One should fight like the devil the temptation to think well of editors.
They are all, without exception - at least some of the time, incompetent or crazy.
The most vulgar and unpatriotic thing you can do...is indiscriminately "get out the vote," making every citizen
pull his voting booth lever, whether or not he gives a damn.
...the myth of the mindless patriot is not worse than the myth of the cynic who speaks of America with an automatic sneer.
Real art creates myths a society can live instead of die by, and clearly all modern society is in need of such myths.
Metaphysics is out, "alternative conceptual systems" are in...Relativity is all...Relativism denies those finalities toward which man's spirit has always groped. To admit that there are no finalities is to put the spirit out of business...
To the relativist's rhetorical question "Who is to judge?" the critic leaps up, red beard flying, banging his crutches, screaming, "Me!"
Our experience of extremes (happy Emerson, black-hearted Melville, light and dark as simple as virtue and wickedness in a Congressman's election speech) makes all Americans radicals. Our normal view is that if everything isn't terrific, it stinks.
The effect of the best art is to humanize by offering descriptions of just behavior, positive models.
All of the above quotations belong to John Gardner.
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