Coping the quote
30+ quotes from The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell

Quotes from The Partly Cloudy Patriot

Sarah Vowell ·  197 pages

Rating: (25.2K votes)


“Being a nerd, which is to say going too far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“Being a nerd, which is to say going too far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know. For me, the spark that turns an acquaintance into a friend has usually been kindled by some shared enthusiasm . . . At fifteen, I couldn't say two words about the weather or how I was doing, but I could come up with a paragraph or two about the album Charlie Parker with Strings. In high school, I made the first real friends I ever had because one of them came up to me at lunch and started talking about the Cure.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“Buffy's high school was built on top of a vortex of evil, the Hellmouth. And whose wasn't?”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“In these fast and fickle times, it’s nice to know that there are some things you can always count on: the enduring brilliance of the last page of The Great Gatsby; the near-religious harmonies of the Beach Boys’ “California Girls”; and the lifelong friendship of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“There are two kinds of people in the world: the kind who alphabetize their record collections, and the kind who don't.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“The true American patriot is by definition skeptical of the government.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“I wish that in order to secure his party’s nomination, a presidential candidate would be required to point at the sky and name all the stars; have the periodic table of the elements memorized; rattle off the kings and queens of Spain; define the significance of the Gatling gun; joke around in Latin; interpret the symbolism in seventeenth-century Dutch painting; explain photosynthesis to a six-year-old; recite Emily Dickenson; bake a perfect popover; build a shortwave radio out of a coconut; and know all the words to Hoagy Carmichael’s “Two Sleepy People”, Johnny Cash’s “Five Feet High and Rising”, and “You Got the Silver” by the Rolling Stones...What we need is a president who is at least twelve kinds of nerd, a nerd messiah to come along every four years, acquire the Secret Service code name Poindexter, install a Revenge of the Nerds screen saver on the Oval Office computer, and one by one decrypt our woes.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“As recently as fifty years ago my grandmother was picking cotton with bleeding fingers. I think about her all the time while I'm getting overpaid to sit at a computer, eat Chinese takeout, and think up things in my pajamas, The half century separating my fingers, which are moisturized with cucumber lotion and type eighty words per minute, and her bloody digits is an ordinary Land of Opportunity parable, and don't think I don't appreciate it. ”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“Along with voting, jury duty, and paying taxes, goofing off is one of the central obligations of American citizenship.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“The best part about being a nerd within a community of nerds is the insularity – it’s cozy, familial, come as you are. In a discussion board on the Web site Slashdot.org about Rushmore, a film with a nerdy teen protagonist, one anonymous participant pinpointed the value of taking part in detail-oriented zealotry:
Geeks tend to be focused on very narrow fields of endeavor. The modern geek has been generally dismissed by society because their passions are viewed as trivial by those people who ‘see the big picture.’ Geeks understand that the big picture is pixilated and their high level of contribution in small areas grows the picture. They don’t need to see what everyone else is doing to make their part better.
Being a nerd, which is to say going to far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know. For me, the spark that turns an acquaintance into a friend has usually been kindled by some shared enthusiasm like detective novels or Ulysses S. Grant.

― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“I wish it were different. I wish that we privileged knowledge in politicians, that the ones who know things didn't have to hide it behind brown pants, and that the know-not-enoughs were laughed all the way to the Maine border on their first New Hampshire meet and greet. I wish that in order to secure his party's nomination, a presidential candidate would be required to point at the sky and name all the stars; have the periodic table of the elements memorized; rattle off the kings and queens of Spain; define the significance of the Gatling gun; joke around in Latin; interpret the symbolism in seventeenth-century Dutch painting; explain photosynthesis to a six-year-old; recite Emily Dickinson; bake a perfect popover; build a shortwave radio out of a coconut; and know all the words to Hoagy Carmichael's "Two Sleepy People," Johnny Cash's "Five Feet High and Rising," and "You Got the Silver" by the Rolling Stones. After all, the United States is the greatest country on earth dealing with the most complicated problems in the history of the world--poverty, pollution, justice, Jerusalem. What we need is a president who is at least twelve kinds of nerd, a nerd messiah to come along every four years, acquire the Secret Service code name Poindexter, install a Revenge of the Nerds screen saver on the Oval Office computer, and one by one decrypt our woes.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“The modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“Once or twice a day, I am enveloped inside what I like to call the Impenetrable Shield of Melancholy. This shield, it is impenetrable. Hence the name. I cannot speak. And while I can feel myself freeze up, I can't do anything about it.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“No cowboys for Canada. Canada got Mounties instead - Dudley Do-Right, not John Wayne. It's a mind-set of "Here I come to save the day" versus "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“But I have never had the privilege of unhappiness in Happy Valley. California is about the good life. So a bad life there seems so much worse than a bad life anywhere else. Quality is an obsession there—good food, good wine, good movies, music, weather, cars. Those sound like the right things to shoot for, but the never-ending quality quest is a lot of pressure when you’re uncertain and disorganized and, not least, broker than broke. Some afternoons a person just wants to rent Die Hard, close the curtains, and have Cheerios for lunch.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“When one of a culture's guiding credos is that "all men are created equal," any person who, say, becomes an expert on, say, nuclear weapons or, say, ecology, i.e., anyone who distinguishes himself through mental excellence, is a nuisance.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“That's what we Americans do when we find a place that's really special. We go there and act exactly like ourselves. And we are a bunch of fun-loving dopes.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“His boss, Isaac (Robert Guillaume), agrees but tells him to do it anyway “because it’s television and this is how it’s done.” Dan replies, “Yeah, well, sitting in the back of the bus was how it was done until a forty-two-year-old lady moved up front.” A few minutes later Isaac looks Dan in the eye and tells him, “Because I love you I can say this. No rich young white guy has ever gotten anywhere with me comparing himself to Rosa Parks.” Finally, the voice of reason, which of course was heard on a canceled network TV series on cable.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“I revere the Bill of Rights, but at the same time I believe that anyone who's using three or more of them at a time is hogging them too much. (152)”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“He spent part of last year working in Canada, and I think it rubbed off on him, diminishing his innate American ability to celebrate the civic virtue of idiocy.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“I don't know how to describe the magnificence of Carlsbad Caverns without making it sound like a cartoon or a drug trip or a cartoon of a drug trip. The only thing I can say is that it is one of those dear places that make you love the world.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“There seems to be no end to the satisfaction one gets in having one’s opinions confirmed.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“Um," I asked, "isn't the whole point about being a slave that you don't have a choice to be anything else?" Prettying up the word slave with the adjective-noun constructions makes "enslaved African" sound nonchalant. As in "Those were the cabins of the jolly leprechauns.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“I waited in vain for someone like me to stand up and say that the only thing those of us who don't believe in god have to believe is in other people and that New York City is the best place there ever was for a godless person to practice her moral code. I think it has to do with the crowded sidewalks and subways. Walking to and from the hardware store requires the push and pull of selfishness and selflessness, taking turns between getting out of someone's way and them getting out of yours, waiting for a dog to move, helping a stroller up steps, protecting the eyes from runaway umbrellas. Walking in New York is a battle of the wills, a balance of aggression and kindness. I'm not saying it's always easy. The occasional "Watch where you're going, bitch" can, I admit, put a crimp in one's day. But I believe all that choreography has made me a better person. The other day, in the subway at 5:30, I was crammed into my sweaty, crabby fellow citizens, and I kept whispering under my breath "we the people, we the people" over and over again, reminding myself we're all in this together and they had as much right - exactly as much right - as I to be in the muggy underground on their way to wherever they were on their way to.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“There are freaky talking mannequins in the Salem Witch Museum that recite the Lord's Prayer and while they do resemble shrunken apples they nevertheless help the visitor understand how hard it must have been for the condemned to say the line about forgiving those who trespass against us.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“Since the lunchroom does no significant harm to the caverns' ecology, I'd like to believe that this is one of those lucky places where we don't have to choose between doing the right thing and enjoying a goof. I look up at the ceiling of the lunchroom, which is, of course, the ceiling of the cave. It looks so lunar I can't help but think of a certain astronaut. In 1971, Apollo 14's Alan Shepard hit golf balls on the moon. Gearing up to face the profundity of the universe, this man brought sporting goods with him into space. Who can blame him? That's what we Americans do when we find a place that's really special. We go there and act exactly like ourselves. And we are a bunch of fun-loving dopes.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“.....breathing secondhand smoke, being subject to unfair dairy pricing, and not being able to mime (or lap dance), though they are all tragic, tragic injustices, are not quite as bad as the systematic segregation of public transportation based on skin color. And while fighting for your right to lap dance and mime and breathe just regular pollution is a very fine, very American idea, it is not quite as brave as being middle-aged black woman in Alabama in 1955 telling a white man she's not giving him her seat despite the fact that the law requires her to do so.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“There is something aesthetically pleasing about trading one engraving - and old map - for another - American money.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“The internet is the nerd Israel, a place to speak and listen to spectacularly specific concerns.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


“it may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces.”
― Sarah Vowell, quote from The Partly Cloudy Patriot


About the author

Sarah Vowell
Born place: in Muskogee, OK, The United States
Born date December 27, 1969
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