Thursday, April 11, 2013
In my occasional posts of writers’ quotations, I have not attempted to have a theme for each post. Today I do have a theme: the propagation of stupidity in Western culture.
“Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.”
~Albert Camus (pictured)
“We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture.... For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal.”
“In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without a passport; whereas virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers.”
~Herman Melville, in Moby Dick
“We should ponder here the state of modern American journalism: endowed with intelligent and able people who are quite willing to suppress what they know to be valid opinions in order not to endure hostility from their stupider and less able colleagues.”
~Dominic Lawson, on political correctness
“There are only two ways of telling the complete truth – anonymously and posthumously.”
“Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.”
“The thought came upon me, as it has done quite a lot this past few years, that I shall likely end up in a labor camp. I can’t keep my mouth shut; I can’t clap along with the Kumbaya; and I can’t pretend assent to propositions that seem to me to be false. In the world we are fast heading into, that makes me camp fodder for sure.”
“You may turn into an archangel, a fool, or a criminal – no one will see it. But when a button is missing – everyone sees that.”
~Erich Maria Remarque, in Arch of Triumph
“I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without [any printed matter] to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.”
~Newton Minow, in a famous 1961 speech to television broadcasters
“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.”
~Henry David Thoreau
The Takeaway: Let us avoid participating in the propagation of stupidity.
Thanks to Paul G. Henning for pointing out the Carl Bernstein quotation.