Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"I do not mean to imply that television news deliberately aims to deprive Americans of a coherent, contextual understanding of their world. I mean to say that when news is packaged as entertainment, that is the inevitable result. And in saying that the television news show entertains but does not inform, I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed." - Neil Postman

"Parents embraced “Sesame Street” for several reasons, among them that it assuaged their guilt over the fact that they could not or would not restrict their children’s access to television. “Sesame Street” appeared to justify allowing a four- or five-year-old to sit transfixed in front of a television screen for unnatural periods of time. Parents were eager to hope that television could teach their children something other than which breakfast cereal has the most crackle. At the same time, “Sesame Street” relieved them of the responsibility of teaching their pre-school children how to read—no small matter in a culture where children are apt to be considered a nuisance.... We now know that “Sesame Street” encourages children to love school only if school is like “Sesame Street.” Which is to say, we now know that “Sesame Street” undermines what the traditional idea of schooling represents." - Neil Postman

"Television’s way of knowing is uncompromisingly hostile to typography’s way of knowing; that television’s conversations promote incoherence and triviality; that the phrase “serious television” is a contradiction in terms; and that television speaks in only one persistent voice—the voice of entertainment. " - Neil Postman

"The whole problem with news on television comes down to this: all the words uttered in an hour of news coverage could be printed on a page of a newspaper. And the world cannot be understood in one page." - Neil Postman

"When television is good, nothing is better. When it's bad, nothing is worse." - Newton Minow, fully Newton Norman Minow

"I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air . . . and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a great wasteland." - Newton Minow, fully Newton Norman Minow

"The news media's silence, particularly television news, is reprehensible. If we knew as much about Darfur as we do about Michael Jackson, we might be able to stop these things from continuing." - Nicholas D. Kristof, fully Nicholas Donabet Kristof

"When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket." - Nikola Tesla

"People gather in groups, raise their walls and let nothing strange to disturb their mediocre existence. They do things because they are accustomed to them, study useless subjects, have fun because they are obliged to have fun, and the rest of the world pop and fend for himself. At most contemplate the television news, only to have confirmation of how happy they are in a world full of problems and injustices… People go against nature because they lack the courage to be different, and then the organism starts to produce vitriol, or bitterness, as this poison is more commonly known. " - Paulo Coelho

"My father hated radio and could not wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too." - Peter De Vries

"Educational television had a dramatic effect on relational aggression. The more the kids watched, the crueler they’d be to their classmates. This correlation was 2.5 times higher than the correlation between violent media and physical aggression. " - Po Bronson

"Newspapers, television networks, and magazines have sometimes been outrageously abusive, untruthful, arrogant, and hypocritical. But it hardly follows that elimination of a strong and independent press is the way to eliminate abusiveness. " - Potter Stewart

"So why do people keep on watching? The answer, by now, should be perfectly obvious: we love television because television brings us a world in which television does not exist. In fact, deep in their hearts, this is what the spuds crave most: a rich, new, participatory life. " - Barbara Ehrenreich, born Barbara Alexander

"A 2004 study found that teens who watch a lot of television with sexual content and more likely to initiate intercourse in the following year. Overexposure to highly-sexed television made kids act older--12-year-olds behaved like 14-year-olds. A decade of new research confirms that heavy exposure to violent and sexually explicit media triggers unhealthy responses from boys and girls alike, regardless of race. But we don't yet know the full effects of all this technology on our kids. CAMRA, the Children and Media Research Advancement Act, which I introduced in the Senate, would coordinate and fund new research into the effects of viewing and using electronic media, including television, computers, video games, and the Internet…" - Hillary Rodham Clinton

"Should be stripped of their non-profit status, and television networks who work with them should realize they are working with a political organization, not an educational organization." - Ralph Nader

"If there is only one Creator who made the tiger and the lamb, the cheetah and the gazelle, what is He playing at? Is he a sadist who enjoys spectator blood sports? ... Is He maneuvering to maximize David Attenborough's television ratings?" - Richard Dawkins

"Yet the final indictment against the television decision-makers is more profound and more serious. Their recent splurge of paranormalism debauches true science and undermines the efforts of their own excellent science departments. The universe is a strange and wondrous place. The truth is quite odd enough to need no help from pseudo-scientific charlatans. The public appetite for wonder can be fed, through the powerful medium of television, without compromising the principles of honesty and reason." - Richard Dawkins

"In the television age, the key distinction is between the candidate who can speak poetry and the one who can only speak prose." - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"Millions who endure poverty and bad government can now know what they are missing. To see how the other half lives all they have to do is switch on their television sets." - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"Reading not only enlarges and challenges the mind; it also engages and exercises the brain. Today's youth who sits mesmerized by a television screen is not going to be tomorrow's leader. Television watching is passive. Reading is active." - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"If you can't ignore an insult, top it; if you can't top it, laugh it off; and if you can't laugh it off, it's probably deserved." - Russell Lynes, fully Joseph Russell Lynes, Jr.

"What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible" - Salvador Dalí, fully Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech

"What is an elegant woman? An elegant woman is a woman who despises you and who has no hair under her arms." - Salvador Dalí, fully Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech

"Yes, but keep copies. -- When his secretary asked him if she should destroy files that were over ten years old." - Samuel Goldwyn

"Yet, just as individual selection emerged relatively unscarred after its battle with group selection from above, other evolutionists launched an attack from below. Genes, they argue, not individuals are the units of selection. They begin by recasting Butler's famous aphorism that a hen is merely the egg's way of making another egg. An animal, they argue, is only DNA's way of making more DNA. Richard Dawkins has put the case most forcefully in his recent book The Selfish Gene. ‘A body,’ he writes, ‘is the gene's way of preserving the gene unaltered.’ For Dawkins, evolution is a battle among genes, each seeking to make more copies of itself. Bodies are merely the places where genes aggregate for a time. Bodies are temporary receptacles, survival machines manipulated by genes and tossed away on the geological scrap heap once genes have replicated and slaked their insatiable thirst for more copies of themselves in bodies of the next generation. He writes:" - Stephan Jay Gould

"His passion has aroused the best and the beast in man. And the beast waited for him in the kitchen." - Theodore H. White, fully Theodore Harold White

"A real love letter is made of insight, understanding, and compassion. Otherwise it's not a love letter. A true love letter can produce a transformation in the other person, and therefore in the world. But before it produces a transformation in the other person, it has to produce a transformation within us. Some letters may take the whole of our lifetime to write." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"In order to be loved, we have to love, which means we have to understand." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"We need to be saying, 'Listen folks, capitalism is inherently destructive.' How do we get from where we are to where we need to be... We have got to get rid of capitalism." - Wes Jackson

"I am in no sense of the word a great artist, not even a great animator; I have always had men working for me whose skills were greater than my own. I am an idea man." - Walt Disney, fully Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

"I have never been interested in personal gain or profit. This business and this studio have been my entire life." - Walt Disney, fully Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

"Mr. Reagan will raise taxes; and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did." - Walter Mondale, fully Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale

"Where grapholects exist, "correct" grammar and usage are popularly interpreted as the grammar and usage of the grapholect itself to the exclusion of the grammar and usage of the other dialects." - Walter J. Ong, fully Walter Jackson Ong

"Monsanto doesn't care about feeding the world. We have to think about the wage slavery of migrant workers and salary slavery of those who are desperately unhappy." - Wendell Berry

"Oh, do not scowl at me, reader, I do not intend to convey the impression that I did not manage to be happy." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"I can sit and analyze everything and beat myself up and say you don't quite sing as good as you used to, you're writing better songs maybe than you used to, but to me it's just the journey." - Vince Gill

"But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer." - Viktor Frankl, fully Viktor Emil Frankl

"Despite all the political misery I am confronted with every day, it still is my profound conviction that the very essence of politics is not dirty; dirt is brought in only by wicked people. I admit that this is an area of human activity where the temptation to advance through unfair actions may be stronger than elsewhere, and which thus makes higher demands on human integrity. But it is not true at all that a politician cannot do without lying or intriguing. That is sheer nonsense, often spread by those who want to discourage people from taking an interest in public affairs. Of course, in politics, just as anywhere else in life, it is impossible and it would not be sensible always to say everything bluntly. Yet that does not mean one has to lie. What is needed here are tact, instinct and good taste." - Václav Havel

"All books can be indecent books, though recent books are bolder. For filth, I'm glad to say, is in the mind of the beholder. When correctly viewed, everything is lewd. I could tell you things about Peter Pan, and the Wizard of OZ, there's a dirty old man!" - Tom Lehrer, fully Thomas Andrew Lehrer

"All suffering is caused by being in the wrong place. If you're unhappy where you are, MOVE." - Timothy Leary, fully Timothy Francis Leary

"I look at the Augusteum, and I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me to not to get attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. Yesterday I might have been a glorious monument to somebody, true enough--but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository. Even in the Eternal City, says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, "No, thank you" to dessert that night. And for what?!" - Erma Bombeck, fully Erma Louise Bombeck, born Erma Fiste

"As the ate afternoon sun shone in Shaw's face and a soft flower-scented wind cooled him, his unhappiness turned to a detachment that was not at all unpleasant. He was utterly alone in the world. This knowledge thrilled him." - Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

"It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

"Professor Richard N. Current fusses, not irrelevantly, about the propriety of fictionalising actual political figures. I also fuss about this. But he has fallen prey to the scholar-squirrel's delusion that there is a final Truth revealed only to the tenured few in their footnote maze; in this he is simply naïve." - Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

"In any combat between a rogue and a fool the sympathy of mankind is always with the rogue." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"In war the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"Much smoke, and little roast." -