It is impossible for me to estimate how many of my early impressions of the world, correct and the opposite, came to me through newspapers. Homicide, adultery, no-hit pitching, and Balkanism were concepts that, left to my own devices, I would have encountered much later in life.
Our hypothetical rich client might even have ordered a Pommard, because it was listed at a higher price...He would have never learned [about other wines]. A man who is rich in his adolescence is almost doomed to be a dilettante at table. This is not because all millionaires are stupid but because they are not impelled to experiment.
There is a healthy American newspaper tradition of not taking yourself seriously It is the story you must take that way... And if you do take yourself seriously, according to this sound convention, you are supposed to do your best not to let anyone else know about it. (Like bed-wetting.)
The pattern of a newspaperman's life is like the plot of 'Black Beauty.' Sometimes he finds a kind master who gives him a dry stall and an occasional bran mash in the form of a Christmas bonus, sometimes he falls into the hands of a mean owner who drives him in spite of spavins and expects him to live on potato peelings.
News is like the tilefish which appears in great schools off the Atlantic Coast some years and then vanishes, no one knows whither or for how long. Newspapers might employ these periods searching for the breeding grounds of news, but they prefer to fill up with stories about Kurdled Kurds or Calvin Coolidge, until the banks close or a Hitler marches, when they are as surprised as their readers.
Forget that New Orleans is actually a little like the Combat Zone with French cooking, it still happens to be part of the great state of Louisiana where people play the political game the same way it's played in Lebanon. The place is one layer after another of tribes, factions and at least a million laughs.
If the first requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite, the second is to put in your apprenticeship as a feeder when you have enough money to pay the check but not enough to produce indifference of the total.
The fighter (like the writer) must stand alone. If he loses he cannot call an executive conference and throw off on a vice president or the assistant sales manager. He is consequently resented by fractional characters who cannot live outside an organization.
In the light of what Proust wrote with so mild a stimulus, it is the world's loss that he did not have a heartier appetite. On a dozen Gardiner's Island oysters, a bowl of clam chowder, a peck of steamers, some bay scallops, three sauteed soft-shelled crabs, a few ears of fresh picked corn, a thin swordfish steak of generous area, a pair of lobsters, and a Long Island Duck, he might have written a masterpiece.
To the Parisians, and especially to the children, all Americans are now 'heros du cinema.' This is particularly disconcerting to sensitive war correspondents, if any, aware, as they are, that these innocent thanks belong to those American combat troops who won the beachhead and then made the breakthrough. There are few such men in Paris.