Quotes / True Art Is Angsty

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    Anime and Manga 

"And so, the prince and the princess lived happily ever... Happily!? Happiness in stories is at most a trifling matter of a couple of lines at the end — the epitome of boredom. Now, show me a magnificent tragedy! A cataclysm of tears from which not one of the players is saved, and to which a happy ending never comes!"
Drosselmeyer, Princess Tutu


"I'm not sentimental—I'm as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last—the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won't."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

"There is prodigious strength in sorrow and despair."

"There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles."
Paul Atreides, Dune

"The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain."

    Live-Action TV 

"I hate a happy ending."
Rodge, A Scare at Bedtime, "The Cravings"

Sally: I love old things. They make me feel sad.
Kathy: What's good about sad?
Sally: It's happy for deep people.
Doctor Who, "Blink"

"So you see? A happy ending. A bizarre one but a happy ending nevertheless. Please, don't be disappointed. Coming up next, the story is delightfully gruesome."
Todd Robins, True Nightmares, "The Story of Angelo Hays"


"No one in the world
Ever gets what they want
And that is beautiful
Everybody dies
Frustrated and sad
And that is beautiful"

"It sells records when you're sad these days
It's super cool to be mad these days"
Bowling for Soup, "I'm Gay"

"Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief
All kill their inspirations and sing about their grief"
U2, The Fly

"But how can I feel pain?
How can I feel pain?
How can I feel pain
When you're being so supportive?"
Bill Bailey, How can I feel Pain

"I feel good when things are going wrong
I only listen to the sad, sad songs
I'm only happy when it rains"
Garbage, "Only Happy When It Rains"

"Sugar melts and goes away
But vinegar lasts forever"
The Residents, Vinegar

"I'm trying to right my wrongs,
but it's funny these same wrongs helped me write this song"
Kanye West, Touch the Sky

"They both were so glad
To watch me destroy what I had
Pain sure brings out the best in people, doesnít it?"
Bob Dylan, She's Your Lover Now


"No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth."

    Tabletop Games 

"Great art can never be created without great suffering."


"It isn't gloomy, it's profound."

    Video Games 

"It's not a good story unless the hero dies."
Varric, Dragon Age II

Hawke: Who needs more despair in their diet? What is that good for?
Servant: I've heard that artists are fond of it.

    Web Original 

"More often than I would like, I find myself pigeonholed and put on the defensive as a frowny type who only likes 'depressing' movies and hates, as a matter of principle, to see anybody happy or triumphant onscreen...Meet Me in St. Louis, an unadulterated happy experience that, in its sweet perfection, reinforces my feeling that those who would pit it against, say, Lars von Trier's purportedly 'anti'-musical Dancer in the Dark, with the apparent presumption that such fully manifest anguish and such ecstatic delight somehow cancel each other out, don't truly understand or appreciate either, or the fact that they occupy two points on a shared musical continuum of powerful, unabashed emotion."

"A couple of years ago I had an argument with a friend, one of those differences of opinion that leaves you fuming and coming up with witty ripostes for days afterwards. I was saying that a good game doesnít have to be fun. She was saying that was ridiculous...I think this is one of the core reasons that the games industry hasnít had its Casablanca or Citizen Kane—weíre still in the era of musicals and slapstick comedy. No games developerís going to try and make its audience feel sad, or lonely, or pathetic, at least not for long stretches. You might get games that dip their toes into that water from time to time, but by and large developers are keen to keep you smiling."

"Where would we be if southern white males never maltreated minorities? If it weren't for racists, there would be no Blues or Jazz."

"He's got a rifle, a handgun, a utility vest with all kinds of cool pockets, a beard Ö that costume is a 10-year-old's wet dream. You don't get an Oscar for looking COOLER than you actually are. In 20 years, Cooper will win an Oscar for his gritty performance in Sniperman, an inside-Hollywood story about a man who gets stereotyped for always playing kickass war heroes."
Drew Magary on American Sniper, "The Hater's Guide to the 2015 Oscars"

"'County fairs are fun, but there always seems to be an undercurrent of melancholy that comes with them.'

This is without question the most perfect summation of every single
Funky Winkerbean story arc ever. All you have to do is swap out the specific event:

'High school basketball tournaments are fun, but there always seems to be an undercurrent of melancholy that comes with them.'
'Book tours are fun, but there always seems to be an undercurrent of melancholy that comes with them.'
'Marriage proposals are fun, but there always seems to be an undercurrent of melancholy that comes with them.'
'Having a dog is fun ____'

Oh, you get the idea."
Chris Sims, Funkywatching

"Cheer up Jim! What is this obsession with death and destruction and pain and blood and tearing flesh and poison and bones splintering and screaming and nightmares and burning and drowning and shooting and fractures and parasites and terror and fear and sweat and drills in the head and deadly life forms and crushing and breaking and bursting and snapping and melting and suffocation and constricting, never ending, terrifying pain pain pain pain pain pain pain PAIN PAIN PAIN. Imagine a space filled with the bodies of fictional characters Mortimore has slaughtered. A universal morgue."
Joe FOrd on Jim Mortimore's Parasite, Doctor Who New Adventures

"Depression is a higher state of consciousness in which your pleasant illusions are dispelled, leading you to realise your utter irrelevance and worthlessness...This state is incorrectly perceived by mainstream society as a medical condition, arguably because a depressed person tends to destabilise the pleasant illusions of others."

"I'm sure a lot of people will not be happy with this ending, but I have to say that I'm impressed with it. The series didn't take the easy way out. Instead it ended on a realistic note, as one of the things that everyone faces in life is having to part with friends as they find themselves on a different path. Not that the ending is a completely down one, as the writers left it open for our heroes, especially Nikki and her love interest Jonesy, to reconnect again sometime in the future. But even with that out series creators Tom McGillis and Jennifer Pertsch must have known the ending would upset some viewers, and one assumes must have considered taking the easy way out. They didn't, and I give them a thumbs up for that."
Tim Gueguen, on the 6teen finale "Bye Bye Nikki"

"Just as bad artists imitate the superficial style of a better artist but miss the fundamentals, bad writers do the same. As a result, we seem to have ended up with an unspoken assumption among many writers and readers that downbeat and grim equals intelligent and somewhat deep. It doesn't. But merely adopting that style gives a book the impression of a depth it simply doesn't have. It's a bit like teenagers wearing black."

"Iím loathe to give up this bit of angst. Of course I am. We enjoy our symptoms. Itís one of the most basic facts of maladaption — the way we revel in our own inadequacies. I donít want to give up my anger and frustration and confusion. I donít want to give up the shame of crying over it, or my guilt over my own hysteria. I donít want it to get better...Sometimes we need our wounds more than we need atonement."

"Here's something unpleasant: All art comes from demons. Not real demons, in most cases, but demons of angst and horrible memories and sexual frustration. You get beat up in school because, while the cool kids are putting bruises on each other on the football field, you were sitting on the steps writing your science-fiction stories. That fear and tension that winds itself around your soul like steel wire as you try nervously to sneak out of the locker room before the big kids give you a Wedgie and a Tittie-Twister and a Dirty Sanchez, all that builds up into adulthood. Art is how you let it out."

"I will remember that Much Ado is a comedy. I will refrain from having the company dress in funerial black for the wedding, dance to sombre music, and then die in a bombing raid. Even if am labouring under the misapprehension that this would be terribly artistic."

    Web Video 

Neil Patrick Harris: An Internet musical is a wacky idea that's zany! Where did it come from?
Joss Whedon: It came from pain.
Neil: Let's not talk to Joss. He's sad and confusing.

    Western Animation 

"If you ask me, you people are too happy. The essence of drama is conflict... which is why they gave me this tazer!"
— That Guy Who Was Squiggy From Laverne & Shirley, The Simpsons

"Ooooh... Medical drama. Life and death stakes. Compelling human conflict... RATINGS."
The Joker, Justice League — "Wild Cards part 2"

"Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?"
Bugs Bunny, "What's Opera, Doc?", Looney Tunes

"It's partly an expression of my teenage angst. But mostly it's a moo-cow."
Chris Griffin, "A Picture's Worth A Thousand Bucks", Family Guy

    Real Life 

"I do not myself think there is any superior rationality in being unhappy. The wise man will be as happy as circumstances permit, and if he finds contemplation of the universe painful beyond a point, he will contemplate something else instead."

"Iím moved by everything broken and crippled. Since thatís how we really are."
Anna Kamienska

"Many readers have told me, in writing and by word of mouth, how tired they are of the kind of story that begins "Marjorie's husband was to be hanged on Tuesday, and the children were starving", or "For seven years no ray of sunlight had penetrated the dusty room where William Grocock, a retired insurance agent, lay dying of cancer"; but I don't fancy they are more tired of them than I am myself, who have to work my way through round about twenty such stories every week."

"Satire is people as they are; romanticism, people as they would like to be; realism, people as they seem with their insides left out."
Dawn Powell

"Folk-lore means that the soul is sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick and screaming. The problem of the fairy tale is: what will a healthy man do with a fantastic world? The problems of the modern novel is: what will a madman do with a dull world? In the fairy tales the cosmos goes mad; but the hero does not go mad. In the modern novels the hero is mad before the book begins, and suffers from the harsh steadiness and cruel sanity of the cosmos."

"J'aime la majeste des souffrances humaines."note 
Alfred de Vigny

"Those of us who had a perfectly happy childhood should be able to sue for deprivation of literary royalties."
Chris Patten

"I am a monopolar depressive descended from monopolar depressives. That's how come I write so good."

"Probably all writers are at some point briefly under the impression that they are in the forefront of disintegration and chaos, that they are among the first to live and work after things fall apart."
Martin Amis, The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America

"People read books for different reasons. Some read for comfort. And some of my former readers have said their life is hard, their mother is sick, their dog died, and they read fiction to escape. They donít want to get hit in the mouth with something horrible. And you read that certain kind of fiction where the guy will always get the girl and the good guys win and it reaffirms to you that life is fair. We all want that at times. Thereís a certain vicarious release to that. So Iím not dismissive of people who want that. But thatís not the kind of fiction I write, in most cases."

Zappa: Most people donít think Iím rational. Theyíre too busy featuring their hurt. They find it irrational not to feature your hurt. Thatís how fucked up they are.
Oui: Donít you feature your hurt?
Zappa: No.
Oui: What about a song like 'Trouble Cominí Every Day'? Or a song like 'The Torture Never Stops'?
Zappa: Thatís not my hurt. Thatís a commentary.
Frank Zappa, Oui interview (1979)

"Almost all Japanese animation is produced with hardly any basis taken from observing real people, you know. It's produced by humans who can't stand looking at other humans. And that's why the industry is full of otaku!"

"I have nothing but contempt for the thing men call happiness, and have had to push the characters I poured my heart out to create into the abyss of tragedy.
For all things in the world, if they are just left alone and paid no attention, are bound to advance in a negative direction.
No matter what we do, we can't stop the universe from getting colder, either, and on the same principle. This world is only maintained in existence by a series of logical, common-sense processes; it can never escape the bondage of its physical laws.
Therefore, in order to write a perfect ending for a story you must possess the power to break the chain of cause and effect, invert black and white, and act in complete contradiction to the rules of the universe... to write a story with a happy ending is a double challenge, to the author's body as well as the mind."
Gen Urobuchi, afterword to Volume 1 of Fate/Zero

"I think there's a great potential in horror fiction that isn't easily available to realistic fiction. This is the potential to portray our worst nightmares, both private and public, as we approach death through the decay of our bodies. And then to leave it at thatóno happy endings, no apologias, no excuses, no redemption, no escape."

"I'm just a writer, and my main goal was always to entertain. But I've never let Animorphs turn into just another painless video game version of war, and I wasn't going to do it at the end. I've spent 60 books telling a strange, fanciful war story, sometimes very seriously, sometimes more tongue-in-cheek. I've written a lot of action and a lot of humor and a lot of sheer nonsense. But I have also, again and again, challenged readers to think about what they were reading. To think about the right and wrong, not just the who-beat-who. And to tell you the truth I'm a little shocked that so many readers seemed to believe I'd wrap it all up with a lot of high-fiving and backslapping. Wars very often end, sad to say, just as ours did: with a nearly seamless transition to another war."