Special Feature: Quotes for the New Year

By Harvey Blume

Some pithy quotes to keep in mind for the New Year.

Iconoclast H.L. Mencken — Hallelujah, the desire of America’s plain folks has been granted.




We didn’t join a cult. Nobody joins a cult. They join a good thing. And then they realize they were fucked.
ex-NXIVM member

I understood the world I knew was gone forever when I had to teach a college student how to operate an envelope.
Deb Olin Unferth

I miss the time when America had big dreams about the future. Now it seems like nobody has big hopes for the future. We all seem to think that it’s going to be just like it is now, only worse.
Andy Warhol

The coronavirus isn’t alive. That’s why it’s so hard to kill.
Gary Whittaker, virologist

More mundane yet no less popular is the palm civet, a small, wild quadruped suspected of having passed on the SARS virus to humans. When stewed with snake meat, it is said to cure insomnia.
Yi-Zheng Lian

Half the kids in Brooklyn were Yankee fans. We spent our days arguing who was better: Duke Snider versus Mickey Mantle; Roy Campanella versus Yogi Berra; Pee Wee Reese versus Phil Rizzuto and on and on. Those were the days, my friend.
Anthony Fauci

It wasn’t until Europe “escaped” from Rome that it launched an economic transformation that changed the continent and ultimately the world. What has the Roman Empire ever done for us? Fall and go away.
Walter Scheidel


New Year


He has seen eels that appear to be dead but are not, and eels that really are dead—chopped up and frying in butter, even—but still move as though they were alive. “To the eel, death seemed relative,” he writes.
Brooke Jarvis

Deprivation is for me what daffodils were for Wordsworth.
Phillip Larkin

They accepted us because we fascinated them. We stood a little taller. We felt a little more fabulous. We had more rhythm. The white models couldn’t keep up with us, and they were livid about it.
Shailah Edmonds

In England as you know, anti-Semitism is just another chore of snobbery. Though it does lend spice to anti-Zionism.
Martin Amis

If childhood piety was like having chicken pox, its resurgence was like shingles—the itch had come back decades later as pain.
Thomas Perry

On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
H.L. Mencken

At each board it took only a second’s glance to read the position and see what was called for. Her responses were quick, sure and deadly. Her mind was luminous, and her soul sang to her in the sweet moves of chess.
Walter Tevis


For 2021

Harvey Blume is an author—Ota Benga: The Pygmy At The Zoo—who has published essays, reviews, and interviews widely, in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Agni, The American Prospect, and The Forward, among other venues. His blog in progress, which will archive that material and be a platform for new, is here. He contributes regularly to The Arts Fuse, and wants to help it continue to grow into a critical voice to be reckoned with.

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