Sarah Vowell Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 120 quotes)
But the Grateful Dead, as the fanatic fans point out, are a way of life: someone else's. Twentieth-century teenagers, especially American ones, have been brilliant at creating their own culture, their own music, clothes, and point(s) of view. It's sad and fraudulent that the kind of wholesale worship of some historical way of life has settled over so many young people, infecting them like a noxious gas... I love the dead--grew up in the thrall of Shakespeare and Hank Williams and James Dean. And I adore the Rolling Stones. But there's a difference between cherishing "Satisfaction" and wearing Keith Richards' hair while doing Keith Richards' drugs. I don't want to be Keith Richards. I wanna be me. Not--like the neo-Deadheads--just another extra in an overblown costume drama about something that wasn't that interesting the first time around.
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.
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.
However, displayed right alongside all the Confederate flag paraphernalia is a bunch of American flag merch – American flag place mats, patriotic “body crystals,” flag stickers you attach to your skin. Personally, I’m small-minded and literal enough that I see the two symbols as contradictory, especially in a time of war. But I fear that the consumer who buys a Confederate flag coffee cup, which she will then put on her American flag place mat, is the sort of sophisticated thinker who is open-minded enough that she is capable of hating blacks and Arabs at the same time.
In other words, after Winthrop has acquired all his butter firkins, food stirrers, and beer along with six dozen candles, twenty thousand biscuits, and twenty-nine sides of beef, he goes through the Bible and writes down a bunch of verses commanding him to be willing to cheerfully give all that stuff away. My firkin is your firkin being one of Christianity's primary creeds.
Being a nerd, which is to say going too 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 . . . At fifteen, I couldn't say two words about the weather or how I was doing, but I could come up with a paragraph or two about the album Charlie Parker with Strings. In high school, I made the first real friends I ever had because one of them came up to me at lunch and started talking about the Cure.
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.
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 off 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.