65 Total Quotes

Mary McCarthy Quotes Page 2

Is it really so difficult to tell a good action from a bad one? I think one usually knows right away or a moment afterward, in a horrid flash of regret.
Mary McCarthy
#Action #American Author

In politics, it seems, retreat is honorable if dictated by military considerations and shameful if even suggested for ethical reasons.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author

Labor is work that leaves no trace behind it when it is finished, or if it does, as in the case of the tilled field, this product of human activity requires still more labor, incessant, tireless labor, to maintain its identity as a ''work'' of man.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author #Work

The American character looks always as if it had just had a rather bad haircut, which gives it, in our eyes at any rate, a greater humanity than the European, which even among its beggars has an all too professional air.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author #Character

I suppose everyone continues to be interested in the quest for the self, but what you feel when you're older, I think, is that. . . you really must make the self.
Mary McCarthy
#Self

The Crucifixion and other historical precedents notwithstanding, many of us still believe that outstanding goodness is a kind of armor, that virtue, seen plain and bare, gives pause to criminality. But perhaps it is the other way around.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author #Goodness

A society person who is enthusiastic about modern painting or Truman Capote is already half a traitor to his class. It is middle-class people who, quite mistakenly, imagine that a lively pursuit of the latest in reading and painting will advance their status in the world.
Mary McCarthy
#Class #Culture

We are the hero of our own story.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author #Hero

The American, if he has a spark of national feeling, will be humiliated by the very prospect of a foreigner's visit to Congress -- these, for the most part, illiterate hacks whose fancy vests are spotted with gravy, and whose speeches, hypocritical, unctuous, and slovenly, are spotted also with the gravy of political patronage, these persons are a reflection on the democratic process rather than of it; they expose it in its process rather than of it; they expose it in its underwear.
Mary McCarthy
#Congress

We will need much better intelligence on this facility before we seriously consider any options.
Mary McCarthy
#Intelligence

The labor of keeping house is labor in its most naked state, for labor is toil that never finishes, toil that has to be begun again the moment it is completed, toil that is destroyed and consumed by the life process.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author #Labor

The happy ending is our national belief.
Mary McCarthy
#Belief #Optimism

The immense popularity of American movies abroad demonstrates that Europe is the unfinished negative of which America is the proof.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author

Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author

Life for the European is a career; for the American it is a hazard.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author

The strongest argument for the un-materialistic character of American life is the fact that we tolerate conditions that are, from a negative point of view, intolerable. What the foreigner finds most objectionable in American life is its lack of basic comfort. No nation with any sense of material well-being would endure the food we eat, the cramped apartments we live in, the noise, the traffic, the crowded subways and buses. American life, in large cities, is a perpetual assault on the senses and the nerves; it is out of asceticism, out of unworldliness, precisely, that we bear it.
Mary McCarthy
#Materialism

In science, all facts, no matter how trivial or banal, enjoy democratic equality.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author

In violence, we forget who we are.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author

In science, all facts no matter how trivial, enjoy democratic equality.
Mary McCarthy
#Science And Scientists

Liberty, as it is conceived by current opinion, has nothing inherent about it; it is a sort of gift or trust bestowed on the individual by the state pending good behavior.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author

Being abroad makes you conscious of the whole imitative side of human behavior. The ape in man.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author

Bureacracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.
Mary McCarthy
#American Author