James Thurber

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  • “Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
  • “All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.”
  • “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”
  • “Women are wiser than men because they know less and understand more.”
  • “Man has gone long enough, or even too long, without being man enough to face the simple truth that the trouble with man is man.”
  • “History is replete with proofs, from Cato the Elder to Kennedy the Younger, that if you scratch a statesman you find an actor, but it is becoming harder and harder, in our time, to tell government from show business.”
  • “There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception.”
  • “A pinch of probability is worth a pound of perhaps.”
  • “There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.”
  • “I never had a dog that showed a human fear of death. Death, to a dog, is the final unavoidable compulsion, the least ineluctable scent on a fearsome trail, but they like to face it alone, going out into the woods, among the leaves, if there are any leaves when their time comes, enduring without sentimental human distraction the Last Loneliness, which they are wise enough to know cannot be shared by anyone.”
  • “A false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.”
  • “The dog has seldom been successful in pulling man up to its level of sagacity, but man has frequently dragged the dog down to his.”
  • “You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.”
  • “I think that maybe if women and children were in charge we would get somewhere.”
  • “Looks can be deceiving; it’s eating that’s believing.”
  • “Humor does not include sarcasm, invalid irony, sardonicism, innuendo, or any other form of cruelty. When these things are raised to a high point they can become wit, but unlike the French and the English, we have not been much good at wit since the days of Benjamin Franklin.”
  • “I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.”
  • “The nation that complacently and fearfully allows its artists and writers to become suspected rather than respected is no longer regarded as a nation possessed with humor or depth.”
  • “Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?”
  • “I don’t believe the writer should know too much where he’s going. If he does, he runs into old man blueprint—old man propaganda.”
  • “The trouble with the lost generation is that it didn’t get lost enough.”
  • “She wasn’t much to look at but she was something to think about.”
  • “One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.”
  • “A lady of 47 who has been married 27 years and has six children knows what love really is and once described it for me like this: ‘Love is what you’ve been through with somebody’.”
  • “I loathe the expression “What makes him tick.” It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solutions, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm.”

This post was last modified on August 31, 2019 11:59 pm

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