A representative of the Enlightenment, which, unfortunately, sometimes seems to be in the process of being repealed, Voltaire presciently observed, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
From his book Irreligion.
It is unfortunate that almost anything you get out of an egg is either half-witted or liable to take your leg off at the knee. I draw the line at an alligator. As Dorothy Parker's cleaner said on finding one in the bath: "I cannot work in a house where there are alligators. I would have told you this before but I didn't suppose the question would ever come up."
Nancy Banks-Smith writing in The Guardian.
"Ducking for apples"; there but for a typographical error, was the story of (her) life. Not
Nancy, I hasten to add, but Dorothy Parker. (My most recent Dorothy Parkerism, sounding very Ogden Nash-ish,
is A little coitus, won't hoitus also in The Guardian, 29 January 2005.)
Ahem. I have just (August 2005) been — I hope — reliably informed that the alligator quote came, not from Dorothy Parker, but from Tallulah Bankhead's cleaning woman. Mind you, Ms. Bankhead was equally outrageous...
Proposing that Jane Austen was a lesbian or Sophocles a cross-dresser is one way for those who have nothing especially stunning to say about irony or tragic fate to muscle in on the literary scene. It is rather like being praised as an eminent geographer for finding your way to the bathroom.
Quoted by Bryan Appleyard in The Sunday Times, 19 November 2006
Whenever a massacre of Armenians is reported from Asia Minor, everyone assumes that it has been carried out 'under orders' from somewhere or other; no one seems to think that there are people who might like to kill their neighbours now and then.
Filboid Studge — a story by Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), the cousin of Dornford Yates, and a marvellous writer.
The statesmen of the world who boast and threaten that they have Doomsday weapons are far more dangerous, and far more estranged from 'reality', than many of the people on whom the label 'psychotic' is affixed.
Writing in The Divided Self. Now where did I put my copy of Knots?
It's inconceivable that 180 million Americans could agree on anything nowadays, let alone on what entertains them. That's why individual entertainment units have become essential personal accessories, along with tiny phones for our tiny conversations, little cameras and computers, and a portable water supply. (When archaeologists come to sift the dust of our lapsed civilization several millennia hence, will they credit our worship of personal hydration?)
Writing in The Wilson Quarterly.
'Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,' the Mock Turtle replied; 'and then the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.'
Writing in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Similar, surely, to that dimly-remembered underwater academy in Charles Kingsley's Water Babies?
A cow and calf are cut in half
And placed in separate cases.
To call it art, however smart,
Casts doubt on art's whole basis.
Writing a review called The Eclipse of Art. It brings to mind Damien Hirst, perhaps, and a faint aroma of performing formaldehyde?