1. I interviewed hundreds, maybe thousands, of men. Robert [Redford] wanted the part. I said, “You can’t play it. You can never play a loser.” And Redford said, “What do you mean? Of course I can play a loser.” And I said, “O.K., have you ever struck out with a girl?” and he said, “What do you mean?” And he wasn’t joking.

Mike Nichols, on casting the part of Benjamin Braddock.

  1. He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.

H.L. Mencken, on Warren G. Harding. (I adore cranky Mencken.)

  1. Ode to Joy is a protest song.