“By literature, I mean literature in the normative sense, the sense in which literature incarnates and defends high standards. By society, I mean society in the normative sense, too—which suggests that a great writer of fiction, by writing truthfully about the society in which she or he lives, cannot help but evoke (if only by their absence) the better standards of justice and of truthfulness that we have the right (some would say the duty) to militate for in the necessarily imperfect societies in which we live. Obviously, I think of the writer of novels and stories and plays as a moral agent. This doesn’t entail moralizing in any direct or crude sense. Serious fiction writers think about moral problems practically. They tell stories. They narrate. They evoke our common humanity in narratives with which we can identify, even though the lives may be remote from our own. They stimulate our imagination. The stories they tell enlarge and complicate—and, therefore, improve—our sympathies. They educate our capacity for moral judgment.”
~ Susan Sontag
“I’m one of those guys where I’m always kind of assuming the social decorum is in play and that we’re promoting a superhero movie. This has nothing to do with your creepy, dark agenda that I’m feeling like all of a sudden ashamed and obligated to accommodate your weirdo shit. What I have to do in the future is I just have to give myself permission to say, ‘That is more than likely a syphilitic parasite, and I need to distance myself from this clown. Otherwise, I’m probably going to put hands on somebody, and then there’s a real story.’”
~ Robert Downey, Jr.