They live as they read a stack of newspapers, for the sole purpose of getting rid of them, and that recalls to me a young Englishman in Rome, who, one evening, recounted in company, very satisfied with himself, that he had in the course of the day, expedited six churches and two galleries.

-- J.W. Goethe


Just see these superfluous ones! Sick are they always; they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper. They devour one another, and cannot even digest themselves.

* * *

Seest thou not the souls hanging like limp dirty rags?- And they make newspapers also out of these rags!

Hearest thou not how spirit hath here become a verbal game? Loathsome verbal swill doth it vomit forth! -- And they make newspapers also out of this verbal swill.

-- Friederich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra


One is now ashamed of repose: even long reflection almost causes remorse of conscience. Thinking is done with a stopwatch, as dining is done with the eyes fixed on the financial newspaper; we live like men who are continually "afraid of letting opportunities slip." "Better do anything whatever, than nothing" -- this principle also is a noose with which all culture and all higher taste may be strangled.

-- Nietzsche, The Gay Science


Or, to ask the question another way, what has the historically educated man, the modern fanatic swimming and drowning in the flood of becoming, still left to do, in order to reap that disgust, the expensive grapes of that vineyard? He has to do nothing other than continue to live as he has been living, to continue loving what he has loved, to continue to hate what he has hated, and to continue reading the newspapers which he has been reading. For him there is only one sin, to live differently from the way he has been living. But we are told the way he has been living with the excessive clarity of something written in stone by that famous page with the sentences in large print, in which the entire contemporary cultural rabble kingdom is caught up in a blind rapture and a frenzy of delight, because they believe they read their own justification, indeed, their own justification in the light of the apocalypse.

* * *

For we believe that things here will get even more amusing when people first begin to understand you, you misunderstood unconscious man. However, if in spite of this, disgust should come with power, just as you have predicted to your readers, if you should be right in your description of your present and future (and no one has hated both with such disgust as you have) then I am happily prepared to vote with the majority, in the way you have proposed, that next Saturday evening at twelve o'clock precisely your world will go under, and our decree may conclude that from tomorrow on there will be no more time and no newspaper will appear any more.

-- Nietzsche, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life


On the contrary, in the so-called cultured classes, the believers in "modern ideas," nothing is perhaps so repulsive as their lack of shame, the easy insolence of eye and hand with which they touch, taste, and finger everything; and it is possible that even yet there is more relative nobility of taste, and more tact for reverence among the people, among the lower classes of the people, especially among peasants, than among the newspaper-reading demimonde of intellect, the cultured class.

-- Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil


The former means for obtaining homogeneous, enduring characters for long generations: unalienable landed property, honoring the old (origin of the belief in gods and heroes as ancestors).

Now the breaking up of landed property belongs to the opposite tendency: newspapers (in place of daily prayers), railway, telegraph. Centralization of a tremendous number of different interests in a single soul, which for that reason must be very strong and protean.

* * *

"Modernity" in the perspective of the metaphor of nourishment and digestion.--

Sensibility immensely more irritable (dressed up moralistically: the increase in pity); the abundance of disparate impressions greater than ever: cosmopolitanism in foods, literatures, newspapers, forms, tastes, even landscapes. The tempo of this influx prestissimo; the impressions erase each other; one instinctively resists taking in anything, taking anything deeply, to "digest" anything; a weakening of the power to digest results from this. A kind of adaptation to this flood of impressions takes place: men unlearn spontaneous action, they merely react to stimuli from outside. They spend their strength partly in assimilating things, partly in defense, partly in opposition. Profound weakening of spontaneity: the historian, critic, analyst, the interpreter, the observer, the collector, the reader -- all of them reactive talents -- all science!

Artificial change of one's nature into a "mirror"; interested but, as it were, merely epidermically interested; a coolness on principle, a balance, a fixed low temperature closely underneath the thin surface on which warmth, movement, "tempest," and the play of waves are encountered.

Opposition of external mobility and a certain deep heaviness and weariness.

* * *

Apart, wealthy, strong: irony at the expense of the "press" and its culture. Worry lest scholars become journalistic. We feel contemptuous of every kind of culture that is compatible with reading, not to speak of writing for, newspapers.

-- Nietzsche, The Will to Power


Scientists and their bloody childish reading habits.

-- Mark E. Smith