I always tell people, just imagine how difficult it is to be in public life and to get things done. I mean, imagine a painter, you know, van Gogh, he says, “I want to paint the Starry Night,” and someone says, “Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Do we really need a 42 by 42 canvas? I think a round canvas.” And then the committee votes to be a round canvas. “Do we have to have a painting about the night, of the stars? I love day paintings. I like upbeat paintings and forget about night paintings, we want a day painting.” This is the way it goes. All of a sudden, there would be no “Starry Night,” and this is the way it goes.
— Arnold Schwarzenegger’s surprisingly accurate metaphor for how state politics works, as heard on the Nerdist podcast.
And I guess you could argue the weirder, or maybe the less explored the place, the better, you know? I mean we don’t need another novel about fishing boats, probably, or whatever. I don’t know if that’s a big topic.
— George Saunders, on the Longform podcast.
“There are few living politicians so firmly identified with a place that you get the sense, watching them deliver a speech at an elementary school, that the school will one day be named for them.”
I thought this was a pretty fair, pretty insightful profile of Chris Christie from New York Magazine.
“Brevity is a big factor for me in a stand-alone joke. To get a laugh with the fewest number of words possible. Which is why ‘Take my wife, please’ is such a great joke. The closest I’ve ever come is probably ‘The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw.’”
— NYT, July 15, 2013, “Jack Handey Is the Envy of Every Comedy Writer in America”
Jack Handey is among the best writers in the American canon.