Quotations about   facade

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The world oftener rewards the appearances of merit than merit itself.

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims], #312 (1665-1678)
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Added on 12-Nov-19 | Last updated 12-Nov-19
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The surface of Americna society is, if I may use the expression, covered with a layer of democracy, from beneath which the old aristocratic colors sometimes peep.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer, diplomat, politician
Democracy in America, ch. 2 (1835) [tr. Reeve (1899)]
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    Alt. trans.:
  • As above, but given as "... sometimes seep."
  • "American society, if I may put it this way, is like a painting that is democratic on the surface but from time to time allows the old acistocratic colors to peep through." [tr. Goldhammer (2004)]
  • "The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colors breaking through."
Added on 12-Sep-18 | Last updated 12-Sep-18
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The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you but yourself.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Venus Envy, ch. 15 (1993)
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Often paraphrased in the present tense: "The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself."
Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 2-Apr-18
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There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1898 [ed. Paine (1935)]
Added on 21-Jul-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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The only people who can still strike us as normal are those we don’t yet know very well.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Course of Love, “Irreconcilable Desires” (2016)
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Added on 20-Jul-17 | Last updated 20-Jul-17
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It had snowed in the night, and the world looked very clean, which I knew it not to be. But illusion is nice sometimes.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Painted Ladies, ch. 22 (2010)
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Added on 12-Jul-17 | Last updated 12-Jul-17
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We’re animals. We’re born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts.

Barbara Kingsolver (b. 1955) American novelist, essayist, poet
Animal Dreams (1990)
Added on 10-Jul-17 | Last updated 10-Jul-17
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No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes; yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
Walden, “Economy” (1854)
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Added on 3-May-17 | Last updated 17-May-17
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She smoothed her hair back from her forehead and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked like she always looked. It was probably a truth about tragedy, she thought, while the tragedy is going on people look pretty much the way they looked when it wasn’t.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Thin Air (1995)
Added on 3-May-17 | Last updated 3-May-17
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Every man has three characters — that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.

Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) French journalist and novelist
A Tour Round My Garden [Voyage autour de mon jardin] (1851)
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Added on 25-Apr-17 | Last updated 2-May-17
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Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.

sunday-church-christian-garage-automobile-wist_info-quote

William Ashley "Billy" Sunday (1862-1935) American athlete, evangelist, preacher
In William T. Ellis, “Billy” Sunday, The Man and his Message, ch. 12 (1914)
Added on 14-Oct-16 | Last updated 14-Oct-16
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Great robbers always resemble honest folk. Fellows who have rascally faces have only one course to take, and that is to remain honest; otherwise, they would be arrested off-hand.

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
Around the World in Eighty Days, ch. 6 (1873)
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Added on 23-Sep-16 | Last updated 23-Sep-16
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As with most things in life, Lady Maccon preferred the civilized exterior to the dark underbelly (with the exception of pork products, of course).

Gail Carriger (b. 1976) American archaeologist, author [pen name of Tofa Borregaard]
Heartless (2011)
Added on 15-Sep-16 | Last updated 15-Sep-16
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Are all men in disguise except those crying?

Abse - all men in disguise - wist_info quote

Daniel "Dannie" Abse (1923-2014) Welsh poet
“Encounter at a greyhound bus station” (1986)
Added on 19-Aug-16 | Last updated 19-Aug-16
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A cheerful, easy countenance and behavior are very useful: they make fools think you a good-natured man, and they make designing men think you an undesigning one.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (15 Jan 1753)
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Added on 5-Aug-16 | Last updated 5-Aug-16
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We know so little about each other. We lie mostly submerged, like ice floes, with our visible social selves projecting only cool and white.

McEwan - cool and white - wist_info quote

Ian McEwan (b. 1948) English novelist and screenwriter
Amsterdam (1998)
Added on 26-Jul-16 | Last updated 26-Jul-16
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Since unhappiness excites interest, many, in order to render themselves interesting, feign unhappiness.

Joseph Roux (1834-1886) French Catholic priest
Meditations of a Parish Priest: Thoughts, ch. 5, #24 (1886)
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Added on 2-May-16 | Last updated 2-May-16
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Many men and many women enjoy popular esteem, not because they are known, but because they are not.

Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
(Attributed)
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Attributed in Maturin M. Ballou, Notable Thoughts About Women, #3144 (1882).
Added on 27-Apr-16 | Last updated 27-Apr-16
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Always behave as if nothing had happened, no matter what has happened.

Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) English writer, novelist, journalist
Denry the Audacious, ch. 10 “His Infamy” (1911)
Added on 29-Mar-16 | Last updated 29-Mar-16
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The methods now being used to merchandise the political candidate as though he were a deodorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Brave New World Revisited (1958)
Added on 25-Mar-16 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
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I don’t mind hidden depths but I insist that there be a surface.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
LiveJournal post (17 Aug 2005)
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Added on 22-Feb-16 | Last updated 22-Feb-16
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In short, we can judge by nothing but Appearances, and they are very apt to deceive us. Some put on a gay chearful Outside, and appear to the World perfectly at Ease, tho’ even then, some inward Sting, some secret Pain imbitters all their Joys, and makes the Balance even: Others appear continually dejected and full of Sorrow; but even Grief itself is sometimes pleasant, and Tears are not always without their Sweetness: Besides, Some take a Satisfaction in being thought unhappy, (as others take a Pride in being thought humble,) these will paint their Misfortunes to others in the strongest Colours, and leave no Means unus’d to make you think them thoroughly miserable; so great a Pleasure it is to them to be pitied; Others retain the Form and outside Shew of Sorrow, long after the Thing itself, with its Cause, is remov’d from the Mind; it is a Habit they have acquir’d and cannot leave.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
“A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity” (1725)
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Added on 11-Aug-15 | Last updated 11-Aug-15
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Polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (6 Mar 1747)
Added on 9-Feb-15 | Last updated 9-Feb-15
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Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
1 Peter 3:3-4 [NIV]

Alt. trans.:

  • "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." [KJV]
  • "You should not use outward aids to make yourselves beautiful, such as the way you fix your hair, or the jewelry you put on, or the dresses you wear. Instead, your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God's sight." [TEV]
  • "Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight." [NRSV]
Added on 24-Dec-14 | Last updated 24-Dec-14
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Beauty is only skin-deep.

Thomas Adams (1583–1653) English Calvinist clergyman and preacher
The Blacke Devill or the Apostate (1615)
Added on 26-Nov-14 | Last updated 26-Nov-14
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The wacky thing about those bad guys is that you can’t count on them to be obvious. They forget to wax their mustaches and goatees, leave their horns at home, send their black hats to the dry cleaners. They’re funny like that.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night (2007)
Added on 25-Nov-14 | Last updated 25-Nov-14
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If I try to be like him, who will be like me?

Other Authors and Sources
Yiddish proverb
Added on 21-Nov-14 | Last updated 21-Nov-14
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Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden (b. 1956) American editor, writer, essayist
Making Light, “Commonplaces”
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Added on 25-Sep-14 | Last updated 25-Sep-14
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Whatever may be the success of my stories, I shall be resolute in preserving my incognito, having observed that a nom de plume secures all the advantages without the disagreeables of reputation.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Letter to William Blackwood (4 Feb 1857)
Added on 12-Sep-14 | Last updated 12-Sep-14
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Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler (7 Jan 1752)
Added on 18-Aug-14 | Last updated 18-Aug-14
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All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
The Merchant of Venice, Act 2, sc. 7 (1596-98)

Usually modernized as "All that glistens is not gold."
Added on 1-Aug-14 | Last updated 1-Aug-14
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No one shows himself as he is, but wears his mask and plays his part. Indeed, the whole of our social arrangements may be likened to a perpetual comedy; and this is why a man who is worth anything finds society so insipid, while a blockhead is quite at home in it.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Studies in Pessimism (1851)
Added on 25-Jul-14 | Last updated 25-Jul-14
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Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
Great Expectations, ch 40 (1861)
Added on 25-Apr-14 | Last updated 25-Apr-14
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Thousands upon thousands are yearly brought into a state of real poverty by their great anxiety not to be thought poor.

William Cobbett (1763-1835) English politician, agriculturist, journalist, pamphleteer
Advice to Young Men and (Incidentally) to Young Women, Letter 2, #58 (1829)
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Added on 4-Jan-13 | Last updated 6-Jul-17
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A great many people do many things that seem to be inspired more by a spirit of ostentation than by heartfelt kindness. … Such a pose is nearer akin to hypocrisy than to generosity or moral goodness.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis, 1.14 [tr. Miller (1913)]
Added on 29-May-11 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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The chief difference between free capitalism and State socialism seems to be this: that under the former a man pursues his own advantage openly, frankly, and honestly, whereas under the latter he does so hypocritically and under false pretences.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
Minority Report: H.L. Mencken’s Notebooks, #397 (1956)
Added on 15-Jan-09 | Last updated 2-May-16
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Look at a man in the midst of doubt and danger, and you will lean in his hour of adversity what he really is. It is then that true utterances are wrung from the recesses of his breast. The mask is torn off; the reality remains.

Lucretius (c. 100-c. 55 BC) Roman poet [Titus Luretius Carus]
De Rerum Natura [On the Nature of Things], I. 55 [tr. Latham (1951)]
Added on 20-May-08 | Last updated 28-Jul-14
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You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

Plato (c.428-347 BC) Greek philosopher
The Republic
Added on 16-Aug-07 | Last updated 24-Sep-14
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Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) British writer [Herbert George Wells]
The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman (1914)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-Mar-16
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All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts ….

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
As You Like It, Act 2, sc. 6, l. 139 [Jaques] (1599)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-May-16
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SELF-RESPECT: The secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Book of Burlesques, ch. 11 (1920)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Jul-14
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