If Ideas Had Shapes

A quoteblog ranging from philosophers in bathrobes to galaxy-rises

Tag: humor

Douglas Hofstadter – Le ton beau de Marot (1997)

It has been my observation, culled over years and years of eliciting “Ma Mignonne” translations from relatives, friends, colleagues, and students, that those people who do the most imaginative, liveliest, and most polished jobs are invariably those with the best senses of humor. They are people who love to play with ideas, juggle words, take risks, laugh at themselves, be silly, let themselves go. I suppose it suggests that having a sense of humor is tightly bound up with a propensity for intellectual risk-taking.

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Douglas Hofstadter – Le ton beau de Marot (1997)

There is certainly no sharp black-and-white crossover line, however–no magic moment at which meaning suddenly attaches to a symbol that up until then had been totally empty. Rather, over a period of days, weeks, months, or years, symbols gradually acquire layers of meaning, like boats accumulating layers of barnacles.

Gene Wolfe – intro to The Sandman, vol. 6 (1993)

The People—werewolves—are entirely legendary. All evidence to the contrary results from superstition, mass hysteria, or outright falsehood. Pay no attention to Neil Gaiman on this, we weren’t within miles of the place and he can’t prove a thing. “The Hunt” is pure fiction from beginning to end.

Christopher Hitchens – Mortality (2012)

I sympathize afresh with the mighty Voltaire, who, when badgered on his deathbed and urged to renounce the devil, murmured that this was no time to be making enemies.

Veronique Vienne – The Art of Doing Nothing (1998)

The English describe a gentleman as someone who can play the bagpipes—but doesn’t.

Veronique Vienne – The Art of Doing Nothing (1998)

Usually, we can figure out what people are trying to say long before they stop rambling. Far from being passive, listening to someone talk is an active, inspired, and often compassionate act of creation.

Harry Frankfurt – On Bullshit (1986)

The notion of carefully wrought bullshit involves, then, a certain inner strain.

Neil Gaiman – Sandman, vol. 4 (1992)

I have the honor to be the personal slave of Lord Kilderkin, a manifestation of order, here incarnated for us in the form of this cardboard box.

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

Women went about with oranges and ginger beer, and there was a terrible consumption of nuts going on.

(of the cheap theater where Sybil played)

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

She was a curious woman, whose dresses always looked as if they had been designed in a rage and put on in a tempest.