Essays Quotes

Quotes tagged as "essays" (showing 1-30 of 121)
Anthony Bourdain
“You have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.”
Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

Roxane Gay
“Don’t flirt, have sex, or engage in emotional affairs with your friends’ significant others. This shouldn’t need to be said, but it needs to be said. That significant other is an asshole, and you don’t want to be involved with an asshole who’s used goods. If you want to be with an asshole, get a fresh asshole of your very own. They are abundant.”
Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist

Annie Dillard
“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you're going no matter how you live, cannot you part.”
Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters

“Once upon a time, they say, there was a girl...there was a boy...there was a person who was in trouble. And this is what she did...and what he did...and how they learned to survive it. This is what they did...and why one failed...and why another triumphed in the end. And I know that it's true, because I danced at their wedding and drank their very best wine.”
Terri Windling

J.K. Rowling
“Harry moved the tip of his eagle-feather quill down the page, frowning as he looked for something that would help him write his essay, “Witch Burning in the Fourteenth Century Was Completely Pointless — discuss.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

William Hazlitt
“A great chessplayer is not a great man, for he leaves the world as he found it.”
William Hazlitt, Table-Talk, Essays on Men and Manners

Bill Maher
“New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country. A couple of weeks ago, I was asked on CNN if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said I hope not, but I wouldn't put anything past this stupid country. Well, the station was flooded with emails, and the twits hit the fan. And you could tell that these people were really mad, because they wrote entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS!!! Worst of all, Bill O'Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a pinhead, which (a) proves my point, and (b) is really funny coming from a doody-face like him.

Now, before I go about demonstration how, sadly, easy it is to prove the dumbness that's dragging us down, let me just say that ignorance has life-and-death consequences. On the eve of the Iraq War, seventy percent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Six years later, thirty-four percent still do. Or look at the health-care debate: At a recent town hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare," which is kind of like driving cross-country to protest highways.

This country is like a college chick after two Long Island iced teas: We can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget the town halls, and replace them with study halls.

Listen to some of these stats: A majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. Twenty-four percent could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket.

Not here. Nearly half of Americans don't know that states have two senators, and more than half can't name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only three got their wife's name right on the first try. People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes more twenty-four percent of our budget. It's actually less than one percent.

A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen ad a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence, because it contains the words "Bush" and "knowledge." Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll say eighteen percent of us think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they're not stupid. They're interplanetary mavericks.

And I haven't even brought up religion. But here's one fun fact I'll leave you with: Did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That's right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which came first.

I rest my case.”
Bill Maher, The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass

Joe Queenan
“A friend once told me that the real message Bram Stoker sought to convey in 'Dracula' is that a human being needs to live hundreds and hundreds of years to get all his reading done; that Count Dracula, basically nothing more than a misunderstood bookworm, was draining blood from the necks of 10,000 hapless virgins not because he was the apotheosis of pure evil but because it was the only way he could live long enough to polish off his extensive reading list. But I have no way of knowing if this is true, as I have not yet found time to read 'Dracula.”
Joe Queenan

David Malouf
“Fiction, with its preference for what is small and might elsewhere seem irrelevant; its facility for smuggling us into another skin and allowing us to live a new life there; its painstaking devotion to what without it might go unnoticed and unseen; its respect for contingency, and the unlikely and odd; its willingness to expose itself to moments of low, almost animal being and make them nobly illuminating, can deliver truths we might not otherwise stumble on.”
David Malouf, The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World

Andrew Sullivan
“I'm a writer by profession and it's totally clear to me that since I started blogging, the amount I write has increased exponentially, my daily interactions with the views of others have never been so frequent, the diversity of voices I engage with is far higher than in the pre-Internet age—and all this has helped me become more modest as a thinker, more open to error, less fixated on what I do know, and more respectful of what I don't. If this is a deterioration in my brain, then more, please.

"The problem is finding the space and time when this engagement stops, and calm, quiet, thinking and reading of longer-form arguments, novels, essays can begin. Worse, this also needs time for the mind to transition out of an instant gratification mode to me a more long-term, thoughtful calm. I find this takes at least a day of detox. Getting weekends back has helped. But if there were a way to channel the amazing insights of blogging into the longer, calmer modes of thinking ... we'd be getting somewhere.

"I'm working on it.”
Andrew Sullivan

“I believe it was Gayelord Hauser, the nutritionist, who said, 'You are what you eat,' but if you happen to be an intellectual, you are what you quote.”
Joseph Epstein, A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays

Anatole Broyard
“For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain, crying aloud for mercy, and let there be no surcease to this agony till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails…and when at last he goeth to his final punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him forever.”
— Anonymous Curse on Book Theives from the Monaster of San Pedro, Barcelona, Spain”
Anatole Broyard

Christopher Hitchens
“Every article and review and book that I have ever published has constituted an appeal to the person or persons to whom I should have talked before I dared to write it. I never launch any little essay without the hope—and the fear, because the encounter may also be embarrassing—that I shall draw a letter that begins, 'Dear Mr. Hitchens, it seems that you are unaware that…' It is in this sense that authorship is collaborative with 'the reader.' And there's no help for it: you only find out what you ought to have known by pretending to know at least some of it already.

It doesn't matter how obscure or arcane or esoteric your place of publication may be: some sweet law ensures that the person who should be scrutinizing your work eventually does do so.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“Some women do not masturbate for pleasure; they masturbate to make a political statement: to remind us that women do not really need men (or at least not as much and as frequently as every single male chauvinist and every single misogynist believes).”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana, On Masturbation: A Satirical Essay

E.B. White
“...Surely the Board knows what democracy is. It is the line that forms on the right. It is the don’t in don’t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; it is the dent in the high hat. Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half the people
are right more than half the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths,the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere. Democracy is a letter to the editor. Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth. It is an idea which hasn’t been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad. It’s the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee.”
E.B. White

Wes Locher
“It wasn’t enough that I had to worry about playing well and winning the game, but I also had to deal with possibility that one of my teammates could be dragged off the field by the inhabitants of the mental hospital.”
Wes Locher, Musings on Minutiae

Jorge Luis Borges
“I think—the hero observes that nothing is so frightening as a labyrinth with no center.”
Jorge Luis Borges, Selected Non-Fictions

Aberjhani
“As life in general constituted much pain in the form of struggles against poverty, disease, ignorance, and emotional anguish, what more civilized way for people to alleviate the same than by giving themselves to one another as brothers and sisters in deed as well as in word? A society of people hoping to become politically superior needed first to become spiritually valid.”
Aberjhani, The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois

Francis Bacon
“Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.”
Francis Bacon

Christopher Hitchens
“Kilmartin wrote a highly amusing and illuminating account of his experience as a Proust revisionist, which appeared in the first issue of Ben Sonnenberg's quarterly Grand Street in the autumn of 1981. The essay opened with a kind of encouragement: 'There used to be a story that discerning Frenchmen preferred to read Marcel Proust in English on the grounds that the prose of A la recherche du temps perdu was deeply un-French and heavily influenced by English writers such as Ruskin.' I cling to this even though Kilmartin thought it to be ridiculous Parisian snobbery; I shall never be able to read Proust in French, and one's opportunities for outfacing Gallic self-regard are relatively scarce.”
Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

Mark Slouka
“The case for the humanities is not hard to make, though it can be difficult--to such an extent have we been marginalized, so long have we acceded to that marginalization--not to sound either defensive or naive. The humanities, done right, are the crucible in which our evolving notions of what it means to be fully human are put to the test; they teach us, incrementally, endlessly, not what to do, but how to be. Their method is confrontational, their domain unlimited, their "product" not truth but the reasoned search for truth, their "success" something very much like Frost's momentary stay against confusion.”
Mark Slouka, Essays from the Nick of Time: Reflections and Refutations

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“It was masturbation, not willpower, that made it possible for gazillions of women to walk down the aisle with their reputation and their hymen still intact.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana, On Masturbation: A Satirical Essay

Barry Parham
“Single guys can easily simulate some of the joys of marriage simply by installing one of those GPS devices that use a woman's voice.”
Barry Parham, Why I Hate Straws: An Offbeat Worldview of an Offbeat World

“The house-cat is a four-legged quadruped, the legs as usual being at the corners. It is what is sometimes called a tame animal, though it feeds on mice and birds of prey. Its colours are striped, it does not bark, but breathes through its nose instead of its mouth. Cats also mow, which you all have heard. Cats have nine liveses, but which is seldom wanted in this country, coz' of Christianity. Cats eat meat and most anythink speshuelly where you can't afford. That is all about cats."

(From a schoolboy's essay, 1903.)
Helen Exley, Cat Quotations

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“Some women have been faking orgasms for so long that they sometimes fake one when they are masturbating.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana, On Masturbation: A Satirical Essay

“It is an absolute perfection and virtually divine to know how to enjoy our being rightfully. We seek other conditions because we do not understand the use of our own … Yet there is no use our mounting on stilts, for on stilts we must still walk on our own legs. And on the loftiest throne in the world we are still sitting only on our own rump”
Montaigne, Michel de
tags: essays

George Orwell
“The Victorian happy ending– a vision of a huge loving family of three or four generations, all crammed together in the same house and constantly multiplying, like a bed of oysters.”
George Orwell, Essays

George Orwell
“How can you improve human nature until you have changed the system? The other, what is the use of changing the system before you have improved human nature? They appeal to different individuals, and they probably show a tendency to alternate in point of time. The Moralist and the Revolutionary are constantly undermining one another. Marx exploded a hundred tons of dynamite under the Moralist position, and we are still living in the echo of that tremendous crash. But already, somewhere or other, the sappers are are work and fresh dynamite is being tamped un place to blow Marx to the moon.”
George Orwell, Essays

Alexander Chee
“I was by now used to people being surprised by me and my background, and their surprise offended me. I was always having to be what I was looking for in the world, wishing the person I would become already existed — some other I before me. I was forever finding even the tiniest way to identify with someone to escape how empty the world seemed to be of what I was.”
Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays

Alexander Chee
“That afternoon, I tried to understand if I had made a choice about what to write. But instead it seemed to me if anyone had made a choice, the novel had, choosing me like I was a door and walking through me out into the world.”
Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays

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