Best 123 of Sarah Vowell quotes - MyQuotes

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Sarah Vowell
By Anonym 17 Sep

Sarah Vowell

No one recorded what those marches were, though decades later there was an apocryphal and later-debunked story the one of the songs the British played was the on-the-nose "The World Turned Upside Down.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Take for example the commencement address he [James Garfield] delivered at his alma mater Hiram College in the summer of 1880. ... The only thing stopping this address from turning into a slacker parable is the absence of the word 'dude'.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Sarah Vowell

The true American patriot is by definition skeptical of the government.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

But truth be told, I'm not as dour-looking as I would like. I'm stuck with this round, sweetie-pie face, tiny heart-shaped lips, the daintiest dimples, and apple cheeks so rosy I appear in a perpetual blush. At five foot four, I barely squeak by average height. And then there's my voice: straight out of second grade. I come across so young and innocent and harmless that I have been carded for buying maple syrup. Tourists feel more safe approaching me for directions, telemarketers always ask if my mother is home, and waitresses always, always call me 'Hon.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

I still believe in public radio's potential. Because it's the one mass medium that's still crafted almost entirely by true believers.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

I hated the lost colony; in second grade, we were doing American History, and they said, We don't know what happened to them. That drove me nuts. That lost colony drove me crazy.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

History is one war after another with a bunch of murders and natural disasters in between.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Along with voting, jury duty, and paying taxes, goofing off is one of the central obligations of American citizenship.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Dig deep into its communitarian ethos and it reads more like an America that might have been, an America fervently devoted to the quaint goals of working together and getting along. Of course, this America does exist. It's called Canada.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Even writers need relief from words.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Sarah Vowell

My lips are chapped from the winds of change.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Sarah Vowell

But I can no longer ready any faith's Napoleonic saber rattling without picturing smoking rubble on cable news. I guess if I had to pick a spiritual figurehead to possess the deed to the entirety of Earth, I'd go with Buddha, but only because he wouldn't want it.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Being a nerd, which is to say going to far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know. For me, the spark that turns an acquaintance into a friend has usually been kindled by some shared enthusiasm like detective novels or Ulysses S. Grant.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Not that there wasn't still plenty of subduing to do here in North America. "Even within our own limits, the savage still lights his death fires, to appease the wrath of an idol," he points out. What's worse, to the "north, there is an immense region of palpable darkness." (Hi, Canada!)

By Anonym 15 Sep

Sarah Vowell

When I think about my relationship with America, I feel like a battered wife: Yeah, he knocks me around a lot, but boy, he sure can dance.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Once or twice a day, I am enveloped inside what I like to call the Impenetrable Shield of Melancholy. This shield, it is impenetrable. Hence the name. I cannot speak. And while I can feel myself freeze up, I can't do anything about it.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Sarah Vowell

All those adorable towheaded kids in the promotional film are going to turn thirteen. Once a family member hits puberty, odds are that everybody is not going to have the same ideals. Unless everybody gets together and agrees that the new ideals involve turning the front yard into a skate ramp and officially changing Dad's name to Fuckhead.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

I spent a lot of time with some native Hawaiians who protest being part of the United States and literally carry protest signs saying "We are not Americans." And they have no real warmth for being the 50th state.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Behind every bad law, a deep fear.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Assassins and presidents invite the same basic question: Just who do you think you are?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

I'm always disappointed when I see the word 'Puritan' tossed around as shorthand for a bunch of generic, boring, stupid, judgmental killjoys. Because to me, they are very specific, fascinating, sometimes brilliant, judgmental killjoys who rarely agreed on anything except that Catholics are going to Hell.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Sarah Vowell

One night last summer, all the killers in my head assembled on a stage in Massachusetts to sing show tunes.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Sarah Vowell

We all grew up, those of us who took On the Road to heart. We came to cringe a little at our old favorite poet, concluding that God was likely never Pooh Bear, that sometimes New York and California could be just as isolated as our provincial hometown, and that grown men didn't run back and forth all the time bleeding soup and sympathy out of sucker women. But those are just details, really. We got what we needed, namely a passion for unlikely words, the willingness to improvise, a distrust of authority, and a sentimental attachment to a certain America....

By Anonym 19 Sep

Sarah Vowell

There is a jarring disconnect between what I want my real-life intelligence officers to be doing versus what I want my fake TV intelligence officers to be doing.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Sarah Vowell

When one of a culture's guiding credos is that "all men are created equal," any person who, say, becomes an expert on, say, nuclear weapons or, say, ecology, i.e., anyone who distinguishes himself through mental excellence, is a nuisance.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Sarah Vowell

You know your country has a checkered past when you find yourself sitting around pondering the humanitarian upside of sticking with the British Empire.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Sarah Vowell

It's such a hopeful, almost utopian word, that word "phase." As if any minute, "we" would suffer some sort of Joad overload, come to "our" senses, and for heaven's sake, do something about our godforsaken shoes. But the book phase never ended. The book phase would bloom and grow into a whole series of seasonal affiliations including our communist phase, our beatnik phase, our vegetarian phase, and the three-year period known as Please Don't Talk to Me. Now that we are finishing up the third decade of the book phase, we ask ourselves if we have changed. Sure, we still dress in the bruise palette of gray, black, and blue, and we still haven't gotten around to piercing our ears. But we wear lipstick now, we own high-heeled shoes. Concessions have been made.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Until that moment, I hadn't realized that I embarked on the project of touring historic sites and monuments having to do with the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley right around the time my country iffily went to war, which is to say right around the time my resentment of the current president cranked up into contempt. Not that I want the current president killed. Like that director, I will, for the record (and for the FBI agent assigned to read this and make sure I mean no harm — hello there), clearly state that while I am obsessed with death, I am against it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Radio is the playground of coincidence.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Like Lincoln, I would like to believe the ballot is stronger than the bullet. Then again, he said that before he got shot.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Sarah Vowell

I am drawn to Tom Sawyer Island because a tribute to Mark Twain would not be out of place in a theme park of my own design. Should Vowell World ever get enough investors, I'm going to stick my Tom Sawyer Island in Love and Death in the American Novel Land right between the Jay Gatsby Swimming Pool and Tom Joad's Dust Bowl Lanes, a Depression-themed bowling alley renting artfully worn-out shoes.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Wainwright prayed to the graven image of Lafayette, since neither the president nor Congress seemed to be listening. “We, the women of the United States,” she told the bronze Lafayette, “denied the liberty which you helped to gain, and for which we have asked in vain for sixty years, turn to you to plead for us. Speak, Lafayette, dead these hundred years but still living in the hearts of the American people.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Sarah Vowell

By journey's end the brides were much better acquainted with their grooms and more or less pleased with the matches. Sybil Bingham wrote in her diary, thanking God for answering her prayer for filling "the void" with a husband like Hiram, a "treasure rich and undeserved." Having read his insufferable memoir, "A Residence of Twenty-one Years in the Sandwich Islands", all I can say is: I'm happy for her?

By Anonym 16 Sep

Sarah Vowell

I am only slightly less astonished by the egotism of the assassins, the inflated self-esteem it requires to kill a president, than I am astonished by the men who run for president. These are people who have the gall to believe they can fix us--us and our deficit, our fossil fuels, our racism, poverty, our potholes and public schools. The egomania required to be president or a presidential assassin makes the two types brothers of sorts. Presidents and presidential assassins are like Las Vegas and Salt Lake City in that way. Even though one city is all about sin and the other is all about salvation, they are identical, one-dimensional company towns built up out of the desert by the sheer will of true believers. The assassins and the presidents invite the same basic question: Just who do you think you are?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

I talk about going to his [George W. Bush's] Inauguration and crying when he took the oath, 'cause I was so afraid he was going to "wreck the economy and muck up the drinking water"... the failure of my pessimistic imagination at that moment boggles my mind now.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Sarah Vowell

The English Puritans were obsessed with the idea of providence, and that word is more ominous to them than it sounds to us. It means care, but it also means control. It does not just mean that God will provide. It means that God will provide whatever the hell God wants and the Puritans will thank him for it even if He provides them with nothing more than a slow death in a long winter. It means that if they're scared and small and lowly enough He just might toss a half-eaten corncob their way. It means that the world isn't fair and it's their fault. It means that God is the sovereign, the authority. It means manna from heaven, but it also means bow down.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

If I'm still wistful about On the Road, I look on the rest of the Kerouac oeuvre--the poems, the poems!--in horror. Read Satori in Paris lately? But if I had never read Jack Kerouac's horrendous poems, I never would have had the guts to write horrendous poems myself. I never would have signed up for Mrs. Safford's poetry class the spring of junior year, which led me to poetry readings, which introduced me to bad red wine, and after that it's all just one big blurry condemned path to journalism and San Francisco.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Sarah Vowell

You know, it's always good to have a synonym just for variety.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Why is America the last best hope of Earth? What if it's Liechtenstein? Or, worse, Canada?

By Anonym 14 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Not that I want the current president killed. I will, for the record and for the FBI agent assigned to read this and make sure I mean no harm, clearly state that while I am obsessed with death, I am against it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Oh my dear, idealists are the cruelest monsters of them all.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Heaven, such as it is, is right here on earth. Behold: my revelation: I stand at the door in the morning, and lo, there is a newspaper, in sight like unto an emerald. And holy, holy, holy is the coffee, which was, and is, and is to come. And hark, I hear the voice of an angel round about the radio saying, "Since my baby left me I found a new place to dwell." And lo, after this I beheld a great multitude, which no man could number, of shoes. And after these things I will hasten unto a taxicab and to a theater, where a ticket will be given unto me, and lo, it will be a matinee, and a film that doeth great wonders. And when it is finished, the heavens will open, and out will cometh a rain fragrant as myrrh, and yea, I have an umbrella.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

But when I am around strangers, I turn into a conversational Mount St. Helens. I'm dormant, dormant, quiet, quiet, old-guy loners build log cabins on the slopes of my silence and then, boom, it's 1980. Once I erupt, they'll be wiping my verbal ashes off their windshields as far away as North Dakota.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, Robert Lincoln bought a nice ski lodge.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

But I have never had the privilege of unhappiness in Happy Valley. California is about the good life. So a bad life there seems so much worse than a bad life anywhere else. Quality is an obsession there—good food, good wine, good movies, music, weather, cars. Those sound like the right things to shoot for, but the never-ending quality quest is a lot of pressure when you’re uncertain and disorganized and, not least, broker than broke. Some afternoons a person just wants to rent Die Hard, close the curtains, and have Cheerios for lunch.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Sarah Vowell

...the air has that bracing autumnal bite so that all you want to do is bob for apples or hang a witch or something.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

I no longer drink nearly as much as I used to but, still, my motto is Sine coffea nihil sum. Without coffee, I'm nothing.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Parliament would abolish slavery in the British Empire in 1833, thirty years before President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. A return to the British fold in 1778 might have freed American slaves three decades sooner, which is what, an entire generation and a half? Was independence for some of us more valuable than freedom for all of us? As the former slave Frederick Douglass put it in an Independence Day speech in 1852, 'This is your Fourth of July, not mine.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Sarah Vowell

I'm a big fan of editing and keeping only the interesting bits in.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Sarah Vowell

Protestantism's evolution away from hierarchy and authority has enormous consequences for America and the world. On the one hand, the democratization of religion runs parallel to political democratization. The king of England, questioning the pope, inspires English subjects to question the king and his Anglican bishops. Such dissent is backed up by a Bible full of handy Scripture arguing for arguing with one's kIng. This is the root of self-government in the English-speaking world. On the other hand, Protestantism's shedding away of authority, as evidenced by my [Pentecostal] mother's proclamation that I needn't go to church or listen to a preacher to achieve salvation, inspires self-reliance—along with a dangerous disregard for expertise. So the impulse that leads to democracy can also be the downside of democracy—namely, a suspicion of people who know what they are talking about. It's why in U.S. presidential elections the American people will elect a wisecracking good ol' boy who's fun in a malt shop instead of a serious thinker who actually knows some of the pompous, brainy stuff that might actually get fewer people laid off or killed.