Orson Welles, My Lunches with Orson
“No, aristocrats are never nationalistic. Because they’re all related to one another. They never have a sense of nation. That’s typically a bourgeois attitude.”
Orson Welles, My Lunches with Orson
“When I am married, I want to be single, and when I am single I want to be married.”
Cary Grant, via Sheilah Graham, Confessions of a Hollywood Gossip Columnist
When he assumed the presidency, John F. Kennedy hoped to tamp down the Cold War rhetoric between the United States and the Soviet Union. He quickly learned how difficult this would be after a summit with his Soviet counterpart, Nikita Khrushchev. JFK sought common ground by stating the obvious, that “a nuclear exchange would kill seventy million people in ten minutes.” Khrushchev just looked at him blankly “as if to say, ‘So what?’ … as if he didn’t give a damn if it came to that.” Lamented JFK, “I never met a man like this.”
According to Gore Vidal in Palimpsest, A Memoir, Kennedy did know someone like this, someone much closer to home. Per Vidal, “during Jack’s thousand days as president, he discussed” this person “almost as much as he did Khrushchev, and in much the same manner.” Whom did Kennedy believe to be the moral equivalent of Nikita Khrushchev?
Hint: The answer is not the person banned from the White House for kicking JFK’s daughter Caroline (according to Michael Smith).
The answer is after the JUMP.
“The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.”
Peter De Vries, Let Me Count the Ways
“If I weren’t rich, people would say I was crazy. As it is I’m just eccentric.”
Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, California Rich
“My favorite book story involves a famous European chatelaine who had rented her house to an equally famous American. The owner of the house called a friend of mine in London frantically asking whether or not her imminent tenant’s maid was French. What difference does it make, asked my friend, whereupon this legendary paragon of housekeeping replied, ‘I’m selecting the books for the maid’s room.’”
Mark Hampton, Mark Hampton on Decorating
“Zerbe has always been puzzled by the fact that throughout the grim period of the Depression the sorely beset poor and even the unemployed seemed to take pleasure in pictures of the rich squandering their unearned incomes upon frivolity. ‘I’d have expected my pictures to make people furious,’ he has said. ‘They had the opposite effect. My friends and I were all more or less Marie Antoinettes in our attitudes, but instead of having our heads chopped off, we were applauded.’”
Brendan Gill, Happy Times
“Last night, Don and I went to supper at Henri Coulette’s apartment in Pasadena. A disaster…. And, oh dear, the academic atmosphere with its prissy caution! One man said that very few people in America ‘had the background’ to be able to appreciate The Brothers Karamazov. WHY? If this were really true, it wouldn’t be a criticism of America but of Dostoevsky.”
Christopher Isherwood, May 13, 1962, Christopher Isherwood, The Sixties, Diaries 1960-1969
Image Credit: Allan Warren, via Wikimedia Commons
Gore Vidal's copy of Christopher Isherwood, The Sixties, Diaries 1960-1969, with his bookstamp is available via the Nick Harvill Libraries store.
“One must never confuse the profound with the clever.”
Duane Michals, Album, The Portraits of Duane Michals, 1958-1988
Image Credit: Album, The Portraits of Duane Michals, 1958-1988
“You can intellectually admire a house exactly as you admire an exhibition of furniture or tapestries assembled in a museum, without in the least longing to live in like surroundings.”
Emily Post, The Personality of a House