It wasn't until I started reading and found books they wouldn't let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.

— John Waters

The most staggering John Waters quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

My idea of rich is that you can buy every book you ever want without looking at the price and you're never around assholes. That's the two things to really fight for in life.

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If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books, don't fuck 'em!

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My idea of an interesting person is someone who is quite proud of their seemingly abnormal life and turns their disadvantage into a career.

27

True success is figuring out your life and career so you never have to be around jerks.

26

[My catholic education] sticked with me. It caused the rage I had to make 'Pink Flamingos.'

25

Without obsession, life is nothing.

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I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.

20

"Family" this and "family" that. If I had a family I'd be furious that moral busybodies are taking the perfectly good word family and using it as a code for censorship the same way "states' rights" was used to disguise racism in the mid-sixties.

16

I like rap music. But bragging about being rich to poor people is really offensive. I want to hear a rap song about buying a Cy Twombly painting or dating a museum curator. I want to hear about that kind of rich.

15

I liked speed. I was on black beauties all the time. Nothing bad happened to me. I didn't become a drug addict because I always had to make a movie. We weren't stoned when we made them; I was stoned when I made movies up. I did them all.

13

Being rich is not about how much money you have or how many homes you own;

it's the freedom to buy any book you want without looking at the price and wondering if you can afford it.

13

I don't know how I made those movies.

I went out every single night, I smoked pot every single day. I drank. We did everything, but I never became a drug addict or an alcoholic. Other friends are dead, many of them. So many people in this retrospective...in Female Trouble, almost everyone is dead.

9

About John Waters

Quotes 239 sayings
Profession Director
Birthday October 16

I like hard movies; I like ones that are basically the opposite of a date movie.

9

The "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" hitchhiker really made people never want to hitchhike again - the hitcher, the show. Hitchhiking is always vaguely sexual.

9

I could never kill myself. I approve of suicide if you have horrible health. Otherwise it's the ultimate hissy fit.

8

To me, bad taste is what entertainment is all about.

If someone vomits while watching one of my films, it's like getting a standing ovation. But one must remember that there is such a thing as good bad taste and bad bad taste.

7

The first real thing was Divine as Jackie Kennedy [in Eat Your Makeup].

His mother found the bloody Jackie Kennedy outfit in the boot of his car and said, 'What is this?" and Divine said, "I am Jackie Kennedy!" His mother just changed the subject; she didn't know what to say.

7

I would never do hard-core pornography, because it looks too much like open-heart surgery.

7

The Easter Bunny is a major reason for heroin addiction in America.

7

I would never want to live anywhere but Baltimore.

You can look far and wide, but you'll never discover a stranger city with such extreme style. It's as if every eccentric in the South decided to move north, ran out of gas in Baltimore, and decided to stay.

6

Hitchhiking, intrinsically, is sexual and dangerous.

At the same time I never really felt scared. I was scared that nobody would pick me up and that I'd be waiting by the side of the road for a week.

6

There was a cultural war going on, the '60s was going on. All the film critics were square.

6

Even illegal weapons have lost their panache.

Zip guns and shanks were at least homemade. Where is the craft in a grade-schooler firing a magnum? What is the world coming to? It's not even bad to be a communist anymore!

5

I also hate those holidays that fall on a Monday where you don't get mail, those fake holidays like Columbus Day. What did Christopher Columbus do, discover America? If he hadn't, somebody else would have and we'd still be here. Big deal.

5

I've had a pretty amazing life, a good life, and God knows I'm thankful, but I do believe that after 30, stop whining! Everybody's dealt a hand, and it's not fair what you get. But you've got to deal with it.

5

To understand bad taste one must have very good taste.

5

There is still such a thing as subversive.

Subversive makes hip people nervous. It's something new that scares you in a good way. I mean, subversive to me is a compliment. Subversive is something that influences people to do something against society that they haven't thought of before.

4

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because I don't have to do anything except bring wine and go to my sister's all day and go to the movies with the family. So, actually, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but there's not much comedy material on Thanksgiving. Melatonin really isn't that funny.

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If you can make someone laugh who's dead set against you, that's the first step to winning them over to your side.

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Wouldn't you rather your kid be a drug dealer than a drug addict?

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And my little sister Chrissy, for teaching me that life is nothing if you're not obsessed.

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My films can be considered political action against the tyranny of good taste.

4

To me, racist jokes are not funny. I am politically correct, in a weird way. I like to push the boundaries that are politically correct.

4

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

4

Life is a rotten lottery.

4

Stop blaming your parents. If you're really angry at 60 years old, you're an idiot! You've got to work some of it out.

4

Maybe there is no better novel in the world than Denton Welch's In Youth Is Pleasure. Just holding it in my hands, so precious, so beyond gay, so deliciously subversive, is enough to make illiteracy a worse social crime than hunger.

4

I'm thrilled to have a completely new audience that I can get from Court TV, without it being my own trial. That was the only other way I would have gotten it.

3

I built my [early] career on negative reviews.

There was a cultural war going on, the '60s was going on. All the film critics were square. They hated my movies. You could never have that happen today. Critics are way too hip.

3

A psychiatrist once told me early in treatment, "Stop trying to make me like you," and what a sobering and welcome smack in the face that statement was. Yet somehow, every day of my life is still a campaign for popularity, or better yet, a crowded funeral.

3

So to make movies, if you're first goal is to make money, well you can! Make a tent-pole movie that China wants. But that's not the kind of thing that's really going to get your remembered. You're not going to change anything with that. You might become rich from it!

3

...Don't let me ever hear you say, 'I can't read fiction. I only have time for the truth.' Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of 'literature'? That means fiction, too, stupid.

3

I always say you need something weird on your face and some good shoes and nobody looks in the middle.

3

Insider can be more ludicrous. How did I ever end up [as one]? Carsick [Waters's book on hitchhiking] was on the New York Times best-seller list for five weeks. [One of the characters was] a singing asshole that does a duet with Connie Francis! Times have changed. That's mainstream, in a weird way.

3

My hobby is extreme Catholic behavior - before the Reformation.

3

If you're not sure you could love your children, please don't have them, because they might grow up and kill us.

3

It`s great to be able to drive around and spy on people, which I do when I'm writing. People tell me the most personal things about their lives for no reason - on airplanes, everywhere I go. People just blurt out secrets. I'm not sure why. I think that they see in my films that nothing will make me uptight. I'm not going to judge them.

3

I really didn't have any bad hitchhiking experiences.

The only bad experiences were standing by the road for 10 hours. I never thought I'd get a ride with a ministers wife or a coalminer or a Republican elected official. It was all pleasant surprises. The only drag was the waiting.

3

I think the best article was the article about radical feminists being against transgender women. I found that the most fascinating article and I absolutely loved it. I love battles within the gay community or feminist community. I love radical theorists.

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