Ellen Goodman

Ellen
Goodman
1941

American Journalist, Speaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning Syndicated Columnist

Author Quotes

All in all, I am not surprised that the people who want to unravel the social contract start with young adults. Those who are urged to feel afraid, very afraid, have both the greatest sense of independence and the most finely honed skepticism about government.

Politics isn't polarized between ideas as much as it is divided between teams in an endless color war. The famous geopolitical map of 2000 painted the states red and blue.

When you live alone, you can be sure that the person who squeezed the toothpaste tube in the middle wasn't committing a hostile act.

Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition to them. Once the chorus of cultural values was full of ministers, teachers, neighbors, leaders. They demanded more conformity, but offered more support. Now the messengers are violent cartoon characters, rappers and celebrities selling sneakers. Parents are considered "responsible" only if they are successful in their resistance. That's what makes child-raising harder. It's not just that American families have less time with their kids; it's that we have to spend more of this time doing battle with our own culture.

Pro-choice supporters are often heard using the cool language of the courts and the vocabulary of rights. Americans who are deeply ambivalent about abortion often miss the sound of caring.

Would somebody please tell George W. Bush that he is not Commander in Chief of the Judiciary? No matter how 'hot' he looked in his flight suit, black robes require a cooler demeanor.

As for keeping the attack dogs from nibbling away your courage? My theory, after decades in this business, is that you only give a few people the right to make you feel rotten. You have a handful of chits to give out, penuriously, to those you trust and respect. You don't give them to just anyone with an e-mail address and an epithet.

The millions of women who have had abortions do not regard them as a victory. For most they were failures — whether of contraception or relationships — accompanied by mixed feelings of regret and relief.

You can fire your secretary, divorce your spouse, abandon your children. But they remain your co-authors forever.

Civility, it is said, means obeying the unenforceable.

The people often slandered as greedy geezers seem to have a perspective from their place in history. The elders in my family remember the Depression. The baby boomers remember dot-com boom and bust. We all have albums of best laid plans.

You can teach someone who cares to write columns, but you can’t teach someone who writes columns to care.

How come pleasure never makes it on to ... a dutiful list of do's and don'ts? Doesn't joy also get soft and flabby if you neglect to exercise it?

The world [in 2003] seemed to divide between international fundamentalists who want to keep women veiled and Internet spammers who want to unveil them on your computer screen.

I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference.

There’s a trick to the 'graceful exit.' It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.

I regard this novel as a work without redeeming social value, unless it can be recycled as a cardboard box.

Values are not trendy items that are casually traded in.

I write about different things than other columnists. But I do it out of a sense of news judgment. The major stories today are the family and what I call life-and-death issues.

We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck... But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.

If there's a single message passed down from each generation of American parents to their children, it is a two-word line: Better Yourself. And if there's a temple of self-betterment in each town, it is the local school. We have worshiped there for some time.

We criticize mothers for closeness. We criticize fathers for distance. How many of us have expected less from our fathers and appreciated what they gave us more? How many of us always let them off the hook?

If women can sleep their way to the top, how come they aren't there?

We owned what we learned back there; the experience and the growth are grafted into our lives.

In the biotech revolution, it is the human body, not iron or steel or plastic, that's at the source. Are the biocapitalists going to be allowed to dig without consent into our genetic codes, then market them?

Author Picture
First Name
Ellen
Last Name
Goodman
Birth Date
1941
Bio

American Journalist, Speaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning Syndicated Columnist