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Christopher Isherwood

One should never write down or up to people, but out of yourself.

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California is a tragic country - like Palestine, like every Promised Land.

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I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.

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Life is not so bad if you have plenty of luck, a good physique and not too much imagination.

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Life is not so bad if you have plenty of luck, a good physique, and not too much imagination.

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I'll bet Shakespeare compromised himself a lot; anybody who's in the entertainment industry does to some extent.

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I often feel that worse than the most fiendish Nazis were those Germans who went along with the persecution of the Jews not because they really disliked them but because it was the thing.

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What irritates me is the bland way people go around saying, 'Oh, our attitude has changed. We don't dislike these people any more.' But by the strangest coincidence, they haven't taken away the injustice; the laws are still on the books.

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The Nazis hated culture itself, because it is essentially international and therefore subversive of nationalism. What they called Nazi culture was a local, perverted, nationalistic cult, by which a few major artists and many minor ones were honored for their Germanness, not their talent.

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They have planned a life for you — from the cradle to the grave and beyond — which it would be easy, fatally easy, to accept. The least wandering of the attention, the least relaxation of your awareness, and already the eyelids begin to droop, the eyes grow vacant, the body starts to move in obedience to the hypnotist’s command. Wake up, wake up — before you sign that seven-year contract, buy that house you don’t really want, marry that girl you secretly despise. Don’t reach for the whisky, that won’t help you. You’ve got to think, to discriminate, to exercise your own free will and judgment. And you must do this, I repeat, without tension, quite rationally and calmly. For if you give way to fury against the hypnotists, if you smash the radio and tear the newspapers to shreds, you will only rush to the other extreme and fossilize into defiant eccentricity.

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