Florence King, a columnist, author and professional misanthrope who was
a constitutional crosspatch about all manner of things — in particular
those things that smacked in the slightest of what she decried as
touchy-feely late-20th-century liberalism — died on Wednesday at her
home in Fredericksburg, Va. She was 80.
Her death, announced by the conservative magazine National Review, to
which she had long contributed, took place not long after she had moved
to an assisted-living community in Fredericksburg. It is reasonable to
assume, however, that in moving there Miss King did not ultimately
attain her stated goal of living “in a place that does not call itself
‘the community with a heart,’ ” as she once wrote, “where all the young
people leave and the rest sit on a porch with a rifle across their
here for full New York Times obituary.)
A home without a grandmother is like an egg without salt.
America is the only country in the world where you can suffer culture
shock without leaving home.
Americans have gotten the message that life is easier if they don't
As the only class distinction available in a democracy, the college
degree has created a caste society as rigid as ancient India's.
By sending the contradictory message that the famous are just plain
folks on Mount Olympus, America has forged a relentless tension between
loftiness and accessibility. Stir in the fact that the inborn talent and
intelligence needed to achieve fame are immune to distributive tinkering
by government programs and you have a definition of fame certain to
produce envious rage: somebody screwed democracy.
Chinks in America's egalitarian armor are not hard to find. Democracy is
the fig leaf of elitism.
Democracy is the crude leading the crud.
Each time a mediocre singer performs, he is saying, in effect, 'This is
good enough for you.' The audience, thrust into that familiar American
mood of knowing something is wrong but not knowing what it is,
unconsciously absorbs the insult and projects it back onto the mediocre
performer in the form of inattention, rudeness and noise.
Familiarity doesn't breed contempt, it is contempt.
Golf is an exercise in Scottish pointlessness for people who are no
longer able to throw telephone poles at each other.
He travels fastest who travels alone, and that goes double for she. Real
feminism is spinsterhood. It's time America admitted that old maids give
all women a good name.
Humor inspires sympathetic, good-natured laughter and is favored by the
'healing power' gang. Wit goes for the jugular, not the jocular, and
it's the opposite of football; instead of building character, it tears
I do believe in reincarnation, but I do not believe there is life before
I'd rather rot on my own floor than be found by a bunch of bingo players
in a nursing home.
I've always said that next to Imperial China, the South is the best
place in the world to be an old lady.
I've had sex and I've had food, and I'd rather eat.
In social matters, pointless conventions are not merely the bee sting of
etiquette, but the snake bite of moral order.
Judge not, lest ye be judged judgmental.
Men are not very good at loving, but they are experts at admiring and
respecting; the woman who goes after their admiration and respect will
often come out better than she who goes out after their love.
Misanthropes have some admirable if paradoxical virtues. It is no
exaggeration to say that we are among the nicest people you are likely
to meet. Because good manners build sturdy walls, our distaste for
intimacy makes us exceedingly cordial 'ships that pass in the night.' As
long as you remain a stranger we will be your friend forever.
Owning your own home is America's unique recipe for avoiding revolution
and promoting pseudo-equality at the same time. To keep citizens
puttering in their yards instead of sputtering on the barricades, the
government has gladly deprived itself of billions in tax revenues by
letting home 'owners' deduct mortgage interest payments.
People are so busy dreaming the American Dream, fantasizing about what
they could be or have a right to be, that they're all asleep at the
switch. Consequently we are living in the Age of Human Error.
Showing up at school already able to read is like showing up at the
undertaker's already embalmed: people start worrying about being put out
of their jobs.
Southerners are so devoted to genealogy that we see a family tree under
Southerners have a genius for psychological alchemy. If something
intolerable simply cannot be changed, driven away or shot they will not
only tolerate it but take pride in it as well.
Thank God I'm over the hill... None of the things men do to women could
possibly happen to me now unless the U.S. is invaded by one of those new
Russian republics whose soldiers aren't fussy.
The confidence and security of a people can be measured by their
attitude toward laxatives.
The feminization of America... has mired us in a soft, sickly, helpless
tolerance of everything. America is the girl who can't say no, the town
pump who lets anybody have a go at her. We are a single- parent country
with no father to cut through the molasses and point out, for example,
the inconsistency of embracing warm and compassionate 'values' while
condemning cold and detached 'value judgments.'
The proliferation of support groups suggests to me that too many
Americans are growing up in homes that do not contain a grandmother.
The witty woman is a tragic figure in American life. Wit destroys
eroticism and eroticism destroys wit, so women must choose between
taking lovers and taking no prisoners.
There are so many different kinds of people in America, with so many
different boiling points, that we don't know how to fight with each
other... no American can be sure how or when another will react, so we
zap each other with friendliness to neutralize potentially dangerous
Those colorful denizens of male despair, the Bowery bum and the
rail-riding hobo, have been replaced by the bag lady and the welfare
mother. Women have even taken over Skid Row.
True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories.
When they came for the smokers, I kept silent because I don't smoke.
they came for the meat eaters, I kept silent because I'm a vegetarian.
they came for the gun owners, I kept silent because I'm a pacifist.
they came for the drivers, I kept silent because I'm a bicyclist.
never did come for me.
I'm still here because there's nobody left in
the secret police except sissies with rickets.
Quotes of the day
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