Foreigner Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 98 quotes )
Poetical feelings are a peril to scholarship. There are always poetical people ready to protest that a corrupt line is exquisite. Exquisite to whom? The Romans were foreigners writing for foreigners two millenniums ago; and for people whose gods we find quaint, whose savagery we abominate, whose private habits we don't like to talk about, but whose idea of what is exquisite is, we flatter ourselves, mysteriously identical to ours.
The most important result of the encounter [in the preceding anecdote] is the scholar's startling discovery of the roundness of the earth . . . Instinctively realizing the connection between the foreigner's presence, the roundness of the earth, and future changes and upheavals, he finally announces, "Yes, the earth is round, the women will start to think, and as soon as they begin to think, they will become shameless.
You took a walk on a Sunday afternoon and came to a nice neighborhood, very refined. You saw a small one of these trees through the iron gate leading to someone's yard and you knew that soon that section of Brooklyn would get to be a tenement district. The tree knew. It came there first. Afterwards, poor foreigners seeped in and the quiet old brownstone houses were hacked up into flats, feather beds were pushed out on the window sills to air and the Tree of Heaven flourished. That was the kind of tree it was. It liked poor people.
If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however ofter Persia, or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands, the main frontiers must never be crossed by anything except bombs.
Can o'Beans was to remark that a comparison between the American Cowpoke and, say, the Japanese samurai, left the cowboy looking rather shoddy. 'Before a samurai went into battle,' Can o' Beans was to say, 'he would burn incense in his helmet so that if his enemy took his head, he would find it pleasant to his nose. Cowboys, on the other hand, hardly ever bathed or changed their crusty clothing. If a samurai's enemy lost his sword, the samurai gave him his extra one so that the fight might continue in a manner honorable and fair. The cowboy's specialty was to shoot enemies in the back from behind a bush. Do you begin to see the difference?' Spoon and Dirty Sock would wonder how Can o' Beans knew so much about samurai. 'Oh, I sat on the shelf next to a box of imported rice crackers for over a month,' Can o' Beans would explain. 'One can learn a lot conversing with foreigners.
But that is who we are, that is where we come from. We are the offspring of metropolitan annihilation and destruction, of the war of all against all, of the conflict of each individual with every other individual, of a system governed by fear, of the compulsion to produce, of the profit of one to the detriment of others, of the division of people into men and women, young and old, sick and healthy, foreigners and Germans, and of the struggle for prestige. Where do we come from? From isolation in individual row-houses, from the suburban concrete cities, from prison cells, from the asylums and special units, from media brainwashing, from consumerism, from corporal punishment, from the ideology of nonviolence, from depression, from illness, from degradation, from humiliation, from the debasement of human beings, from all the people exploited by imperialism.
The French have such an attractive civilization, dedicated to calm pleasures and general tolerance, and their taste in every domain is so sharp, so sure, that the foreigner (especially someone from chaotic, confused America) is quickly seduced into believing that if he can only become a Parisian he will at last master the art of living.
When you grow up in middle America you are inculcated from the earliest age with the belief - no, the understanding - that America is the richest and most powerful nation on earth because God likes us best. It has the most perfect form of government, the most exciting sporting events, the tastiest food and amplest portions, the largest cars, the cheapest gasoline, the most abundant natural resources, the most productive farms, the most devastating nuclear arsenal and the friendliest, most decent and most patriotic folks on Earth. Countries just don't come any better. So why anyone would want to live anywhere else is practically incomprehensible. In a foreigner it is puzzling; in a native it is seditious. I used to feel this way myself.
Is it necessary to say what my first impression was when I looked at my visitor's card? Surely not! My sister having married a foreigner, there was but one impression that any man in his senses could possibly feel. Of course the Count had come to borrow money of me."Louis," I said, "do you think he would go away if you gave him five shillings?
Of what is lost, irretrievably lost, all I wish to recover is the daily availability of my writing, lines capable of grasping me by the hair and lifting me up when I'm at the end of my strength. (Significant, said the foreigner.) Odes to the human and the divine. Let my writing be like the verses of by Leopardi that Daniel Biga recited on a Nordic bridge to gird himself with courage.
I meditated on the nature of friendship as I practiced the craft. My friends had always come from outside the mainstream. I had always been popular with the fifth column of my peers, those individuals who were princely in their solitude, lords of their own unpraised melancholy. Distrusting the approval of the chosen, I would take the applause of exiles anytime. My friends were all foreigners, and they wore their unbelongingness in their eyes. I hunted for that look; I saw it often, disarrayed and fragmentary and furious, and I approached every boy who invited me in.
It is sometimes said that butlers only truly exist in England. Other countries, whatever title is actually used, have only manservants. I tend to believe this is true. Continentals are unable to be butlers because they are as a breed incapable of the emotional restraint which only the English race are capable of. Continentals - and by and large the Celts, as you will no doubt agree - are as a rule unable to control themselves in moments of a strong emotion, and are thus unable to maintain a professional demeanour other than in the least > challenging of situations. If I may return to my earlier metaphor - you will excuse my putting it so coarsely - they are like a man who will, at the slightest provocation, tear off his suit and his shirt and run about screaming. IN a word, "dignity" is beyond such persons. We English have an important advantage over foreigners in this respect and it is for this reason that when you think of a great butler, he is bound, almost by definition, to be an Englishman.
I'd hoped the language might come on its own, the way it comes to babies, but people don't talk to foreigners the way they talk to babies. They don't hypnotize you with bright objects and repeat the same words over and over, handing out little treats when you finally say "potty" or "wawa." It got to the point where I'd see a baby in the bakery or grocery store and instinctively ball up my fists, jealous over how easy he had it. I wanted to lie in a French crib and start from scratch, learning the language from the ground floor up. I wanted to be a baby, but instead, I was an adult who talked like one, a spooky man-child demanding more than his fair share of attention. Rather than admit defeat, I decided to change my goals. I told myself that I'd never really cared about learning the language. My main priority was to get the house in shape. The verbs would come in due time, but until then I needed a comfortable place to hide.
As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty? to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
The score," the megaphone on the ferry around Manhattan said, from time to time, without further explanation, "is one to nothing." to the foreigners, unaware perhaps that a World Series was in progress, this may have seemed an obscure instruction, or a commentary on the sights. "In the top of the fifth," it said, with some excitement, as we rounded Wall Street, "the score is five to one.
Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with i? All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.
She asked God, without fear, if he really believed that people were made of iron in order to bear so many troubles and mortifications; and asking over and over she was stirring up her own confusion and she felt irrepressible desires to let herself go and scamper about like a foreigner and allow herself at last an instant of rebellion, that instant yearned for so many times and so many times postponed, putting her resignation aside and shitting on everything once and for all and drawing out of her heart the infinite stacks of bad words that she had been forced to swallow over a century of conformity.
On the third play he dropped back to pass, and it was unadulterated chaos: The pocket was immediately collapsing, people were yelling, everything was happening at the same time, and it felt like he was trying to defuse a pipe bomb while learning to speak Cantonese."He believed it was his destiny to kill faceless foreigners for complex reasons that were beyond his control, and to deeply question the meaning of those murders, and to kill despite those questions, and to eventually understand the meaning of his own life through the battlefield executions of total strangers."Teaching history to eighth graders is like being a tour guide for people who hate their vacation."There is no feeling that can match the emotive intensity of an attraction devoid of explanation.
Equally arresting are British pub names. Other people are content to dub their drinking establishment with pedestrian names like Harry’s Bar and the Greenwood Lounge. But a Briton, when he wants to sup ale, must find his way to the Dog and Duck, the Goose and Firkin, the Flying Spoon, or the Spotted Dog. The names of Britain’s 70,000 or so pubs cover a broad range, running from the inspired to the improbable, from the deft to the daft. Almost any name will do so long as it is at least faintly absurd, unconnected with the name of the owner, and entirely lacking in any suggestion of drinking, conversing, and enjoying oneself. At a minimum the name should puzzle foreigners-this is a basic requirement of most British institutions-and ideally it should excite long and inconclusive debate, defy all logical explanation, and evoke images that border on the surreal.