One thing I've never been able to understand is how people can actually enjoy living in Manhattan.The people who live there point to its numerous advantages: the shows, the excitement, the museums. One person I know even cited the great sales she could find; with an apartment costing $1000 per month considered a bargain, we are expected to believe that saving $10 on a pair of shoes justifies living in Manhattan. New York does a certain excitement to it -- in the subways for example. They're sort of like all the tragic rock concerts in history rolled into one -- the Rolling Stones at Atamont for the shooting and the Who at Cincinnatti for the crushing.
Another incomprehensible attitude some people (such as myself) exhibit is their preference for New England over California. Californians are tempted to seek the nearest medical help when, with the wind howling outside and the temperature 40 below, a New Englander suggests that a nice wood fire makes it all worthwhile. They just can't comprehend anyone not liking a climate which is just about as close to the air-conditioned American ideal as you can get.
Even when many Americans go abroad, you suspect that they would really rather be back home. Most stay and eat at the local Hilton Hotel because they are afraid to partake of the local cuisine lest they take ill like Aunt May did last year. Then they follow the tour guide from sight to sight, fed history in a condensed, purified TV dinner format. No wonder terrorists get the wrong idea about Americans when they see tour groups. They must think we are a nation of sheep.
If man can live in Manhattan, he can live anywhere.
Arthur C. Clarke, Science fiction writer
Despite the fact that computer speeds are measured in
nanoseconds and picoseconds -- one billionth and one trillionth
of a second, respectively -- the smallest interval of time known
to man is that which occurs in Manhattan between the traffic
signal turning green and the taxi driver behind you blowing his
New York should be saved because without it people would make
even more jokes about Los Angeles.
New York has total depth in every area. Washington has only
politics; after that, the second biggest thing is white marble.
New Yorkers are nice about giving you street directions; in
fact, they seem quite proud of knowing where they are themselves.
New York -- a city of 7,000,000 so decadent that when I leave it
I never look back lest I turn into salt and the conducter throw
me over his left shoulder for good luck.
When a New Yorker looks like he has a suntan, it's probably
Laurence J. Peter
If two New Hampshiremen aren't a match for the devil, we might
as well give the country back to the Indians.
Stephen Vincent Benet
A New Hampshire pessimist in good summer form can fret about
blizzards three or four years away.
The most serious charge which can be brought against New England
is not Puritanism but February.
Joseph Wood Krutch
We sing about the North, but live as far south as possible.
Some American delusions: 1) That there is no class-consciousness
in the country. 2) That American coffee is good. 3) That
Americans are business-like. 4) That Americans are highly-sexed
and that redheads are more highly sexed than others.
W. Somerset Maugham
No one should be required to see America for the first time.
I have been abroad so long that I almost speak English without
Tobacco is the only excuse for Columbus's misadventure in
You remember the very old story about a citizen of Boston who
heard a Texan talking about the glories of Bowie, Davy Crockett,
and all the rest, and finally said, "Haven't you heard of Paul
Revere?" To which the Texan answered, "Well, he was the man who
ran for help."
John F. Kennedy
Half of San Antonio's population is of Mexican descent; the
other half just eats that way.
If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in
General Philip Sheridan
Making Texans stand in line for gas is like making Kansans stand
in line for wheat.
Calling a taxi in Texas is like calling a rabbi in Iraq.
Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.
John F. Kennedy
They say Louisiana is somewhat like a banana republic, say
Guatemala. That's not true. They speak better English in
Niagara Falls is simply a vast unnecessary amount of water going
over the wrong way and then falling over unnecessary cliffs...The
wonder would be if the water did not fall.
We're Americans! Do you know what that means? It means our
forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world.
Bill Murray, in the film Stripes
Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of
scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.
Mary Ellen Kelly
California: Sunny nutland.
California stretches out on the west coast of America like a
centerfold from Playboy.
PBS Song at Twilight
Living in California adds ten years to a man's life. And those
extra ten years, I'd like to spend in New York.
Climate is what brings people to California. Weather is what
washes them away.
Boston: Clear out eight hundred thousand people and preserve it
as a museum piece. New York: Prison towers and modern posters for
soap and whiskey. Pittsburgh: Abandon it.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Omaha is a little like Newark -- without Newark's glamour.
Just living in Los Angeles guarantees the loss of a few I.Q.
points each year.
Once every hundred years, the Los Angeles smog rolls away for a
single night, leaving the air as clean as interstellar space.
That way the gods can see if Los Angeles is still there. If it
is, they roll the smog back so they won't have to look at it.
There are in England sixty different religions and only one
gravy, melted butter.
An English summer: two fine days and a thunderstorm.
The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and
is modest about it.
It takes some skill to spoil a breakfast -- even the English
can't do it.
John Kenneth Galbraith
On the Continent people have good food; in England people have
good table manners.
I hate London when it's not raining.
The British capitalize on their accent when they don't want you
to know what they're saying. But if you wake them up at 4 A.M.,
they speak perfect English, the same as we do.
An Englishman teaching an American about food is like the blind
leading the one-eyed.
The English have this extraordianry respect for longevity. The
best example of this was Queen Victoria, a most unpleasant woman
who achieved a sort of public affection simply by living to be an
If one could only teach the English how to talk and the Irish
how to listen, society would be quite civilized.
What a pity it is that we have no other amusements in England
but vice and religion.
If the British can survive their meals, they can survive
George Bernard Shaw
It is untrue that Germans are bad drivers. They hit everything
they aim at.
Although millions of Americans purr with pastel delusions of
Mohandas K. Gandhi, those who actually live in the scrawny
crank's homeland struggle to throw off the painful aftermath of
R. Emmett Tyrell
I don't mind 800 million Chinese drinking a bottle [of
Coca-Cola] a day, but I don't want them to bring back the
The Philippines are ours forever. They are not capable of self-
government. How could they be? They are not a self-governing
Sen. Albert Beveridge
We talk about "developing" nations even though some of them are
developing back to the Pleistocene Age.
The Brazilian economy has grown over the past decade in much the
same way as a Brazilian drives his car. That is extremely fast,
disregarding everyone else on the road, narrowly avoiding
accidents, and not stopping to consider whether his passangers
been left behind.
Where but in Kenya can a man whose grandfather was a cannibal
watch a really good game of polo?
In language gender is particularly confusing. Why, please,
should a table be male in German, female in French, and castrated
Do you realize that in the past sixty years, the only foreigners
the French have been able to drive out are American tourists?
Maybe the French will get a manned craft into space if they can
get a rocket strong enough to lift a bottle of wine.
It is unthinkable for a Frenchman to arrive at middle age
without having syphilis and the Cross of the Legion of Honor.
France is a country where the money falls apart in your hands
and you can't tear the toilet paper.
In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I
never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own
I like Paris. They don't talk so much of money, but more of sex.
The ignorance of French society gives one a rough sense of the
People are always asking me what the world will be like
economically in the year 2000. I do know this: in the year 2000,
no matter what else happens, there will still be good food in
Baron Guy de Rothschild
Ici on parle francais is written over the gates of hell.
I want history to jump on Canada's spine with sharp skates.
Saskatchewan is much like Texas -- except it's more friendly to
the United States.
It makes little difference; Canada is useful only to provide me
Madame de Pompadour, on the fall of Quebec
For some reason a glaze passes over people's faces when you say
Canada. Maybe we should invade South Dakota or something.
Sondra Gotleib, wife of one-time Canadian ambassador to the U.S.
Canada reminds me of vichyssoise - it's cold, half-French and
difficult to stir.
Newfoundland: A piece of rock entirely surrounded by fog.
FOREIGN LANGUAGES: I don't see what all the fuss is about. After all, the
rest of the world is going to have to learn English anyway.
Keeney Jones,excerpt from The Dartmouth Review course guide
Show me a nation whose national beverage is beer and I'll show
you an advanced toilet technology.
What's so admirable about small nations anyway? Uganda, North
Vietnam, Ethiopia, Cuba? Malevolent little nuisances.
You can tell the character of a country by its national car. In
England it is the regal odor of leather and wood, recollecting
the old estate mansion. In Germany it is hard steel and perfectly
crafted machinery. In France it is an idiosyncratic luxury of a
sort which never quite made sense to anyone else. In Japan it is
uninspired, boring efficiency. And in America it is the Texas
ideal, size and power, coupled with an unsophisticated ideal of
What makes a nation in the beginning is a good piece of
How did Italy manage to end up with no Caribbean islands at all?
Christopher Columbus took the trouble to discover the Caribbean
personally before the end of the fifteenth century. Try to get a
decent plate of spaghetti there now.
I do not see the E.E.C. [European Economic Community] as a great
love affair. It's more like nine middle aged couples with failing
marriages meeting at a Brussels hotel for a group grope.
They spell it Vinci and pronounce it Vinchy; foreigners always
spell better than they pronounce.
The only interesting thing that can happen in a Swiss bedroom is
suffocation by feather matress.
I am writing this from what we Americans call Yurrp. In Yurrp
writers are taken as seriously as Lana Turner's legs are in
America -- a ridiculous situation.
How do you expect the Germans to revolt when they don't even
dare walk on the grass?
Hell is a place where the motorists are French, the policemen
are German and the cooks are English.
Laurence J. Peter
Italy hasn't had a government since Mussolini.