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Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality the cost becomes prohibitive.

William F. Buckley

I fear utopian idealists more than anyone else.

Steven Den Beste

When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn't seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn't executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as "escalation of failure".)

Steven Den Beste

Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.

John Galsworthy

An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.

Sydney J. Harris

All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly which can and must be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any other foundation than "Women and children first!" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly and no doubt will keep on trying.

Robert A. Heinlein

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.

H.L. Mencken

Living with a dog is messy — like living with an idealist.

H.L. Mencken

The war on privilege will never end. Its next great campaign will be against the special privileges of the underprivileged.

H.L. Mencken

Idealism is based on big ideas. And, as anybody who has ever been asked "What's the big idea?" knows, most big ideas are bad ones.

P.J. O'Rourke

If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities.


Any philosophy, creed, or belief system that depends on the perfectability of humans is dangerous to your mental and physical health.

Nicholas Russon

Ideals are like the stars: we never reach them, but like the mariners of the sea, we chart our course by them.

Carl Schurz

Some men see things as they are and say "Why?" I dream things that never were, and say, "Why not"?

George Bernard Shaw

Few discoveries are more irritating than those which expose the pedigree of ideas.

John, Lord Acton

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.

Howard Aiken

The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.


You can never discard too many bad ideas.


Clarke's Law of New Ideas: Like all revolutionary new ideas, the subject has to pass through three stages, which may be summed up by these reactions:
  1. "It's crazy — don't waste my time."
  2. "It's possible — but not worth doing."
  3. "I always said it was a good idea."

Arthur C. Clarke

Wise men put their trust in ideas and not in circumstances.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ideas withheld or repressed are automatically imbued with a false sense of mystery and intrigue.

Jeff Heiskell

A man's mind, stretched by a new idea, can never go back to its original dimension.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.

Victor Hugo

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

Thomas Jefferson

The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a new protein. It rejects it.

P.B. Medawar

Who supplies another with a constructive thought has enriched him forever.

Alfred A. Montapart

Statues of marble or brass will perish; and statues made in imitation of them are not the same statues . . . But print and reprint a thought a thousand times over, and that with materials of any kind . . . the thought is eternally and identically the same thought in every case.

Thomas Paine

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.

Linus Pauling

We can all have three new ideas every day before breakfast; the trouble is, they will almost always be bad ideas. The hard part is figuring out who has a good idea.

Jonathan Rauch

The radical invents the new ideas, and when he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.

Mark Twain

The worst thing about ignorance is its insistency.


Ignorance of your profession is best concealed by solemnity and silence, which pass for profound knowledge upon the generality of mankind. (Advice to Officers of the British Army, 1783)


Q: What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?
A: I don't know, and I don't care.


God must love stupid people, He made so many of them.


Ignoramus (n): A person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and having certain other kinds that you know nothing about.

Ambrose Bierce

It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.

Enrico Fermi

Knowledge without wisdom is double folly.

Baltasar Gracian

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.

Thomas Jefferson

Intellectual blemishes, like facial ones, grow more prominent with age.

Francois la Rochefoucauld

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

Chinese Proverb

Know-It-All Theory (aka Organic Chemistry Theory): Ignore the know-it-all! Whether or not someone else has "all the answers" is not relevant to your success. The only thing that is relevant is what you know and what you do.

Robert J. Ringer

"IKEA" is Swedish for "you don't have the right tools for this job, monkey boy".

Arnora Dunestan

An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.


Anybody can act. Most of us do nothing else.

Richard J. Needham

Everyone is ignorant only on different subjects.

Will Rogers

Imagination (n): A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.

Ambrose Bierce

Imagination . . . is nothing but decaying sense.

Thomas Hobbes

In times of unemployment, immigrants are said to take our jobs by undercutting wages; in times of full employment, they are said to take advantage of our generous social security system and thus drive up our taxes. They either work too hard, or not hard enough. They can therefore never arrive at the right moment in the economic cycle; and for this reason, the Hong Kong Chinese were denied British citizenship at the time of the return of the colony to China. Britain viewed the skills, work habits, and capital of the Hong Kong Chinese as a menace rather than an opportunity of unparalleled proportions, the like of which will not soon present itself to any other nation.

Theodore Dalrymple

As for Clinton's attitude toward the Haitians, why he's glad to invade their country. He's perfectly willing to shoot Haitians. But let them drive cabs in New York City? Oh no.

P.J. O'Rourke

We need to reform the entire [Middle-East]. To those cynical Europeans who say, "Oh, it's absurd to think Arabs can ever be functioning members of a democrat state", I'd say, in that case why are you allowing virtually unrestricted Muslim immigration into your own countries?

Mark Steyn

Of course, [amnesty for illegal aliens is] a terrible idea. It will not only encourage illegal immigration, but it will tell every single person who has done it the right way, who has waited in line, who has paid the fees, who has hired the lawyers, who has spent five or ten years trying to coming in, it's telling them they're nothing but suckers. It's telling everyone else who's waiting in line to do it the right way that they're also suckers.

Tom Tancredo

Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Susan Ertz

If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.

Benjamin Franklin

Immortality is the condition of a dead man who doesn't believe that he is dead.

H.L. Mencken

It's always easy to see both sides of an issue we don't really care about.


Impartial (adj): Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy or adopting either of two conflicting opinions.

Ambrose Bierce

Indifferent (adj): Imperfectly sensible to distinctions among things.

Ambrose Bierce

Never allow yourself to believe you are working for someone else.


The Individualist thinks of millions of single human souls, each with a spark of divine genius, and visualizes that genius applied to the solution of his own problems. His conception is infinitely higher than that of the politician or planner who at best regards these millions as material for social or political experiment or, at worst, cannon fodder.

Sir Ernest Benn

I must create a system myself or be enslaved by another man's.

William Blake

Human history begins with man's act of disobedience which is at the same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason.

Erich Fromm

It's easy to be independent when you've got money. But to be independent when you haven't got a thing — that's the Lord's test.

Mahalia Jackson

[C]ivilization means, above all, an unwillingness to inflict unnecessary pain. Within the ambit of that definition, those of us who heedlessly accept the commands of authority cannot yet claim to be civilized men.

Harold J. Laski

A strong government always wars on the superior man. Its regimenting of the inferior goes on too, but is harmless; they can't be made worse. But its enmity to the superior does real damage. Converting a million serfs into slaves merely changes their name, but wrecking one potential Goethe or Darwin may be a capital disaster to the race.

H.L. Mencken

Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

John Stuart Mill

Glenn [Reynolds] speculates on some of the consequence of home workers (safer neighborhoods because burglars would never know when people were home, for example), but glosses over one of the primarily sociological aspects of self-employment, which is that those of us who are self-employed tend to become prickly DIYers who largely want to be left alone to do their own thing — i.e., vaguely libertarian. It's like we all turn into New Hampshire Yankees or something. I don't know if will translate into something perceptible, politically [. . .] but I sure know my capacity for BS in its myriad forms has lessened since I started working for myself, and that definitely informs how I vote.

John Scalzi

Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.

Tallulah Bankhead

to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.

e.e. cummings

I want no heaven for which I must give my reason; No happiness in exchange for my liberty; and no immortality that demands the surrender of my individuality.

Robert G. Ingersoll

To give up your individuality is to annihilate yourself. Mental slavery is mental death, and every man who has given up his intellectual freedom is the living coffin of his dead soul.

Robert G. Ingersoll

I swear — by my life and my love of it — that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Ayn Rand

Individuals and leaders see each other as "liabilities". Freedom favors the former, and tyranny favors the latter.

E.J. Totty

It is to be noted that Individualism does not come to the man with any sickly cant about duty, which merely means doing what other people want because they want it; or any hideous cant about self-sacrifice, which is merely a survival of savage mutilation. In fact, it does not come to a man with any claims upon him at all. It comes naturally and inevitably out of man. It is the point to which all development tends. It is the differentiation to which all organisms grow. It is the perfection that is inherent in every mode of life, and towards which every mode of life quickens. And so Individualism exercises no compulsion over man. On the contrary, it says that he should suffer no compulsion to be exercised over him.

Oscar Wilde

Action is the antidote to dispair.

Joan Baez

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

[I]f you trust in yourself . . . and believe in your dreams . . . and follow your star . . . you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy.

Terry Pratchett

The first sign of madness is to do something over and over while expecting a different result.

Albert Einstein

Ticks [. . .] were the most unnerving, because they were so unfair. They were too small to see until they had drunk their fill, and even then you had to get out the tweezers and the Merthiolate, a wound cleaner that hurt more than the wound itself. Gee, Mom, why don't you just JAB A KNITTING NEEDLE IN THE HOLE and MOVE IT AROUND? We also had Bactine, which didn't hurt much, and the delightfully named Unguentine. Since neither of these caused grimacing and shrieking, several generations of parents assumed they didn't work. But we were all tougher then. You stepped on a nail, your dad just poured some beer on your foot to sterilize it, then cauterized it with his cigar.

James Lileks

That thing where you kill a large cockroach and leave it near that bit of baseboard where the roaches come in as a sort of scareroach to warn the other roaches of what awaits them if they should dare scurry out into your kitchen? That doesn't work. They're cannibals . . . or possibly necrophiliacs, I couldn't tell.

Either way, they're pretty easily amused.

Dong Resin

Longanimity (n): The disposition to endure injury with meek forbearance while maturing a plan of revenge.

Ambrose Bierce

Injustice (n): A burden which of all those that we load upon others and carry ourselves is lightest in the hands and heaviest upon the back.

Ambrose Bierce

Injury (n): An offense next in degree of enormity to a slight.

Ambrose Bierce

Insurance (n): An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.

Ambrose Bierce

The general unpopularity of the insurance solicitor is not hard to understand. As a solicitor qua solicitor he is certainly no worse than others; indeed, he tends to be superior to the general run. But in so far as he tells the truth about the uses of life insurance, he presses a moral duty on his customer, and so annoys him acutely. Also, he reminds his customer of death, and so annoys him again.

H.L. Mencken

It's easy to be a genius. You just have to say that everything is crap.

Wilbur Cobb

[I]f there is one thing an intellectual can't stand, it is the sight of a common man enjoying himself.

Anthony Daniels

I am reminded of that wonderful quote (and I paraphrase): "Your argument is so illogical and bereft of reason, that it could only have been made by an intellectual."

Kim du Toit

Somewhere along the line, the idea took hold that, to be an intellectual, you have to be against it, whatever it is. The intellectual is a negator. Affirmation is not in his or her vocabulary.

Jean Bethke Elshtain

I think one must be careful in assuming that intellectuals have some kind of insight. In fact, if the track record of intellectuals is any indication, not only have intellectuals been wrong almost all of the time, but they have been wrong in corrosive and destructive ways.

Sander L. Gilman

One of the things that [Camus] had come to dislike most about Parisian intellectuals was their conviction that they had something to say about everything, and that everything could be reduced to the kind of thing they liked to say.á He also remarked upon the characteristically inverse relationship between firsthand knowledge and the confident expression of intellectual opinion.

Tony Judt

There are some things only intellectuals are crazy enough to believe.

George Orwell

Despair is the preferred narcotic of the intellectual classes.

Ralph Peters

Since Vietnam, the intellectual elitists of the left have turned their backs on the American people in sniffy disgust, concluding, with Bolshevik distaste for popular democracy, that the intellectual vanguard alone knows what's best for the masses.

Ralph Peters

An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger.

Dan Rather

[S]econd-rate intellectuals, feeling themselves powerless, tend to worship power. The Marxist intellectuals who shilled for Stalin and the postmodernists who shill for Osama bin Laden are one of a kind . . . they identify with a tyrant's or terrorist's vision of transforming the world through violence because they know they are incapable of making any difference themselves. This is why you find academic apologists disproportionately in the humanities departments and the soft sciences; physicists and engineers and the like have more constructive ways of engaging the world.

Eric S. Raymond

. . .during this century, intellectualism failed, and everyone knows it. In places like Russia and Germany, the common people agreed to loosen their grip on traditional folkways, mores, and religion, and let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abbatoir. Those wordy intellectuals used to be merely tedious; now they seem kind of dangerous as well.

Neal Stephenson

Any preoccupation with ideas of what is right or wrong in conduct shows an arrested intellectual development.

Oscar Wilde

It has yet to be proved that intelligence has any survival value.

Arthur C. Clarke

Stereotypes are, in fact, merely one aspect of the mind's ability to make generalizations, without which science and mathematics, not to mention much of everyday life, would be impossible.

John Derbyshire

Being intelligent doesn't mean you aren't stupid.

Robert Fulghum

There are perhaps 5% of the population that simply *can't* think. There are another 5% who *can*, and *do*. The remaining 90% *can* think, but *don't*.

Robert A. Heinlein

To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains.

Mary Pettibone Poole

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

Carl Sagan

[T]he Internet is the most important technological advance for humanity since humanity figured out how to put cheese in an aerosol can.

Dave Barry

Whenever these stories of industry-crushing web patents fly — with folks claiming ownership of the hyperlink, the back button, the shopping cart, and the "Ate My Balls" tag — I get that same feeling of unease I used to feel about the impending arrival of the Killer Bees: If this thing happens, it could end all life as we know it, and the only consolation is that this thing will never happen.

Tim Cavanaugh

It's 1999, of course they have a list of them on the Web, everything's on the Web these days, when I was in school, we would have had to walk to the LIBRARY and find a bunch of DEAD TREES glued together on a DUSTY SHELF, and it would have been OUT OF DATE ANYWAY!

C.K. Davis

The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

John Gilmore

Godwin's Law: As the length of a Usenet discussion increases without bound, the probability of the Nazis being mentioned approaches one.

Mike Godwin

When it comes down to it, searching the web without Google is like straining sewage with your Teeth.


The biggest problem with reading [USEnet] is there is so much and it is all so interesting. It is easy to be enamored with it. Be selective about which groups you read. It could mean your job, your family, or your college career.

Ed Krol

It's snowing right now. Even though it's nighttime the sky has a pearly grey light — I look up, marvel, and think "#C0C0C0" — and realize I've spent too much time on HTML colors.

James Lileks

e-Bay: Where the Greater Fool Theory meets the Tulip Craze.

Ken Nied

The Internet reflects the world because, like the world, it's an anonymous, lonely place filled with gossip and half-truths, and the only way to get away from all the depressing news is to find photos of an 18-year-old college girl and masturbate like a lab monkey.

Jim Norton

Me Too! posts: That's were [some minor Net-celebrity] makes profound never-before-seen-or-heard observations — such as the deep revelation that getting stoned out of your gourd on stale "Billy Beer" leads to some really cool designs — and then a dozen or so suck-ups respond with "Me too!" messages. Or "That's nothing new — I've been doing it that way for years." Or "Wow, that's really profound. Someone should publish up a book all about that and include a little piece of you in each copy for us all to enshine and worship."

Jonathan Piasecki

Off Topic Posts: That's where someone starts yapping about how they once saw a boxcar on a shortline once and it made them think of their grandma who used to live down by the old railway and so they started thinking about those summer nights at grandma's listening to the rain on the roof and the trains in the distance and the sound of grandpa yellin' "Gawdamnit Ma, I told ya we should move on account of those damn trains makin' all that racket" and . . . what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, installing DCC decoders in Z scale velocipede inspection scooters.

Jonathan Piasecki

"Walla! For All Intensive Purpose's I'm [doing something] Alla So-And-So" posts: Also known as posts where people write the way they think they hear something. Or should that be the way they "here" something?

Jonathan Piasecki

Jonathan Piasecki: "[This mailing list] is just one big male bonding outing in here. Guys talkin', guys sharin', guys revealing their innermost secret secrets."

Yep, it's just like one of those virtual locker-room thingies. All you'd need is the all-pervasive mixture of B.O. and testosterone to complete the experience.

Nicholas Russon

[On "Me too!" postings;] It's as though normal, healthy adults instantly morph into 11-year-olds when they post. It's pathetic to see [a minor celebrity] make a relatively mundane comment and instantly get a chorus of half a dozen sycophantic burbles from the shallow end of the gene pool. As if merely getting a comment posted somehow allows the poster to "share the glory".

Nicholas Russon

Until you understand why Internet isn't Compuserve, you'll not understand why it can be godawful inefficient and still the greatest social miracle of the last decade.

Ross Stapleton-Gray

Socrates used to talk about this: "The problem with writing is that no one memorizes The Iliad any more. You've got to just know all of it. And how can you call yourself an educated man if you cannot recite Book Three, not missing a single epithet?" He's got a point there.

It has a profound effect on literary composition. I've got Google up all the time. It gives you this veneer of command of the facts which you do not, in point of fact, have. It's extremely useful for novelists but somewhat dangerous if you're pretending to be a brain surgeon.

Bruce Sterling

You get this database toxicity. You go into a system like Lexis-Nexis and you put in a search word and get 60,000 hits, and you think, this is all the knowledge there is in the universe. But it's actually 10,000 references to six different things, and the actual story is something very few people know.

Bruce Sterling

Those who cannot remember history are doomed to repost it every month, with diffs marked with change bars.

Ed Vielmetti

Call me cruel (just call me!), but if the dotcom bust and the general recession mean that a 22-year-old can no longer collect eighty large for Instant Messaging his drinking buddies all day long, I don't consider that a profound national tragedy.

Jeffrey Zeldman


Introduction (n): A social ceremony invented by the devil for the gratification of his servants and the plaguing of his enemies. The introduction attains its most malevolent development in this country, being, indeed, closely related to our political system. Every American being the equal of every other American, it follows that everybody has the right to know everybody else, which implies the right to introduce without request or permission. The Declaration of Independence should have read thus:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, and the right to make that of another miserable by thrusting upon him an incalculable quantity of acquaintances; liberty, particularly the liberty to introduce persons to one another without first ascertaining if they are not already acquainted as enemies; and the pursuit of another's happiness with a running pack of strangers.

Ambrose Bierce

[A]fter an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: "I'm okay, you're okay. . .in small doses."

Jonathan Rauch

Are introverts arrogant? Hardly. I suppose this common misconception has to do with our being more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts. Also, it is probably due to our lack of small talk, a lack that extroverts often mistake for disdain. We tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think by talking, which is why their meetings never last less than six hours. "Introverts," writes a perceptive fellow named Thomas P. Crouser, in an online review of a recent book called Why Should Extroverts Make All the Money? (I'm not making that up, either), "are driven to distraction by the semi-internal dialogue extroverts tend to conduct. Introverts don't outwardly complain, instead roll their eyes and silently curse the darkness." Just so.

Jonathan Rauch

Introverts are described with words like "guarded," "loner," "reserved," "taciturn," "self-contained," "private"—narrow, ungenerous words, words that suggest emotional parsimony and smallness of personality. Female introverts, I suspect, must suffer especially. In certain circles, particularly in the Midwest, a man can still sometimes get away with being what they used to call a strong and silent type; introverted women, lacking that alternative, are even more likely than men to be perceived as timid, withdrawn, haughty.

Jonathan Rauch

Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.

Dave Barry

Inventor (n): A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.

Ambrose Bierce

Sometimes a man makes his fortune from a ubiquitous invention, and he's proud of it. Gives interviews. Smiles when referred to as "the Father of the Compact Disc" or the "Step-Dad of the Atomic Clock" or the "Second Uncle of the Automatic Chicken Sexer." [. . .] No matter what else he did in life, he'll be the father of his invention. And that's fine. It's an honor few have in this world.

Then there are those who never tell anyone what they've invented, because they're tired of people pulling out brass knuckles they've been carrying around for years just in case they meet him. Really. Once he mentioned what he'd invented in the confessional, and the priest came right through the screen, for heaven's sake.

James Lileks

I am willing to go along with any innovator so long as I am convinced that he is making a sincere effort to arrive at the truth. But the moment I begin to suspect that his desire for the truth is corrupted by an itch to sell something I quit him.

H.L. Mencken

There are certain things that, in middle age, become obvious to you. The best way to have a really great idea is to have a thousand ideas. The guy who has the thousand ideas will be valorized for idea 837 and for idea 732, but those were never the ones he treasured. What did Thomas Edison really spend a lot of time on? Trying to get rubber out of milkweeds. He devoted fantastic effort to this mad scheme.

Bruce Sterling

Better late than before anyone has invited you.

Ambrose Bierce

Consider the potato. The national fruit of Ireland. The perfect substrate for fat and salt, and so simple to cook, well, even the Irish can handle it.

Don't start crying "racism." Irish isn't a race, even though the Irish are unique in having no skin pigment other than blue paint and vulgar tattoos. You don't get minority money from the government, you don't get preferences when you apply for jobs, and nobody cares what happens to you, so as far as I'm concerned, you spud-sucking, carrot-topped, hiding-the-rubbing-alcohol-from-grandma, front-yard-fistfighting-on-holidays, getting-drunk-at-wakes-and-puking-in-the-coffin melanoma factories might as well shut your pieholes and get on with your lives.

I can't be criticized for abusing the Irish, because I myself have Irish blood. As anyone who watches Chris Rock knows, minority members are entitled to insult their own kind. Besides, I should also benefit from the presumption that when I wrote this, being part Irish, I must have been drunk.

Steve H.

Potatoes are so great, I can't understand why the Irish, each of whom consumes several pounds a day, could ever be depressed. But they are. They've raised depression to a high art. They award belts in depression, like Tae Kwon Do instructors. Don't believe me? Check out Angela's Ashes, a representative piece of Irish literature, which was later made into a film which caused thousands of moviegoers to commit suicide by jamming their airways with popcorn.

Steve H.

[The Irish] created a culture using the cheapest resource they had, which was language.

Neil Jordan

I don't think there's any point in being Irish, if you don't know that the world is going to break your heart eventually.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

I knew from my personal experience and observation, that all an Irishman's hopes and ambitions turn on his opportunities of getting out of Ireland. Stimulate his loyalty, and he will stay in Ireland and die for her. Appeal to his discontent, his deadly boredom, his thwarted curiosity and desire for change and adventure, and, to escape from Ireland, he will go abroad and risk his life for France, for the Papal States, for secession in America, and even, if no better may be, for England. . .

George Bernard Shaw

[Certain Muslim beliefs] are not compatible with a plural society: Islam does not know how to exist as a minority culture. For it is not just a set of private individual principles and beliefs. Islam is a social creed above all, a radically different way of organising society as a whole.

Clifford Longley

There is nothing in our book, the Koran, that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That's a good religion.

Malcolm X

I may not be a real Jew, but I come pretty close. Years ago, I went so far as to spend four months on a kibbutz. For those of you don't know, a kibbutz is a collective farm. The members grow grapefruit or make tractor parts or whatever and divide the profits. Since the sixties, when extra hands were needed to do farm work while the Israeli armed forces pureed the Egyptians, people from other countries have been volunteering to work on kibbutzes.

Kibbutzes fill a vital need. Male Israelis' burning, driving need for a constant stream of blonde European girls who put out. I have never seen men so obsessed with sex. In comparison, Italians are nearly gay. Israel was established in 1948, and so far, they have one Olympic medal. A bronze in Synchronized Podiatry. If putting the blocks to German girls were a recognized event, the streets of Tel Aviv would be paved with gold.

Steve H.

The truth about Hamas and Islamic Jihad is that they don't prevent Israel from existing or even flourishing, they prevent Palestine from coming into existence.

Michael Medved

It took Moses 40 years to lead his people to the only spot in the Middle East that has no oil.


Neapolitan is essentially a sign language. The loud sounds that Neapolitans emit are just music to accompany the gestures.

Marco Cimarosti

The Italian bureaucracy's sole product is seemingly insuperable obstacles to productive activity, even more of them (because the bureaucracy is larger and more convoluted) than its British equivalent. The simplest procedures that involve an Italian bureaucracy rapidly turn — for the uninitiated — into a maze of byzantine complexity, from which it is almost impossible ever to emerge. Foreigners who have lived in Italy invariably recount their epic struggles with public utilities, the legatees of state monopolies, to have a telephone connected, for example, or to pay the gas bill.

Theodore Dalrymple

The thoroughly obvious corruption of Italian officials convinced the population that the state was their enemy, not their patron or protector, and they regarded it with profound mistrust. Accordingly, people of all classes evaded taxes, without moral opprobrium; everyone regarded the idea of revealing one's entire income to the authorities and paying the taxes upon it as laughable in its na´vetÚ. As far as possible, people concealed their economic activity from the eyes of the state, giving rise to Italy's notorious "black" economy, a kind of parallel market, which is by common consent larger and more sophisticated than in any other European state. The size of this parallel market probably explains why the country, with an official per-capita GNP the size of Britain's, looks very much more prosperous than Britain.

Theodore Dalrymple

Italy is not technically part of the Third World, but no one has told the Italians.

P.J. O'Rourke

The Italians have had two thousand years to fix up the Forum and just look at the place.

P.J. O'Rourke

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