Famous Quotes & Sayings

John Dos Passos Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by John Dos Passos.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pinterest Share on Linkedin

John Dos Passos Quotes 957362

The addition of the typewriter to the printing-press has given a new and horrible impetus to the spread of half-baked thought. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 318749

Admire the United
States not for what we were but for what we might become. Self-governing
democracy was not an established creed, but a program for growth. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1487898

I wonder if any of you have ever noticed that it is sometimes those who find most pleasure and amusement in their fellow man, and have most hope in his goodness, who get the reputation of being his most carping critics. Maybe it is that the satirist is so full of the possibilities of humankind in general, that he tends to draw a dark and garish picture when he tries to depict people as they are at any particular moment. The satirist is usually a pretty unpopular fellow. The only time he attains even fleeting popularity is when his works can be used by some political faction as a stick to beat out the brains of their opponents. Satirical writing is by definition unpopular writing. Its aim is to prod people into thinking. Thinking hurts.
(John Dos Passos, 1957, from the speech he delivered upon accepting the Gold Medal for Eminence in Fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters) — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1363367

Chrisfield looked straight ahead of him. He did not feel lonely any more now that he was marching in ranks again. His feet beat the ground in time with the other feet. He would not have to think whether to go to the right or to the left. He would do as the others did. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1587209

The business of a novelist is, in my opinion, to create characters first and foremost, and then to set them in the snarl of the human currents of his time, so that there results an accurate permanent record of a phase of history. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 822300

We're headed for collapse, if you want my opinion, Missy. I can see it in the fallin' off of the quality of vagrants. There was atime you could find real good company in almost any jungle you'd pick, men who could talk, men who'd read a book now and then; and now, what do you find, a lot of dirty little guttersnipes no decent tramp would want to associate with.
Well, it's been that way all through history. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 187807

They have clubbed us off the streets they are stronger they are rich they hire and fire the politicians the newspapereditors the old judges the small men with reputations the collegepresidents the wardheelers (listen businessmen collegepresidents judges America will not forget her betrayers) they hire the men with guns the uniforms the policecars the patrolwagons all right you have won you will kill the brave men our friends tonight (author's punctuation) — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1760069

A curious thing about atrocity stories is that they mirror, instead of the events they purport to describe, the extent of the hatred of the people that tell them. Still, you can't listen unmoved to tales of misery and murder. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2202547

Why, lies are like a sticky juice overspreading the world, a living, growing flypaper to catch and gum the wings of every human soul ... And the little helpless buzzings of honest, liberal, kindly people, aren't they like the thin little noise flies make when they're caught? — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 191030

Think, man, think of all the oceans of lies through all the ages that must have been necessary to make this possible! Think of this new particular vintage of lies that has been so industriously pumped out of the press and the pulpit. Doesn't it stagger you? — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1832020

When the typewriter stops in a New York office everybody's embarrassed; men start to quarrel or to make love to the stenographer or drop lighted cigarettes in the wastebasket. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2262069

Anything that happens to you has some bearing upon what you write. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1100151

Display advertising and the movies, though they may dull the wits, certainly stimulate the eyes. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1162323

Why won't they let a year die without bringing in a new one on the instant, can't they use birth control on time? I want an interregnum. The stupid years patter on with unrelenting feet, never stopping - rising to little monotonous peaks in our imaginations at festivals like New Year's and Easter and Christmas - But, goodness, why need they do it? — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 775277

He thought of himself and Chrisfield picking up cigarette butts and the tramp, tramp, tramp of feet on the drill field. Where was the connection? Was this all futile madness? They'd come from such various worlds, all these men sleeping about him, to be united in this. And what did they think of it, all these sleepers? Had they too not had dreams when they were boys? Or had the generations prepared them only for this? He — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 599069

Eh Bien you like this sacred pig of a country?" asked Marco. "Why not? I like it anywhere. It's all the same, in France you are paid badly and live well; here you are paid well and live badly. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1938526

The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armour of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. -John Dos Passos — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 908938

The terrible thing about having New York go stale on you is that there's nowhere else. It's the top of the world. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2006826

Individuality is freedom lived. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1701104

A novel is a commodity that fulfills a certain need; people need to buy daydreams like they need to buy ice cream or aspirin or gin. They even need to buy a pinch of intellectual catnip now and then to liven up their thoughts ... — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 76384

With people who are young and aren't scared you can do lots. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 110188

The mind of a generation is its speech. A writer makes aspects of that speech enduring by putting them in print. He whittles at the words and phrases of today and makes of them forms to set the mind of tomorrow's generation. That's history. A writer who writes straight is the architect of history. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 158626

Sex is a slotmachine. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 177148

Men seemed to have shrunk in stature before the vastness of the mechanical contrivances they had invented. Michael Angelo, da Vinci, Aretino, Cellini; would the strong figures of men ever so dominate the world again? Today everything was congestion, the scurrying of crowds; men had become ant-like. Perhaps it was inevitable that the crowds should sink deeper and deeper in slavery. Whichever won, tyranny from above, or spontaneous organization from below, there could be no individuals. He — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 177898

One phrase stuck in Fainy's mind, and he repeated it to himself after he had gone to bed that night: It is time for all honest men to band together to resist the ravages of greedy privilege. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 221939

What's the use, there never was a woman living who could understand political ideas. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 231155

The only way to find out anything about what kinds of lives people led in any given period is to tunnel into their records and to let them speak for themselves. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 251342

Spain as a modern centralized nation is an illusion, a very unfortunate one; for the present atrophy, the desolating resultlessness of a century of revolution, may very well be due in large measure to the artificial imposition of centralized government on a land essentially centrifugal. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 258668

It's easy to forget how central the French people are in everything we mean when we say Europe. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 259931

What is the use being a big man if you are wrong? — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 302417

People don't choose their careers; they are engulfed by them. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 317779

If any man has a ghost
Bourne has a ghost
a tiny twisted unscared ghost in a black cloak
hopping along the grimy old brick and brownstone streets still left in downtown New York,
crying out in a shrill soundless giggle:
War is the health of the State. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 356489

I've always thought you should concentrate on paddling your own canoe. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 409198

But what's the good of freedom? What can you do with it? What one wants is to live well and have a beautiful house and be respected by people. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 472327

I never see the dawn that I don't say to myself perhaps. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 474170

In a moment when criticism shows a singular dearth of direction every man has to be a law unto himself in matters of theatre, writing, and painting. While the American Mercury and the new Ford continue to spread a thin varnish of Ritz over the whole United States there is a certain virtue in being unfashionable. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 488872

If there are no permanent standards, there is no criticism possible. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 526939

there can be no reason to believe these officers of an established news organization serving newspapers all over the country failed to realize their responsibilities at a moment of supreme significance to the people of this country. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 540472

Everything published goes down the same chute out of the overbright glare of publicity into oblivion. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 626291

Mealtime's the only time I get to devote to the things of the spirit. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 626634

Experiments in the visual arts (the invention of new ways of seeing things), are made because, due to the way the apparatus that makes up the mind is made, old processes and patterns have continually to be broken up in order to make it possible to perceive the new aspects and arrangements of evolving consciousness. The great enemy of intelligence is complacency. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 640021

This ain't a war ... It's a goddam whorehouse. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 654086

U.S.A. is the speech of the people. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 654946

The Gospel of the army is cunning, as of all other human activities. The wisdom of the snake under the meekness of the sheep is what wins out.
The first Commandment is
never let them get anything on you
The second: Graft
get privileges others haven't got
worm yourself into confidence
The Third
seem neat and prosperous
as if you had money in the bank — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 664041

And he felt a crazy desire to join the forlorn ones, to throw himself into inevitable defeat, to live his life as he saw it in spite of everything, to proclaim once more the falseness of the gospels under the cover of which greed and fear filled with more and yet more pain the already unbearable agony of human life. As — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 664779

The people of this country are too tolerant. There's no other country in the world where they'd allow it ... After all we built up this country and then we allow a lot of foreigners, the scum of Europe, the offscourings of Polish ghettos to come and run it for us. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 678917

Accidents will happen in the best regulated families. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 706153

Y. I told them to admire us for the hope we still have
that there is enough goodness in man to use the omnipotence science has
given him to ennoble his life on earth instead of degrading it. Self government,
through dangers and distortions and failures, is the American
cause. Faith in self government, when all is said and done, is faith in the
eventual goodness of man — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 708991

Curiosity urges you on-driving force. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 766935

What's the use of a lague of nations if it's to be dominated by Great Britain and her colonies?" said Mr. Rasmussen sourly. "But don't you think any kind of a league's better than nothing?" said Eveline. "It's not the name you give things, it's who's getting theirs underneath that counts," said Robbins.
"That's a very cynical remark," said the California woman. "This isn't any time to be cynical."
"This is a time," said Robbins, "when if we weren't cynical we'd shoot ourselves. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 833420

There's something wonderfully exciting about the quiet sing song of an aeroplane overhead with all the guns in creation lighting out at it, and searchlights feeling their way across the sky like antennae, and the earth shaking snort of the bombs and the whimper of shrapnel pieces when they come down to patter on the roof. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 836785

The fascinating thing to a dispassionate observer about the structure of life in the Soviet Union is that in their efforts to produce an unknown that we may let its ideologists call Socialism the Communist dictators have produced a brutal approximation of monopoly Capitalism, a system that has all the disadvantages of our own, with none of the palliatives which come to us from surviving competition and from the essential division of economic and political power which has so far made it possible for the humane traditions of the Western world to continue. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 838290

self respect. self reliance. self control. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 847825

How do I get to Broadway?...I want to get to the center of things. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 867385

all right we are two nations — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 891014

Great works of the imagination are not produced quickly nor do they take quick effect on the popular mind. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 901494

It has been the struggle between privileged men who have managed to get hold of the levers of power and the people in general withtheir vague and changing aspirations for equality, for justice, for some kind of gentler brotherhood and peace, which has kept that balance of forces we call our system of government in equilibrium. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 992183

Three words that still have meaning, that I think we can apply to all professional writing, are discovery, originality, invention.The professional writer discovers some aspect of the world and invents out of the speech of his time some particularly apt and original way of putting it down on paper. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1081142

Breaking with old friends is one of the most painful of the changes in all that piling up of a multitude of small distasteful changes that constitutes growing older. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1082579

But you just watch, little girl. I'm goin' to show 'em. In five years they'll come crawlin' to me on their bellies. I don't know what it is, but I got a kind of feel for the big money. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1087695

If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works, with all the misconceptions, the omissions, the failures that any finished work of art implies. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1136668

A set of ideas, a point of view, a frame of reference is in space only an intersection, the state of affairs at some given momentin the consciousness of one man or many men, but in time it has evolving form, virtually organic extension. In time ideas can be thought of as sprouting, growing, maturing, bringing forth seed and dying like plants. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1143802

Print so easily spins a web of the commonplace over the fine outlines of life. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1184514

A man's got to work for more than himself and his kids to feel right. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1236845

A satirist is a man whose flesh creeps so at the ugly and the savage and the incongruous aspects of society that he has to express them as brutally and nakedly as possible in order to get relief. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1295608

It's almost worth having been in the army for the joy your freedom gives you. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1297015

The people of the United States have been fortunate in many things. One of the things in which we have been most fortunate has been that so far, due perhaps to certain basic virtues in our traditional ways of doing things, we have managed to keep the crisis of western civilization, which has devastated the rest of the world and in which we are as much involved as anybody, more or less at arm's length. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1319984

If I were sufficiently romantic I suppose I'd have killed myself long ago just to make people talk about me. I haven't even got the conviction to make a successful drunkard. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1320147

Do you know how long God took to destroy the Tower of Babel, folks? Seven minutes. Do you know how long the Lord God took to destroy Babylon and Nineveh? Seven minutes. There's more wickedness in one block in New York City than there was in a square mile in Nineveh, and how long do you think the Lord God of Sabboath will take to destroy New York City and Brooklyn and the Bronx? Seven seconds. Seven Seconds. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1338192

War is utter damn nonsense, a vast cancer fed by lies and self seeking malignity on the part of those who don't do the fighting. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1358772

In this country where an hour's train ride will take you from Siberian snow into African desert, unity of population is hardly to be expected. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1377532

It is a most curious experience for a man of seventy-two to be confronted with the greenhorn enthusiasms of his youth. Young people think they are so smart. Alas the doctrines they spout with such fervor turn out to be mostly parroted from their elders. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1414118

And the Sunday the bishop came you couldn't see Halley's Comet any more and you saw the others being confirmed and it lasted for hours because there were a lot of little girls being confirmed too and all you could hear was mumble mumble this thy child mumble mumble this thy child and you wondered if you'd be alive next time Halley's Comet came round — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1423044

I think the satirist is always basically optimistic. The satirist's complaint about society is always that it doesn't measure up to a fairly high ideal he has. I think that even the bitterest satirist, even a man like Swift, was probably rather an optimist at heart. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1431210

I think we are all of us a pretty milky lot, without tea-table convictions and our radicalism that keeps so consistently within the bounds of decorum ... I'd like to annihilate these stupid colleges of ours ... instillers of stodginess. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1443652

Democracy evolves where freedom is able to determine its own policy. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1451029

Walt Whitman's a hell of a lot more revolutionary than any Russian poet I've ever heard of. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1494001

People do not choose a career; the career envelopes them. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1519262

When I was a kid I used to tell myself the moon was a silver gong and if I could climb high enough to beat on it with both hands all my wishes would come true. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1667723

Talk is a pure art. Its only limits are the patience of listeners who, when they get tired, can always pay for their coffee or change it with a friendly waiter and walk out. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1680873

When they were all up playing in the nursery George caught something again and had monia on account of getting cold on his chest and Yourfather was very solemn and said not to grieve if God called little brother away. But God brought little George back to them only he was delicate after that and had to wear glasses, and when Dearmother let Eveline help bathe him because Miss Mathilda was having the measles too Eveline noticed he had something funny there where she didn't have anything. She asked Dearmother if it was a mump, but Dearmother scolded her and said she was a vulgar little girl to have looked. Hush, child, don't ask questions. Evaline got red all over and cried and Adelaide and Margaret wouldn't speak to her for days on account of her being a vulgar little girl. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1748527

Such afternoons the buses are crowded into line like elephants in a circusparade. Morningside Heights to Washington Square, Penn Station to Grant's Tomb. Parlorsnakes and flappers joggle hugging downtown uptown, hug joggling gray square after gray square, until they see the new moon giggling over Weehawken and feel the gusty wind of a dead Sunday blowing dust in their faces, dust of a typsy twilight. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1765973

If there is a special Hades for writers is would be in the forced contemplation of their own works. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1791529

A nation in which the centralized power and the separate communities work only to nullify each other. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1861790

It's not the possibility of Stalinism in the U.S. that's worrying me, it's the fact that the Stalinist C.P. seems doomed to fail and to bring down with it all the humanitarian tendencies I personally believe in
all the while acting as a mould on which its obverse the fascist mentality is made
and this recent massacre is certainly a sign of Stalinism's weakness not of its strength. None of that has anything to do with Marx's work
but it certainly does influence one's attitude towards a given political party. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1885094

The creation of a world view is the work of a generation rather than of an individual, but we each of us, for better or for worse, add our brick to the edifice. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1902470

Women is fine once you got em pinned down, boss, but when they ain't pinned down they're hell. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1914538

In the last twenty-five years a change has come over the visual habits of Americans ... From being a wordminded people we are becoming an eyeminded people. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1957344

The young man walks by himself, fast but not fast enough, far but not far enough (faces slide out of sight, talk trails into tattered scraps, footsteps tap fainter in alleys); he must catch the last subway, the streetcar, the bus, run up the gangplanks of all the steamboats, register at all the hotels, work in the cities, answer the wantads, learn the trades, take up the jobs, live in all the boardinghouses, sleep in all the beds. One bed is not enough, one job is not enough, one life is not enough. At night, head swimming with wants, he walks by himself alone. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1984841

Too goddam many lawyers mixed up in this. Run the sonsobitches out. If they resists shoot 'em, that's what I says to the Governor, but they're all these sonsobitches a lawyers fussin' everythin' up all the time with warrants and habeas corpus and longwinded rigmarole. My ass to habeas corpus. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1994334

I never understood exactly why people get engaged
The only time I ever did the most disastrous things happened
but I feel that there's a great deal to be said for immediate matrimony always. If I once got started I'd probably have to become a mormon to cover my confusion. What I mean is that if he and she are crazy about each other it is sheer tempting God to stay apart, come what may. And if people arent crazy about each other being engaged wont help them. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 1997908

But the workingpeople, the common people, they won't allow it.' 'It's the common people who get most fun out of the torture and execution of great men ... If it's not going too far back I'd like to know who it was demanded the execution of our friend Jesus H. Christ. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2035980

Man seems to be an animal whose capacity for lies is only equalled by his credulity; it does no good to let battalions of cats outof bags, to produce whole harems of naked facts, people eat the same three meals daily deception, and are always ready to turn with fury upon the purveyors of bagless cats and facts undraped. Probably their instinct is wise. Who knows? — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2063118

The world's becoming a museum of socialist failures. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2102292

I do a lot of revising. Certain chapters six or seven times. Occasionally you can hit it right the first time. More often, you don't. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2201019

With people like that we needn't despair of civilisation, — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2208612

The only excuse for a novelist, aside from the entertainment and vicarious living his books give the people who read them, is as a sort of second-class historian of the age he lives in. The "reality" he missed by writing about imaginary people, he gains by being able to build a reality more nearly out of his own factual experience than a plain historian or biographer can. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2211301

But how glum he looks now." She threw some daisies at him. Then, after a pause, she added mockingly: "It's hunger, my dear. Good Lord, how dependent men are on food! — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2265944

I dont think there is anything on earth more wonderful than those wistful incomplete friendships one makes now and then in an hour's talk. You never see the people again, but the lingering sense of their presence in the world is like the glow of an unseen city at night
makes you feel the teemingness of it all. — John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos Quotes 2269381

That's the great danger of sectarian opinions, they always accept the formulas of past events as useful for the measurement of future events and they never are, if you have high standards of accuracy. — John Dos Passos