::Literate Blather::
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The Quotable Bierce

To capture the full essence of Ambrose Bierce, a reader must appreciate his acid wit. He was one of the most prominent social critics in post-Civil War America. One of Bierce’s most popular works is The Devil’s Dictionary, a collection of his newspaper columns that redefined common English words to lampoon the double-speak of U.S. politics and business. Working for the Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner, Bierce had a national podium to spew his sardonic opinions and stir-up national controversy -- which earned him the nickname Bitter Bierce.

DaRK PaRTY has collected some of his gems:

“A total abstainer is one who abstains from everything but abstention, and especially from inactivity in the affairs of others.”

“Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.”

“Acquaintance. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.”

“Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.”

“All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.”

“An egotist is a person of low taste-more interested in himself than in me.”

“Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.”

“Consult: To seek approval for a course of action already decided upon.”

“Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.”

“It is evident that skepticism, while it makes no actual change in man, always makes him feel better.”

“Optimism: The doctrine that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong... It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious.”

“Religion. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.”

“War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.”

“What this country needs what every country needs occasionally is a good hard bloody war to revive the vice of patriotism on which its existence as a nation depends.”

“Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.”

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