Open Random & Catch 22 Quotes Thread

“Where were you born?”

“On a battlefield,” [Yossarian] answered.

“No, no. In what state were you born?”

“In a state of innocence.”

and another, all from Joseph Heller

“You must try to look up at the big picture.”

Yossarian rejected the advice with a skeptical shake of his head. “When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don’t see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy.”

“There must have been a reason,” Yossarian persisted, pounding his fist into his hand. “They couldn’t just barge in here and chase everyone out.”

“No reason,” wailed the old woman. “No reason.”

“What right did they have?”


“What?” Yossarian froze in his tracks with fear and alarm and felt hiw while body begin to tingle. “What did you say?”

“Catch-22,” the old woman repeated, rocking her head up and down. “Catch-22. Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Yossarian shouted at her in bewildered, furious protest. “How did you know it was Catch-22? Who the hell told you it was Catch-22?”

“The soldiers with the hard white hats a clubs. The girls were crying. ‘Did we do anything wrong?’ they said. The men said no and pushed them away out the door with the ends of their clubs. ‘Then why are you chasing us out?’ the girls said. ‘Catch-22,’ the men said. ‘What right do you have?’ the girls said. ‘Catch-22,’ the men said. All they kept saying was ‘Catch-22, Catch-22.’ What does it mean, Catch-22? What is Catch-22?”

“Didn’t they show it to you?” Yossarian demanded, stamping about in ager and distress. “Didn’t you even make them read it?”

“They don’t have to show us Catch-22,” the old woman answered. “The law says they don’t have to.”

“What law says they don’t have to?”



There was, of course, a catch.

“Catch-22?” inquired Yossarian.

“Of course,” Colonel Korn answered pleasantly… “After all, we can’t simply send you home for refusing to fly more missions and keep the rest of the men here, can we? That would hardly be fair to them… You know, you really have been making things terribly difficult for Colonel Cathcart. The men are unhappy and morale is beginning to deteriorate. And it’s all your fault.”

“It’s your fault,” Yossarian argued, “for raising the number of missions.”

“No, it’s your fault for refusing to fly them,” Colonel Korn retorted. “The men were perfectly content to fly as many missions as we asked as long as they thought they had no alternative, Now you’ve given they hope, and they’re unhappy. So the blame is all yours.”

“Doesn’t he know there’s a way going on?” Colonel Cathcart, still stamping back and forth, demanded morosely without looking at Yossarian.

“I’m quite sure he does,” Colonel Korn answered. “That’s probably why he refuses to fly them.”

“Doesn’t it make any difference to him?”

“Will the knowledge that there’s a war going on weaken your decision to refuse to participate in it?” Colonel Korn inquired with sarcastic seriousness, mocking Colonel Cathcart.

“No, sir,” Yossarian replied.


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  1. this violates something, just let me know and Ill delete.

  2. and then there was Alice in Wonderland…….

  3. Why can’t I just eat my waffle?

    Barack Obama

  4. I think she’ll know.

    “”If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

    Alice in Wonderland

    • geomoo on April 17, 2009 at 23:16

    I loved the Lieutenant to whom everything was either a black eye or a feather in his cap.  A lot of commentors over at dkos seem to take that approach.  Wish I could hang around a bit for this, but gotta run for now.

  5.  in thinking it over afterwards, how it was that they began: all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying `Faster! Faster!’ but Alice felt she could not go faster, thought she had not breath left to say so.

    The most curious part of the thing was, that the trees and the other things round them never changed their places at all: however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything. `I wonder if all the things move along with us?’ thought poor puzzled Alice. And the Queen seemed to guess her thoughts, for she cried, `Faster! Don’t try to talk!’

    Not that Alice had any idea of doing that. She felt as if she would never be able to talk again, she was getting so much out of breath: and still the Queen cried `Faster! Faster!’ and dragged her along. `Are we nearly there?’ Alice managed to pant out at last.

    `Nearly there!’ the Queen repeated. `Why, we passed it ten minutes ago! Faster! And they ran on for a time in silence, with the wind whistling in Alice’s ears, and almost blowing her hair off her head, she fancied.

    `Now! Now!’ cried the Queen. `Faster! Faster!’ And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy.

    The Queen propped her up against a tree, and said kindly, `You may rest a little now.’

    Alice looked round her in great surprise. `Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree the whole time! Everything’s just as it was!’

    `Of course it is,’ said the Queen, `what would you have it?’

    `Well, in our country,’ said Alice, still panting a little, `you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.’

    `A slow sort of country!’ said the Queen. `Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.

    If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’

  6. …make any sense…

    …the more they made…

    …complete sense…

    …altogether…              .



                                     .             ………..

                                       .         .

                                          . . .


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