Modern equalitarian societies whether democratic or authoritarian in their political forms, always base themselves on the claim that they are making life happier. Happiness thus becomes the chief political issue -- in a sense, the only political issue -- and for that reason it can never be treated as an issue at all.

— Robert Warshow

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A man goes to the movies. The critic must be honest enough to admit that he is that man.

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In the deeper layers of the modern consciousnessevery attempt to succeed is an act of aggression, leaving one alone and guilty and defenseless among enemies: one is punished for success. This is our intolerable dilemma: that failure is a kind of death and success is evil and dangerous, is--ultimately--impossible.

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Nobody seriously questions the principle that it is the function of mass culture to maintain public morale, and certainly nobody in the mass audience objects to having his morale maintained.

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The experience of the gangster as an experience of art is universal to Americans. There is almost nothing we understand better or react to more readily or with quicker intelligence. In ways that we do not easily or willingly define, the gangster speaks for us, expressing that part of the American psyche which rejects the qualities and the demands of modern life, which rejects Americanism itself.

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The New Yorker has always dealt with experience not by trying to understand it but by prescribing the attitude to be adopted toward it. This makes it possible to feel intelligent without thinking, and it is a way of making everything tolerable, for the assumption of a suitable attitude toward experience can give one the illusion of having dealt with it adequately.

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