Weekend

Weekend Words: Idiot

“Half the world is composed of idiots, the other half of people clever enough to take indecent advantage of them.”

Pieter van der Heyden, “Ship of Fools (Die blau schuyte)” (1559), engraving, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (image via Web Gallery of Art)

“Donald Trump Jr.,” declared the editorial board of the Murdock-owned New York Post, “is an idiot.”

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

—Mark Twain

The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.

—Salvador Dali

No man can be a pure specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot.

—George Bernard Shaw

To Generalize is to be an Idiot; To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit.

—William Blake

Acting is the perfect idiot’s profession.

—Katharine Hepburn

Man is an idiot. He doesn’t know how to do anything without copying, without imitating, without plagiarizing, without aping. It might even have been that man invented generation by coitus after seeing the grasshopper copulate.

—Augusto Roa Bastos

While time, the endless idiot, runs screaming round the world.

—Carson McCullers

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

—George Carlin

Reasonable orders are easy enough to obey; it is capricious, bureaucratic or plain idiotic demands that form the habit of discipline.

—Barbara Tuchman

I’m an Emotional Idiot
so get away from me.
I mean,
COME HERE.

Wait, no,
that’s too close,
give me some space
it’s a big country,
there’s plenty of room,
don’t sit so close to me.

Maggie Estep, “Emotional Idiot”

Of all the idiots I have met in my life, and the Lord knows they have not been few or little, I think that I have been the biggest.

—Isak Dinesen

If an idiot were to tell you the same story every day for a year, you would end by believing it.

—Horace Mann

Education is a crutch with which the foolish attack the wise to prove that they are not idiots.

—Karl Kraus

Half the world is composed of idiots, the other half of people clever enough to take indecent advantage of them.

—Walter Kerr

Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in.

—Gustave Flaubert

We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal.

—Carl Bernstein

The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.

—H. L. Mencken

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