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" Americans use the word 'dream' as often as psychoanalysts do. "
" In the end, it is because the media are driven by the power and wealth of private individuals that they turn private lives into public spectacles. If every private life is now potentially public property, it is because private property has undermined public responsibility. "
" Those who sentimentally indulge humanity do it no favours. "
" With fiction, you can talk about plot, character and narrative, whereas a poem brings home the fact that everything that happens in a work of literature happens in terms of language. And this is daunting stuff to deal with. "
" Universities are no longer educational in any sense of the word that Rousseau would have recognised. Instead, they have become unabashed instruments of capital. Confronted with this squalid betrayal, one imagines he would have felt sick and oppressed. "
" What's wrong with a bit of nostalgia between friends? I think nostalgia sometimes gets too much of a bad press. "
" I attacked Dawkins's book on God because I think he is theologically illiterate. "
" Deconstruction insists not that truth is illusory but that it is institutional. "
" It is in Rousseau's writing above all that history begins to turn from upper-class honour to middle-class humanitarianism. Pity, sympathy and compassion lie at the centre of his moral vision. Values associated with the feminine begin to infiltrate social existence as a whole, rather than being confined to the domestic sphere. "
" The past can be used to renew the present, not just to bury it. "
" There is an insuperable problem about introducing immigrants to British values. There are no British values. Nor are there any Serbian or Peruvian values. No nation has a monopoly on fairness and decency, justice and humanity. "
" You've got to have a sense of different audiences. I'm a kind of performer manque - I come from a long line of failed actors! "
" Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is 'The Book of British Birds,' and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology. "
" For Aristotle, goodness is a kind of prospering in the precarious affair of being human. "
" Irish fiction is full of secrets, guilty pasts, divided identities. It is no wonder that there is such a rich tradition of Gothic writing in a nation so haunted by history. "
" We face a conflict between civilisation and culture, which used to be on the same side. Civilisation means rational reflection, material wellbeing, individual autonomy and ironic self-doubt; culture means a form of life that is customary, collective, passionate, spontaneous, unreflective and irrational. "
" The German philosopher Walter Benjamin had the curious notion that we could change the past. For most of us, the past is fixed while the future is open. "
" Language, identity and forms of life are the terms in which political demands are shaped and voiced. "
" I liked early Amis a lot, but I stopped reading him some time ago. I admire Hitchens on literary topics - I think he is very astute. McEwan, I read a bit. But I suppose it's more the ideological phenomenon that they represent together that interests me. "
" For the liberal state to accommodate a diversity of beliefs while having few positive convictions is one of the more admirable achievements of civilization. "
" The frontier between public and private shifts from time to time and culture to culture. "
" I enjoy popularisation and I think I'm reasonably good at it. I also think it's a duty. It's just so pedagogically stupid to forget how difficult one found these ideas oneself to begin with. "
" A truly common culture is not one in which we all think alike, or in which we all believe that fairness is next to godliness, but one in which everyone is allowed to be in on the project of cooperatively shaping a common way of life. "
" Virtue is something you have to get good at, like playing the trombone or tolerating bores at parties. Being a virtuous human being takes practice; and those who are brilliant at being human (what Christians call the saints) are the virtuosi of the moral sphere - the Pavarottis and Maradonas of virtue. "
" Today, nostalgia is almost as unacceptable as racism. "
" Most students of literature can pick apart a metaphor or spot an ethnic stereotype, but not many of them can say things like: 'The poem's sardonic tone is curiously at odds with its plodding syntax.' "
" Men and women do not easily submit to a power that does not weave itself into the texture of their daily existence - one reason why culture remains so politically vital. Civilisation cannot get on with culture, and it cannot get on without it. "
" Evil is unintelligible. It is just a thing in itself, like boarding a crowded commuter train wearing only a giant boa constrictor. There is no context which would make it explicable. "
" It is easy to see why a diversity of cultures should confront power with a problem. If culture is about plurality, power is about unity. How can it sell itself simultaneously to a whole range of life forms without being fatally diluted? "
" Evil is often supposed to be without rhyme or reason. "
" Anyone can be tolerant of those who are tolerant. "