A Photograph

"This vicissitudes of our century have been summed up in a few exemplary photographs that have proved epoch-making: the unruly crowd pouring into the square during the "ten days that shook the world"; Robert Capa's dying miliciano; the marines planting the flag on Iwo Jima; the Vietnamese prisoner being executed with a shot in the … Continue reading A Photograph

His Honesty

"His honesty about this paradox or contradiction is what determined him to write Nineteen Eighty-Four as an admonitory parable or fantasy in which 'Ingsoc'--English Socialism--was the Newspeak term for the ruling ideology. It would have been perfectly easy for him to have avoided this crux. In the late 1940s, a dystopian novel based on the … Continue reading His Honesty

Great Unknown Men

"The greatest men in the world have passed away unknown. The Buddhas and the Christs that we know are but second-rate heroes in comparison with the greatest men of whom the world knows nothing. Hundreds of these unknown heroes have lived in every country working silently. Silently they live and silently they pass away; and … Continue reading Great Unknown Men

Getting Rich

"We will lay aside the responsibilities and sacrifices of citizenship, and religiously ascribing all virtues and all growth and progress to a republican form of government, will allow our own to go to the dogs, devoting ourselves meanwhile to the business of getting rich." -from an editorial, The Nation, May 15,1873

Two Minutes Hate

"The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with … Continue reading Two Minutes Hate

Jokes Not Got

I'll tell you what your reaction will be to my next story. When I get to the punch line there will be silence, giggles, snickers, then laughs. Watch. These two girls are walking down the street. The one girl says to the other, "Hey girl, isn't that your husband coming out of the florist?" She … Continue reading Jokes Not Got

Suicide Eyes

"'The only freedom that an American has is to conform, as you've already discovered.' Caroline did not in the least mind the disparity between the country's shining image of itself and the crude reality. She was entirely on the side of the rulers, ridiculous and unpleasant as so many of them were. She felt a … Continue reading Suicide Eyes

Not Ending A War

"Without the League (of Nations), there would be another war with Germany within thirty years because of the Carthaginian peace being imposed by the Allies." / "Europe had a murderous tendency to sink into barbarism, the United States had not yet achieved a civilization from which to fall." -Gore Vidal, Hollywood

They Were Really Great

"Their precepts related chiefly to ourselves, and the government of those passions which, unrestrained, would disturb our tranquility of mind. In this branch of philosophy they were really great. (Italics mine.) In developing our duties to others, they were short and defective. They embraced indeed the circles of kindred and friends, and inculcated patriotism, or … Continue reading They Were Really Great

Amenities

"We are all civilised people, which means that we are all savages at heart but observing a few amenities of civilised behaviour. I am afraid that I observe fewer of these amenities than you do. Reason? My back is to the wall and has been to the wall for so long that the pressure of … Continue reading Amenities

Possessed

"Human beings to flourish must be possessed by one idea, a central meaning to which all experience can be related." -Gore Vidal (Essay: Contemporaries: The Norman Mailer Syndrome, 1960)

Law & Disorder

"I would a thousand times rather be the most incorrigible convict than this hireling of those who are trying to maintain law and order. Law and order! Finally, when you see it staring at you through the barrel of a rifle, you know what it means. A bas puissance, justice, histoire! If society has to … Continue reading Law & Disorder

The Artist Is

"Admitting this, I nevertheless firmly believe that no world order, no world harmony, is possible until the artist assumes leadership. I mean by this that the artist in man must come to the fore, over against the patriot, the warrior, the diplomat, the fanatical idealist, the misguided revolutionary. It is not against the gods man … Continue reading The Artist Is

Mutiny Conundrum

"Is it actually true that Christopher Columbus gave false information to his sailors regarding the position of his ship so they couldn't find their way back, in the event of a mutiny?" -Sam Shepard, Day Out Of Days