Sarah Silverman: "Nothing’s more attractive than an unending monologue about your shortcomings."
Carolyn Hax: "Sometimes surrendering to the awful is more useful than fighting it."
Graham Joyce: "why can’t our job here on earth be simply to inspire each other?"
Dan Harmon: "I believe in magic. I believe in mythology. I believe in shamanism. I believe that spells can be cast and I believe that random things coalesce and reveal themselves to be part of a plan we don’t control, you know."
Nora Ephron: "Never turn down a front-row seat for human folly."
McAlvie "The ultimate downfall of modern civilization won't be war; it'll be Twitter and Facebook."
Jenny Zhang: "A lot of writers swear by routine, but I swear by chaos. There’s enough fucking routine in my life. Every day I have to brush my teeth. Every day I have to smile at strangers. Every day I have to worry about money. Every day I want something I can’t have. Every day I find some way to go on! I know that writing every day for an hour would help me tremendously with writer’s block, but I also know that I need an element of wildness in my writing. I need to know that writing is something I do because it sets me free. It makes me feel golden with confidence. It gives me the gift of gab. I feel like a god. I feel like an entertainer. So write when you damn well please."
Joe Queenan: "If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it's probably because at some level you find "reality" a bit of a disappointment. People in the 19th century fell in love with "Ivanhoe" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" because they loathed the age they were living through. Women in our own era read "Pride and Prejudice" and "Jane Eyre" and even "The Bridges of Madison County"—a dimwit, hayseed reworking of "Madame Bovary"—because they imagine how much happier they would be if their husbands did not spend quite so much time with their drunken, illiterate golf buddies down at Myrtle Beach. A blind bigamist nobleman with a ruined castle and an insane, incinerated first wife beats those losers any day of the week. Blind, two-timing noblemen never wear belted shorts."
LogicalDash: "Nobody of any age should have to fend off sexual partners. That such defense is assumed as a part of the cost of adult courtship is suggestive of some more fundamental problem than age difference and its effect on consensuality."
Keith Richards: "I had to invent the job, you know," he said, earlier. "There wasn't a sign in the shop window, saying, "Wanted: Keith Richards."
Caitlin Moran: "As I started to reassess my writing style, I thought about what I liked doing--what gave me satisfaction--and realized the primary one was just... pointing at things. Pointing out things I liked, and showing them to other people--like a mum shouting, "Look! Moo-cows!" as a train rushes past a farm. I liked pointing at things, and I liked being reasonable and polite about stuff. Or silly. Silly was very, very good. No one ever got hurt by silly.
Best of all was being pointedly silly about serious things: politics, repression, bigotry. Too many commentators are quick to accuse their enemies of being evil. It's far, far more effective to point out that they're acting like idiots, instead. I was up for idiot-revealing.
"I am just going to be polite and silly, and point at cool things," I decided. "When I started writing, I would have killed to have one thing to write about. Now, I have three. Politeness and silliness, and pointing. That's enough."
Carolyn Hax: "Unless 15 years’ worth of mail has misled me, no one has ever found love through complaining about the lack of it, and no lonely person has ever felt better for hearing, “You just haven’t found the right person yet.”
David Simon: "Change is a motherfucker when you run from it."
Joe Queenan: "People who read an enormous number of books are basically dissatisfied with the way things are going on this planet. And I think, in a way, people read for the same reason that kids play video games ... they like that world better. It works better, it's more exciting, and it usually has a more satisfactory ending."
Dan Savage: "There isn't someone for everyone. Some of us do wind up alone, and that just fucking sucks and sometimes that stings, and you don't know if you're one of those people who's going to wind up alone until you die alone....So you kind of have to live in hope and build a life for yourself that's rewarding and fun, has friends and pleasure in it, whether you're alone or not."
the painkiller: "I will not be tagged, pinned, circled, liked, tweeted, retweeted or numbered."
Steve Jobs: "Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Apple: "Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Miss Manners: "Please do not -- repeat, not -- make a hostile approach to knitters. Have you not noticed that they are armed with long, pointy sticks?"
Stephen Tobolowsky: "And of course, nothing is what I figured on in my life. That seems to be a recurring theme."
James Bulls: "When you find yourself walking a true path, you will know it because you will want to walk it no matter the burning Sun, freezing sleet, torrential rain, and treacherous ground. The risks become no less and the journey as always exhausts you, but your desire to brave the challenges never diminishes."
Amy Argetsinger: "Twitter is a disease, plain and simple. It makes people insane. A decade from now I expect the CDC and FDA will be issuing warnings."
Cary Tennis: "You don't have to "move on" either. Not until you're ready. People say, Oh, you should be grateful. They say, Oh, it's time for you to move on. I'm like, What are you, a cop with a nightstick? I'll move on when I'm done playing the blues on my harmonica, thank you very much."
Mark Morford: "It is 2011 and here is what we know: Reality is fluid, fact is malleable, cause and effect completely uncertain. We know what we don't know, but we also know the opposite."
Charlie Jane Anders: "Just remember, if you flinch from your destiny, you'll never achieve your true greatness — you didn't choose to be chosen, but being chosen means you have to choose."
Roger Ebert: "To put it bluntly, I believe the world is patriarchal because men are bigger and stronger than women, and can beat them up."
Myca: "Jesus is not the reason for the season, and there's no way I need to act like he is. Christmas is a stolen tradition. There's no reason we can't steal it back."
Lady Gaga: "I hate the holidays! I'm alone and miserable, you fucking dumb bit of toy!"
Dianna Agron: "I am trying to live my life with a sharpie marker approach. You can’t erase the strokes you’ve made, but each step is much bolder and more deliberate."
John Mayer: "It occurred to me that since the invocation of Twitter, nobody who has participated in it has created any lasting art. And yes! Yours truly is included in that roundup as well. Let me make sure that statement is as absolute and irrevocable as possible by buzzing your tower one more time: no artwork created by someone with a healthy grasp of social media thus far has proven to be anything other than disposable."
Vanessa, Something Positive: "I like 'em crazy. You hear insane rants, I hear a reminder that the sex is interesting. Oooh! Hear that? Tonight's gonna tingle."
Anonymous: “Your problem is that you want to be an artist. What you need to be is an artisan.”
Sugar: "Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it."
Wide Lawns: "Often very odd things happen to me. Usually they are not my fault and mostly beyond my control."
Anonymous reporter: “When weird shit happens around here, weird shit really happens around here.”
Anne Johnson: "Today some stranger sent me an email that said, "You are a nut case." Well, I must admit this never would have occurred to me. Everyone else is a nut case. I'm the sane one. I think."
Carl Mayer: "Whenever I start to feel like my life isn’t where I want it to be, “Cops” is there to put everything into perspective. Yeah, I haven’t made all the right moves over the last 34 years, but I’m not hiding from the police under a kiddie pool, either."
John Scalzi: "In retrospect, it’s a little weird to think that my entire future was falling into place as I obliviously tucked into the El Presidente chimichanga platter, but of course, that’s life for you — the most important days of your existence don’t always announce themselves in obvious ways."
I had been calling Birds & Bubbles the "fried chicken and champagne spot" for a year before I landed on the name. I spent another two years working on the concept itself from the menu to all of the little details — like serving the whole bird in a champagne bucket and the chicken wire baskets for the bread. It was about building a place where we celebrate every day. For example, birthday cake is a dessert on the menu. I want to have it every day; I want you to have it every day."
"By this point Avenue Q was getting ready to open. The Kate Monster/Princeton story was very influenced by what was going on in our relationship. "The fine, fine line between love and a waste of time" has a very meta story because when Bobby was working so hard on Avenue Q, he was turning into that guy who was like, I want to see you on Friday nights so we can have some fun, then I don't want to see you all week because I have to work really hard. And I was like, Um, you know what? I've done this before and I'm too old for it. So we broke up. And how he got me back was he invited me to the reading of that song. It shook me to the core that he had heard what I said, understood it, and put it in his art. Bobby asked me to marry him the night Avenue Q opened Off Broadway."
"A scandalmonger, drunkard, and host body to lice, Callender exposed both Jefferson’s and Hamilton’s private affairs, two of the greatest sex scandals in the early republic.
When Callender came to America from England, he was already on the run. He had attacked Samuel Johnson and the King of England, once referring to his government as a “mass of legislative putrefaction.” Facing sedition charges he fled, landing in America on May 21, 1793. He believed that here he would have a chance to unbuckle his talents. “It was the happy privilege of an American that he may prattle and print in what way he pleases,” Callender wrote, “and without anyone to make him afraid.” His career would test that proposition.
This sounds just as high-minded as we’d expect from the author of the Declaration of Independence, but it’s blarney. Jefferson was fine with slander, feeding the public need for low entertainment and fact- free denunciations just as long as they were aimed at his rivals. He had no problem supporting or arranging to support newspapers that did just that.
Like today, in the age of our founders one person’s depravity and slander was another person’s fact. What Jefferson would have roared about, his rival Alexander Hamilton would have applauded as plain truth. Each side in the debates of the early republic thought they were the hero in the morality play of the infant republic.
If the presidency was to be run by virtuous statesmen, there was no greater test of that virtue than how those would be presidents behaved in their private acts. By funding the scandalmongers and encouraging them, Jefferson and others failed at what they would have said was the first test of character: doing the right thing when no one was looking. That they were doing so in order to make sure a man of virtue held the office doesn’t erase the offense.
The Sedition Act seemed designed to capture Callender, and on May 21, 1800, it did. Exactly seven years after he arrived in America on the run from sedition charges and celebrating that he could say anything, Callender’s pen sent him to the pen.
Hamilton told his friend Oliver Wolcott Jr. that Jefferson “is by far not so dangerous a man and he has pretensions to character.” Those pretensions to character had not kept Jefferson from supporting the newspapers that ruined Hamilton and fought his cause at every turn, but never mind. Hamilton concluded that Burr was even worse, “far more cunning than wise, far more dexterous than able. In my opinion he is inferior in real ability to Jefferson.”
As president, Jefferson immediately distanced himself from Callender. He pardoned him along with all others convicted under the Sedition Act, but Callender wanted more in return for all he’d done. He needed that $200 fine back, and he wanted to be elevated to postmaster of Richmond. Jefferson, who had been chatty, suddenly stopped responding to letters. Callender got antsy. “By the cause, I have lost five years of labor; gained five thousand enemies; got my name inserted in five hundred libels …”
According to Jefferson biographer Jon Meacham, Jefferson wrote off Callender because “rising men do not like to be reminded of the smell of the stables.” Jefferson didn’t want to be reminded that he’d used the low road to get to high office."
"When I taught at a charter school, I once gave out 37 demerits in a 50-minute period. This was the sort of achievement that earned a new teacher praise in faculty-wide emails at Achievement First Amistad High School, in New Haven, Conn.
Amistad is a No Excuses school, in the mold of high-profile charter networks such as KIPP and Success Academy. The programs are founded on the notion that there can be “no excuses” for the achievement gap between poor minorities and their more affluent, white counterparts. To bridge that gap, they set high expectations and strict behavioral codes. School days are long. Not a moment is to be wasted. Classes even rehearse passing out papers quickly so they can save every second for drilling academic content. Instruction is streamlined with methods that data says lead to strong performances on standardized tests, which lead to college acceptances.
In May, Amistad’s students decided they’d had enough of compliance. One morning, they refused to attend classes and instead marched to protest the school’s racism and draconian discipline system. In a way, they were taking after their school’s namesake: Nearly 200 years ago, the Amistad was a slave ship whose cargo rebelled, then demanded education as well as freedom."
"And yet such charter schools have often been criticized as excessively harsh. A New York Times story last year described Success Academy students peeing their pants because they were not permitted to go to the bathroom during practice tests. That harshness looks worse when it is carried out mostly by white teachers against students who are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic.
On my first day teaching 10th-grade English, I broke with No Excuses protocol. I wanted my students to fall in love with ideas; I wanted them — not me, and certainly not some figure behind a desk at Achievement First headquarters — to control their own confrontation with difficult concepts. So I had them rearrange their desks into a circle and gave them a short but baffling text by Jorge Luis Borges. The kids struggled. More than a few of them broke the behavioral code (slouching, talking to classmates, shouting out their reactions to the reading or m my queries). But they worked hard and asked questions. At the end of the class, one student thanked me: “I’ve never thought about such big ideas before,” she said.
From that day, the school’s administration, which learned about the violation, had my number. An administrator watched my class every day. If I didn’t fully enforce the school’s code — under which demerits must be issued for slouching, looking at the wrong person or even taking notes when not explicitly directed to — the administrator would correct me on the spot.
Soon, questions were forbidden. In an email to the faculty, the school’s principal explained that the 10th grade was not doing well. Evidence included the fact that students were hugging each other in the halls. As a solution, the principal presented a rule: “There Are No Questions.” He explained: “Every time you engage with a question, you effectively A) go off your carefully planned lesson pacing, B) put one student over the rest of the class and C) kill momentum.”
Amanda Pinto, the school’s communications director, told me last month that, at Amistad, “kids are asking questions all the time.” She noted that banning “unsolicited questions full class” didn’t mean that students couldn’t ask individual questions when their peers were otherwise occupied.
Still, the questions rule turned my class to chaos. My students had read a bit of Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” and I asked them to write briefly about Machiavelli’s morality. Following protocol, I told the students to silently spend the next minute writing an answer. Two students raised their hands. “Start working silently, and I’ll come answer your question once everyone’s started,” I said, following the required script. They kept their hands defiantly in the air.
With an administrator watching, I wasn’t allowed to hear their questions, so I kept pushing back, telling the students to wait. Eventually, their protest turned vocal, and soon the whole class was yelling and throwing things — open rebellion. Later, I learned that those two students (good, focused kids) had raised their hands because they didn’t know the word “morality.” The problem could have been easily solved."
In my unfortunate experience, you canNOT stop a person from asking questions for anything in the universe. They will cut you if you deny them. They will hound the shit out of you until you give in. Or in this case, "rebel."
"Classrooms at Amistad were often unruly. My students’ favorite disruption strategy was to make bird noises — a clever move, because it’s impossible to tell who is making the noises, so no one ends up punished. One of my student advisees said to me, “I’ve been in charter schools for 10 years, and the only way to have fun is to get in trouble.” Amistad officials knew they had a morale problem. Still, an administrator once stopped me in the hall to say (on her own initiative, not following policy) that she had seen me laughing in front of my students, which was wholly inappropriate behavior.
I told a friend who had grown up in China about some of the struggles at Amistad. “That’s as bad as Communist China!” she said. “They made us march at recess.” I told her that Amistad does not have recess. The students’ only opportunity to socialize was during the lunch period, half of which was devoted to silent study hall. For a few kids facing extra punishment, lunch, too, was silent."