Janet Malcolm Famous Quotes & Sayings

43 Janet Malcolm Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

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The heavy odds against finding the desired ... work of art in the mess and flux of life, as opposed to the serene orderliness of imagined reality, give a special tense dazzle and an atmosphere of tour de force to any photographs that succeed in the search. Janet Malcolm Sayings: The heavy odds against finding the desired ... work of art in the mess and
All analyses end badly. Each 'termination' leaves the participants with the taste of ashes in their mouths; each is absurd; each is a small, pointless death. Psychoanalysis cannot tolerate happy endings; it casts them off the way the body's immunological system casts off transplanted organs. Janet Malcolm Sayings: All analyses end badly. Each 'termination' leaves the participants with the taste of ashes in
He never asked me what I thought, and I never told him what I thought, because in my view that's the way a journalist ought to behave. You ought not to be going around to people volunteering your feelings. That's daily journalism. Janet Malcolm Sayings: He never asked me what I thought, and I never told him what I thought,
Fidelity to the subject's thought and to his characteristic way of expressing himself is the sine qua non of journalistic quotation. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Fidelity to the subject's thought and to his characteristic way of expressing himself is the
The distinguished dead are clay in the hands of writers, and chance determines the shapes that their characters assume in the books written about them. Janet Malcolm Sayings: The distinguished dead are clay in the hands of writers, and chance determines the shapes
As you no doubt gathered, I do not devote the care to word selection and organization in my letters that I do in my books Generally, I don't write letters at all ... Writing, for me, is work, and I do not like to do my work carelessly, but if I waited until I got a letter into the shape I'd be happy with, you would never hear another word from me and would think I had perished on a mountain ... Janet Malcolm Sayings: As you no doubt gathered, I do not devote the care to word selection and
The 'I' character in journalism is almost pure invention. Janet Malcolm Sayings: The 'I' character in journalism is almost pure invention.
This is what it is the business of the artist to do. Art is theft, art is armed robbery, art is not pleasing your mother. Janet Malcolm Sayings: This is what it is the business of the artist to do. Art is theft,
There are places in New York where the city's anarchic, unaccommodating spirit, its fundamental, irrepressible aimlessness and heedlessness have found especially firm footholds. Certain transfers between subway lines, passageways of almost transcendent sordidness; certain sites of torn-down buildings where parking lots have silently sprung up like fungi; certain intersections created by illogical confluences of streets
these express with particular force the city's penchant for the provisional and its resistance to permanence, order, closure.
Janet Malcolm Sayings: There are places in New York where the city's anarchic, unaccommodating spirit, its fundamental, irrepressible
Drawing conclusions is up to the jury, that is, the readers. My only job is to be talented, that is, to know how to distinguish important testimony from unimportant, to place my characters in the proper light and speak their language. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Drawing conclusions is up to the jury, that is, the readers. My only job is
Something seems to happen to people when they meet a journalist, and what happens is exactly the opposite of what one would expect. One would think that extreme wariness and caution would be the order of the day, but in fact childish trust and impetuosity are far more common. The journalistic encounter seems to have the same regressive effect on a subject as the psychoanalytic encounter. The subject becomes a kind of child of the writer, regarding him as a permissive, all-accepting, all-forgiving mother, and expecting that the book will be written by her. Of course, the book is written by the strict, all-noticing, unforgiving father. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Something seems to happen to people when they meet a journalist, and what happens is
[Richard Avedon's] camera dwells on the horrible things that age can do to people's faces - on the flabby flesh, the slack skin, the ugly growths, the puffy eyes, the knotted necks, the aimless wrinkles, the fearful and anxious set of the mouth, the marks left by sickness, madness, alcoholism, and irreversible disappointment. Janet Malcolm Sayings: [Richard Avedon's] camera dwells on the horrible things that age can do to people's faces
Biographers rue the destruction or loss of letters; they might also curse the husband and wife who never leave each other's side, and thus perform a kind of epistolary abortion. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Biographers rue the destruction or loss of letters; they might also curse the husband and
What gives journalism its authenticity and vitality is the tension between the subject's blind self absorption and the journalist's skepticism. Journalists who swallow the subject's account whole and publish it are not journalists but publicists. Janet Malcolm Sayings: What gives journalism its authenticity and vitality is the tension between the subject's blind self
Malice remains its animating impulse. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Malice remains its animating impulse.
A fundamental rule of journalism, which is to tell a story and stick to it. The narratives of journalism (significantly called "stories"), like those of mythology and folklore, derive their power from their firm, undeviating sympathies and antipathies. Cinderella must remain good and the stepsisters bad. "Second stepsister not so bad after all" is not a good story. Janet Malcolm Sayings: A fundamental rule of journalism, which is to tell a story and stick to it.
The concept of privacy is a sort of screen to hide the fact that almost none is possible in a social universe. Janet Malcolm Sayings: The concept of privacy is a sort of screen to hide the fact that almost
Journalists justify their treachery in various ways according to their temperaments. The more pompous talk about freedom of speech and "the public's right to know"; the least talented talk about Art; the seemliest murmur about earning a living. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Journalists justify their treachery in various ways according to their temperaments. The more pompous talk
What Helen of Troy did in her spare time and what she was 'really like' are not questions that torture us. Janet Malcolm Sayings: What Helen of Troy did in her spare time and what she was 'really like'
The writer ultimately tires of the subject's self-serving story, and substitutes a story of his own. Janet Malcolm Sayings: The writer ultimately tires of the subject's self-serving story, and substitutes a story of his
The concept of the psychopath is, in fact, an admission of failure to solve the mystery of evil - it is merely a restatement of the mystery - and only offers an escape valve for the frustration felt by psychiatrists, social workers, and police officers, who daily encounter its force. Janet Malcolm Sayings: The concept of the psychopath is, in fact, an admission of failure to solve the
If you scratch a great photograph, you find two things; a painting and a photograph. Janet Malcolm Sayings: If you scratch a great photograph, you find two things; a painting and a photograph.
The dominant and most deep-dyed trait of the journalist is his timorousness. Where the novelist fearlessly plunges into the water of self-exposure, the journalist stands trembling on the shore in his beach robe. The journalist confines himself to the clean, gentlemanly work of exposing the grieves and shames of others. Janet Malcolm Sayings: The dominant and most deep-dyed trait of the journalist is his timorousness. Where the novelist
[David] Salle's earlier work had been marked by a kind of spaciousness, sometimes an emptiness, such as surrealist works are prone to. But here everything was condensed, impacted, mired. The paintings were like an ugly mood. Janet Malcolm Sayings: [David] Salle's earlier work had been marked by a kind of spaciousness, sometimes an emptiness,
Analysts keep having to pick away at the scab that the patient tries to form between himself and the analyst to cover over his wounds. The analyst keeps the surface raw, so that the wound will heal properly. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Analysts keep having to pick away at the scab that the patient tries to form
Poets and novelists and playwrights make themselves, against terrible resistances, give over what the rest of us keep safely locked within our hearts. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Poets and novelists and playwrights make themselves, against terrible resistances, give over what the rest
[The] arresting of time is photography's unique capacity, and the decision of when to click the shutter is the photographer's chief responsibility. Janet Malcolm Sayings: [The] arresting of time is photography's unique capacity, and the decision of when to click
Every amateur harbors the fantasy that his work is only waiting to be discovered; a second fantasy-that the established contemporary artists must also be frauds- is a necessary corollary Janet Malcolm Sayings: Every amateur harbors the fantasy that his work is only waiting to be discovered; a
In the common perception, there is something unseemly about young people getting rich. Getting rich is supposed to be the reward for hard work, preferably arriving when you are too old to enjoy it. And the spectacle of young millionaires who made their bundle not from business or crime but from avant-garde art is particularly offensive. The avant-garde is supposed to be the conscience of the culture, not its id. Janet Malcolm Sayings: In the common perception, there is something unseemly about young people getting rich. Getting rich
Before the magisterial mess of Trevor Thomas's house, the orderly houses that most of us live in seem meagre and lifeless
as, in the same way, the narratives called biographies pale and shrink in the face of the disorderly actuality that is a life. The house also stirred my imagination as a metaphor for the problem of writing. Each person who sits down to write faces not a blank page but his own overfilled mind. The problem is to clear out most of what is in it ... The goal is to make a space where a few ideas and images and feelings may be so arranged that a reader will want to linger awhile among them, rather than to flee, as I wanted to flee from Thomas's house.
Janet Malcolm Sayings: Before the magisterial mess of Trevor Thomas's house, the orderly houses that most of us
There are good photographers who might elevate themselves to the ranks of the great simply by burning most of their work. Janet Malcolm Sayings: There are good photographers who might elevate themselves to the ranks of the great simply
A lawsuit is to ordinary life what war is to peacetime. In a lawsuit, everybody on the other side is bad. A trial transcript is a discourse in malevolence. Janet Malcolm Sayings: A lawsuit is to ordinary life what war is to peacetime. In a lawsuit, everybody
Writing cannot be done in a state of desirelessness, Janet Malcolm Sayings: Writing cannot be done in a state of desirelessness,
Like the young Aztec men and women selected for sacrifice, who lived in delightful ease and luxury until the appointed day where their hearts were to be carved from their chests, journalistic subjects know all too well what awaits them when the days of wine and roses - the days of interviews - are over. And still they say yes when a journalist calls, and still they are astonished when they see the flash of the knife. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Like the young Aztec men and women selected for sacrifice, who lived in delightful ease
The writer, like the murderer, needs a motive, Janet Malcolm Sayings: The writer, like the murderer, needs a motive,
Society mediates between the extremes of, on the one hand, intolerably strict morality and, on the other, dangerously anarchic permissiveness through an unspoken agreement whereby we are given leave to bend the rules of the strictest morality, provided we do so quietly and discreetly. Hypocrisy is the grease that keeps society functioning in an agreeable way, by allowing for human fallibility and reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable human needs for order and pleasure. When Buckley and Wambaugh said bluntly that it's all right to deceive subjects, they breached the contract whereby you never come right out and admit you have stretched the rules for your own benefit. You do it and shut up about it, and hope you don't get caught, because if you are caught no one - or no one who has any sense - will come forward and say he has done the same thing himself. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Society mediates between the extremes of, on the one hand, intolerably strict morality and, on
The camera is simply not the supple and powerful instrument of description that the pen is. Janet Malcolm Sayings: The camera is simply not the supple and powerful instrument of description that the pen
Listen to me, not to her. I am authentic. I speak with authority. Go to the full texts of the journals, the letters home, and the rest. They will tell you what you want to know. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Listen to me, not to her. I am authentic. I speak with authority. Go to
Every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself to notice what is
I was always trying to take art photographs, but the most interesting pictures were the snapshots. The artsy pictures were boring, always. Janet Malcolm Sayings: I was always trying to take art photographs, but the most interesting pictures were the
The subject of a piece of writing has not suffered the tension and anxiety endured by the subject of the "Eichmann experiment" (as it has been called) - on the contrary, he has been on a sort of narcissist's holiday during the period of interviews - but when the moment of peripeteia comes, he is confronted with the same mortifying spectacle of himself flunking a test of character he did not know he was taking. Janet Malcolm Sayings: The subject of a piece of writing has not suffered the tension and anxiety endured
[David] Salle's studio, on the second floor of a five-story loft building, is a long room lit with bright, cold overhead light. It is not a beautiful studio. Like the streets outside, it gives no quarter to the visitor in search of the picturesque. It doesn't even have a chair for the visitor to sit in, unless you count a backless, half-broken metal swivel chair Salle will offer with a murmur of inattentive apology. Upstairs, in his living quarters, it is another story. But down here everything has to do with work and with being alone. Janet Malcolm Sayings: [David] Salle's studio, on the second floor of a five-story loft building, is a long
Unlike other relationships that have a purpose beyond themselves and are clearly delineated as such (dentist-patient, lawyer-client, teacher-student), the writer-subject relationship seems to depend for its life on a kind of fuzziness and murkiness, if not utter covertness, of purpose. If everybody put his cards on the table, the game would be over. The journalist must do his work in a kind of deliberately induced state of moral anarchy. Janet Malcolm Sayings: Unlike other relationships that have a purpose beyond themselves and are clearly delineated as such