1988 Quotes

Quotes tagged as "1988" Showing 1-7 of 7
Christopher Hitchens
“Very often the test of one's allegiance to a cause or to a people is precisely the willingness to stay the course when things are boring, to run the risk of repeating an old argument just one more time, or of going one more round with a hostile or (much worse) indifferent audience. I first became involved with the Czech opposition in 1968 when it was an intoxicating and celebrated cause. Then, during the depressing 1970s and 1980s I was a member of a routine committee that tried with limited success to help the reduced forces of Czech dissent to stay nourished (and published). The most pregnant moment of that commitment was one that I managed to miss at the time: I passed an afternoon with Zdenek Mlynar, exiled former secretary of the Czech Communist Party, who in the bleak early 1950s in Moscow had formed a friendship with a young Russian militant with an evident sense of irony named Mikhail Sergeyevitch Gorbachev. In 1988 I was arrested in Prague for attending a meeting of one of Vaclav Havel's 'Charter 77' committees. That outwardly exciting experience was interesting precisely because of its almost Zen-like tedium. I had gone to Prague determined to be the first visiting writer not to make use of the name Franz Kafka, but the numbing bureaucracy got the better of me. When I asked why I was being detained, I was told that I had no need to know the reason! Totalitarianism is itself a cliché (as well as a tundra of pulverizing boredom) and it forced the cliché upon me in turn. I did have to mention Kafka in my eventual story. The regime fell not very much later, as I had slightly foreseen in that same piece that it would. (I had happened to notice that the young Czechs arrested with us were not at all frightened by the police, as their older mentors had been and still were, and also that the police themselves were almost fatigued by their job. This was totalitarianism practically yawning itself to death.) A couple of years after that I was overcome to be invited to an official reception in Prague, to thank those who had been consistent friends through the stultifying years of what 'The Party' had so perfectly termed 'normalization.' As with my tiny moment with Nelson Mandela, a whole historic stretch of nothingness and depression, combined with the long and deep insult of having to be pushed around by boring and mediocre people, could be at least partially canceled and annealed by one flash of humor and charm and generosity.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

John Brunner
“Don't bother explaining—I've heard all the excuses and the trouble is most of them are true.”
John Brunner, Children of the Thunder

Chuck D
“The United States is like one big jail for Black people, because we're locked into a mentality and a mindset that limits our potential. It has us against us.”
Chuck D, Lyrics of a Rap Revolutionary, Vol. 1

John Brunner
“The gray-haired growser, who proved to be a lawyer, had made it clear how much he loathed the people who were, in his view, attempting to undermine the American Constitution by imposing a state religion—or possibly it was "religion state by state," for his argument grew more confused with each Martini he sank. At any rate he was noisily predicting that the result would be world domination by the Communist bloc because they would wind up with a monopoly of practical science while his own people would be reduced to praying, sticking pins in chance-opened Bibles, and casting lots to decide whose eldest son should be sacrificed to stave off disaster.”
John Brunner, Children of the Thunder

“If the cross of Christ, the nails, spear, and crown of thorns are to be honoured, then why not honour Judas's lips, if only they could be found?”
Anne Hudson, The Premature Reformation

John Brunner
“We cannot afford the luxury known as conscience. The enemy we are up against certainly doesn't have one, so we are obliged to be absolutely rational. Cruel, if you like. People of good will, tolerant, liberal, whatever term you care to use, have always labored under a disadvantage. Those in power, those who want to hold on to power whatever the cost, have one ultimate recourse. If all else fails, they are prepared to kill. This is not available to pacifists.”
John Brunner, Children of the Thunder

David Sedaris
“the man with one hand turned on an enormous radio and tuned it to a mastermix station where the songs are not sung so much as bleated. Bleated and repeated.”
David Sedaris, Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002