Newspaper Reading Quotes

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If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.
Mark Twain
Jessamine recoiled from the paper as if it were a snake. "A lady does not read the newspaper. The society pages, perhaps, or the theater news. Not this filth." "But you are not a lady, Jessamine---," Charlotte began. "Dear me," said Will. "Such harsh truths so early in the morning cannot be good for the digestion.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1))
The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.
Thomas Jefferson
You'd think people had better things to gossip about," said Ginny as she sat on the common room floor, leaning against Harry’s legs and reading the Daily Prophet. "Three Dementor attacks in a week, and all Romilda Vane does is ask me if it’s true you’ve got a Hippogriff tattooed across your chest." Ron and Hermione both roared with laughter. Harry ignored them. What did you tell her?" I told her it's a Hungarian Horntail," said Ginny, turning a page of the newspaper idly. "Much more macho." Thanks," said Harry, grinning. "And what did you tell her Ron’s got?" A Pygmy Puff, but I didn’t say where.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.
Gore Vidal (Screening History)
Somebody who only reads newspapers and at best books of contemporary authors looks to me like an extremely near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses. He is completely dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times, since he never gets to see or hear anything else.
Albert Einstein
I was sentimental about many things: a woman’s shoes under the bed; one hairpin left behind on the dresser; the way they said, 'I’m going to pee.' hair ribbons; walking down the boulevard with them at 1:30 in the afternoon, just two people walking together; the long nights of drinking and smoking; talking; the arguments; thinking of suicide; eating together and feeling good; the jokes; the laughter out of nowhere; feeling miracles in the air; being in a parked car together; comparing past loves at 3am; being told you snore; hearing her snore; mothers, daughters, sons, cats, dogs; sometimes death and sometimes divorce; but always carring on, always seeing it through; reading a newspaper alone in a sandwich joint and feeling nausea because she’s now married to a dentist with an I.Q. of 95; racetracks, parks, park picnics; even jails; her dull friends; your dull friends; your drinking, her dancing; your flirting, her flirting; her pills, your fucking on the side and her doing the same; sleeping together
Charles Bukowski (Women)
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
Michael Crichton
I read in the newspapers they are going to have 30 minutes of intellectual stuff on television every Monday from 7:30 to 8. to educate America. They couldn't educate America if they started at 6:30.
Groucho Marx (The Groucho Letters)
Deprived of their newspapers or a novel, reading-addicts will fall back onto cookery books, on the literature which is wrapped around bottles of patent medicine, on those instructions for keeping the contents crisp which are printed on the outside of boxes of breakfast cereals. On anything.
Aldous Huxley (Olive Tree)
Don't do anything that you wouldn't feel comfortable reading about in the newspaper the next day.
Joel Osteen (Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential)
Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia – the fruits of his genius for statesmanship – and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević.
Anthony Bourdain
I'm fully aware," Firth told a reporter for the English magazine Now, "that if I were to change professions tomorrow, become an astronaut and be the first man to land on Mars, the headlines in the newspapers would read: `Mr. Darcy Lands on Mars.
Colin Firth
We do not talk - we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests.
Henry Miller
It is much, much worse to receive bad news through the written word than by somebody simply telling you, and I’m sure you understand why. When somebody simply tells you bad news, you hear it once, and that’s the end of it. But when bad news is written down, whether in a letter or a newspaper or on your arm in felt tip pen, each time you read it, you feel as if you are receiving the bad news again and again.
Lemony Snicket (Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid)
Is it not true that no two human beings understand anything whatsoever about each other, that those who consider themselves bosom friends may be utterly mistaken about their fellow and, failing to realize this sad truth throughout a lifetime, weep when they read in the newspapers about his death?
Osamu Dazai (No Longer Human)
Did men ever look in the mirror, I wondered, and find themselves wanting in deeply fundamental ways? When they opened a newspaper or watched a film, were they presented with nothing but exceptionally handsome young men, and did this make them feel intimidated, inferior, because they were not as young, not as handsome? Did they then read newspaper articles ridiculing those same handsome men if they gained weight or wore something unflattering?
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.
Ben Hecht
When I pass, speak freely of my shortcomings and my flaws. Learn from them, for I'll have no ego to injure.
Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks: Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper)
Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.
Karl Barth
There are worse things you can do to the people you love than kill them. The regular way is just to watch the world do it. Just read the newspaper.
Chuck Palahniuk (Lullaby)
Everything. A letter may be coded, and a word may be coded. A theatrical performance may be coded, and a sonnet may be coded, and there are times when it seems the entire world is in code. Some believe that the world can be decoded by performing research in a library. Others believe that the world can be decoded by reading a newspaper. In my case, the only thing that made sense of the world was you, and without you the world will seem as garbled and tragic as a malfunctioning typewrit9.
Lemony Snicket (The Beatrice Letters)
When you live with a woman you learn something every day. So far I have learned that long hair will clog up the shower drain befor you can say "Liquid-Plumr"; that it is not advisable to clip something out of the newspaper before your wife has read it, even if the newspaper in question is a week old; that I am the only person in our two-person household who can eat the same thing for dinner three nights in a row without pouting; and that headphones were invented to preserve spouses from each other's musical excesses.
Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife)
To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile. [....] The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.
Aleister Crowley (The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography)
Read not the Times, read the Eternities.
Henry David Thoreau
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
Thomas Jefferson
And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, - we need never read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
News is what a chap who doesn't care much about anything wants to read.
Evelyn Waugh (Scoop)
The newspaper journalists like to believe the worst; they can sell more papers that way, as one of them told me himself; for even upstanding and respectable people dearly love to read ill of others.
Margaret Atwood (Alias Grace)
He cringed each morning as the newspapers were brought to him. The media was eating the story up. His anger grew as he read the suppositions and the innuendos; the fact that his life was being laid bare for the entire world to see.
Behcet Kaya (Murder on the Naval Base)
If the worker and his boss enjoy the same television program and visit the same resort places, if the typist is as attractively made up as the daughter of her employer, if the Negro owns a Cadillac, if they all read the same newspaper, then this assimilation indicates not the disappearance of classes, but the extent to which the needs and satisfactions that serve the preservation of the Establishment are shared by the underlying population.
Herbert Marcuse (One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society)
Newspapers are the Bibles of worldlings. How diligently they read them! Here they find their law and profits, their judges and chronicles, their epistles and revelations.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
What's agitating about solitude is the inner voice telling you that you should be mated to somebody, that solitude is a mistake. The inner voice doesn't care about who you find. It just keeps pestering you, tormenting you--if you happen to be me--with homecoming queens first, then girls next door, and finally anybody who might be pleased to see you now and then at the dinner table and in bed on occasion. You look up from reading the newspaper and realize that no one loves you, and no one burns for you.
Charles Baxter (El festín del amor)
It was what she'd most enjoyed about being married to Jim. It wasn't only the heady flush of emotions when they'd made love that enthralled her; more than that, it was the lazy mornings they'd spent reading the newspaper in bed while drinking coffee, or the cold December mornings they'd planted bulbs in the garden, or the hours they'd spent traipsing through various stores, picking out bedroom furniture, debating cherry or maple. Those were the moments she felt most content, when she finally allowed herself to believe in the impossible. Those were the moments when all seemed right in the world.
Nicholas Sparks (The Guardian)
We read the weird tales in newspapers to crowd out the even weirder stuff inside us.
Alain de Botton
To look at the paper is to raise a seashell to one's ear and to be overwhelmed by the roar of humanity.
Alain de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)
Are You Ready for New Urban Fragrances? Yeah, I guess I'm ready, but listen: Perfume is a disguise. Since the middle ages, we have worn masks of fruit and flowers in order to conceal from ourselves the meaty essence of our humanity. We appreciate the sexual attractant of the rose, the ripeness of the orange, more than we honor our own ripe carnality. Now today we want to perfume our cities, as well; to replace their stinging fumes of disturbed fossils' sleep with the scent of gardens and orchards. Yet, humans are not bees any more than they are blossoms. If we must pull an olfactory hood over our urban environment, let it be of a different nature. I want to travel on a train that smells like snowflakes. I want to sip in cafes that smell like comets. Under the pressure of my step, I want the streets to emit the precise odor of a diamond necklace. I want the newspapers I read to smell like the violins left in pawnshops by weeping hobos on Christmas Eve. I want to carry luggage that reeks of the neurons in Einstein's brain. I want a city's gases to smell like the golden belly hairs of the gods. And when I gaze at a televised picture of the moon, I want to detect, from a distance of 239,000 miles, the aroma of fresh mozzarella.
Tom Robbins (Wild Ducks Flying Backward)
I suspect that beneath your offensively and vulgarly effeminate façade there may be a soul of sorts. Have you read widely in Boethius?" "Who? Oh, heavens no. I never even read newspapers." "Then you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age," Ignatius said solemnly. "Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books." "You're fantastic." "I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he's found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.
John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)
What you read in the newspapers, hear on the radio and see on television, is hardly even the truth as seen by experts; it is the wishful thinking of journalists, seen through filters of prejudice and ignorance.
Hans Jürgen Eysenck (Intelligence: A New Look)
I have emotions 
that are like newspapers that 
read themselves. I go for days at a time
 trapped in the want ads. I feel as if I am an ad
 for the sale of a haunted house: 18 rooms
 $37,000 
I'm yours
 ghosts and all.
Richard Brautigan (Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970)
If one has not read the newspapers for some months and then reads them all together, one sees, as one never saw before, how much time is wasted with this kind of literature.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections)
Barack intrigued me. He was not like anyone I’d dated before, mainly because he seemed so secure. He was openly affectionate. He told me I was beautiful. He made me feel good. To me, he was sort of like a unicorn—unusual to the point of seeming almost unreal. He never talked about material things, like buying a house or a car or even new shoes. His money went largely toward books, which to him were like sacred objects, providing ballast for his mind. He read late into the night, often long after I’d fallen asleep, plowing through history and biographies and Toni Morrison, too. He read several newspapers daily, cover to cover. He kept tabs on the latest book reviews, the American League standings, and what the South Side aldermen were up to. He could speak with equal passion about the Polish elections and which movies Roger Ebert had panned and why.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
He had read books, newspapers and magazines. He knew that if you ran away you sometimes met bad people who did bad things to you; but he had also read fairy tales, so he knew that there were kind people out there, side by side with the monsters.
Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders)
When a man died, there had to be blame. Jimmy Cross understood this. You could blame the war, You could blame the idiots who made the war. You could blame Kiowa for going to it. You could blame the rain. You could blame the river. You could blame the field, the mud, the climate. You could blame the enemy. You could blame the mortar rounds. You could blame people who were too lazy to read a newspaper, who were bored by the daily body counts, who switched channels at the mention of politics. You could blame whole nations. You could blame God. You could blame the munitions makers or Karl Marx or a trick of fate of an old man in Omaha who forgot to vote.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
A man's bookseller should keep his confidence, like his physician. What can become of a world where every man knows what another man reads? Why, sir, books would become like quacks' potions, with every mountebank in the newspapers claiming one volume's superiority over another.
Philip Kerr (Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton)
And it is that one percent, the heads of large corporations, who control the policies of news media and determine what you and I hear on radio, read in the newspapers, see on television. It is more important for us to think about where the media gets its information.
Assata Shakur (Assata: An Autobiography)
There's this magical place,' he says with mock solemnity, 'called a library--I don't know if you've heard of it, but they have books, and also newspaper, and back issues of newspapers...
Moïra Fowley-Doyle (Accident Season)
Me, and thousands of others in this country like me, are half-baked, because we were never allowed to complete our schooling. Open our skulls, look in with a penlight, and you'll find an odd museum of ideas: sentences of history or mathematics remembered from school textbooks (no boy remembers his schooling like the one who was taken out of school, let me assure you), sentences about politics read in a newspaper while waiting for someone to come to an office, triangles and pyramids seen on the torn pages of the old geometry textbooks which every tea shop in this country uses to wrap its snacks in, bits of All India Radio news bulletins, things that drop into your mind, like lizards from the ceiling, in the half hour before falling asleep--all these ideas, half formed and half digested and half correct, mix up with other half-cooked ideas in your head, and I guess these half-formed ideas bugger one another, and make more half-formed ideas, and this is what you act on and live with.
Aravind Adiga (The White Tiger)
For the life of me, I did not understand how he[Atticus] could sit there in cold blood and read a newspaper when his only son stood an excellent chance of being murdered with a Confederate Army relic.
Harper Lee
Their boredom becomes more and more terrible. They realize that they’ve been tricked and burn with resentment. Every day of their lives they read the newspapers and went to the movies. Both fed them on lynchings, murder, sex crimes, explosions, wrecks, love nests, fires, miracles, revolutions, war. This daily diet made sophisticates of them. The sun is a joke. Oranges can’t titillate their jaded palates. Nothing can ever be violent enough to make taut their slack minds and bodies. They have been cheated and betrayed. They have slaved and saved for nothing.
Nathanael West (The Day of the Locust)
Reading the morning newspaper is the realist's morning prayer. One orients one's attitude toward the world either by God or by what the world is. The former gives as much security as the latter, in that one knows how one stands.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Miscellaneous Writings (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy))
إن جرائد الصباح تثير أعصابى...هذا صحيح.و لكن لا مانع عندى أن تثور كل يوم.إنها جهزت و أعدت لهذا الغرض وحده,لأن تتوتر,و تثور,و تتحفز,و تتوثب..تنتبه.
مصطفى محمود (يوميات نص الليل)
As adults we choose our own reading material. Depending on our moods and needs we might read the newspaper, a blockbuster novel, an academic article, a women's magazine, a comic, a children's book, or the latest book that just about everyone is reading. No one chastises us for our choice. No one says, 'That's too short for you to read.' No one says, 'That's too easy for you, put it back.' No one says 'You couldn't read that if you tried -- it's much too difficult.' Yet if we take a peek into classrooms, libraries, and bookshops we will notice that children's choices are often mocked, censured, and denied as valid by idiotic, interfering teachers, librarians, and parents. Choice is a personal matter that changes with experience, changes with mood, and changes with need. We should let it be.
Mem Fox (Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living)
Apollinaire said a poet should be 'of his time.' I say objects of the Digital Age belong in newspapers, not literature. When I read a novel, I don’t want credit cards; I want cash in ducats and gold doubloons.
Roman Payne
I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts…it is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be as countless as the grains of the sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the light, all of us.
Henrik Ibsen (Ghosts)
Read for yourselves, read for the sake of your inspiration, for the sweet turmoil in your lovely head. But also read against yourselves, read for questioning and impotence, for despair and erudition, read the dry sardonic remarks of cynical philosophers like Cioran or even Carl Schmitt, read newspapers, read those who despise, dismiss or simply ignore poetry and try to understand why they do it. Read your enemies, read those who reinforce your sense of what's evolving in poetry, and also read those whose darkness or malice or madness or greatness you can't understand because only in this way will you grow, outlive yourself, and become what you are.
Adam Zagajewski (A Defense of Ardor: Essays)
The disgraced Usurer Yankel D took the baby girl home that evening... He made a bed of crumpled newspaper in a deep baking pan and gently tucked it in the oven, so that she wouldn't be disturbed by the noise of the small falls outside... When he pulled her out to feed her or just hold her, her body was tattooed with the newsprint... Sometimes he would rock her to sleep in his arms, and read her left to right, and know everything he needed to know about the world. If it wasn't written on her, it wasn't important to him.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
It was summer and moonlight and we had lemonade to drink, and we held the cold glasses in our hands, and Dad read the stereo-newspapers inserted into the special hat you put on your head and which turned the microscopic page in front of the magnifying lens if you blinked three times in succession.
Ray Bradbury (The Illustrated Man)
There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like, things changing so skorry these days, and everybody very quick to forget, newspapers not being read much neither.
Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange)
I propose that if you want a simple step to a higher form of life, as distant from the animal as you can get, then you may have to denarrate, that is, shut down the television set, minimize time spent reading newspapers, ignore the blogs. Train your reasoning abilities to control your decisions; nudge System 1 (the heuristic or experiential system) out of the important ones. Train yourself to spot the difference between the sensational and the empirical. This insulation from the toxicity of the world will have an additional benefit: it will improve your well-being.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
My son, Sam, at three and a half, had these keys to a set of plastic handcuffs, and one morning he intentionally locked himself out of the house. I was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper when I heard him stick his plastic keys into the doorknob and try to open the door. Then I heard him say, "Oh, shit." My whole face widened, like the guy in Edvard Munch's Scream. After a moment I got up and opened the front door. "Honey," I said, "what'd you just say?" "I said, 'Oh, shit,'" he said. "But, honey, that's a naughty word. Both of us have absolutely got to stop using it. Okay?" He hung his head for a moment, nodded, and said, "Okay, Mom." Then he leaned forward and said confidentially, "But I'll tell you why I said 'shit.'" I said Okay, and he said, "Because of the fucking keys!
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird)
It's the little things she needs someone for, like someone to hold her hand at the end of a long day, or someone to watch stupid comedies with, or someone to curl up with on the couch on a lazy Sunday morning as she reads the newspaper and eats her cereal. Which probably means she doesn't 'need' someone in the strictest sense, although at the end of a long day, or while watching a stupid comedy, or on a lazy Sunday morning, having someone would be very much appreciated.
Marla Miniano (Table for Two)
The Morning Paper Read one newspaper daily (the morning edition is the best for by evening you now that you at least have lived through another day) and let the disasters, the unbelievable yet approved decisions soak in. I don't need to name the countries, ours among them. What keeps us from falling down, our faces to the ground; ashamed, ashamed?
Mary Oliver (A Thousand Mornings: Poems)
Read to your children all of the time Novels and nursery rhymes Autobiographies, even the newspaper It doesn't mater; it's quality time Because once upon a time We grew up on stories in the voices in which they were told We need words to hold us and the world to behold us For us to truly know our souls
Taylor Mali
Books have survived television, radio, talking pictures, circulars (early magazines), dailies (early newspapers), Punch and Judy shows, and Shakespeare's plays. They have survived World War II, the Hundred Years' War, the Black Death, and the fall of the Roman Empire. They even survived the Dark Ages, when almost no one could read and each book had to be copied by hand. They aren't going to be killed off by the Internet.
Vicki Myron (Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World)
What the hell does it all mean anyhow? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nothing comes to anything. And yet, there's no shortage of idiots to babble. Not me. I have a vision. I'm discussing you. Your friends. Your coworkers. Your newspapers. The TV. Everybody's happy to talk. Full of misinformation. Morality, science, religion, politics, sports, love, your portfolio, your children, health. Christ, if I have to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day to live, I don't wanna live. I hate goddamn fruits and vegetables. And your omega 3's, and the treadmill, and the cardiogram, and the mammogram, and the pelvic sonogram, and oh my god the-the-the colonoscopy, and with it all the day still comes where they put you in a box, and its on to the next generation of idiots, who'll also tell you all about life and define for you what's appropriate. My father committed suicide because the morning newspapers depressed him. And could you blame him? With the horror, and corruption, and ignorance, and poverty, and genocide, and AIDS, and global warming, and terrorism, and-and the family value morons, and the gun morons. "The horror," Kurtz said at the end of Heart of Darkness, "the horror." Lucky Kurtz didn't have the Times delivered in the jungle. Ugh... then he'd see some horror. But what do you do? You read about some massacre in Darfur or some school bus gets blown up, and you go "Oh my God, the horror," and then you turn the page and finish your eggs from the free range chickens. Because what can you do. It's overwhelming!
Woody Allen
8. You hate the political buisness of nationality. You hate everything, in politics and art and everything else, that is not genuine and deep and necessary. You don't have time for silly trivial things. You live seriously. You don't go to silly films, even if you want to; you don't read cheap newspapers; you don't listen to trash on the wireless and the telly; you don't waste time talking about nothing. You use your life.
John Fowles (The Collector)
Do Something! I was sitting on a plane after a long, tiring business trip. I was a bit grouchy and irritable because the rigorous schedule I had made for myself left me exhausted. Looking to not talk to the person next to me and simply endure the flight, I decided to open my newspaper and read about what was happening in the world. As I continued to read, it seemed that everywhere I looked there were stories of injustice, pain, suffering, and people losing hope. Finally, fueled by my tired, irritable state, I became overcome with compassion and frustration for the way things were. I got up and went to the bathroom and broke down. With tears streaming down my face, I helplessly looked to the sky and yelled to God. “God, look at this mess. Look at all this pain and suffering. Look at all this killing and hate. God, how could you let this happen? Why don’t you do something?” Just then, a quiet stillness pacified my heart. A feeling of peace I won’t ever forget engulfed my body. And, as I looked into my own eyes in the mirror, the answer to my own question came back to me… “Steve, stop asking God to do something. God already did something, he gave you life. Now YOU do something!
Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
I want you to stop being subhuman and become 'yourself'. 'Yourself,' I say. Not the newspaper you read, not your vicious neighbor's opinion, but 'yourself.' I know, and you don't, what you really are deep down. Deep down, you are what a deer, your God, your poet, or your philosopher is. But you think you're a member of the VFW, your bowling club, or the Ku Klux Klan, and because you think so, you behave as you do. This too was told you long ago, by Heinrich Mann in Germany, by Upton Sinclair and John Dos Passos in the United States. But you recognized neither Mann nor Sinclair. You recognize only the heavyweight champion and Al Capone. If given your choice between a library and a fight, you'll undoubtedly go to the fight.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
It can't be supposed," said Joe. "Tho' I'm oncommon fond of reading, too." Are you, Joe?" Oncommon. Give me," said Joe, "a good book, or a good newspaper, and sit me down afore a good fire, and I ask no better. Lord!" he continued, after rubbing his knees a little, "when you do come to a J and a O, and says you, 'Here, at last, is a J-O, Joe,' how interesting reading is!
Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)
Can't you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind -Henry Drummond, a character in Inherit The Wind
Jerome Lawrence
Whenever he reads articles in newspapers or magazines written by politicians using global warming or the destruction of the environment for their electoral campaigns, he thinks: How can we be so arrogant? The planet is, was and always will be stronger than us. We can’t destroy it; if we overstep the mark, the planet will simply erase us from its surface and carry on existing. Why don’t they start talking about not letting the planet destroy us? Because “Saving the planet” gives a sense of power, action and nobility. Whereas “not letting the planet destroy us” might lead us to feelings of despair and impotence, and to a realisation of just how very limited our capabilities are.
Paulo Coelho (The Winner Stands Alone)
Liberal, shmiberal. That should be a new word. Shmiberal: one who is assumed liberal, just because he's a professional whiner in the newspaper. If you'll read the subtext for many of those old strips, you'll find the heart of an old-fashioned Libertarian. And I'd be a Libertarian, if they weren't all a bunch of tax-dodging professional whiners.
Berkeley Breathed
In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies - the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions. In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were "solemn and rare," there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous. For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment - from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema. In "Brave New World" non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly "not of this world." Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx's phrase "the opium of the people" and so a threat to freedom. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
I wanted to tell him a story, but I didn't. It's a story about a Jew riding in a streetcar, in Germany during the Third Reich, reading Goebbels' paper, the Volkische Beobachter. A non-Jewish acquaintance sits down next to him and says, "Why do you read the Beobachter?" "Look," says the Jew, "I work in a factory all day. When I get home, my wife nags me, the children are sick, and there's no money for food. What should I do on my way home, read the Jewish newspaper? Pogrom in Romania' 'Jews Murdered in Poland.' 'New Laws against Jews.' No, sir, a half-hour a day, on the streetcar, I read the Beobachter. 'Jews the World Capitalists,' 'Jews Control Russia,' 'Jews Rule in England.' That's me they're talking about. A half-hour a day I'm somebody. Leave me alone, friend.
Milton Sanford Mayer
Austerity means to eliminate the comforts and cushions in your life that you have learned to snuggle into and lose wakefulness. Take away anything that dulls your edge. No newspapers or magazines. No TV. No candy, cookies, or sweets. No sex. No cuddling. No reading of anything at all while you eat or sit on the toilet. Reduce working time to a necessary minimum. No movies. No conversation that isn't about truth, love, or the divine. If you take on these disciplines for a few weeks, as well as any other disciplines that may particularly cut through your unique habits of dullness, then your life will be stripped of routine distraction. All that will be left is the edge you have been avoiding by means of your daily routine. You will have to face the basic discomfort and dissatisfaction that is the hidden texture of your life. You will be alive with the challenge of living your truth, rather than hiding form it. Unadorned suffering is the bedmate of masculine growth. Only by staying intimate with your personal suffering can you feel through it to its source. By putting all your attention into work, TV, sex, and reading, your suffering remains unpenetrated, and the source remains hidden. Your life becomes structured entirely by your favorite means of sidestepping the suffering you rarely allow yourself to feel. And when you do touch the surface of your suffering, perhaps in the form of boredom, you quickly pick up a magazine or the remote control. Instead, feel your suffering, rest with it, embrace it, make love with it. Feel your suffering so deeply and thoroughly that you penetrate it, and realize its fearful foundation. Almost everything you do, you do because you are afraid to die. And yet dying is exactly what you are doing, from the moment you are born. Two hours of absorption in a good Super Bowl telecast may distract you temporarily, but the fact remains. You were born as a sacrifice. And you can either participate in the sacrifice, dissolving in the giving of your gift, or you can resist it, which is your suffering. By eliminating the safety net of comforts in your life, you have the opportunity to free fall in this moment between birth and death, right through the hole of your fear, into the unthreatenable openness which is the source of your gifts. The superior man lives as this spontaneous sacrifice of love.
David Deida (The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire)
Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the war. I believed in it. I don’t know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable -- which I need not discuss today -- it changed the world. For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarian uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. The toddling children on the street. Do you suppose this world has ever been the same since? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get back the humane emotions that were slowly growing before the war? How long will it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be removed? We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we rejoiced in it -- if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy -- what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.
Clarence Darrow (Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom)
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! YOU'VE READ ABOUT IT IN THE NEWSPAPERS! NOW, SHUDDER AS YOU OBSERVE, BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES, THAT MOST RAREAND RAGIC OF NATURE'S MISTAKES! I GIVE YOU... THE AVERAGE MAN! PHYSICALLY UNREMARKABLE , IT HAS INSTEAD A DEFORMED SET OF VALUES. NOTICE THE HIDEOUSLY BLOATED SENSE OF HUMANITY'S IMPORTANCE. THE CLUB-FOOTED SOCIAL CONSCIENCE AND THE WITHERED OPTIMISM. IT'S CERTAINLY NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH IS IT? MOST REPULSIVE OF ALL , ARE ITS FRAIL AND USELESS NOTIONS OF ORDER AND SANITY. IF TOO MUCH WEIGHT IS PLACED UPON THEM... ... THEY SNAP. HOW DOES IT LIVE , I HEAR YOU ASK? HOW DOES THIS POOR, PATHETIC SPECIMEN SURVIVE IN TODAY'S HARSH AND IRRATIONAL WORLD? THE SAD ANSWER IS 'NOT VERY WELL.
Alan Moore
Food, Ivan Arnoldovich, is a subtle thing. One must know how to eat, yet just think – most people don’t know how to eat at all. One must not only know what to eat, but when and how.’ (Philip Philipovich waved his fork meaningfully.) ‘And what to say while you’re eating. Yes, my dear sir. If you care about your digestion, my advice is – don’t talk about bolshevism or medicine at table. And, God forbid – never read Soviet newspapers before dinner.’ ‘M’mm . . . But there are no other newspapers.’ ‘In that case don’t read any at all. Do you know I once made thirty tests in my clinic. And what do you think? The patients who never read newspapers felt excellent. Those whom I specially made read Pravda all lost weight.
Mikhail Bulgakov (Heart of a Dog)
I can read every word of your soul, become deeply engrossed in the study of it until I've comprehended every nuance and detail. But then when I'm done, I'll discard it as easily as if it were a newspaper, shaking my head at how the ink has stained my fingers gray. My desire to know every layer of you isn't feigned, but interest isn't love, and I make no promises of forever. Perhaps I do every so often, but you have no business believing me.
M.E. Thomas (Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight)
How ... how fragile situations are. But not tenuous. Delicate, but not flimsy, not indulgent. Delicate, that's why they keep breaking, they must break and you must get the pieces together and show it before it breaks again, or put them aside for a moment when something else breaks and turn to that, and all this keeps going on. That's why most writing now, if you read it they go on one two three four and tell you what happened like newspaper accounts, no adjectives, no long sentences, no tricks they pretend, and they finally believe that they really believe that the way they saw it is the way it is ... it never takes your breath away, telling you things you already know, laying everything out flat, as though the terms and the time, and the nature and the movement of everything were secrets of the same magnitude. They write for people who read with the surface of their minds, people with reading habits that make the smallest demands on them, people brought up reading for facts, who know what's going to come next and want to know what's coming next, and get angry at surprises. Clarity's essential, and detail, no fake mysticism, the facts are bad enough. But we're embarrassed for people who tell too much, and tell it without surprise. How does he know what happened? unless it's one unshaven man alone in a boat, changing I to he, and how often do you get a man alone in a boat, in all this ... all this ... Listen, there are so many delicate fixtures, moving toward you, you'll see. Like a man going into a dark room, holding his hands down guarding his parts for fear of a table corner, and ... Why, all this around us is for people who can keep their balance only in the light, where they move as though nothing were fragile, nothing tempered by possibility, and all of a sudden bang! something breaks. Then you have to stop and put the pieces together again. But you never can put them back together quite the same way. You stop when you can and expose things, and leave them within reach, and others come on by themselves, and they break, and even then you may put the pieces aside just out of reach until you can bring them back and show them, put together slightly different, maybe a little more enduring, until you've broken it and picked up the pieces enough times, and you have the whole thing in all its dimensions. But the discipline, the detail, it's just ... sometimes the accumulation is too much to bear.
William Gaddis (The Recognitions)
When you get older, you notice your sheets are dirty. Sometimes, you do something about it. And sometimes, you read the front page of the newspaper and sometimes you floss and sometimes you stop biting your nails and sometimes you meet a friend for lunch. You still crave lemonade, but the taste doesn’t satisfy you as much as it used to. You still crave summer, but sometimes you mean summer, five years ago. You remember your umbrella, you check up on people to see if they got home, you leave places early to go home and make toast. You stand by the toaster in your underwear and a big t-shirt, wondering if you should just turn in or watch one more hour of television. You laugh at different things. You stop laughing at other things. You think about old loves almost like they are in a museum. The socks, you notice, aren’t organized into pairs and you mentally make a note of it. You cover your mouth when you sneeze, reaching for the box of tissues you bought, contains aloe. When you get older, you try different shampoos. You find one you like. You try sleeping early and spin class and jogging again. You try a book you almost read but couldn’t finish. You wrap yourself in the blankets of: familiar t-shirts, caffe au lait, dim tv light, texts with old friends or new people you really want to like and love you. You lose contact with friends from college, and only sometimes you think about it. When you do, it feels bad and almost bitter. You lose people, and when other people bring them up, you almost pretend like you know what they are doing. You try to stop touching your face and become invested in things like expensive salads and trying parsnips and saving up for a vacation you really want. You keep a spare pen in a drawer. You look at old pictures of yourself and they feel foreign and misleading. You forget things like: purchasing stamps, buying more butter, putting lotion on your elbows, calling your mother back. You learn things like balance: checkbooks, social life, work life, time to work out and time to enjoy yourself. When you get older, you find yourself more in control. You find your convictions appealing, you find you like your body more, you learn to take things in stride. You begin to crave respect and comfort and adventure, all at the same time. You lay in your bed, fearing death, just like you did. You pull lint off your shirt. You smile less and feel content more. You think about changing and then often, you do.
Alida Nugent (You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism)
Fast reading of a great novel will get us the plot. It will get us names, a shadowy idea of characters, a sketch of settings. It will not get us subtleties, small differentiations, depth of emotion and observation, multilayered human experience, the appreciation of simile and metaphor, any sense of context, any comparison with other novels, other writers. Fast reading will not get us cadence and complexities of style and language. It will not get us anything that enters not just the conscious mind but the unconscious. It will not allow the book to burrow down into our memory and become part of ourselves, the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom and vicarious experience which helps to form us as complete human beings. It will not develop our awareness or add to the sum of our knowledge and intelligence. Read parts of a newspaper quickly or an encyclopaedia entry, or a fast-food thriller, but do not insult yourself or a book which has been created with its author's painstakingly acquired skill and effort, by seeing how fast you can dispose of it.
Susan Hill (Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home)
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know. That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I'd point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all. But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn't. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.
Michael Crichton
I have seen them stagger out of their movie palaces and blink their empty eyes in the face of reality once more, and stagger home, to read the Times, to find out what's going on in the world. I have vomited at their newspapers, read their literature, observed their customs, eaten their food, desired their women, gaped at their art. But I am poor, and my name ends with a soft vowel, and they hate me and my father, and my father's father, and they would have my blood and put me down, but they are old now, dying in the sun and in the hot dust of the road, and I am young and full of hope and love for my country and my times, and when I say Greaser to you it is not my heart that speaks, but the quivering of an old wound, and I am ashamed of the terrible thing I have done.
John Fante (Ask the Dust (The Saga of Arturo Bandini, #3))
Hearts don't start out frozen," Cassandra said wisely. "Something happened to you." Mr. Severin gave her a slightly mocking glance. "How do you know so much about the heart?" "I've read novels-" Cassandra began earnestly, and was disgruntled to hear his quiet laugh. "Many of them. You don't think a person can learn things from reading novels?" "Nothing that actually applies to life." But the blue-green eyes contained a friendly sparkle, as if he found her charming. "But life is what novels are about. A novel can contain more truth than a thousand newspaper articles or scientific papers. It can make you imagine, just for a little while, that you're someone else- and then you understand more about people who are different from you." The way he listened to her was so very flattering, so careful and interested, as if he were collecting her words like flowers to be pressed in a book. "I stand corrected," he said. "I see I'll have to read one.
Lisa Kleypas (Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6))
Look around you. Watch how people function and interact with one another. You'll see this is going on everywhere all the time. People devour each other in the name of love, or family or country. But that's an excuse; they're just hungry and want to be fed. Read their faces, the newspapers, read what it says on their T-shirts! 'I think you're mistaking me for someone who gives a shit.' 'My parents went to London but all they brought me back was this lousy T-shirt.' 'So many women, so little time.' 'Whoever dies with the most toys, wins.' They're supposed to be funny, witty, and postmodern, Miranda. But the truth is they're only stating a fact: Me. I come first. Get out of my way.
Jonathan Carroll (The Marriage of Sticks (Crane's View, #2))
I myself was to experience how easily one is taken in by a lying and censored press and radio in a totalitarian state. Though unlike most Germans I had daily access to foreign newspapers, especially those of London, Paris and Zurich, which arrived the day after publication, and though I listened regularly to the BBC and other foreign broadcasts, my job necessitated the spending of many hours a day in combing the German press, checking the German radio, conferring with Nazi officials and going to party meetings. It was surprising and sometimes consternating to find that notwithstanding the opportunities I had to learn the facts and despite one’s inherent distrust of what one learned from Nazi sources, a steady diet over the years of falsifications and distortions made a certain impression on one’s mind and often misled it. No one who has not lived for years in a totalitarian land can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime’s calculated and incessant propaganda. Often in a German home or office or sometimes in a casual conversation with a stranger in a restaurant, a beer hall, a café, I would meet with the most outlandish assertions from seemingly educated and intelligent persons. It was obvious that they were parroting some piece of nonsense they had heard on the radio or read in the newspapers. Sometimes one was tempted to say as much, but on such occasions one was met with such a stare of incredulity, such a shock of silence, as if one had blasphemed the Almighty, that one realized how useless it was even to try to make contact with a mind which had become warped and for whom the facts of life had become what Hitler and Goebbels, with their cynical disregard for truth, said they were.
William L. Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany)
You’re implying that I’m not presentable in public unless I have a full face of makeup on.” “No. I absolutely did not imply that.” “I suppose I should take three hours to curl my hair, too, right?” I make my voice tremble. I am the victim of horrendous misdeeds. “Because I’m not pretty enough the way I am? I suppose you’re embarrassed to bring me around your family unless I conform to society’s impossible beauty standards for females?” His eyes narrow. “You’re right. Your hair’s an embarrassment in its natural state and your face is so anti–female beauty that if you go out like that, I’d insist on you walking backward and ten feet away from me. I want you to go upstairs right now and paint yourself unrecognizable.” He arches his eyebrows. “Did I do that right? Are those the words you’d like to put in my mouth?” My chin drops. He lowers his gaze to a newspaper and flicks the page. He did it for dramatic effect. I know he didn’t get a chance to finish reading the article he was on. “Actually, I’d like to put an apple in your mouth and roast you on a spit,” I say. “Go ahead and wear pajamas to dinner, Naomi. You think that would bother me? You can go out dressed as Santa Claus and I wouldn’t care.” Now I genuinely am insulted. “Why wouldn’t you care?” He raises his eyes to mine. “Because I think you’re beautiful no matter what.” Ugh. That’s really low, even for him.
Sarah Hogle (You Deserve Each Other)
The newspapers kept stroking my fear. New surveys provided awful statistics on just about everything. Evidence suggested that we were not doing well. Researchers gloomily agreed. Environment psychologists were interviewed. Damage had ‘unwittingly’ been done. There were ‘feared lapses’. There were ‘misconceptions’ about potential. Situations had ‘deteriorated’. Cruelty was on the rise and there was nothing anyone could do about it. The populace was confounded, yet didn’t care. Unpublished studies hinted that we were all paying a price. Scientists peered into data and concluded that we should all be very worried. No one knew what normal behavior was anymore, and some argued that this was a form of virtue. And no one argued back. No one challenged anything. Anxiety was soaking up most people’s days. Everyone had become preoccupied with horror. Madness was fluttering everywhere. There was fifty years of research supporting this data. There were diagrams illustrating all of these problems – circles and hexagons and squares, different sections colored in lime or lilac or gray. Most troubling were the fleeting signs that nothing could transform any of this into something positive. You couldn’t help being both afraid and fascinated. Reading these articles made you feel that the survival of mankind didn’t seem very important in the long run. We were doomed. We deserved it. I was so tired.
Bret Easton Ellis
Fast reading of a great novel will get us the plot. It will get us names, a shadowy idea of characters, a sketch of settings. It will not get us subtleties, small differentiations, depth of emotion and observation, multilayered human experience, the appreciation of simile and metaphor, any sense of context, any comparison with other novels, other writers. Fast reading will not get us cadence and complexities of style and language. It will not get us anything that enters not just the conscious mind but the unconscious. It will not allow the book to burrow down into our memory and become part of ourselves, the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom and vicarious experience which helps to form us as complete human beings. It will not develop our awareness or add to the sum of our knowledge and intelligence. Read parts of a newspaper quickly or an encyclopaedia entry, or a fast-food thriller, but do not insult yourself or a book which has been created with its author's painstakingly acquired skill and effort, by seeing how fast you can dispose of it
Susan Hill (Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home)
It is much, much worse to receive bad news through the written word than by somebody simply telling you, and I’m sure you understand why. When somebody simply tells you bad news, you hear it once, and that’s the end of it. But when bad news is written down, whether in a letter or a newspaper or on your arm in felt tip pen, each time you read it, you feel as if you are receiving the news again and again. For instance, I once loved a woman, who for various reasons could not marry me. If she had simply told me in person, I would have been very sad, of course, but eventually it might have passed. However, she chose instead to write a two-hundred-page book, explaining every single detail of the bad news at great length, and instead my sadness has been of impossible depth. When the book was first brought to me, by a flock of carrier pigeons, I stayed up all night reading it, and I read it still, over and over, and it is as if my darling Beatrice is bringing me bad news every day and every night of my life. The Baudelaire orphans
Lemony Snicket (The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4))
This has been a novel about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed--run over, maimed, destroyed--but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it. For example, while I was writing this I learned that the person on whom the character Jerry Fabin is based killed himself. My friend on whom I based the character Ernie Luckman died before I began the novel. For a while I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished. I am on the list below, which is a list of those to whom this novel is dedicated, and what became of each. Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment. When a bunch of people begin to do it, it is a social error,a life-style. In this particular life-style the motto is "Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying," but the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory. It is, then, only a speeding up, an intensifying, of the ordinary human existence. It is not different from your life-style, it is only faster. It all takes place in days or weeks or months instead of years. "Take the cash and let the credit go," as Villon said in 1460. But that is a mistake if the cash is a penny and the credit a whole lifetime. There is no moral in this novel; it is not bourgeois; it does not say they were wrong to play when they should have toiled;it just tells what the consequences were. In Greek drama they were beginning, as a society, to discover science, which means causal law. Here in this novel there is Nemesis: not fate, because any one of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing. I myself,I am not a character in this novel; I am the novel. So, though, was our entire nation at this time. This novel is about more people than I knew personally. Some we all read about in the newspapers. It was, this sitting around with our buddies and bullshitting while making tape recordings, the bad decision of the decade, the sixties, both in and out of the establishment. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful. If there was any "sin," it was that these people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, and were punished for that, but, as I say, I feel that, if so, the punishment was far too great, and I prefer to think of it only in a Greek or morally neutral way, as mere science, as deterministic impartial cause-and-effect. I loved them all. Here is the list, to whom I dedicate my love: To Gaylene deceased To Ray deceased To Francy permanent psychosis To Kathy permanent brain damage To Jim deceased To Val massive permanent brain damage To Nancy permanent psychosis To Joanne permanent brain damage To Maren deceased To Nick deceased To Terry deceased To Dennis deceased To Phil permanent pancreatic damage To Sue permanent vascular damage To Jerri permanent psychosis and vascular damage . . . and so forth. In Memoriam. These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The "enemy" was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.
Philip K. Dick (A Scanner Darkly)
A number of months ago I read in the newspaper that there was a supreme court ruling which states that homosexuals in america have no constitutional rights against the government's invasion of their privacy. The paper states that homosexuality is traditionally condemned in america & only people who are heterosexual or married or who have families can expect those constitutional rights. There were no editorials. Nothing. Just flat cold type in the morning paper informing people of this. In most areas of the u.s.a it is possible to murder a man & when one is brought to trial, one has only to say that the victim was a queer & that he tried to touch you & the courts will set you free. When I read the newspaper article I felt something stirring in my hands; I felt a sensation like seeing oneself from miles above the earth or looking at one's reflection in a mirror through the wrong end of a telescope. Realizing that I have nothing left to lose in my actions I let my hands become weapons, my teeth become weapons, every bone & muscle & fiber & ounce of blood become weapons, & I feel prepared for the rest of my life.
David Wojnarowicz (Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration)
I will never be a brain surgeon, and I will never play the piano like Glenn Gould. But what keeps me up late at night, and constantly gives me reason to fret, is this: I don’t know what I don’t know. There are universes of things out there — ideas, philosophies, songs, subtleties, facts, emotions — that exist but of which I am totally and thoroughly unaware. This makes me very uncomfortable. I find that the only way to find out the fuller extent of what I don’t know is for someone to tell me, teach me or show me, and then open my eyes to this bit of information, knowledge, or life experience that I, sadly, never before considered. Afterward, I find something odd happens. I find what I have just learned is suddenly everywhere: on billboards or in the newspaper or SMACK: Right in front of me, and I can’t help but shake my head and speculate how and why I never saw or knew this particular thing before. And I begin to wonder if I could be any different, smarter, or more interesting had I discovered it when everyone else in the world found out about this particular obvious thing. I have been thinking a lot about these first discoveries and also those chance encounters: those elusive happenstances that often lead to defining moments in our lives. […] I once read that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I fundamentally disagree with this idea. I think that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of hope. We might keep making mistakes but the struggle gives us a sense of empathy and connectivity that we would not experience otherwise. I believe this empathy improves our ability to see the unseen and better know the unknown. Lives are shaped by chance encounters and by discovering things that we don’t know that we don’t know. The arc of a life is a circuitous one. … In the grand scheme of things, everything we do is an experiment, the outcome of which is unknown. You never know when a typical life will be anything but, and you won’t know if you are rewriting history, or rewriting the future, until the writing is complete. This, just this, I am comfortable not knowing.
Debbie Millman (Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design)
Ingenious philosophers tell you, perhaps, that the great work of the steam-engine is to create leisure for mankind. Do not believe them: it only creates a vacuum for eager thought to rush in. Even idleness is eager now—eager for amusement; prone to excursion-trains, art museums, periodical literature, and exciting novels; prone even to scientific theorizing and cursory peeps through microscopes. Old Leisure was quite a different personage. He only read one newspaper, innocent of leaders, and was free from that periodicity of sensations which we call post-time. He was a contemplative, rather stout gentleman, of excellent digestion; of quiet perceptions, undiseased by hypothesis; happy in his inability to know the causes of things, preferring the things themselves. He lived chiefly in the country, among pleasant seats and homesteads, and was fond of sauntering by the fruit-tree wall and scenting the apricots when they were warmed by the morning sunshine, or of sheltering himself under the orchard boughs at noon, when the summer pears were falling. He knew nothing of weekday services, and thought none the worse of the Sunday sermon if it allowed him to sleep from the text to the blessing; liking the afternoon service best, because the prayers were the shortest, and not ashamed to say so; for he had an easy, jolly conscience, broad-backed like himself, and able to carry a great deal of beer or port-wine, not being made squeamish by doubts and qualms and lofty aspirations.
George Eliot (Adam Bede)
I do not write every day. I write to the questions and issues before me. I write to deadlines. I write out of my passions. And I write to make peace with my own contradictory nature. For me, writing is a spiritual practice. A small bowl of water sits on my desk, a reminder that even if nothing is happening on the page, something is happening in the room--evaporation. And I always light a candle when I begin to write, a reminder that I have now entered another realm, call it the realm of the Spirit. I am mindful that when one writes, one leaves this world and enters another. My books are collages made from journals, research, and personal experience. I love the images rendered in journal entries, the immediacy that is captured on the page, the handwritten notes. I love the depth of ideas and perspective that research brings to a story, be it biological or anthropological studies or the insights brought to the page by the scholarly work of art historians. When I go into a library, I feel like I am a sleuth looking to solve a mystery. I am completely inspired by the pursuit of knowledge through various references. I read newpapers voraciously. I love what newspapers say about contemporary culture. And then you go back to your own perceptions, your own words, and weigh them against all you have brought together. I am interested in the kaleidoscope of ideas, how you bring many strands of thought into a book and weave them together as one piece of coherent fabric, while at the same time trying to create beautiful language in the service of the story. This is the blood work of the writer. Writing is also about a life engaged. And so, for me, community work, working in the schools or with grassroots conservation organizations is another critical component of my life as a writer. I cannot separate the writing life from a spiritual life, from a life as a teacher or activist or my life intertwined with family and the responsibilities we carry within our own homes. Writing is daring to feel what nurtures and breaks our hearts. Bearing witness is its own form of advocacy. It is a dance with pain and beauty.
Terry Tempest Williams
What is the use of beauty in woman? Provided a woman is physically well made and capable of bearing children, she will always be good enough in the opinion of economists. What is the use of music? -- of painting? Who would be fool enough nowadays to prefer Mozart to Carrel, Michael Angelo to the inventor of white mustard? There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man's needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the water-closet. For my part, saving these gentry's presence, I am of those to whom superfluities are necessaries, and I am fond of things and people in inverse ratio to the service they render me. I prefer a Chinese vase with its mandarins and dragons, which is perfectly useless to me, to a utensil which I do use, and the particular talent of mine which I set most store by is that which enables me not to guess logogriphs and charades. I would very willingly renounce my rights as a Frenchman and a citizen for the sight of an undoubted painting by Raphael, or of a beautiful nude woman, -- Princess Borghese, for instance, when she posed for Canova, or Julia Grisi when she is entering her bath. I would most willingly consent to the return of that cannibal, Charles X., if he brought me, from his residence in Bohemia, a case of Tokai or Johannisberg; and the electoral laws would be quite liberal enough, to my mind, were some of our streets broader and some other things less broad. Though I am not a dilettante, I prefer the sound of a poor fiddle and tambourines to that of the Speaker's bell. I would sell my breeches for a ring, and my bread for jam. The occupation which best befits civilized man seems to me to be idleness or analytically smoking a pipe or cigar. I think highly of those who play skittles, and also of those who write verse. You may perceive that my principles are not utilitarian, and that I shall never be the editor of a virtuous paper, unless I am converted, which would be very comical. Instead of founding a Monthyon prize for the reward of virtue, I would rather bestow -- like Sardanapalus, that great, misunderstood philosopher -- a large reward to him who should invent a new pleasure; for to me enjoyment seems to be the end of life and the only useful thing on this earth. God willed it to be so, for he created women, perfumes, light, lovely flowers, good wine, spirited horses, lapdogs, and Angora cats; for He did not say to his angels, 'Be virtuous,' but, 'Love,' and gave us lips more sensitive than the rest of the skin that we might kiss women, eyes looking upward that we might behold the light, a subtile sense of smell that we might breathe in the soul of the flowers, muscular limbs that we might press the flanks of stallions and fly swift as thought without railway or steam-kettle, delicate hands that we might stroke the long heads of greyhounds, the velvety fur of cats, and the polished shoulder of not very virtuous creatures, and, finally, granted to us alone the triple and glorious privilege of drinking without being thirsty, striking fire, and making love in all seasons, whereby we are very much more distinguished from brutes than by the custom of reading newspapers and framing constitutions.
Théophile Gautier (Mademoiselle de Maupin)
Electrons, when they were first discovered, behaved exactly like particles or bullets, very simply. Further research showed, from electron diffraction experiments for example, that they behaved like waves. As time went on there was a growing confusion about how these things really behaved ---- waves or particles, particles or waves? Everything looked like both. This growing confusion was resolved in 1925 or 1926 with the advent of the correct equations for quantum mechanics. Now we know how the electrons and light behave. But what can I call it? If I say they behave like particles I give the wrong impression; also if I say they behave like waves. They behave in their own inimitable way, which technically could be called a quantum mechanical way. They behave in a way that is like nothing that you have seen before. Your experience with things that you have seen before is incomplete. The behavior of things on a very tiny scale is simply different. An atom does not behave like a weight hanging on a spring and oscillating. Nor does it behave like a miniature representation of the solar system with little planets going around in orbits. Nor does it appear to be somewhat like a cloud or fog of some sort surrounding the nucleus. It behaves like nothing you have seen before. There is one simplication at least. Electrons behave in this respect in exactly the same way as photons; they are both screwy, but in exactly in the same way…. The difficulty really is psychological and exists in the perpetual torment that results from your saying to yourself, "But how can it be like that?" which is a reflection of uncontrolled but utterly vain desire to see it in terms of something familiar. I will not describe it in terms of an analogy with something familiar; I will simply describe it. There was a time when the newspapers said that only twelve men understood the theory of relativity. I do not believe there ever was such a time. There might have been a time when only one man did, because he was the only guy who caught on, before he wrote his paper. But after people read the paper a lot of people understood the theory of relativity in some way or other, certainly more than twelve. On the other hand, I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. So do not take the lecture too seriously, feeling that you really have to understand in terms of some model what I am going to describe, but just relax and enjoy it. I am going to tell you what nature behaves like. If you will simply admit that maybe she does behave like this, you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possible avoid it, "But how can it be like that?" because you will get 'down the drain', into a blind alley from which nobody has escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.
Richard P. Feynman (The Character of Physical Law)
I was extremely curious about the alternatives to the kind of life I had been leading, and my friends and I exchanged rumors and scraps of information we dug from official publications. I was struck less by the West's technological developments and high living standards than by the absence of political witch-hunts, the lack of consuming suspicion, the dignity of the individual, and the incredible amount of liberty. To me, the ultimate proof of freedom in the West was that there seemed to be so many people there attacking the West and praising China. Almost every other day the front page of Reference, the newspaper which carded foreign press items, would feature some eulogy of Mao and the Cultural Revolution. At first I was angered by these, but they soon made me see how tolerant another society could be. I realized that this was the kind of society I wanted to live in: where people were allowed to hold different, even outrageous views. I began to see that it was the very tolerance of oppositions, of protesters, that kept the West progressing. Still, I could not help being irritated by some observations. Once I read an article by a Westerner who came to China to see some old friends, university professors, who told him cheerfully how they had enjoyed being denounced and sent to the back end of beyond, and how much they had relished being reformed. The author concluded that Mao had indeed made the Chinese into 'new people' who would regard what was misery to a Westerner as pleasure. I was aghast. Did he not know that repression was at its worst when there was no complaint? A hundred times more so when the victim actually presented a smiling face? Could he not see to what a pathetic condition these professors had been reduced, and what horror must have been involved to degrade them so? I did not realize that the acting that the Chinese were putting on was something to which Westerners were unaccustomed, and which they could not always decode. I did not appreciate either that information about China was not easily available, or was largely misunderstood, in the West, and that people with no experience of a regime like China's could take its propaganda and rhetoric at face value. As a result, I assumed that these eulogies were dishonest. My friends and I would joke that they had been bought by our government's 'hospitality." When foreigners were allowed into certain restricted places in China following Nixon's visit, wherever they went the authorities immediately cordoned off enclaves even within these enclaves. The best transport facilities, shops, restaurants, guest houses and scenic spots were reserved for them, with signs reading "For Foreign Guests Only." Mao-tai, the most sought-after liquor, was totally unavailable to ordinary Chinese, but freely available to foreigners. The best food was saved for foreigners. The newspapers proudly reported that Henry Kissinger had said his waistline had expanded as a result of the many twelve-course banquets he enjoyed during his visits to China. This was at a time when in Sichuan, "Heaven's Granary," our meat ration was half a pound per month, and the streets of Chengdu were full of homeless peasants who had fled there from famine in the north, and were living as beggars. There was great resentment among the population about how the foreigners were treated like lords. My friends and I began saying among ourselves: "Why do we attack the Kuomintang for allowing signs saying "No Chinese or Dogs" aren't we doing the same? Getting hold of information became an obsession. I benefited enormously from my ability to read English, as although the university library had been looted during the Cultural Revolution, most of the books it had lost had been in Chinese. Its extensive English-language collection had been turned upside down, but was still largely intact.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)