to us that this story was crucially important for the afterlife ritual.
For all the casual slurs about "cultural imperialism," British imperialists were more interested in other cultures than anybody before or since, and, if they hadn't dug it up and taken care of it, we'd know hardly anything about the ancient world.
Architect (n): One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.
Gargoyle (n): A rain-spout projecting from the eaves of medieval buildings, commonly fashioned into a grotesque caricature of some personal enemy of the architect or owner of the building. This was especially the case in churches and ecclesiastical structures generally, in which the gargoyles presented a perfect rogues' gallery of local heretics and controversialists. Sometimes when a new dean and chapter were installed the old gargoyles were removed and others substituted having a closer relation to the private animosities of the new incumbents.
Lighthouse (n): A tall building on the seashore in which the government maintains a lamp and the friend of a politician.
Hovel (n): The fruit of a flower called the Palace.
House (n): A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of man, rat, mouse, beetle, cockroach, fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus, and microbe. House of Correction, a place of reward for political and personal service, and for the detention of offenders and appropriations. House of God, a building with a steeple and a mortgage on it. House-dog, a pestilent beast kept on domestic premises to insult persons passing by and appall the hardy visitor. House-maid, a youngerly person of the opposing sex employed to be variously disagreeable and ingeniously unclean in the station in which it has pleased God to place her.
As for the buildings themselves, they are, with a vengeance, Le Corbusier's "machines for living in" — though perhaps "existing in" would be more accurate. The straight line and the right angle reign supreme: no curves, no frivolous decorative touches, no softening materials add warmth to the steel, glass, and concrete. There is nothing that Mies van der Rohe, another dictator in architect's clothing, would have condemned as "aesthetic speculation."
What do the tenants think of their apartment blocks? They vote with their urine. The public spaces and elevators of all public housing blocks I know are so deeply impregnated with urine that the odor is ineradicable. And anything smashable has been smashed.
Until quite recently, I had assumed that the extreme ugliness of the city in which I live was attributable to the Luftwaffe. I imagined that the cheap and charmless high rise buildings which so disfigure the city-scape had been erected of necessity in great gaping holes left by Heinkel bombers. I had spent much of my childhood playing in deserted bomb shelters in public parks: and although I was born some years after the end of the war, that great conflagration still exerted a powerful hold on the imagination of British children of my generation.
I discovered how wrong I was not long ago when I entered a store whose walls were decorated with large photographs of the city as it had been before the war. It was then a fine place, in a grandiloquent, Victorian kind of way. Every building had spoken of a bulging, no doubt slightly pompous and ridiculous, municipal pride. Industry and Labor were glorified in statuary, and a leavening of Greek temples and Italian Renaissance palaces lightened the prevailing mock-Venetian Gothic architecture.
"A great shame about the war," I said to the store assistant, who was of an age to remember the old days. "Look at the city now."
"The war?" she said. "The war had nothing to do with it. It was the council."
The City Council — the people's elected representatives it transpired, had done far more damage to the fabric of the city in the 1950s and 1960s than had Goering's air force. Indeed, they had managed to turn it into a terrible visual ordeal for anyone with the most minimal visual sensibility.
The buildings of the 20s expressed modernity, and hence the future, in a different way - it would be about machines, yes. It would have giant scale that dwarfed in the individual, sure. But they tried to find beauty in this idea, and they decorated these towers with all manner of ornamentation. All the buildings in the 60s look like packing crates for the buildings of the 20s.
This perhaps is the sole gift of 60s and 70s modernism — its utter blankness, its stupid insistence that ornament was a detail and the devil therefore resided therein, makes them excellent candidates for gutting. (Yes, I know what Mies said: God is in the details. Given the nature of his buildings, this means we can only conclude that God is dead.)
[T]he atriums and marble foyers demanded by multinational firms for their offices, whether in New York or in Bogota. They are. . .the architectural equivalent of McDonald's hamburgers, served "quickly, in spotless conditions, and in identical portions throughout the world."
A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his client to plant vines.
Frank Lloyd Wright
There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion.
John, Lord Acton
A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
Never argue with a fool--people might not know the difference.
Sometimes silence is the best way to yell at the top of your voice.
People usually quarrel because they cannot argue.
Be sure that your conversation generates more light than heat.
I respect your right to have an opinion. But it's awfully hard to respect your opinion when it is so woefully misinformed, so laden with nonsensical conspiracies, so sadly influenced by newage (that's New Age, but it rhymes with sewage), and so utterly devoid of reason. Other than that, have a nice life.
I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me.
The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.
Repartee (n): Prudent insult in retort. Practiced by gentlemen with a constitutional aversion to violence, but a strong disposition to offend.
Disabuse (v.t.): To present your neighbour with another and better error than the one which he has deemed it advantageous to embrace.
Discussion (n): A method of confirming others in their errors.
Self-evident (adj): Evident to one's self and to nobody else.
Pitiful (adj): The state of an enemy or opponent after an imaginary encounter with oneself.
Pitiful (adj): The state of an enemy or opponent after an imaginary encounter with oneself.
Repartee is what you wish you'd said.
Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.
Never argue with a pedant over nomenclature. It wastes your time and annoys the pedant.
Lois McMaster Bujold
If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten.
A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven.
Isn't it queer that only sensible people agree with you?
Robert C. Edwards
Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Straw Man (n): Someone ELSE's idea of an elegant, irrefutable argument.
Resurrequiflogging (n): The practice of beating a horse to death, then bringing it back to life to beat it to death again.
As soon as you hear the phrase "studies show",
immediately put a hand on your wallet and cover your groin.
There is no point arguing with unresisting imbecility.
To give respect to an opponent in debate is to give him an advantage to which he is not entitled.
Don't confuse me with facts. I've got a closed mind.
Senator Earl Landgrebe
Criticizing someone's record is not a personal attack. "My opponent is a sad half-man who licks laudanum off the bellies of toothless syphilitic doxies" is a personal attack.
[T]here is no common ground with people who think you're a political leper, a winged monkey in the service of a green-skinned Nancy Reagan in a witch's hat.
Either what you've said is so vague that it's meaningless or I disagree with you completely.
When lines are drawn sharply, they often cut. And sometimes people bleed.
Any clod can have the facts, but having opinions is an art.
Don't put your tongue in high until you get your brain started.
Since the argument over who started it is one of those endless loops in the source code of life, I'm just not going to enter that subroutine.
[C]itations are like those little paper covers on straws: they have a very real use and value, but mostly people just shoot them across the table at each other.
Silence is a powerful weapon.
Sir William Osler
An argument always leaves each party convinced that the other has a closed mind.
Lawrence J. Peter
The most radical weapon in history is a long memory.
Protesting Lady Theory: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." The more someone dwells on a point, the more the point diminishes in value.
Robert J. Ringer
Arguments from authority simply do not count; too many authorities have been mistaken too often
Poor spelling does not prove poor knowledge, but is fatal to the argument by intimidation.
Gene Ward Smith
When your enemy cries foul the loudest, that's when you know you're doing him the most damage.
L. Neil Smith
Philosophers . . . regard emotions and thinking as entirely different processes, but in fact they're inextricably linked. There are emotional consequences to having your most cherished belief questioned by the evidence. The fact is that if you find evidence that disconfirms something you hold most dear, cognitive dissonance sets in. People rarely say, "Oh, thank you! I'm so happy that you've explained to me that I was entirely wrong." They say, "Piss off!"
In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane
Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.
We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise.
Keep cool; anger is not argument.
If the argument from authority is feeble, what does it say of a critic who quotes himself?
William J. Westmiller
Lord (n): In American society, an English tourist above the state of a costermonger, as, Lord 'Aberdasher, Lord Hartisan and so forth. The travelling Briton of lesser degree is addressed as "Sir," as, Sir 'Arry Donkiboi, of 'Amstead 'Eath. The word "Lord" is sometimes used, also, as a title of reverence of the Supreme Being; but this it thought to be rather flattery than true reverence.
A gentleman is one who never strikes a woman without provocation.
A French Bastard landing with an armed Banditti and establishing himself as King of England against the consent of the nation, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original.
If I am a gentleman and you are a gentleman, who will milk the cow?
The upper classes are a nation's past; the middle class is its future.
Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
Never argue with an artist.
The arts are like the Church. People don't actually go to Church but they feel better because it's there.
Sir Humphrey Appleby
Plays attacking the government make the second most boring theatrical evenings ever invented. The most boring are plays praising the government.
Sir Humphrey Appleby
The government has to spend money on the arts. The nation has a great heritage to support--pictures hardly anyone wants to see, music hardly anyone wants to hear, plays hardly anyone wants to watch. We can't let them die just because no one's interested.
Sir Humphrey Appleby
There are no votes in giving money to the arts--but there is a lot of terrible publicity if you don't.
Sir Humphrey Appleby
Foundation Grant: Bourgeois beneficence that enables unmarketable artists to continue expressing their contempt for bourgeois values.
Artists who have won fame are often embarrassed by it; thus their first works are often their best.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Abstract Art: Pigment of your imagination.
Painting (n): The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic. Formerly, painting and sculpture were combined in the same work: the ancients painted their statues. The only present alliance between the two arts is that the modern painter chisels his patrons.
Dramatist (n): One who adapts plays from the French.
Abstract Art: A product of the untalented sold by the unprincipled to the totally bewildered.
Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.
Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves they have a better idea.
Artists can colour the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid.
Young British artists were in the vanguard, bravely battling the forces of artistic reaction: though no one specified the precise destination of the artistic army whose advance they were supposedly leading. The disgusted press camp, by contrast, bemoaned this further, almost definitive, degradation of taste. There is no such thing as bad publicity, however; indeed, in an age of perversity, bad publicity isn't bad — it's the best. "Filthy," "disgusting," "pornographic," "sordid," "perverted," "vicious": no words could have been better calculated to attract the British to the Royal Academy.
When I first went into the movies Lionel Barrymore played my grandfather. Later he played my father and finally my husband. If he had lived, I'm sure I would have played his mother. That's the way it is in Hollywood. The men get younger and the women get older.
A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits.
Robert A. Heinlein
This is what Tom Wolfe wrote about in "The Painted Word" — art has ceased to reflect the culture that produced it, and has become a wearisome incarnation of insular theories and academic blather. "Old art that uses anything but primary colors is the tool of the ruling class! Pastel shades are bourgeois! The true artist uses the world itself as his canvas, so go throw a bucket of red house paint on someone in a parking lot!" That sort of thing. Although usually not as pithy.
Thus it always is: the baroque yields to the austere, which leads to the substantive, which leads to the exaggerated. The history of art is a shampoo instruction: rinse, repeat.
Art generalizes, while science itemizes.
Artists can seldom account for their own work, and when they show actual genius hardly ever. The moment they try to explain it they become absurd, and what they have to say is commonly borrowed from the jargon of critics, which is to say, non-artists. The process of creation is only partly intellectual. The rest of it seems to be based on instinct rather than on idea.
The wonder is that communism lasted so long. But, then again, modern poetry lasted a long time, too.
When I was a child, my mother said to me, "If you become a soldier, you'll be a general, and if you become a monk, you'll end up as the Pope." Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
Sculpture is what you bump into when you back up to look at a painting.
The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes-ah, that is where the art resides!
Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.
Through Art and Art only can we shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.
What we see depends on what we look for
Check your assumptions, Cordelia thought to herself in amusement. In fact, check your assumptions at the door.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Assumption Theory: The only safe assumption in life is that the person who assures you that everything is all right is all wrong.
Robert J. Ringer
Faith (n): Belief, without evidence, in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.
Iconoclast (n): A breaker of idols, the worshippers whereof are imperfectly gratified by the performance, and most strenuously protest that he unbuildeth but doth not redify, that he pulleth down but pileth not up. For the poor things would have other idols in place of those he thwacketh upon the mazzard and dispelleth. But the iconoclast saith: "Ye shall have none at all, for ye need them not; and if the rebuilder fooleth round hereabout, behold I will depress the head of him and sit thereon till he squawk it."
Irreligion (n): The principal one of the great faiths of the world.
One man's theology is another man's belly-laugh.
Robert A. Heinlein
If a Puritan is one who worries that someone somewhere is having fun, then the modern Anti-Puritans are worried that someone, somewhere, is silently praying while ladling soup in a city-funded shelter.
The day after that on which the world should no longer believe in God, atheists would be the wretchedest of all men.
Every country is like a particular type of person. America is like a belligerent, adolescent boy, Canada is like an intelligent, 35 year old woman. Australia is like Jack Nicholson. It comes right up to you and laughs very hard in your face in a highly threatening and engaging manner. In fact it's not so much a country as such, more a sort of thin crust of semi-demented civilisation caked around the edge of a vast, raw wilderness, full of heat and dust and hopping things.
Tell most Australians that you like their country and they will give a dry laugh and say "Well, it's the last place left now isn't it?", which is the sort of worrying thing that Australians say. You don't quite know what they mean but it worries you in case they're right.
Jane, who is much better at reading guide books than me (I always read them on the way back to see what I missed, and it's often quite a shock) discovered something wonderful in the book she was reading. Did I know, she asked, that Brisbane was originally founded as a penal colony for convicts who committed new offences after they had arrived in Australia?
I spend a good half hour enjoying this single piece of information. It was wonderful. There we British sat, poor grey sodden creatures, huddling under our grey northern sky that seeped like a rancid dish cloth, busy sending those we wished to punish most severely to sit in bright sunlight on the coast of the Tasman sea at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and maybe do some surfing too. No wonder the Australians have a particular kind of smile that they reserve exclusively for use on the British.
[Australia has] our anti-US forces. Lots of them. We've taken the precaution of rounding them up and keeping them penned in newspaper offices.
The Australian language is easier to learn than boat talk. It has a vocabulary of about six words.
I was a juvenile delinquent. I was Billy the Kid of Louisville. I was a "criminal": I stole things, destroyed things, drank. That's all you have to do if you're a criminal. In the sixth grade I was voted head of the Safety Patrol — the kids who wear the badges and stop traffic during recesses and patrol. It was a very big position, and the principal hated that I was voted to it. She said, "This is horrible. We can't have Hunter doing anything. He's a Little Hitler." I wasn't sure what that meant, but I think it meant I had a natural sway over many students. And that I should probably be lobotomized for the good of the society.
Hunter S. Thompson
Road (n): A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to where it is futile to go.
Accident (n): An inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable natural laws.
After all, what is a pedestrian? He is a man who has two cars; one being driven by his wife, the other by one of his children.
I don't own an SUV, but now that they've been identified as the locus of evil, I'm thinking of getting one. And if I do, I figure I might as well let the inner wolf out for a rampage and get the most obnoxious SUV I can find.
My SUV, assuming Hummer comes out with a model for those who find the current ones too cramped, will look something like the Louisiana Superdome on wheels. It'll guzzle so much gas as I walk out to my driveway there will be squads of Saudi princes gaping and applauding. It'll come, when I buy it, with little Hondas and Mazdas already embedded in the front grillwork. Inside I'll install video screens so that impressionable youngsters can play Grand Theft Auto on the way to weekly NRA meetings. And there will be room in the back for tobacco lobbyists nibbling on french fries and endangered prawns.
The only way to solve the traffic problems of the country is to pass a law that only paid-for cars are allowed to use the highways. That would make traffic so scarce we could use the boulevards for children's playgrounds.