12+ quotes from American Tabloid by James Ellroy

Quotes from American Tabloid

James Ellroy ·  592 pages

Rating: (12.2K votes)


“America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can't ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can't lose what you lacked at conception.
Mass-market nostalgia gets you hopped up for a past that never existed. Hagiography sanctifies shuck-and-jive politicians and reinvents their expedient gestures as moments of great moral weight. Our continuing narrative line is blurred past truth and hindsight. Only a reckless verisimilitude can set that line straight.
The real Trinity of Camelot was Look Good, Kick Ass, Get Laid. Jack Kennedy was the mythological front man for a particularly juicy slice of our history. He called a slick line and wore a world-class haircut. He was Bill Clinton minus pervasive media scrutiny and a few rolls of flab.
Jack got whacked at the optimum moment to assure his sainthood. Lies continue to swirl around his eternal flame. It's time to dislodge his urn and cast light on a few men who attended his ascent and facilitated his fall.
They were rouge cops and shakedown artist. They were wiretappers and soldiers of fortune and faggot lounge entertainers. Had one second of their lives deviated off course, American History would not exist as we know it.
It's time to demythologize an era and build a new myth from the gutter to the stars. It's time to embrace bad men and the price they paid to secretly define there time.
Here's to them.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“Jimmy Hoffa said, “I know how Jesus must have felt. The fucking pharaohs rose to power on his coattails like the fucking Kennedy brothers are rising on mine.”

Heshie Ryskind said, “Get your history straight. It was Julius Caesar that did Jesus in.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“It's time to demythologise an era and build a new myth from the gutter to the stars. It's time to embrace bad men and the price they paid to secretly define their time.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“He took three shots a night-no more, no less.

He switched from whisky to straight gin. The bum compensated for the scant volume.

Three shots tweaked his hatreds. Four shots and up cut those hatreds all the way loose.

Three shots said, You project danger. Four shots or more said, You're ugly and you limp.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“He used to pimp and pull shakedowns. Now he rode shotgun to History.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“Bissell fingered his napkin. "I do, Mr. Boyd. And I know how generous Mr. Hoffa, Mr. Marcello and a few other Italian gentlemen have been to the Cause, and I know that you possess a certain amount of influence in the Kennedy camp. And as the President's chief Cuban-issue liaison, I also know that Fidel Castro and Communism are a good deal worse than the Mafia, although I wouldn't dream of asking you to intercede on our friends' behalf, because it might cost you credibility with your sacred Kennedys."

Stanton dropped his soup spoon. Pete let a big breath out eeeasy.

Boyd put out a big shit-eating grin. "I'm glad you feel that way, Mr. Bissell. Because if you did ask me, I'd have to tell you to go fuck yourself.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“I'm saying it's so big and audacious that we'll most likely never be suspected. I'm saying that even if we are, the powers that be will realize that it can never be conclusively proven. I'm saying that a consensus of denial will build off of it. I'm saying that people will want to remember the man as something he wasn't. I'm saying that we'll present them with an explanation and the powers that be will prefer it to the truth, even though they know better."

Marcello said, "Do it. Make it happen”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can't ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can't lose what you lacked at conception. Mass-market nostalgia gets you hopped up for a past that never existed. Hagiography sanctifies shuck-and-jive politicians and reinvents their expedient gestures as moments of great moral weight. Our continuing narrative line is blurred past truth and hindsight. Only a reckless verisimilitude can set that line straight.
The real Trinity of Camelot was Look Good, Kick Ass, Get Laid. Jack Kennedy was the mythological front man for a particularly juicy slice of our history. He called a slick line and wore a world-class haircut. He was Bill Clinton minus pervasive media scrutiny and a few rolls of flab.
Jack got whacked at the optimum moment to assure his sainthood. Lies continue to swirl around his eternal flame. It's time to dislodge his urn and cast light on a few men who attended his ascent and facilitated his fall.
They were rouge cops and shakedown artists. They were wiretappers and soldiers of fortune and faggot lounge entertainers. Had one second of their lives deviated off course, American History would not exist as we know it.
It's time to demythologize an era and build a new myth from the gutter to the stars. It's time to embrace bad men and the price they paid to secretly define their time.
Here's to them.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can't ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can't lose what you lacked at conception.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“You can't make history all the time, Dougie.
Sometimes the best you can do is make money.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“America was never innocent. We popped our cherry on the boat over and looked back with no regrets. You can't ascribe our fall from grace to any single event or set of circumstances. You can't lose what you lacked at conception.
Mass-market nostalgia gets you hopped up for a past that never existed. Hagiography sanctifies shuck-and-jive politicians and reinvents their expedient gestures as moments of great moral weight.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


“Some of them screamed. Some of them wept. Some of them grinned like LSD was a blast. A case officer said John Stanton hatched the idea - lets flood Cuba with this shit before we invade. Langley co-signed the brainstorm. Langley embellished it: Let's induce mass hallucinations and stage the second coming of Christ!!!! Langley found some suicidal actors. Langley dolled them up to look like J.C. Langley had them set to pre-invade Cuba concurrent with the dope saturation. Peter howled. The case officer said, 'It's not funny.' A drug-zorched peon whipped out his wang and jacked off.”
― James Ellroy, quote from American Tabloid


About the author

James Ellroy
Born place: in Los Angeles, California, The United States
Born date March 4, 1948
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