Weekend

Weekend Words: Mask

“A mask of gold hides all deformities.”

Giuseppe Arcimboldo, “Sketch for a Mask” (1585), brown pen and blue wash, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence (image via Web Gallery of Art)

The latest distraction promoted by the Trump administration to draw attention from its breathtaking incompetence and cratering poll numbers is the claim from an alt-right website, as reported in Salon, that “the ‘White House Counsel’s office identified [Susan] Rice as the person responsible for the unmasking’ of Trump officials caught in surveillance of foreign officials ‘after examining Rice’s document log requests.’”

Money does not change men, it only unmasks them.

—Marie-Jeanne Riccoboni

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

—Franz Kafka

The closing years of life are like the end of a masquerade party when the masks are dropped.

—Arthur Schopenhauer

Masks beneath masks until suddenly the bare bloodless skull.

—Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.

—Jane Jacobs

A mask tells us more than a face.

—Oscar Wilde

Man’s great misfortune is that he has no organ, no kind of eyelid or brake, to mask or block a thought, or all thought, when he wants to.

—Paul Valery

Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face. As soon as one is aware of being somebody, to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his overanimation. One can either see or be seen.

—John Updike, Self-Consciousness: Memoirs

Dignity is a mask we wear to hide our ignorance.

—Elbert Hubbard

A mask of gold hides all deformities.

—Thomas Dekker

The painted veil, by those who were, called life,
Which mimicked, as with colours idly spread,
All men believed or hoped, is torn aside;
The loathsome mask has fallen, the man remains
Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man
Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless,
Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king
Over himself.

—Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound

The business of obscuring language is a mask behind which stands the much bigger business of plunder.

—Frantz Fanon

Thou know’st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.

—William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Love, love, love — all the wretched cant of it, masking egotism, lust, masochism, fantasy under a mythology of sentimental postures, a welter of self-induced miseries and joys, blinding and masking the essential personalities in the frozen gestures of courtship, in the kissing and the dating and the desire, the compliments and the quarrels which vivify its barrenness.

—Germaine Greer

It’s a terrible thing to be alone — yes it is — it is — but don’t lower your mask until you have another mask prepared beneath — as terrible as you like — but a mask.

—Katherine Mansfield

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.

—James Baldwin

No mask like open truth to cover lies,
As to go naked is the best disguise.

—William Congreve, The Double Dealer

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