Childish or human?

At its most withering and pugnacious, atheism has attacked religion for blinding itself to its own motives, for being unwilling to acknowledge that it is, at base, nothing more than a glorified response to childhood longings which have been dressed up, recast in new forms and projected into the heavens. This charge may well be correct. The problem is that those who level it are themselves often involved in a denial, a denial of the needs of childhood. In their zeal to attack believers whose frailties have led them to embrace the supernatural, atheists may neglect the frailty that is an inevitable feature of all our lives. They may label as childish particular needs which should really be honoured as more generally human, for there is in truth no maturity without an adequate negotiation with the infantile and no such thing as a grown-up who dies not regularly yearn to be comforted like a child.

- Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists, p.173


"These prompts that send my thoughts to and from Judy occur almost imperceptibly. But I'm always looking for her. When someone's in your thoughts, or you've lost someone, or you miss a person terribly it's easy to single out the back of a head in a crowd or to recognise a pair of shoulders in the distance, the slight, stirring unevenness of a gait, a familiar hand gesture, a scarf or a coat that no one else has, and you beat a path to that person and greet him or her joyfully and with enthusiasm and springy limbs, then you watch deight register in the other person's face until the smile slides a little and dissolves and the eyes look puzzled and it wasn't who you thought it was at all, how could you have even... and it's all embarrassment and apologies and maybe the other person thinks you're trying to start something and maybe you are or maybe he is or she is and suddenly it's far too complicated and as politely as you can you disappear. But with Judy it's always, always the right person. Can you imagine?"

- Susie Boyt on being a Judy Garland fan, My Judy Garland Life, p.38

Something beautiful

"Jerome had wept: the tears you cry for someone whom you never met who made something beautiful that you loved. Seventeen years earlier, when Lennon died, Kiki had dragged Howard to Central Park and wept while the crowd sang 'All You Need Is Love' and Howard ranted bitterly about Milgram and mass psychosis."

- On Beauty, Zadie Smith, p.174

Mark Kermode on becoming a horror fan

"I… sensed from the very beginning that there was something incomprehensibly significant about the actions being played out on-screen, something which spoke to me in a language I didn't quite understand…. I felt from the outset that beyond the gothic trappings these movies had something to say to me about my life. I just didn’t have any idea what."

- Mark Kermode on becoming a horror film fan, Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate (Routledge, 1997), p.57