“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
“Entirely possible that my plangent cries about the impossibility of rebelling against an aura that promotes and attenuates all rebellion says more about my residency inside that aura, my own lack of vision, than it does about any exhaustion of U.S. fiction’s possibilities. The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of “anti-rebels”, born oglers who dare to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall to actually endorse single-entendre values. Who treat old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backwards, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point, why they’ll be the next real rebels.”
– David Foster Wallace, “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction
“I don’t care what you like. I don’t care how you feel. I just want to know that it is real, and that it comes from a place of genuine emotion. There is such a frightening coldness to being able to communicate with people so effectively and never feeling as though you exchanged actual thoughts. Yes, I want to be close. Yes, I want people to like each other fundamentally. Yes, I want us to be done with seeming cool or uninvested. And no, it probably won’t all happen overnight. But if I write you out of the blue one day to tell you that I absolutely love your blog and I would really like to buy you a cup of coffee someday to talk about life — don’t say I didn’t warn you.“
“Certainly those determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful. They were the mixed result of young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. For there is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it. A new [Saint] Theresa [of Ávila] will hardly have the opportunity of reforming a conventual life, any more than a new Antigone will spend her heroic piety in daring all for the sake of a brother’s burial: the medium in which their ardent deeds took shape is forever gone. But we insignificant people with our daily words and acts are preparing the lives of many Dorotheas, some of which may present a far sadder sacrifice than that of the Dorothea whose story we know.
Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”
– George Eliot, Middlemarch
“Why humble yourself to a system that sets limits for you? What is the point of being “humble” and, therefore “classy”, or “elegant”, and “gracious” when that system doesn’t give you a seat at the table during meetings to decide whether or not you are “gaming” their system? Why not appoint yourself the head of a new system on top of the very foundation of the system that was designed to remind you that you can only rise so high?
Beyoncé knew. She doesn’t have to tell us that she knew. She showed us what she knew.”
“I will observe, in parenthesis, that Heine says that a true autobiography is almost an impossibility, and that man is bound to lie about himself. He considers that Rousseau certainly told lies about himself in his confessions, and even intentionally lied, out of vanity. I am convinced that Heine is right; I quite understand how sometimes one may, out of sheer vanity, attribute regular crimes to oneself, and indeed I can very well conceive that kind of vanity…
[The notes of this paradoxalist do not end here, however. He could not refrain from going on with them, but it seems to us that we may stop here.]”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground