Quotes I like
(which started with some nice short things, but now also includes longer passages I like, but don't necessarily have committed to memory)

"The problem isn't that conservatives are wrong about the efficiency of markets or the creativity of enterprise. It's that they have made false idols of both, usually without acknowledging that markets work best when well regulated, that private enterprise cannot meet every human need, that government has always played a critical role in our economy, and that the profit motive can be socially and environmentally destructive as well as dynamic."
Joe Conason
Ograbme: [Laissez-faire types] seem to be trying to paint market forces as some kind of democratic-like institution, but in many cases they're flat-out plutocratic.
BrainGlutton: Well, of course. "Plutocracy" means "power of wealth," and where has wealth more power than in the marketplace?
Straight Dope Message Board
Whose theory says that capitalism will compensate for it's weaknesses? Marxist theory says that capitalism will eventually be brought down by it's weaknesses. Keynesian theory says that government regulation can compensate for the weaknesses of capitalism. Capitalists claim that capitalism has no weaknesses.
spotted on a comment thread, as said by "MeddlingMonk"
When the conservative movement in America adopts most of King's beliefs, not just the ones that are universally popular today, then they might lay claim to his mantle. But as long as they find "social justice" to be a deplorable thing, and view the crumbs that fall to the poor from the tables of the rich to be the only moral way for the poor to grow richer, they're kidding themselves. ~"appleciders" on the SDMB
Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands.
-credited to "Jyrinx"
There is no "I" in "Team". There isn't a "you," either, nor is there a "we" or an "us". There is, however, an "eat" and a "me" if you jumble it up.
Ethilrist's sig line on the SDMB
All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.
Joss Whedon
Rachel:  When the reality no longer exists, exploiters can take the legend, and make it whatever they want, good or bad.
Excalibur Special Edition, "The Sword is Drawn"  script by Chris Claremont; Marvel Comics, 1987

Rachel:The facts in my head, they're so jumbled up, I don't know anymore what's real and what isn't—what actually happened, what's a lie.
But that doesn't matter.  Because the clutter doesn't affect my emotional realities—perhaps, in turn, because the Phoenix by nature relates, responds better to feelings than rationality.  I know who I am—who I care for, who I don't—that's what matters.  The rest, I can take or leave.

Because, maybe going on strike, and not getting paid looks pretty good from the top of 200,000 dollars, but you know what? I don't have 200,000 dollars! I wish I had 200,000 dollars, but I don't! I only have 20 million dollars!
Fred Armisen on Saturday Night Live, Season 33, Episode 4
"A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar. Who do you ask to hold your drink while you go to the bathroom?"
"The rabbi, duh."
"What if the rabbi has sneaky eyes?"
"Judaism is practice-based. Christianity is faith-based. I trust those who follow rules they don't entirely believe in more than I trust those who believe in rules they don't entirely follow."
Cat and Girl
I plugged the agent's drawn gun with my finger and soothed, "What my colleague is trying to say is that no matter how many times you ask me if I want to explode the President, I'm not going to say yes. I probably wouldn't even kill Fidel Castro. It's not that human life is magic and precious; most people are total dicks. I just have other hobbies that keep me busy."

"I understan... wait. None of that made any sense."

"To be honest, Agent Smith, none of it does. None of it really does."

Agent Smith put a piece of duct tape over my mouth and explained how if your website or baseball cap says to kill someone and then someone does it, it can get tracked back to you and then you're legally responsible. That's all the information Sean and Erik needed to twist the government's retarded system of blame into a get rich quick scheme. Erik screamed, "Invent flying cars, science!!!" at the exact same time Sean scribbled "Hey, scientists! Invent talking fruit!" onto a scarf and dramatically threw it around his neck. So if we can trust Agent Smith and his Government, Seanbaby will be legally responsible when scientists revolutionize produce with fruit that can talk (and maybe sing!). And Erik is going to be even richer when you're driving through the clouds in your flying cars. Because he was in charge of telling someone to make them.

Agent Smith, with a hand twitching on his firearm, informed us that this blaming policy didn't work like that. You only get the credit for bad stuff like school massacres and "situations of that matter." For example, if you rent a megaphone and bike around the world telling people to "BLOW UP THE WORLD!" you are held responsible if someone blows up the world. But if you call a grocery store and tell the guy on the phone to mop up aisle eight, you don't get a paycheck for cleaning up aisle eight. It didn't make much sense to us, but we were just happy that we were finally confused because someone else was an idiot.

Sorry, Timmy.  If you're going to be falling into wells, you should have chosen one of those "heroic" breeds as a pet.
Bizarro, 14 August 2003
Lewis Rothschild:You have a deeper love of this country than any man I've ever known. And I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks, 59% of Americans have begun to question your patriotism.
President Shepherd:Look, if the people want to listen to-...
Lewis Rothschild:They don't have a choice! Bob Rumson is the only one doing the talking! People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.
President Shepherd:Lewis, we've had presidents who were beloved, who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.
The American President, screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Rob Reiner
I have resigned myself to
complicity with evil
in order
to accomplish certain
srategic things
for people
whose suffering is more important
than my need
to maintain
moral purity

Warren M. Hern, on his work in the Nixon administration
Business and public administration are alike only in all unimportant respects.
Wallace Stanley Sayre
Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.
George Santayana
“...They love America the way a four-year old loves her mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a four-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world. That’s why we liberals want America to do the right thing. We know America is the hope of the world, and we love it and want it to do well. We also want it to do good.”
Al Franken
The best measure of a just society is whether you’d be willing to be thrown into it at random.
John Komlos, paraphrasing John Rawls.
"Excess ain't rebellion. / You're drinking what they're selling.
Your self-destruction doesn't hurt them. / Your chaos won't convert them." ~ Cake
Free inquiry cannot flourish among idiotic certainties of ignorant men.
H. L. Mencken
If the success of your music depends on leopard-skin tights, something's wrong.
attributed to Dave Coverdale
According to friends of Billy Joel, the Piano Man's new 25-year-old girlfriend bears a striking resemblance to his daughter Alexa.  If Freud were alive today & asked to comment on this, I think he'd say, "I'm the father of modern psychoanalysis, miraculously brought back to life in the 21st Century, & you're asking me about Billy Joel's girlfriend?"
Jimmy Fallon on "Weekend Update", Saturday Night Live
Your chances of catching something from a cloth towel—or from "paper towel litter," if you're in the habit of rooting around in it and wiping it all over yourself—are so remote as to be practically negligible.  If you were to contract something, it would most likely be some sort of bacterial skin infection like impetigo (which isn't seen much anymore) or athlete's foot (whose transmission is not very well understood).  Of course, if a person with some monstrous infection just happened to precede you into the rest room, and just happened to dry his or her hands without bothering to wash them first, and thereby just happened to deposit a huge dollop of virulent pus on the very section of the towel that you just happened to use to dry the area around a gaping wound that you just happened to have, you would probably keel over and croak in about 12 seconds flat, so don't say I didn't warn you.
Cecil Adams, "The Straight Dope", 3 July 1981
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
Matsuo Basho

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.
Chinese proverb

The imagination has been so debased that imagination, being imaginative, rather than being the lynchpin of our existence now stands as a synonym for something outside ourselves like science fiction or some new use for tangerine slices on raw pork chops. 'What an imaginative summer recipe!' And Star Wars? 'So imaginative!' And Star Trek? 'So imaginative.' And Lord of the Rings, all those dwarfs? 'So imaginative...'
The imagination has moved out of the realm of being our link, our most personal link with our inner lives and the world outside that world, this world we share....
I believe the imagination is the passport that we create to help take us into the real world.
John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation
"So where do you get all your ideas?"
"In the bar down the street.  There's a vending machine in the men's room."
Peter B. Gillis
Does anyone really have a "favorite" author?
Jim Shooter
Tatsu:  . . . . But why did you pick that style?
Gaby:  Oh, I asked everyone at school about it.  Half of 'em said—
Tatsu:  Let me guess... the girls said "cut it," and the boys said "don't."  Am I right?
Gaby:  Tatsu... I only asked boys!
Tatsu:  Of course...
Batman and the Outsiders #28, script by Mike W. Barr; DC Comics, 1985
Amr Moussa, the general secretary of the Arab League, has as much business lecturing the United States on how to create a more "representative" Iraqi government as he does telling us about the proper allocation of vowels in first names.
—Jonah Goldberg, July 24, 2003, National Review Online

Which, it now occurs to me, is an unbelievably arrogant attitude for a nation-building program. —me, Sept. 30, 2008

Grace:  Okay.  So our first wedding didn't take.  But we're havin' another one!  And a real one this time.  As for all these, oh, these lovely presents, I—I don't really know the protocol.  Let's just call them engagement gifts.  Bring another one at the wedding.
Will & Grace, "Marry Me A Little, Marry Me A Little More",
Written by Jeff Greenstein & Bill Wrubel, Directed by James Burrows
from a debate:
Bayard Rustin: It is much too easy to take a position... which simply says both political parties stink.  They do!  But that is not the point.  The point is that one will find himself in some situations having to coöperate with that one which is in power... and on other occasions... to select the one which stinks least.  That is the nature of politics.
Stokely Carmichael:...I want to touch on the problem which Mr. Rustin raises about the lesser of two evils.  It's about time this country tells the political leaders that we do not vote for evil men.  Period.  And that for me to beg to get into their community is to dehumanize myself.  And I shall not do that.
    "The poor sickle has been rather neglected in Russia, don't you think, or they wouldn't have to buy so much wheat from the Americans?"
    "A temporary shortage, father.  We cannot yet control the climate."
    "But God can."
    "Do you really believe that?"
    "Ah, you indulge too much, father, in a dangerous drug—as dangerous as the old don's books of chivalry."
    "What drug?"
    "Oh, I understand. . . .  That old saying of your prophet Marx—'Religion is the opium of the people.'  But you take it out of context, Sancho.  Just as our heretics have twisted the words of Our Lord."
    "I don't follow you, monsignor."
    "When I was a student in Madrid I was encouraged to read a little in your holy book.  One must know one's enemy.  Don't you remember how Marx defended the monastic orders in England and condemned Henry the Eighth?"
    "I certainly do not."
    "You should look at Das Kapital again.  There is no talk of opium there."
    "All the same, he wrote it—though I forget for a moment where."
    "Yes, but he wrote it in the nineteenth century, Sancho.  Opium then was not an evil drug—laudanum was a tranquilizer, nothing worse.  A tranquilizer for the well-to-do, one which the poor could not afford.  Religion is the Valium of the poor—that was all he meant.  Better for them than a visit to a gin palace.  Better for them perhaps even than this wine.  Man can't live without a tranquilizer."
Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote
I never really understood the strip-joint thing.  Why go to a place and get all excited and then have a hard time walking out?
Tony Siragusa, Baltimore Ravens DT
"My great-aunt Jennifer ate a whole box of candy every day of her life, she lived to be a hundred and two, and when she'd been dead three days, she looked better than you do now."
The Man Who Came to Dinner
Strange, I have the opposite effect; streetlamps nearly always work properly when I walk past them (I'm not sure what they do when I'm not there, because...well... I'm not there).
Mangetout on the Straight Dope Message Board
"This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather. I for one am very grateful to have been here.
"From Punxsutawney, this is Phil Connors. So long."
Groundhog Day, script by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, directed by Harold Ramis
There is absolutely no inevitability so long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage
I'm a peripheral visionary.  I can see into the future, but only way off to the side.
Steven Wright

It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.
Gore Vidal

So many women, so little chance...

Families, when a child is born,
Want it to be intelligent.
I, through intelligence,
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he will crown a tranquil life
By becoming a Cabinet Minister.
Su Tung-p'o, "On the Birth of his Son"
Show me a leader who's fit to lead
Who don't sow his seed in anything wounded enough to breed
Because after all, what fun is power if you can't act like a rock star?
Jewel, "The New Wild West", This Way
What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down. . . .
The Doors, "When the Music's Over", Strange Days
Your children are not your children.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, they do not belong to you.
paraphrased from Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
"Your produce alone has been worth the trip."
    One wishes for an alternative to the conservatives' moral superiority & the liberal's sentimentality.  One wishes for a connection; but that's exactly what is missing.
    The sad fact is that these children with their Mexican faces are our American chldren—and we do not accept them.  The sad truth is that we are becoming as tribal as the "gangstas."
Richard Rodriguez on the NewsHour, 4 April 1995
Re: Forbidden pleasures in paradise?
Sir Doris:
  An ex-colleague, native arabic speaker and former muslim, was always insistent that boys were part of the deal, so to speak.
She never could work out where the inexhaustible supply of virgins would come from.
Mandarax:  Why do you think God had the Aztecs and other pagan cults sacrifice all those virgins for all those years?

The Straight Dope Message Board ...and that thread isn't there anymore. huh.
"...Men will awake presently and be men again, and colour and laughter and splendid living will return to a grey civilization.  But that will only come true because a few men will believe in it, and fight for it, and fight in its name against everything that sneers and snarls at that ideal."
Leslie Charteris, The Last Hero

"...to live outside the law, you must be honest."
Bob Dylan, "Absolutely Sweet Marie"

The individual alone can be a true anarch.
Anthony Burgess, 1985

"I am not a number! I am a free man!"
Patrick McGoohan as The Prisoner

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
Edward Abbey

No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness....
Mary Wollstonecraft
(actually I swiped this from a internet message board signature line)


In Germany they first came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.  Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.  Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.  Then they came for me—and by that time no one was left to speak up.
Pastor Martin Niemöller

Hynkel:   Place Commander Schultz under arrest!
Schultz:  Very well, but remember my words.  Your cause is doomed to failure because it's built on the stupid ruthless persecution of innocent people.  Your policy is worse than a crime, it's a tragic blunder!
Hynkel:  Traitor! . . . Go and die a democrat!
The Great Dictator, written & directed by Charles Chaplin

"You are out of your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane."
Governor Festus, in The Acts of the Apostles 26:24

God can't banish evil unless he drowns the human race. And so all he can do is mourn.
Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Nein und Amen
[published in English as Putting Away Childish Things]

you think it's such a sad thing when you see a fallen king
then you find out they're only princes to begin with....
Larry Norman, "Reader's Digest", Only Visiting This Planet

Still is the bottom of my sea: who would guess that it harbours sportive monsters? Imperturble is my depth, but it sparkles with swimming riddles and laughters.
Friedrich Nietzsche

...no matter if it's a broken heart or a broken sword...
things only have the power that you give them.
Joseph Michael Linsner, Dawn: Lucifer's Halo

Master Shu:  We've come to restore traditional values to your world.
Marcus Harding:  Traditional values?  You mean, like the 1950's?
Master Shu:  No! You idiot!  (Throws a ring of lightning from his hand at Harding)
The Lost Empire, screenplay by David Hwang, directed by Peter MacDonald
Precious moments, precious few
When that dollar's more than me and you!
It's the joy of forgetting,
Such a joy to forget
But we killed all our firstborn
And we slashed and we burned
And we sold off the paddocks
And we raped and we gouged
On the wings of a six-pack
Will we ever learn?
Midnight Oil, "Who Can Stand in the Way", Red Sails in the Sunset

I know the cannibals wear smart suits and ties
and I know they arm wrestle on the altar....
Midnight Oil, "Sometimes", Diesel and Dust

Up there on the platform he is speaking to the people
And the people are responding with a clapping and a cheering
But the meaning of the message, not revealed to those assembled
They're taken for a ride--taken in his stride.
Midnight Oil, "When the Generals Talk", Red Sails in the Sunset

I'm as old as the hills   and young as the day
and nobody sees things   in quite the same way
Midnight Oil, "Feeding Frenzy", Earth and Sun and Moon

I hope my country claims its own....
Midnight Oil, "In the Valley", Earth and Sun and Moon

More Oils lyrics at Sing365.com & this personal page.

The universe is female, eluding the science of men....
The Church, "Essence", Gold Afternoon Fix

Oh my ugly duckling, nobody loves you
--Daddy said he'll buy you some ballet shoes
--but he spent all he had on hash
and avoiding another crash
--now who will look after you?
One night your shoulders will ache,
the next day when you wake
you'll sprout wild wings and fly,
just like in Swan Lake.
The Church, "Swan Lake", Priest=Aura

Follow her down
to worship some god
who never speaks to me
I wonder if that's odd
--and then he says, "You're never listening."
The Church, "Lost", Starfish

We know the gods live in the sky, for we can see their flatulence.
The Gods Must Be Crazy
Said the actress to the bishop:
"Don't you think it's slightly odd
That we haven't heard for ages
From that old palooka, God!?"

"I've even tried to call him
But his phone is off the hook
He must be ex-directory
'Cos he isn't in the book!"

Brian Bolland, The Actress and the Bishop

It is no proof of a man's understanding to be able to confirm whatever he pleases; but to be able to discern that what is true is true, and that what is false is false; this is the mark and character of intelligence.
Emanuel Swedenborg

To will and not to do when there is opportunity, is in reality not to will; and to love what is good and not to do it, when it is possible, is in reality not to love it.
Emanuel Swedenborg

I retired from teaching in 2010 after 29 years teaching high school social studies in two high schools in a county on the outskirts of the Atlanta metro area. I did my best work in my last decade or so on the job.
Over the years I knew a number of folks who came into the classroom with the end goal of getting an administrator's position as soon as possible. Without exception they were bad teachers and they became worse administrators.
"southdem" on DailyKos
The intellectual life of a body of undergraduates, if there be any, manifests itself, not in the classroom, but in what they do and talk of, and set before themselves, as their favorite objects between classes and lectures.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson
'Excuse me, mademoiselle,' I said, 'but this is the seventh lecture of mine that you have attended and your notebook remains blank. Have I not uttered a single word that was worth recording?' Do you know what she said? 'Professor Tardieu, it is not what you say that impresses me most, it is what you are silent about: ideas, morality, love, death, things ... This notebook' -- she fluttered its vacant pages -- 'is the record of your profound silences. Vos silences profonds.' She speaks excellent French. I went away glowing with pride. Later I wondered whether she was mocking me.
David Lodge, Small World
I just know someone will scold me for ruining the end of the book....

    “But, Father, couldn't you make whichever you like to be the next King?”
    “No.  The King's under the law, for it's the law makes him a king.  Hast no more power to start away from thy crown than any sentry from his post.”
    “Oh dear,” said Cor.  “I don't want to at all.  And Corin—I am most dreadfully sorry.  I never dreamed my turning up was going to chisel you out of your kingdom.”
    “Hurrah! Hurrah!” said Corin.  “I shan't have to be King.  I shan't have to be King.  I'll always be a prince.  It's princes have all the fun.”
    “And that's truer than thy brother knows, Cor,” said King Lune.  “For this is what it means to be a king:  to be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there's hunger in the land (as must be now and then in bad years) to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in your land.“
C. S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

    “Why is it against the law to have a clock?”
    Stacey tossed a piece of chalk from one hand to the other.
    “Is it against the law?”
    Conrad nodded. “There’s an old notice in the police station offering a bounty of one hundred pounds for every clock or wristwatch brought in. I saw it yesterday. The sergeant said it was still in force.”
    Stacey raised his eyebrows mockingly. “You’ll make a million. Thinking of going into business?”
    Conrad ignored this. “It’s against the law to have a gun because you might shoot someone. But how can you hurt anybody with a clock?”
    “Isn’t it obvious? You can time him, know exactly how long it takes him to do something.”
    “Then you can make him do it faster.”
J. G. Ballard, "Chronopolis"
Artemis: All your people are dead.  Surrender. . . or join them.
[. . .]
Hank: These guys look reasonably healthy.  I thought you said...
Artemis: Forgive me.  I thought, "Your men are dozing.  Surrender or they may revive at any time," to lack the requisite urgency.
Artemis: Requiem #2, script by William Messner-Loebs; DC Comics, 1996
About this next passage:  not only would either part be amusing on its own, but they were, in fact, together, in this sequence, in the book.

    It’s generally very quiet in the Unseen University library.  There’s perhaps the shuffling of feet as wizards wander between the shelves, the occasional hacking cough to disturb the academic silence, and every once in a while a dying scream as an unwary student fails to treat an old magical book with the caution it deserves.
    Consider orangutans.
    In all the worlds graced by their presence, it is suspected that they can talk but choose not to do so in case humans put them to work, possibly in the television industry.  In fact they can talk.  It's just that they talk in Orangutan.  Humans are only capable of listening in Bewilderment.

Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms
Never give a boy a sword until he masters poetry.
Never give a man a gun before he masters the sword.
But take away a man's power and you may as well geld him.
So the difference between a fierce man and a brutal boy becomes a matter of control.
The knowledge of the full bitter sweetness of that which he gives up, or takes away.
Never lie with someone without the deepest respect.
In love--
--or in death.
Sarah Byam, Billi 99
If I am tired now, I do not mind; for I have eternity to rest.
Andrés Segovia
They see themselves in the faces of their children,
and realise they too are
part of the machine.
Jethro Tull, "Part of the Machine"
I don't try to describe the future. I try to prevent it.
Ray Bradbury
"Mum! Dad! Don't touch it! It's evil!"
Time Bandits
...the Nine Unknown Men, most mysterious of all rock groups, don their ceremonial football helmets & face east, chanting,
"There is only one god.
He is the sun god.
Ra! Ra! Ra!"
Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson, Illuminatus!

more to come, when I think of some....

Pages of longer quotes:
§ Peter Porter: After Martial (poetry)
§ e e cummings (poetry)
§ Harlan Ellison (quotes)
§ Daniel Quinn 1: excerpt from Providence
§ Daniel Quinn 2: various shorter passages
§ more Sarah Byam (essays)