The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

— Anatole France

If you can’t get excited about things that are going to end poorly, life is not for you.

— Matthew Sheahan

There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.

— Dorothy Parker

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

— John Rogers

The reformist party sees as unshakable that which it intends to reform.

— Trotsky

All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.

— Michael Chabon

A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.

— Dorothy Parker

Ambiguity is our most valuable thingie.

— Reed Waller

Plot is a literary convention. Story is a force of nature.

— Teresa Nielsen Hayden

It’s not enough to be Hungarian, you must have talent, too.

— Alexander Korda

Facts are stubborn things.

— Lenin

I play Cards Against Humanity to get ideas on how to spend the rest of my evening.

— Jenphalian

Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.

— Dorothy Parker

…that is the moral of the opponents of violence in politics: they renounce violence when it comes to introducing changes in what already exists, but in defense of the existing order they will not stop at the most ruthless acts.

— Trotsky

The core problem with the New Left was that it wasn’t an ideology, it was a mood–and if you are susceptible to one mood, you are susceptible to another.

— Dave Van Ronk

Bourgeois democracy is democracy of pompous phrases, solemn words, exuberant promises and the high-sounding slogans of freedom and equality. But, in fact, it screens the non-freedom and inferiority of women, the non-freedom and inferiority of the toilers and exploited.

— Lenin

A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you company.

— John D. MacDonald

“A bland and deadly courtesy is more devastating, don’t you think?” “Infinitely.”

— Dorothy L. Sayers

Anything that stays trite long enough becomes quaint.

— Reed Waller

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people He gave it to.

— Dorothy Parker

The oppressed are allowed every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them in parliament.

— Lenin

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.

— Twain

If someone tries to kill you with a shotgun, misses, and cures your hiccups, you still don’t think that what he did was a good thing.

— Lydia Nickerson

Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.

— Rosa Luxemburg

Being human means throwing your whole life on the scales of destiny when need be, all the while rejoicing in every sunny day and every beautiful cloud.

— Rosa Luxemburg

What do you want with these special Jewish pains? I feel as close to the wretched victims of the rubber plantations in Putamayo and the blacks of Africa with whose bodies the Europeans play ball… I have no special corner in my heart for the ghetto: I am at home in the entire world, where there are clouds and birds and human tears.

— Rosa Luxemburg

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.

— Dorothy Parker

Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.

— Twain

Some laws of state aimed at curbing crime are even more criminal.

— Engels

The state is nothing but an instrument of oppression of one class by another – no less so in a democratic republic than in a monarchy.

— Engels

Political economy came into being as a natural result of the expansion of trade, and with its appearance elementary, unscientific huckstering was replaced by a developed system of licensed fraud, an entire science of enrichment.

— Karl Marx

I prefer rogues to idiots, because they sometimes take a rest.

— Dumas

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

— Thomas Mann

If the cards are stacked against you, reshuffle the deck.

— John D. MacDonald

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

— Twain

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

— Twain

Of course truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.

— Twain

Never play pool with a man who brings his own table.

— Erik Emory

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

— Oscar Wilde

Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.

— Twain

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

— Oscar Wilde

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

— G. B. Shaw

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

— G. B. Shaw

In his famous dictionary, Dr. Johnson defined patriotism as the last refuge of the scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first.

— Ambrose Bierce

Remember: Safety third.

— Kit O’Connell

It’s hard to convince a winner that he’s losing.

— Mike Caro

The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.

— Einstein

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

— Einstein

I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.

— Roger Zelazny

It would be nice if there were some one thing constant and unchanging in the universe. If there is such a thing, then it is a thing which would have to be stronger than love, and it is a thing which I do not know.

— Roger Zelazny

Nature, who was not thoughtful enough to arm the majority of men with rhinoceros skin, also endowed the soldier with a nervous system. Revolutions serve to remind us from time to time of this carelessness on the part of nature.

— Trotsky

A revolution is always distinguished by impoliteness, probably because the ruling classes did not take the trouble in good season to teach the people fine manners.

— Trotsky

Property is a relation among people. It represents an enormous power as long as it is universally recognized and supported by that system of compulsion called Law and the State.

— Trotsky

A failure of correspondence between subjective and objective is, generally speaking, the fountain-source of the comic, as also the tragic, in both art and life.

— Trotsky

When enlightened pacifists try to abolish war by rationalistic arguments they are merely ridiculous, but when the armed masses themselves bring weapons of reason into action against a war, that means that the war is about over.

— Trotsky

No one goes around suggesting that everyone should become their own autonomous cheesemakers and cheering the death of the cheese industry. Why? Because that would result in a lot of shitty cheese.

— Patrick Nielsen Hayden

The language fictional characters use is chosen for effect, at least if the author is concentrating.

— John M. Ford

Every book is three books, after all; the one the writer intended, the one the reader expected, and the one that casts its shadow when the first two meet by moonlight.

— John M. Ford

Sometimes you think you’re justified, but it turns out to be ragged right.

— Patrick Nielsen Hayden

He shoved the curtains back and looked into the yard like it’d better not have anything to say about it.

— Skyler White

I ain’t in the helping business no more. I’m in the fuck off while I smoke a blunt business and business is about to pick way the fuck up.

— Lafayette

In the relations of a weak Government and a rebellious people there comes a time when every act of the authorities exasperates the masses, and every refusal to act excites their contempt.

— John Reed

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.

— Hunter S. Thompson

Don’t waste time arguing about allocating blame. There will be plenty to go around.

— David Dyer-Bennet

Brust’s Law: Truth is counter-intuitive.

There’s lots of parables about a poor man learning to be content to be poor. That’s cuz most of ‘em were made up by rich folk who were content to be rich.

— Billy-Bob Gautama

That which doesn’t kill us provides us the opportunity to return fire.

— Merlyn Graves

If several people witness an event, each will see it differently. Some people believe there is no objective truth, just a collection of subjective opinions. I believe the second is a gross over-reaction to the first.

— David Dyer-Bennet

May I trouble you for the salt?

— Admiral Viscount Nelson

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

— Abraham Lincoln

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

— Abraham Lincoln

He had such a great regard for the truth that he spent most of his time embellishing it.

— Abraham Lincoln

Being happy is not the victory condition of life.

— jenphalian

It’s not worth following any deity who says things I don’t want to hear.

— jenphalian

Men make history, but not just as they please.

— Karl Marx

The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

— Karl Marx

What is polyamory even FOR if not to gather a wider range of book recs?

— jenphalian

In Hungary acting is a profession. In America it is a decision.

— Lugosi Béla

Make no mistake, Hungarian romance, as most other things Hungarian, conforms
to and, as usual, self-consciously outdoes other European traditions.

— Zsuzsanna Ardó

In mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them.

— John von Neumann

To become whole, human beings require the truth about the world, and about themselves, that art offers.

— David Walsh

History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; art has remembered the people, because they created.

— William Morris

Nothing should be made by man’s labour which is not worth making, or which must be made by labour degrading to the makers.

— William Morris

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

— Denis Diderot

Moral responsibility is what is lacking in a man when he demands it of a woman.

— Karl Kraus

Whenever I get my ‘moon time’ I want to punch a pagan in the mouth.

— Reesa Brown

There are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.

— Casablanca

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.

— Casablanca

Rick: If it’s December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York?
Sam: What? My watch stopped.

— Casablanca

Yvonne: Where were you last night?
Rick: That’s so long ago, I don’t remember.
Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?
Rick: I never make plans that far ahead.

— Casablanca

Captain Renault: What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.

— Casablanca

I admit it is better fun to punt than be punted, and that a desire to have all the fun is nine-tenths of the law of chivalry.

— Dorothy L. Sayers

The thing about identity politics is that, for the most part, they actually reinforce sexist and racist categories.

— Jonas Kyratzes

I’m not procrastinating. I’m delegating important tasks to future-me.

— Matthew Sheahan

Ignorance is not a crime until it becomes willful.

— Trotksy

Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American.

— Edward Snowden

I have no belief in (or desire for) any post-mortem existence, other than in the memories of friends and the hope that some of my books may still ‘speak’ to people after my death.

— Oliver Sacks

The decline of religion in countries like Denmark and Sweden proves the point that education, combined with an equitable standard of living, can and do replace the need for religion. If your country and community provides for these basic needs, there really is no need to seek assistance from a power outside of nature.

— Beth Hansen

Whistle-blowing has become the civil disobedience of the information age.

— Bruce Schneier

‘Empathy’ doesn’t mean obeying a political dogma because some of the people supporting it are oppressed, it means trying to understand, having an insight into the emotional experiences of others

— Jonas Kyratzes

Writing is just word puppetry.

— Mary Robinette Kowal

Events are just the transitions from one bit of Cool Shit to another.

— Alex Haist

God is a hack writer.

— Sharon Kahn

Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.

— Hegel

Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond.

— Hegel

The idea is always a generalization, and generalization is a property of thought. To generalize means to think.

— Hegel

The middle class is always a firm champion of equality when it concerns humbling a class above it, but it is its inveterate foe when it concerns elevating a class below it.

— Orestes Brownson

People are altered, in a profound manner, by art. The altering is a complex process, and it may not be immediate or direct, but it takes place just the same.

— David Walsh

Anyone who thinks that was a flame is an idiot. This is a flame. The difference should be obvious.

— David Dyer-Bennet

It is becoming quite common to under-rate heroism that saved Kansas for freedom. The cold blooded historian goes mousing among old letters and he finds that these early heroes were men and women, of like frailties with ourselves. But the glory of heroism is not that angels come down to mingle in the affairs of men, but that common men and women, when the occasion demands, can rise to such sublime heights of heroism and self sacrifice.

— Rev. Richard Cordley, 1895

The two commonest elements in the universe are hydrogen and hypocrisy.

— Charlie Stross

Steve Brust doesn’t make idle threats. They also characterize, advance the plot, or both.

— Ambrose Persimmon

I don’t know about you, but I want the person who designed the building I’m in to believe there is a real world.

— (Someone at Fourth Street. If you remember who, let me know)

Just walk up the hill, they said. It’ll be easy, they said. We’ll have a picnic, they said.

— Col. William C. Oates, 15th Alabama

The revolutionary duty of the writer is to write well.

— Gabriel García Márquez

A blunting of sharp edges, even distribution of light and shadow, a conciliatory moralizing, with a thorough disguising of the author’s sympathies easily secures for an historical work the high reputation of objectivity.

— Trotsky

Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

— Joe Klein

I learned to hate from a strip mine, love from a strip bar
Honesty and charity? I stole ’em from a tip jar

— Roger Clyne

A lot of hairs were at stake here, so you had to split some of them.

— Prof. David Blight

Art demands dogged work, work in spite of everything and continuous observation. By dogged, I mean, in the first place incessant labor, but also not abandoning one’s views upon the say-so of this person or that.

— Vincent Van Gogh

The human word is the most portable of all materials.

— Trotsky

What are you DOING here?

— Erik Emory

The more the opinions of the author remain hidden, the better for the work of art. The realism I allude to may crop out even in spite of the author’s opinions.

— Engels

It is indubitable that the militia did employ violence: it was created exactly for that. Its crime consisted, however, in resorting to violence in dealing with representatives of that class which was not accustomed to be the object of violence and did not want to get accustomed to it.

— Trotsky

Racism is the art of pretending circumstances are characteristics.

— Gabriel Squailia

All revolutions are impossible until they happen, at which time they were inevitable.

— Variously Attributed

Yet there are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for heath. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is; it is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.

— Twain

The masses are long-suffering, but they are not clay out of which you can fashion anything you want to. Moreover, in a revolutionary epoch they learn fast.

— Trotsky

You know what the fellow said–in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace–and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

— Orson Welles

The petty-bourgeois intellectuals are introspective by nature. They mistake their own emotions, their uncertainties, their fears and their own egoistic concern about their personal fate for the sentiments and movements of the great masses. They measure the world’s agony by their own inconsequential aches and pains.

— James P. Cannon

That’s my secret: I’m always uncomfortable.

— Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Attribute that to someone else.

— jenphalian

In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission.

— Trotsky

Don’t mourn, organize.

— Joe Hill

The history of philosophical system is the picture gallery of reason.

— Ludwig Feuerbach

To theology, … only what it holds sacred is true, whereas to philosophy, only what holds true is sacred.

— Ludwig Feuerbach

People are too eager to say ‘This legendary person had flaws!’ instead of, ‘Wow, this flawed human being managed to do something legendary.’

— Mishell Baker

If you’re an author and think it’s hard to act cheerful online when you’re not feeling it, try working at Starbucks

— Fonda Lee

Some people have been drinking hot dog water for so long, they think it’s soup.

— Scott Lynch

The ruling classes . . . lose faith in themselves; the old parties fall to pieces; a bitter struggle of groups and cliques prevails; hopes are placed in miracles or miracle workers.

— Trotsky

Well, it’s a nice soft night, so I think I’ll go and join me comrades and talk a little treason.

— “The Quiet Man”

I knew your grandfather. He died in Australia, in a penal colony. And your father, he was a good man too.

— The Quiet Man

If Lenin and Trotsky had behaved in 1917 as ‘respectable’ social democrats, collaborated with the Provisional Government, cleared the way for Kornilov’s victory, and then perished in a fascist debacle, liberal historians today would no doubt write of them as sympathetically as they do of Salvador Allende.

— David North

Of all the services rendered by Stalinism to world imperialism, none is more important than its discrediting of socialism in the eyes of broad sections of the working class.

— David North

Suspension of disbelief is a lot easier when somebody is naked.

— Chris “Fox” Wallace

I used to think that churches should pay taxes like any major corporation, then I realized that they already do.

Dinner is a major daily activity, which can be accomplished in worthy fashion only by intelligent people. It is not enough to eat. To dine, there must be diversified, calm conversation. It should sparkle with the rubies of the wine between the courses, be deliciously suave with the sweetness of dessert, and acquire true profundity with the coffee.

— Dumas

Police repression stifles and distorts a political struggle, but does not eliminate it.

— Trotsky

Time spent hanging out with friends, reading a good book, or videotaping the police is never wasted.

Revolution can never be forecast; it cannot be foretold; it comes of itself. Revolution is brewing and is bound to flare up.

— Lenin

You can’t write music right unless you know how the man that’ll play it plays poker.

— Duke Ellington

Trust your demon.

— Roger Zelazny

We have always distinguished the social kernel from the political form of bourgeois democracy; we have always revealed the hard kernel of social inequality and lack of freedom hidden under the sweet shell of formal equality and freedom.

— Rosa Luxemburg

They say that midway between two opposing opinions lies the truth. By no means: between them lies the problem.

— Goethe

It was not easy to make decisions when a concern for one’s virtue was viewed as unvirtuous.

— Gordon S. Wood

A government, once it has established itself, may endure much longer than the relationship of forces which produced it. It is precisely out of this historical contradiction that revolutions, coup d’etats, counter- revolutions, etc., arise.

— Trotsky

The difference between the bourgeois women’s movement and the working-women’s movement is as clear as day. We are not hostile to the ‘women’s movement’, but we also have not the slightest reason to give it support.

— Eleanor Marx

From an economics viewpoint, every penny spent on counter-terrorism is a penny wasted. From a civil rights stand point, every penny spent on counter-terrorism is a tragedy.

— larswyrdson

Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.

— Thomas Paine

A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in chains, and a slave who through cunning or violence breaks the chains – let not the contemptible eunuchs tell us that they are equals before a court of morality!

— Trotsky

To investigate retrospectively the genealogy of ideas, even those most reactionary and muddleheaded, is to leave not a trace of racism standing.

— Trotsky

When a lack of being actively oppressed is treated as privilege, we’ve got some serious problems to consider.

— Daniel Taylor

Easy revisions are like UFOs; you have to doubt anyone who claims to have seen one.

— Will Shetterly

Man must hold to the conviction that the incomprehensible is comprehensible, for therein lies the drive to study and investigate.

— Goethe

Of all the species of political fauna, none was lower, none more contemptible, none more dangerous than the Socialist who defended his country in time of war.

— Trotsky

Make your work obssessable.

— David Twiddy

Art is dependent on striving for truth to the greatest degree possible. Ideas that historical experience has proven are demonstrably false, that the artist leans on out of laziness or self-interest, or the desire to be socially acceptable or have a career, are a bad basis for art.

— David Walsh

Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it was for a rich man to get into heaven. So, for the past 2000+ years, the church has feverishly worked on making bigger needles and smaller camels.

— C’helle Egalite Griffin

[The executive committee] supported the government set up by itself only “as a whole and in general,” and took the responsibility for the war “in so far as.” These petty trickeries are alien to the masses. Soldiers cannot fight “ in so far as,” or die “as a whole and in general.”

— Trotsky

Is it not remarkable that those who talk most indignantly about the victims of social revolutions are usually the very ones who, if not directly responsible for the victims of the world war, prepared and glorified them, or at least accepted them?

— Trotsky

The need to know nature is imposed upon men by their need to subordinate nature to themselves.

— Trotsky

One must always try to be as radical as reality itself.

— Lenin

You don’t fight racism with racism, the best way to fight racism is with solidarity.

— Bobby Seale

I am constantly amazed by how far the Republicans have to go to stay to the right of the Democrats.

— Will Shetterly

Kim Chee isn’t just a food, it’s a companion!”

— Reed Waller

All of the Scotch names means that the Scots have a 100 different words for “my peat bog is on fire.”

— RJ Johnson

For a Hungarian married to a Japanese and living in the United States, cooking rice can be traumatic

— Chef Lajos Szathmary

“I have seen how the sausage is made, and it is made with the flesh of the working class.”

— Mandy Perry

Racism and antiracism: Blaming people for things they didn’t do because they belong to groups that don’t exist.

— Will Shetterly

Humans mistake desire as the root of sin and suffering, but they think too narrowly. Desire is simply the source. Of their sinning, yes, but of their dignity as well. People are shaped by and they shape their wanting. The channels it carves through their lives define the contours of their nobility or degradation.

— Skyler White

Life is on the wire, the rest is just waiting.

— Papa Wallenda

Now that we’ve fucked ourselves anyway I think we have a responsibility to keep fucking ourselves.

— Natalie Maines

Capitalism came into the world covered with blood, the product of revolution and war. In spite of all of that, it gave us great benefits–it was progressive at one time. Now that it is exhausted and reactionary, its defenders argue that revolution never accomplishes anything.

When you ask that the Devil not be blamed for things the Devil did not do, God’s most partisan advocates will ask why you’re defending the Devil. They cannot see that you’re defending Justice.

— Will Shetterly

For a writer to tackle a subject in which the country, social background, and temperament of the people are outside his or her inherent knowledge is the height of impertinence. But writers are impertinent. They also frequently become obsessed by themes outside their own experience, and once a writer is obsessed there is nothing to do but give way and indulge the obsession.

— Diane Pearson

The exercise of rights should not be a zero-sum contest for a scarce resource,

— Bob Kruger

The invention of an effective test to determine artificial intelligence marked an important turing point in computer science.

Passion without tenacity is empty.

— Mackenzie Littledale

When egoists throw out terms like ‘check your privilege,’ they seem more concerned with placing white Americans in a lose-lose situation instead of highlighting a ceding of power to the ruling class based upon manufactured social structures, and creating a pathway for solidarity.

— Black Socialists of America

The best flirtationships are a dance of mutually deferred seduction.

— Benjamin Boyce

There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.

— Karl Marx

When we are unsettled by history, when our perceptions start to shift, that’s when we’re ready to learn. To outlaw discomfort in the classroom is to outlaw good teaching.

— David Perry

52 thoughts on “Quotables”

  1. xcellence is… Caring more than others think wise. Risking more than others think safe. Dreaming more than others think practical. Expecting more than others think possible – Tulsa Boy Scouts

    Problems are solved in pieces. If you are on the 7th floor of a burning building you can either die or jump out a window. Once you are out the window you are alive for another 2 seconds, during which time you figure out the solution to the next problem and so on..if you are falling off a building you might as well try to fly as you’ve got nothing to lose. – Babylon 5

    Virgin birth, water into wine; it’s like Harry Potter, but it causes Genocide and bad folk music -American Dad

  2. “Every decision you have made..has been right. Every decision I have made..has been wrong. But there is one thing: I have never lied about who I was, what I was doing, or why I was doing it..” – Satan

  3. “To arms, To arms!… Two legs, Two legs baby.” -Stonekeep

    “And, isn’t sanity really just a one-trick pony anyway? I mean all you get is one trick, rational thinking, but when you’re good and crazy, oooh, oooh, oooh, the sky is the limit. ” -The Tick

  4. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. -Will Rogers

    I’m high alright, but not on false drugs!
    I’m high on the real thing; powerful gasoline, a clean windshield and a shoeshine. -Pastor Rod Flash

    Excuse me, not excuse me. You’re making, not making the doctor very unhappy, happy. -Doctor Memory

    The great way is not difficult for those with no preferences. -Third Zen Patriarch

  5. Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt. The civilized man has a moral obligation to be skeptical, to demand the credentials of all statements that claim to be facts. An honorable man will not be bullied by a hypothesis. For in the last analysis all tyranny rests on fraud, on getting someone to accept false assumptions, and any man who for one moment abandons or suspends the questioning spirit has for that moment betrayed humanity.

    Bergen Evans
    A Tale of a Tub, 1946.

  6. “I’d do anything to have a body like that guy. Anything, except diet and exercise.” -Steve Martin

  7. “Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
    — C.S. Lewis

    (At least, I think that’s who said it.)

  8. “Ah, but it makes a great deal of difference, you see. It is the difference between the unknown and the unknowable, between science and fantasy—it is a matter of essence. The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom and the unknown. Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable. The man who bows in that final direction is either a saint or a fool. I have no use for either.”
    —Roger Zelazny, Yama to Tak

  9. “Do you mean oil?”

    “No! I mean black blood of the earth.”

    Egg to Jack Burton
    Big Trouble in Little China

  10. “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe”

    Carl Sagan, 1980

  11. Outside of a dog , a book is a man’s best friend . Inside a dog it’s too dark to read . Groucho Marx

  12. “Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”

    —J. R. R. Tolkien
    First appearing in *The Fellowship of the Ring*, Book I, Chapter 3, then invoked as a familiar adage throughout the rest of *The Lord of the Rings*.
    (*Snap*—and thank-you, Jim Butcher; that’s 11+ down, 5+ to go.)

  13. “No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will cramp his style.”

    –Steven Brust, (Pretty certain from the Novel Taltos, but may have been Jhereg, Yendi, or Teckla)

    (Addendum: unless he’s undead, but that would be spoiling…)

  14. “I once saw a forklift lift a crate of forks. It was way too literal for me.” -Mitch Hedberg.

  15. re “No matter how subtle the wizard….” @17:

    —S. K. Z. Brust
    First appearing in *Taltos* as Chapter 17 header, then invoked as a familiar adage throughout the rest of the *Taltos* series.

  16. Crap, screwed up again. @ 19 should have said:

    First appearing in *Jhereg* as Chapter 17 header, then invoked as a familiar adage throughout the rest of the *Taltos* series.

  17. Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and good with ketchup.

    (No idea who originated that particular spoof.)

  18. The first priest was the first scoundrel to meet the first fool.

    Voltaire, Rousseau, or my history teacher

  19. “Never date a girl whose brothers have knife scars.” – Slovotsky’s law #17
    Joel Rosenberg, The Sleeping Dragon

  20. “Moreover our memory is like a sieve, the holes of which in time get larger and larger: the older we get, the quicker anything entrusted to it slips from the memory, whereas, what was fixed fast in it in early days is there still.”
    – Arthur Schopenhauer; “Psychological Observations”

    Or, to put it in Vlad’s Notes form:

    “Memory is like a Whatchacallit.”
    – Steven Brust; Chapter 1 header for *Dragon*
    (His *other* 17-part Cite the Source challenge to readers. Still struggling to get a firm handle on it. Not much liking the fingerholds I’ve snagged so far.)

  21. Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

  22. “You can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think!”
    – Dorothy Parker

  23. “…He would be an ideal judge. He has the kind of daring mind that glorifies in deciding an issue without understanding it.”
    Rex Stout

  24. “The core problem with the New Left was that it wasn’t an ideology, it was a mood–and if you are susceptible to one mood, you are susceptible to another.” — Dave Van Ronk

  25. “The problem with quotes found on the internet is you have no way of confirming their authenticity.” – Abraham Lincoln

  26. Malcom Reynolds-” Looks like we got here just in time, what does that make us?”

    Zoe- ” Big Damn Heroes Sir!”

    Malcom Reynolds- ” Ain’t we just.”

    Firefly Episode Titled : Safe

  27. Kate: “What was Sherlock Holnes’ priciple? ‘Once you have discounted the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.'”

    Dirk: I reject that entirely. The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks…. The first idea merely suppose something we don’t know about, and God knows there are enough of those. The second, however, runs contrary to something fundamental and human which we do know about. We should therfore be suspicious of it, and all it’s specious rationality.”

    Douglas Adams, “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul”

  28. @skzb Alas. Hoist by my own petard. Or something.

    The only thing worse than looking for authentic quotes on the internet is incorrectly attributing authentic quotes on the internet .–Oscar Wilde

  29. I must make a point of telling Sethra not to underrate the power of the hissy-cow. – Vlad

  30. John Savage facing off against Controller Mustapha Mond on the subject of compulsory monthly Violent Passion Surrogate treatments as part of a state-provided health care plan:

    [Mond] “We prefer to do things comfortably.”

    “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

    “In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”

    “All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”

    – Aldous Huxley, *Brave New World*

  31. “You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way.”
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

  32. “I’d rather hate myself for failing, than hate my life for never having tried.” – All That Remains

    “Success leads to stagnation. Stagnation leads to failure.” – Vlad Taltos

    “Do not let one’s tongue outrun one’s sense.” – Chilon

  33. Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee, and I’ll forgive Thy great big joke on me…Forgive me my nonsense as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense.
    -Robert Frost

  34. When your belief runs headfirst into an opposing fact, you have but two choices: change your belief or run for office.-Doc Blalock

  35. The Impossible attracts me, because everything possible has been done & the world didn’t change.
    -Sun Ra

  36. I suggested that my oldest daughter read _Atlas Shrugged_ because I wanted her to get a solid inoculation to those ideas. She was not very enthusiastic.

    After awhile, she asked me, “Daddy, isn’t this just Twilight with rich people in place of vampires?”

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