Quote For The Day By Christopher Isherwood About LA via The Dish


“To live sanely in Los Angeles (or, I suppose, in any other large American city) you have to cultivate the art of staying awake. You must learn to resist (firmly but not tensely) the unceasing hypnotic suggestions of the radio, the billboards, the movies and the newspapers; those demon voices which are forever whispering in your ear what you should desire, what you should fear, what you should wear and eat and drink and enjoy, what you should think and do and be. They have planned a life for you – from the cradle to the grave and beyond – which it would be easy, fatally easy, to accept. The least wandering of the attention, the least relaxation of your awareness, and already the eyelids begin to droop, the eyes grow vacant, the body starts to move in obedience to the hypnotist’s command. Wake up, wake up – before you sign that seven-year contract, buy that house you don’t really want, marry that girl you secretly despise. Don’t reach for the whiskey, that won’t help you. You’ve got to think, to discriminate, to exercise your own free will and judgment. And you must do this, I repeat, without tension, quite rationally and calmly. For if you give way to fury against the hypnotists, if you smash the radio and tear the newspapers to shreds, you will only rush to the other extreme and fossilize into defiant eccentricity,” – Christopher Isherwood, from Exhumations.

via Quote For The Day « The Dish.

And, a photo I couldn’t help but add, by Ralph Morris, of Hollywood Blvd. I’m not great at dating an era by looking at the cars but, I have a sense that this picture was taken around the time Isherwood landed in Hollywood looking for work…

hollywood blvd ralph morris

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  1. August 26, 2013

    Great quote and image, Vickie.

  2. George Kaplan
    August 26, 2013

    Wonderful photograph by Mr Morris, while Isherwood’s encomium seems ever more pertinent but now it isn’t merely in Los Angeles or in major American cities it’s in a global culture (apart from those parts of the world that are primitive hellholes, of course!). Although I think “defiant eccentricity” is preferable to gape-mouthed, drooling obeisance! Fantastic post, Vickie. The first pic reminds me of hallucinatory sequences from old Universal tv series. 🙂

  3. August 26, 2013

    Lovely photographs.The second in particular.I think Isherwood was prophetic there, as the things that he says about LA can now be applied to many aspects on contemporary Western culture and other cultures being drawn into its sphere of influence.
    I have become over the years intensely fed up with people telling me,what I should,think,wear,have in my house and on my table etc.I am quite sure that I am not alone in this.

    Here in the Uk we seem to just be getting over in various media of the oh sooooo tedious -Wow Factor.One that really raises my hackles is-This Seasons Must Haves grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  4. Heather in Arles
    August 27, 2013

    Instead of a like button, I do believe you need a love button.
    This was the perfect antidote to my writing about being “suspended in amber” zzzzz and I drank it down in one fell swoop.
    Am absolutely bonkers for both photographs as well.

  5. August 27, 2013


    we own a copy of Exhumations.

    it is indeed delicious.

    as is Mr. Isherwood.

  6. August 27, 2013

    Dearest V
    What a quotation!
    Mr Isherwood and his sang froid.
    Hot flesh and sag froid, that’s Mr Isherwood all over.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • August 27, 2013

      One really should learn to type…’Hot flesh and sang froid, that’s Mr Isherwood all over.”

  7. August 28, 2013

    Oh boy, the life of a Hollywood celeb sounds exhausting.
    Truth be told, this is precisely why I never became a big movie star.

  8. September 18, 2014

    How did I miss this the first time around…I must have fallen asleep!

    • September 19, 2014

      No! That was me! I’ve had four substantial naps since you left this comment yesterday! XOX

  9. September 18, 2014

    Great shot! Wise words. Thanks for sharing, Vickie.

    • September 19, 2014

      I love that even though the Isherwood’s thoughts encompass “the seven year contract” they’re amazingly up to date!

      • September 19, 2014

        Come visit me, Vickie. You might be interested in and I’d love your take since you are an expert on silent films.

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