Some Real Good Quotes

Feasting at the Table

"'Feminist,' it seems, has ended up in the same syntactical purgatory as another once-useful, now-reviled term: liberal. Most people endorse what that word has historically stood for — integration, child labor laws, product safety — yet they treat the word itself like anthrax. Similarly, while it's hard to imagine any young woman really wants to return to the days of barefoot, pregnant and making meatloaf, many now disdain the banner under which their gender fought for freedom. They scorn feminism even as they feast at a table feminism prepared." [complete article]

— Leonard Pitts, Jr.
The Miami Herald
February 6, 2008


Reading Surveys With Awful Results Are Not New

"One of our universities recently made a survey of the reading habits of the American public; it decided that forty-eight percent of all Americans read, during a year, no book at all. I picture to myself that reader — non-reader, rather; one man out of every two — and I reflect, with shame: 'Our poems are too hard for him.' But so, too, are Treasure Island, Peter Rabbit, pornographic novels — any book whatsoever. The authors of the world have been engaged in a sort of conspiracy to drive this American away from books; have in 77 million out of 160 million cases, succeeded. A sort of dream situation often occurs to me in which I call to this imaginary figure, 'Why don't you read books?' — and he always answers, after looking at me steadily for a long time: 'Huh?'

—Randall Jarrell
Poetry and the Age


Ordinary Words

The prime minister's final flourish, "Honor your country, for the eyes of the country are upon you," complete with drumrolls and bugle blasts unearthed from the attics of the mustiest of national rhetoric, was ruined by a "Good night" that rang entirely false, but then that is the great thing about ordinary words, they are incapable of deceit.

— José Saramago


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