O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
“Truth, Vinicius, dwells somewhere so high that the gods themselves cannot see it from the top of Olympus. To you, carissime, your Olympus seems higher still, and, standing there, you call to me, ‘Come, you will see such sights as you have not seen yet!’ I might. But I answer, ‘I do not have feet for the journey.’ And if you read this letter to the end, you will acknowledge, I think, that I am right.” (Henryk Sienkiewicz, from Quo Vadis)
By the river. She was standing by the river. She was dancing without moving. By the river. She wasn’t beautiful exactly; she was like a shimmer in the distance. She was so white his reservation eyes suffered. (Sherman Alexie, from “All I Wanted to do Was Dance”)
Revolution is the universal rule of evolution. Revolution is a universal principle of the world. Revolution is the essence of the struggle for survival or destruction in a time of transition. Revolution submits to heaven and responds to men’s needs. Revolution rejects what is corrupt and keeps the good. Revolution is the advance from barbarism to civilization. Revolution turns slaves into masters. (Zou Rong, from The Revolutionary Army)
“Do you know what it is to throw a child in the air and catch it on a knife in front of its mother? To be tied to a burning log? To have your ass split with an axe so that you beg the Serbs, beg them, to shoot you in the head and they don’t?
“And they go to their church after. They go to their goddamn church. I have no words …”
Ismail shuddered. “There are things that are beyond evil, that you just can’t speak about.” (Robert Kaplan, from Balkan Ghosts)
“You see,” Lardner said at the long bar of the Artist and Writers Restaurant, “Duke thought if his dream came true he would be a different person. He’s not unhappy about the dream. He’s unhappy that he is still the same man. Happens to a lot of us. We get somewhere we wanted and find we’re still ourselves.” (Roger Kahn, from The Boys of Summer)
“Bonding is like the romance in an Arnold Schwarzeneggar movie.”
If it happens along the way, fine.”
But it ain’t the reason you go there.” (Bruce Feirstein, from Real Men Don’t Bond)
Actually, his statement in its entirety was, “The rich are the most discriminated-against minority in the world. Openly or covertly, everybody hates the rich because, openly or covertly, everybody envies the rich. Me, I love the rich. Somebody has to love them. Sure, a lot o’ rich people are assholes, but believe me, a lot o’ poor people are assholes, too, and an asshole with money can at least pay for his own drinks.” (Tom Robbins, from Jitterbug Perfume)
“Concentration-camp existence … taught us that the whole world is really like a concentration camp,” wrote Tadeusz Borowski. “The weak work for the strong, and if they have no strength or will to work – then let them steal, or let them die. … There is no crime that a man will not commit in order to save himself. And, having saved himself, he will commit crimes for increasingly trivial reasons; he will commit them first out of duty, then from habit, and finally – for pleasure. … The world is ruled by neither justice nor morality; crime is not punished nor virtue rewarded, one is forgotten as quickly as the other. The world is ruled by power …” (Otto Friedrich, from The End of the World)
“That’s why opera is important, Baron. Because it’s realer than any play! A dramatic poet would have to put all those thoughts down one after another to represent this second of time. The composer can put them all down at once – and still make us hear each one of them. Astonishing device: a Vocal Quartet! … I tell you I want to write a finale lasting half an hour! A quartet becoming a quintet becoming a sextet. On and on, wider and wider – all sounds multiplying and rising together – and the together making a sound entirely new! … I bet you that’s how God hears the world. Millions of sounds ascending at once and mixing in His ear to become an unending music, unimaginable to us! That’s our job! That’s our job, we composers: to combine the inner minds of him and him and him, and her and her – the thoughts of chambermaids and Court Composers – and turn the audience into God.” (Peter Shaffer, from “Amadeus”)
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