Selected Ellen Goodman Quotations
• People have been writing premature obituaries on the women's movement since its beginning.
• I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those sho struggle to make one small difference after another.
• We criticize mothers for closeness. We criticize fathers for distance. How many of us have expected less from our fathers and appreciated what they gave us more? How many of us always let them off the hook?
• The central struggle of parenthood is to let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears.
• If there's a single message passed down from each generation of American parents to their children, it is a two-word line: Better Yourself. And if there's a temple of self-betterment in each town, it is the local school. We have worshiped there for some time.
•Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition to them. Once the chorus of cultural values was full of ministers, teachers, neighbors, leaders. They demanded more conformity, but offered more support. Now the messengers are violent cartoon characters, rappers and celebrities selling sneakers. Parents are considered "responsible" only if they are successful in their resistance. That's what makes child-raising harder. It's not just that American families have less time with their kids; it's that we have to spend more of this time doing battle with our own culture.
• Values are not trendy items that are casually traded in.
• What he labels sexual, she labels harassment.
• [About the year 2003] [T]he world seemed to divide between international fundamentalists who want to keep women veiled and Internet spammers who want to unveil them on your computer screen.
• Pro-choice supporters are often heard using the cool language of the courts and the vocabulary of rights. Americans who are deeply ambivalent about abortion often miss the sound of caring.
• The millions of women who have had abortions do not regard them as a victory. For most they were failures -- whether of contraception or relationships -- accompanied by mixed feelings of regret and relief.
• Michael Moore has been called the left-wing answer to Rush Limbaugh. Rush without the OxyContin. But is it heresy to ask whether the left actually wants its own Rush?
• Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.
• In the biotech revolution, it is the human body, not iron or steel or plastic, that's at the source. Are the biocapitalists going to be allowed to dig without consent into our genetic codes, then market them?
• [About the 2004 election] Kerry asks Americans to look at the evidence. Bush asks people to believe.
• Would somebody please tell George W. Bush that he is not Commander in Chief of the Judiciary? No matter how 'hot' he looked in his flight suit, black robes require a cooler demeanor.
• Politics isn't polarized between ideas as much as it is divided between teams in an endless color war. The famous geopolitical map of 2000 painted the states red and blue.
• The people often slandered as greedy geezers seem to have a perspective from their place in history. The elders in my family remember the Depression. The baby boomers remember dot-com boom and bust. We all have albums of best laid plans.
• All in all, I am not surprised that the people who want to unravel the social contract start with young adults. Those who are urged to feel afraid, very afraid, have both the greatest sense of independence and the most finely honed skepticism about government.
• Well, I do not think that women should train in the Ann Coulter School of Opinion-Hurling. I avoid leaving teeth marks on innocent ankles. We don't need more women -- or men -- in the Strunk and Food Fight Stylebook. There are many ways to be heard. But writing out loud, saying what you think on the op-ed page or in the blogosphere, on talk radio or in politics, requires a little hide-toughening.
• As for keeping the attack dogs from nibbling away your courage? My theory, after decades in this business, is that you only give a few people the right to make you feel rotten. You have a handful of chits to give out, penuriously, to those you trust and respect. You don't give them to just anyone with an e-mail address and an epithet.
• In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.
• I write about different things than other columnists. But I do it out of a sense of news judgment. The major stories today are the family and what I call life-and-death issues.
• Maybe at 20 you can write well, but I don’t think you could do what I do. Some things have to happen to you first.
• You can teach someone who cares to write columns, but you can’t teach someone who writes columns to care.
• I regard this novel as a work without redeeming social value, unless it can be recycled as a cardboard box.
• When speech is divorced from speaker and word from meaning, what is left is just ritual, language as ritual.
• How come pleasure never makes it on to ... a dutiful list of do's and don'ts? Doesn't joy also get soft and flabby if you neglect to exercise it?
• Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience — unless they are still up.
• What do I want to take home from my summer vacation? Time. The wonderful luxury of being at rest. The days when you shut down the mental machinery that keeps life on track and let life simply wander. The days when you stop planning, analyzing, thinking and just are. Summer is my period of grace.
• Traditions are the guideposts driven deep in our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can't even describe, aren't even aware of.
• The things we hate about ourselves aren't more real than things we like about ourselves.
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About These Quotes
Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2009. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Ellen Goodman Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/ellen_goodman.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)