Quotations by Kempton, Murray


Every now and then, in the course of great events, the elements of tradition and innovation ally themselves and each one’s weakness supplements the other and together they achieve the perfect debacle.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
“The Genius of Mussolini,” New York Review of Books (7 Oct 1982)
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Reprinted in Rebellions, Perversities, and Main Events (1994).
Added on 29-Apr-20 | Last updated 29-Apr-20
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There are things a man must not do even to save a nation.

Kempton - even to save a nation - wist_info quote

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
“To Save a Nation,” America Comes of Age (1963)
Added on 18-Apr-16 | Last updated 18-Apr-16
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A critic is someone who enters the battlefield after the war is over and shoots the wounded.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
(Attributed)

Generally attributed to Kempton (though sometimes as being about editorial writers rather than critics) without specific citation. More on this quote here.
Added on 23-May-20 | Last updated 23-May-20
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To say that an idea is fashionable is to say, I think, that it has been adulterated to a point where it is hardly an idea at all.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time, ch. 6 “The Day of the Locust” (1955)
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Added on 1-May-20 | Last updated 1-May-20
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A political convention is just not a place where you come away with any trace of faith in human nature.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Column on the 1960 Republican National Convention, Chicago (28 Jul 1960)
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Added on 15-May-20 | Last updated 15-May-20
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People are very romantic about these guys, but the only thing I’ve ever learned is that if you talk to gangsters long enough, you’ll find out they’re just as bad as respectable people.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
In Ron Rosenbaum, The Secret Parts of Fortune, “The Connoisseur of Scoundrels” (2000)
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Added on 8-May-20 | Last updated 8-May-20
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