Dalton Trumbo

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Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people.

Dalton Trumbo (December 9, 1905September 10, 1976) was an American screenwriter and novelist, and a member of the Hollywood Ten, a group of film professionals who testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 during the committee's investigation of Communist influences in the motion picture industry.

Quotes[edit]

  • Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well.
    • The Remarkable Andrew (1942)

Johnny Got His Gun (1938)[edit]

Put the guns into our hands and we will use them. Give us the slogans and we will turn them into realities. Sing the battle hymns and we will take them up where you left off. Not one, not ten, not ten thousand, not a million, not ten millions, not a hundred millions but a billion, two billions of us all — the people of the world.
  • Never again to wiggle your toes. What a hell of a thing, what a wonderful, beautiful thing, to wiggle your toes.
  • Did anybody ever come back from the dead, any single one of the millions who got killed, did any one of them ever come back and say by god I’m glad I’m dead because death is always better than dishonor? Did they say I’m glad i died to make the world safe for democracy? Did they say i like death better than losing liberty? Did any of them ever say it’s good to think i got my guts blown out for the honor of my country? Did any of them ever say look at me i’m dead but i died for decency and that’s better than being alive? Did any of them ever say here i am, i’ve been rotting for two years in a foreign grave but it’s wonderful to die for your native land? Did any of them say hurray I died for womanhood and I’m happy, see how I sing even though my mouth is choked with worms?
  • No sir, anybody who went out and got into the front line trenches to fight for liberty was a goddamn fool and the guy who got him there was a liar. Next time anybody came gabbling to him about liberty — what did he mean next time? There wasn't going to be any next time for him. But the hell with that. If there could be a next time and somebody said "let's fight for liberty", he would say mister my life is important. I'm not a fool and when I swap my life for liberty I've got to know in advance what liberty is, and whose idea of liberty we're talking about and just how much of that liberty we're going to have. And what's more mister — are you as much interested in liberty as you want me to be? And maybe too much liberty will be as bad as too little liberty and I think you're a goddamn fourflusher talking through your hat, and I've already decided that I like the liberty I've got right here. The liberty to walk and see and hear and talk and eat and sleep with my girl. I think I like that liberty better than fighting for a lot of things we won't get and ending up without any liberty at all. Ending up dead and rotting before my life is even begun good or ending up like a side of beef. Thank you mister. You fight for liberty. Me, I don't care for some.
  • There's nothing noble about dying. Not even if you die for honor. Not even if you die the greatest hero the world ever saw. Not even if you're so great your name will never be forgotten and who's that great? The most important thing is your life, little guys. You're worth nothing dead except for speeches. Don't let them kid you any more. Pay no attention when they tap you on the shoulder and say come along we've got to fight for liberty, or whatever their word is. There's always a word.
  • Just say "mister I'm sorry, I got no time to die, I'm too busy" and then turn and run like hell. If they say coward why don't pay any attention because it's your job to live not to die. If they talk about dying for principles that are bigger than life, you say "mister you're a liar. Nothing is bigger than life". There's nothing noble in death. What's noble about lying in the ground and rotting? What's noble about never seeing the sunshine again? What's noble about having your legs and arms blown off? What's noble about being an idiot? What's noble about being blind and deaf and dumb? What's noble about being dead? Because when you're dead, mister, it's all over. It's the end. You're less than a dog, less than a rat, less than a bee or an ant, less than a white maggot crawling around on a dungheap. You're dead, mister, and you died for nothing.
  • Inside me I'm screaming, nobody pays any attention. If I had arms, I could kill myself. If I had legs, I could run away. If I had a voice, I could talk and be some kind of company for myself. I could yell for help, but nobody would help me.
  • There's a game out there, and the stakes are high. And the guy who runs it figures the averages all day long and all night long. Once in a while he lets you steal a pot. But if you stay in the game long enough, you've got to lose. And once you've lost there's no way back, no way at all.
  • Remember this well you people who plan for war. Remember this you patriots, you fierce ones, you spawners of hate, you inventors of slogans. Remember this as you have never remembered anything else in your lives. We are men of peace, we are men who work and we want no quarrel. But if you destroy our peace, if you take away our work, if you try to range us one against the other, we will know what to do. If you tell us to make the world safe for democracy we will take you seriously and by god and by Christ we will make it so. We will use the guns you force upon us, we will use them to defend our very lives, and the menace to our lives does not lie on the other side of a nomansland that was set apart without our consent it lies within our own boundaries here and now we have seen it and we know it.
  • Put the guns into our hands and we will use them. Give us the slogans and we will turn them into realities. Sing the battle hymns and we will take them up where you left off. Not one, not ten, not ten thousand, not a million, not ten millions, not a hundred millions but a billion, two billions of us all — the people of the world. We will have the slogans and we will have the hymns and we will have the guns and we will use them and we will live. Make no mistake of it, we will live. We will be alive and we will walk and talk and eat and sing and laugh and feel and love and bear our children in tranquillity, in security, in decency, in peace. You plan the wars, you masters of men — plan the wars and point the way and we will point the gun.

External links[edit]

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