Wisdom Lives in Words

Memorable Quotes by Alissa Quart

There is a psychological and physical toll from the pressure to recreate ourselves in midlife. To survive as workers, we have to deny, on some level, the realities of our bodies - bodies that age and give birth.
Alissa Quart
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A lot of the things that bore adults don't bore children, and people forget that. In some ways, boredom is a projection of adults because we can't remember what childhood was like.
Alissa Quart
I think teens trust each other's opinions about products because of the quality of authenticity that they think their friend's recommendation has.
Alissa Quart
In 'Ozark,' the truism that we are not as likely to do as well as our parents did in the past is front and center.
Alissa Quart
Social networks matter greatly, and our class calibrations are often around what college one attended, leading to gruesome institutional divisions between those who attend, say, community colleges and those who attend top-tier universities.
Alissa Quart
Part of why daycare is so poorly paid is because the sense that they're prisoners of love, that daycare workers love their work so much that they don't need to be paid fairly. It's this sense of, 'Oh well, labor and love are two different things.'
Alissa Quart
Hipster Sexism consists of the objectification of women but in a manner that uses mockery, quotation marks, and paradox: the stuff you learned about in literature class. As funny as Dunham's 'Girls' is, it can definitely border on Hipster Sexism.
Alissa Quart
Even as a child, I had walked down streets reading novels, waiting for my feet to get stuck in tar as I crossed the road, like the absent-minded animal in a Richard Scarry kid's book.
Alissa Quart
Our social fabric is sundered. GoFundMe and the other crowdfunding sites that have proliferated since 2010 are an example of what has sprung up in its place, what I have called America's dystopian social net. That is, we now require private solutions to what are public problems.
Alissa Quart
When I was a young child, professional aspiration was synonymous to me with the clatter of my mother's high-heeled boots as she went off to teach each 1970s weekday morning, carrying her graded blue books under her arm.
Alissa Quart
If we could support school curricula about social class, we might discuss the full complexity of 'wealth' within the parameters of our children's educational lives. Out of these lesson plans, we might talk more about what society values - and whether it rewards the right things.
Alissa Quart
Like politics, all status is ultimately local - people compare themselves to those they live near.
Alissa Quart
Kids don't come cheap.
Alissa Quart
Piercing minds go mute around poetry. It is imagined to be overly technical, like advanced arithmetic; otherworldly, priestess-like; suffocatingly personal; excessively decorative; exhaustingly bourgeois or tiringly avant-garde.
Alissa Quart
Crowdfunding companies like GoFundMe are in themselves not evil. But the fact that we have to rely on them to pay for our basics is.
Alissa Quart
Uber is hardly the first company to exploit the financial vulnerability of teachers - and the desperation of public schools more broadly - to score PR points. Amazon, Boeing, Bank of America, and other corporations have played the part of school benefactor, offering everything from reward programs to school supplies.
Alissa Quart
No matter how we name and dissect inequality, we must keep explaining the larger downside of such concentrated extreme wealth.
Alissa Quart
While households that make anywhere from $48,000 to $250,000 can call themselves middle class, to group such a wide range of incomes under one label, as politicians love to do, is to confuse the term entirely.
Alissa Quart
Essentially, if you are surrounded by those who 'outrank' you, it is likely to affect your identity in insidious ways.
Alissa Quart
When I was growing up, my parents thought there could be nothing better than being a writer. And at that time, society afforded that impracticality.
Alissa Quart
Economically anxious, many parents see their children's accomplishments as a sort of insurance against the financial challenges of old age; high-achieving kids, this logic goes, will become high-earning adults and therefore be better able to help Mom and Dad pay for the assisted-living facility in a few decades.
Alissa Quart
I go to see films at the multiplex because they are not good films, and so I don't have to think about things like death, social oppression, or yes, my fertility, while I watch them.
Alissa Quart
Sometimes I think that the public's lack of criticism of the rich - and how they seek their pleasure - might derive from the fact that Americans still believe they will one day be joining their number.
Alissa Quart
The United States is the richest and also the most unequal country in the world.
Alissa Quart
As the world of independent feature filmmaking became increasingly commercialized by the mid-1990s, there was also a parallel, much more positive development: a resurgence in documentary filmmaking, thanks in part to the advent of the cheaper, lighter digital format that helped to offset the daunting costs of pursuing political aims through film.
Alissa Quart
The middle class is a group defined by more than just money: it also leans on credentials, education, aspirations, assets, and, of course, household income.
Alissa Quart
While more people are working later in life because of happy things like longer life expectancy, they are also doing so because of very sad things, like a lack of Social Security benefits or retirement plans.
Alissa Quart
In a lot of ways, I had a wonderful childhood.
Alissa Quart
Having been built in the fashion I was as a child - created and then deflated - has left me with a distinct feeling of failure. Because I did not live up to my precocity, I experience it to be like a cross between a has-been and a never-was.
Alissa Quart
Teaching has always been a poorly paid profession, particularly considering its educational requirements and responsibilities.
Alissa Quart
'Mr. Robot,' in particular, signals the rise of a fresh post-Occupy portrayal of the wealth gap. No longer is the story of income inequity delivered via a well-meaning, crushingly earnest indie film by John Sayles or in a single laugh line on 'Roseanne.'
Alissa Quart
The increasingly progressive messages in marketing campaigns are clearly a mercenary attempt to entice millennials: they are trying to be 'woke.'
Alissa Quart
Unnatural constructs - cities and medical pain management - have always seemed pretty good to me.
Alissa Quart
To be sure, many cultural elite pastimes are easily mocked and annoying.
Alissa Quart
An IPO-mad technology boom made 'selling out' itself into an honorific.
Alissa Quart
Money and one of its embodiments, social class, are both riveting and mysterious to children. And if we don't challenge today's stigma around class status, it will warp a new generation's experience of an even more important class - the kind in which they learn. And that's one thing we simply can't afford.
Alissa Quart
Parenting makes us better in so many regards.
Alissa Quart
Civic poetry offers us a way to think and talk about issues that so much of public speech ignores, to make them new by dissecting and repurposing public speech, prying its falsehoods from its half-truths. It is fighting for its right to critique our would-be democracy.
Alissa Quart
Low-cost gear can make restless people like myself feel marginally happier.
Alissa Quart
In the local state school I attended in England, I saw and heard far more awareness of where a person stood in the social hierarchy than I had ever heard stateside.
Alissa Quart
My father made me who I am; he was incredibly intellectually generous.
Alissa Quart
I think there's a contempt for care work and caregiving in this country that seeps into how we think about mothers, professional workers who are mothers.
Alissa Quart
Mothers suffer in the workplace. That fact is by now so painfully familiar it even has a name: the motherhood penalty.
Alissa Quart
Civic poetry is public poetry. It is political poetry. It is about the hard stuff of life: money, crime, gender, corporate excess, racial injustice. It gives expression not just to our rites but also to our problems and even our values; these poems are not about rustic vacations.
Alissa Quart
The people who talk about the middle class aren't upholding their interests in the legislature.
Alissa Quart
Instead of working to give robots personhood status, we should concentrate on protecting our human workers. If that means developing a more cooperative approach to ownership of autonomous trucks so millions of drivers are not left out in the literal cold, so be it.
Alissa Quart
Like other elements of childhood for the precociously gifted - private or home schooling, overstructured activity, and proto-professional training - edutainment products are part of a system that divides children into haves and have-lesses.
Alissa Quart
Giftedness gives you this amazing tool kit for handling self-discipline and gives you an area of knowledge, but then it also gives you this weird set of aspirations.
Alissa Quart
The effect of robotization would be profoundly different if, say, truckers possessed their own autonomous vehicles rather than a corporation controlling them all.
Alissa Quart
Neurohumanities offers a way to tap the popular enthusiasm for science and, in part, gin up more funding for humanities.
Alissa Quart
For the rich and powerful, pregnancy might not be an obstacle - it might even help one's career. But for the rest of us, it remains a hindrance.
Alissa Quart
I think our families or parents were trying to do best by us by telling us, 'Do what you love.' On an existential level, they might have done their best by us, but I think, in terms of the reality principle, maybe less so.
Alissa Quart
There's a motherhood penalty because we've been long taught things that are stigmatized about motherhood. As workers, we don't want to talk about our kids at work. We're afraid to, or that when we leave at 5:30 to relieve the sitter we're somehow going to be diminished.
Alissa Quart
Approximating authenticity online is not such a tall order. In fact, it may be the very least we can do.
Alissa Quart
The list of costly services that supplement some children's public education is growing longer and now includes consultants, tutors, and test prep. That's in addition to the homework help some stay-at-home parents can afford to provide.
Alissa Quart
When I got pregnant with my daughter, both my husband and I were freelancers, and we didn't have that much security. We had savings. We were better off than many people, but we didn't have, you know, pensions and all the things that people used to have.
Alissa Quart
There are things that neuroscience is useful for in terms of understanding behavior, but there are also things it is not all that useful for, like understanding the nuances of our reactions to poetry.
Alissa Quart
Making a movie, under any circumstances, is a highly stressful occupation.
Alissa Quart
We in America believe in starting over - and over and over.
Alissa Quart
There's no better example of how to lead a difficult employee than to have a child. You have another kind of knowledge from your children that's actually applicable outside of childbearing.
Alissa Quart
'Middle class' used to mean having two children and sending them to high-quality public schools, or even occasionally to private schools. It meant new brown Stride Rite Mary Janes with little purple and silver flowers when the old shoes were pinching the toes.
Alissa Quart
I was just a bright, driven kid.
Alissa Quart
I think cool originates with the jazz culture in the '40s. There was probably cool before that, but that's when people started talking about cool - Miles Davis and Charlie Parker and a bunch of other early, cool jazz folk.
Alissa Quart
I used to teach at the Columbia journalism school, and I would tell my students that every book has to have a sentence that motivates it.
Alissa Quart
If everybody is a Facebook friend, what is an actual friend?
Alissa Quart
As consumers, we can pressure corporations both to monitor and improve workplace conditions overseas - when inspections reveal violations, these companies should address the gaps immediately.
Alissa Quart
Self-reinvention is an encouraging conceit. It is simply not always a possible one.
Alissa Quart
I saw my gender - and myself - as something of a construct. Like anyone who read one too many women studies' books in the 1990s, I aspired to both 'do' and undo my sex.
Alissa Quart
I love the show 'Billions.' But the main character is basically a hedge fund scumbag, and he's the hero.
Alissa Quart
I'm just a reporter.
Alissa Quart
To be 'squeezed' is to be bound by a very American psychological and socio-economic predicament. Being squeezed involves one's finances, one's social status, and one's self-image.
Alissa Quart
There are actually very few deeply 'gifted' kids with transcendent cognitive or artistic abilities.
Alissa Quart
I'm not one of these anti-TV people.
Alissa Quart
Precariousness is not just a working-class thing.
Alissa Quart
Actors and writers and adjuncts are always looking for their next job: they find common cause with the female Uber drivers on contracts who have also been unprotected victims of sexual harassment.
Alissa Quart
When I was doing my research for 'Branded,' I'd meet groups of teenagers and preteenagers or tweens, and they would laugh at a magazine spread in a women's magazine or teen girl magazine and say, 'I'd never buy this outfit. I know these girls are starving themselves.' But they probably would go out and buy the thing eventually.
Alissa Quart
One thing we're doing with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, the nonprofit I direct, is providing financial support to journalists who were formerly middle-class.
Alissa Quart
Brand loyalty starts in the cradle and ends in the grave, as I wrote in my first book, 'Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers.'
Alissa Quart
Although federal law prohibits companies with 15 or more employees from discriminating against pregnant job seekers, it can be quite hard for an ordinary woman to land a job if she lets prospective bosses know she is pregnant.
Alissa Quart
In my 20s, I was a freelance writer with little money and living in a rabbit warren one-and-a-half-bedroom with a roommate.
Alissa Quart
Americans overall may live better than medieval aristocrats could dream of, but that means nothing when oligarchs live in the neighborhood next door, flaunting their luxurious homes and top-quality private schools.
Alissa Quart
Going in and out of a proverbial 'poor door' - a separate entrance for income-restricted residents of mixed-income housing - of your city every day has its costs, even if the 'poor door' woman would be considered affluent in another location.
Alissa Quart
The Southern California arena rock, hair metal, laidback hippie garden culture - for many growing up in the '70s and '80s, none of it made us who we were like Lou Reed did.
Alissa Quart
In an economy where women now make up half the work force, we're going to have to address the treatment of pregnant employees more systemically. The passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would better protect against the discrimination pregnant job seekers face.
Alissa Quart
Parents who press their children to succeed do so in hopes of preparing them for an adulthood of high achievement.
Alissa Quart
The daily deluge of tales of lechery and trauma holds a hidden but crucial truism: sexual harassment routinely feeds on income inequality. After all, it's much harder to exploit an equal.
Alissa Quart
There are caste systems in American cities: Many are marginalized to the edges of urban centers due to real estate costs; price tags seem to lurk around human encounters; there's a cult of overwork in the middle class; workers at your local manicurist, your local fast casual restaurant, are exploited.
Alissa Quart
If we don't at least try to make the future more equitable, most of us will left with simply scraps.
Alissa Quart
My husband was 50; I was in my late 30s. We had lived adulthoods that did not include infants, except as metaphors. And then, like so many in today's America, we had a baby in later life.
Alissa Quart
At the end of the day, the truth is that if - when - robots prevail, so many vocations will actually become close to impossible. Save for the profession of making robots, that is.
Alissa Quart
When I was 13, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground made more sense to me than anything else.
Alissa Quart
There are schoolteachers around the country that work second jobs after their teaching duties are done: one woman in North Dakota I spoke to was heading off to clean houses after the final bell in order to pay her rent.
Alissa Quart
I grew up in New York City and in London.
Alissa Quart
Like Hipster Racism, Hipster Sexism is a distancing gesture, a belief that, simply by applying quotations, uncool, questionable, and even offensive material about women can be alchemically transformed.
Alissa Quart
There is a set of emotions around money and new technology and advertising and that sort of thing, and there is this kind of changing, transforming way we go through the world happening. The lyrical eye, the perspective of poetry, can get to something like this when other forms of writing can't.
Alissa Quart
On the surface, public schools can seem egalitarian, especially with their websites' emphasis on words such as 'connection,' 'community,' and 'choice.' Yet despite this democratic vocabulary, money makes a big difference.
Alissa Quart
Motherhood gives you access to a range of different intellectual experiences and ways of seeing the world, which, in a way, makes you more flexible in the workplace. But our employers, our colleagues, don't necessarily understand.
Alissa Quart