“Donald Verrilli Jr., the U.S. solicitor general arguing on the side of same-sex marriage, told the justices, ‘There is a cost to waiting.’ He recalled that the argument by opponents of interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 was to delay because ‘the social science is still uncertain about how biracial children will fare in this world.’
The wisdom of the Warren court is reflected two miles away, where a biracial child is faring pretty well in his second term in the Oval Office.”
“In a real sense, we are what we quote—and what can any of us hope to be but a tiny component of that hubbub of voices distilled by books of quotations and epigrams? I have always found such volumes the most irresistible reading. They make it possible to channel-surf millenniums of cultural history, moving forward or backward at will, and plucking out whatever perfectly formed fragment turns out to be precisely what you were looking for. The endlessness of it all is enough to make your head spin, but that dizziness is arrested by the steadying compactness and solidity of the ideal quote—the one that stands there bare and isolated and unencumbered, tiny enough to be grasped all at once, yet unfathomably wide and deep.”more info
“Doubt is my boon companion, the faithful St. Bernard ever at my side. Whether writing essays or just going about daily life, I am constantly second-guessing myself. My mind is filled with ‘yes, buts,’ ‘so whats?’ and other skeptical rejoinders. I am forever monitoring myself for traces of folly, insensitivity, arrogance, false humility, cruelty, stupidity, immaturity and, guess what, I keep finding examples.”more info
source: “The Essay, an Exercise in Doubt,” New York Times, February 16, 2013.
“Now you know what Thanksgiving with my family is like.”more info
source: on the vice presidential debate, in “An Irish Catholic Wake-Up,” New York Times, October 13, 2012.
“I’m repeatedly asked how I write, what my ‘process’ is. My answer is simple: I think patiently, trying out sentences in my head. That is the root of it. What happens on paper or at the keyboard is only distantly connected. The virtue of working this way is that circumstance—time, place, tools—make no difference whatsoever. All I need is my head. All I need is the moments I have.”more info
source: “Where Do Sentences Come From?,” by Verlyn Klinkenborg, The Opinionator, New York Times, August 13, 2012.
“Let me underscore the obvious here: Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps.”more info
source: “And the Winner Isn’t …,” New York Times, April 17, 2012.
“Decades ago, Katsuhiko Matsunaga, a marine chemist at Hokkaido University in Japan, discovered that when tree leaves decompose, they leach acids into the ocean that help fertilize plankton. When plankton thrive, so does the rest of the food chain. In a campaign called Forests Are Lovers of the Sea, fishermen have replanted forests along coasts and rivers to bring back fish and oyster stocks. And they have returned.”more info
source: “Why Trees Matter,” New York Times, April 11, 2012.
“Last year, Romney went on Letterman’s show to read ‘Things You Don’t Know About Mitt Romney,’ including: ‘I’m the guy in the photo that comes with your picture frame.’”more info
source: “Hunting, Dear Sir? Delighted!” New York Times, January 17, 2012.
“He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater’s famous phrase, he burned ‘with this hard gem-like flame.’ Right to the end.”more info
source: “Christopher Hitchens: ‘the consummate writer, the brilliant friend,’” Guardian, December 16, 2011.
“Next to Romney, Gingrich seems authentic. Next to Herman Cain, Gingrich seems faithful. Next to Jon Huntsman, Gingrich seems conservative. Next to Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, Gingrich actually does look like an intellectual. Unlike the governor of Texas, he surely knows the voting age. To paraphrase Raymond Chandler, if brains were elastic, Perry wouldn’t have enough to make suspenders for a parakeet.
In presidential campaigns, it’s all relative.”more info
“[Steve Jobs's] genius was designing alluring products that would create a country of technology addicts. He demanded laser-like focus from employees to create an A.D.D. world.”more info
“He pointed to a mop leaning against his room wall. Like most mops in this country, it can be wrung by a sliding mechanism on the handle. He thinks that’s hysterical—absurd. In Zimbabwe everyone wrings mops with their hands.”more info
source: “Doors Swinging Open,” New York Times, September 26, 2011.
“Authenticity can be overrated, especially in a rabid conservative.”more info
source: “Fed Up With the Author of ‘Fed Up!’?” New York Times, September 24, 2011.
“When you start to become aware of these bogus quotations, you can’t stop finding them. Henry James, George Eliot, Picasso—all of them are being kept alive in popular culture through pithy, cheery sayings they never actually said.”more info
source: “Falser Words Were Never Spoken,” The New York Times, August 29, 2011.
“My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”more info