Quotes from works
"No one in the world
Ever gets what they want
And that is beautiful
Frustrated and sad
And that is beautiful"
"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'm only happy when it rains
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"
ďI'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.Ē
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
"Great art can never be created without great suffering."
Susan Q.: (interviewing) Do you know any jokes?
Ace: I always forget jokes.
Susan Q.: Well, how about songs?
Ace: Oh! I know this great song about this bloke and his girlfriend. She drops the ring he gives her on the railway track, and when he goes back to get it, she's killed by the train, and he's really miserable for the rest of his life. It's fantastic.
Susan Q.: Happy songs, Ace! Songs about sunshine and furry animals!
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
Hawke: Who needs more despair in their diet? What is that good for?
Servant: I've heard that artists are fond of it.
"There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles."
—Paul Atreides, Dune
I hate a happy ending.
— Rodge, A Scare at Bedtime, "The Cravings"
"It isn't gloomy, it's profound."
—Henrik, A Little Night Music
"If you ask me, you people are too happy. The essence of drama is conflict... which is why they gave me this tazer!"''
"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
"I HATE comedies. The world is so shitty, why pretend it's not." [sic]
—Raven, friend of Tara Gilesbie
"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
Quotes from creators
ďI 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.Ē
ďIím moved by everything broken and crippled. Since thatís how we really are.Ē
ďSatire is people as they are; romanticism, people as they would like to be; realism, people as they seem with their insides left out.Ē
"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.
ďProbably 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."
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.
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?
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)
Neil Patrick Harris: An Internet musical is a wacky idea that's zany! Where did it come from?
Joss Whedon: It came from pain.
"Let's not talk to Joss. He's sad and confusing."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth."
"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."
"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."
"Crankshaft has had an unhealthy fixation on mortality for as long as I've been reading it — the first strip I ever wrote about involved Ed complaining that he was putting too much wear and tear on his 'funeral shoes,' which is purified despair on a number of levels...now Death Itself is showing up like this is the penultimate level of a Castlevania game. If Ed fights Dracula next month, I don't know what I'm going to do — I actually can't rule it out at this point."