It has to be acknowledged that in capitalist society, with its herds of hippies, originality has become a sort of fringe benefit, a mere convention, accepted obsolescence, the Beatnik model being turned in for the Hippie model, as though strangely obedient to capitalist laws of marketing.— Mary McCarthy
The most attractive Mary McCarthy quotes that will inspire your inner self
The Crucifixion and other historical precedents notwithstanding, many of us still believe that outstanding goodness is a kind of armor, that virtue, seen plain and bare, gives pause to criminality. But perhaps it is the other way around.
Modern neurosis began with the discoveries of Copernicus.
Science made men feel small by showing him that the earth was not the center of the universe.
Every age has a keyhole to which its eye is pasted.
In violence we forget who we are.
Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.
Understanding is often a prelude to forgiveness, but they are not the same, and we often forgive what we cannot understand (seeing nothing else to do) and understand what we cannot pardon.
For self-realization, a rebel demands a strong authority, a worthy opponent, God to his Lucifer.
Congress-these, for the most part, illiterate hacks whose fancy vests are spotted with gravy, and whose speeches, hypocritical, unctuous, and slovenly, are spotted also with the gravy of political patronage.
Liberty, as it is conceived by current opinion, has nothing inherent about it;
it is a sort of gift or trust bestowed on the individual by the state pending good behavior.
If someone tells you he is going to make a 'realistic decision', you immediately understand that he has resolved to do something bad.
The relation between life and literature - a final antimony - is one of mutual plagiarism.
An unrectified case of injustice has a terrible way of lingering, restlessly, in the social atmosphere like an unfinished question.
I suppose everyone continues to be interested in the quest for the self, but what you feel when you're older, I think, is that you really must make the self.
America is indeed a revelation, though not quite the one that was planned.
Given a clean slate, man, it was hoped, would write the future. Instead, he has written his past.
You know what my favourite quotation is?.
. It's from Chaucer... Criseyde says it, "I am myne owene woman, wel at ese."
Every age has a keyhole to which its eye is pasted.
Spicy court-memoirs, the lives of gallant ladies, recollections of an ex-nun, a monk's confession, an atheist's repentance, true-to-life accounts of prostitution and bastardy gave our ancestors a penny peep into the forbidden room.
Illiteracy at the poverty level (mainly a matter of bad grammar) does not alarm me nearly as much as the illiteracy of the well-to-do.
Calling someone a monster does not make him more guilty;
it makes him less so by classing him with beasts and devils.
Feminism is ridiculous. Feminists are silly idealists who want to be on top. There is no real equality in sexual relationships - someone always wins.
We all live in suspense from day to day; in other words, you are the hero of your own story.
What I really do is take real plums and put them in an imaginary cake.
Life for the European is a career; for the American it is a hazard.
The theater is the only branch of art much cared for by people of wealth;
like canasta, it does away with the brother of talk after dinner.
In science, all facts no matter how trivial, enjoy democratic equality.
this is the spirit of the enchantment under which Venice lies, pearly and roseate, like the Sleeping Beauty, changeless throughout the centuries, arrested, while the concrete forest of the modern world grows up around her.
A society person who is enthusiastic about modern painting or Truman Capote is already half a traitor to his class. It is middle-class people who, quite mistakenly, imagine that a lively pursuit of the latest in reading and painting will advance their status in the world.
All ideas advanced to deal with the Florentine noise problem, the Florentine traffic problem, are Utopian, and nobody believes in them, just as nobody believed in Machiavelli's Prince, a Utopian image of the ideally self-interested despot.
Labor is work that leaves no trace behind it when it is finished.
The immense popularity of American movies abroad demonstrates that Europe is the unfinished negative of which America is the proof
In politics, it seems, retreat is honorable if dictated by military considerations and shameful if even suggested for ethical reasons.
The exile is a singular, whereas refugees tend to be thought of in the mass .
.. What is implied in these nuances of social standing is the respect we pay to choice. The exile appears to have made a decision, while the refugee is the very image of helplessness.
Anti-Semitism is a horrible disease from which nobody is immune, and it has a kind of evil fascination that makes an enlightened person draw near the source of infection, supposedly in a scientific spirit, but really to sniff the vapors and dally with the possibility.
Being abroad makes you conscious of the whole imitative side of human behavior. The ape in man.
Leisure was the sine qua non of the full Renaissance.
The feudal nobility, having lost its martial function, sought diversion all over Europe in cultivated pastimes: sonneteering, the lute, games and acrostics, travel, gentlemanly studies and sports, hunting and hawking, treated as arts.
Venice is the worlds unconscious: a misers glittering hoard, guarded by a Beast whose eyes are made of white agate, and by a saint who is really a prince who has just slain a dragon.
For me, in fact, the mark of the historic is the nonchalance with which it picks up an individual and deposits him in a trend, like a house playfully moved by a tornado.
The famous Florentine elegance, which attracts tourists to the shops on Via Tornabuoni and Via della Vigna Nuova, is characterized by austerity of line, simplicity, economy of effect.
Is it really so difficult to tell a good action from a bad one? I think one usually knows right away or a moment afterward, in a horrid flash of regret.
If you talked or laughed in church, told lies, had impure thoughts or conversations, you were bad; if you obeyed your parents or guardians, went to confession and communion regularly, said prayers for the dead, you were good.
Labor is work that leaves no trace behind it when it is finished, or if it does, as in the case of the tilled field, this product of human activity requires still more labor, incessant, tireless labor, to maintain its identity as a 'work' of man.
My occupational hazard is that I can't help plagiarizing from real life.
The furniture and trappings in the apartment are all in a state of flux - here today, gone tomorrow. Nothing is anchored to its place, not even the coffee-pot, which floats off and returns, on the tide of the signora's marine nature.
The happy ending is our national belief.
It is impossible, except for theologians, to conceive of a world-wide scandal or a universe-wide scandal; the proof of this is the way people have settled down to living with nuclear fission, radiation poisoning, hydrogen bombs, satellites, and space rockets.
Our language, once homely and colloquial, seeks to aggrandize our meanest activities with polysyllabic terms or it retreats from frankness into a stammering verbosity.
People with bad consciences always fear the judgment of children.
The things of this world reveal their essential absurdity when they are put in the Venetian context. In the unreal realm of the canals, as in a Swiftian Lilliput, the real world, with its contrivances, appears as a vast folly.
I suppose everyone continues to be interested in the quest for the self, but what you feel when you're older, I think, is that ... you really must make the self. It is absolutely useless to look for it, you won't find it, but it's possible in some sense to make it. I don't mean in the sense of making a mask, a Yeatsian mask. But you finally begin in some sense to make and choose the self you want.