Julie Burchill

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Julie Burchill (born 3 July 1959) is an English journalist and writer, who began as writer for the New Musical Express at the age of 17. She has contributed to newspapers such as The Sunday Times and The Guardian, and has declared herself a "militant feminist"


  • The freedom that women were supposed to have found in the Sixties largely boiled down to easy contraception and abortion; things to make life easier for men, in fact.
    • Damaged Gods (1986).
  • Prostitution is the supreme triumph of capitalism.... Worst of all, prostitution reinforces all the old dumb clichés about women's sexuality; that they are not built to enjoy sex and are little more than walking masturbation aids, things to be DONE TO, things so sensually null and void that they have to be paid to indulge in fornication, that women can be had, bought, as often as not sold from one man to another. When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women, for the moral tarring and feathering they give indigenous women who have had the bad luck to live in what they make their humping ground.
  • A good part — and definitely the most fun part — of being a feminist is about frightening men. American and Australian feminists have always known this, and absorbed it cheerfully into their act; one thinks of Shere Hite julienning men on phone- in shows, or Dale Spender telling us that a good feminist is rude to a man at least three times a day on principle. Of course, there's a lot more to feminism... but scaring the shit out of scumbags is an amusing and necessary part because, sadly, a good many men still respect nothing but strength,
    • The Sunday Times (1990); as cited in: Christopher W. Tindale (1999) Acts of arguing: a rhetorical model of argument. p. 58
  • Whenever I am sent a new book on the lively arts, the first thing I do is look for myself in the index.
    • The Spectator (16 January 1992); cited in: Ned Sherrin (2008) Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations. p. 170
  • I got through the sexual side of my first marriage - for six years! - by pretending that my husband was my friend Peter York.
  • Will [Self] loomed over my second marriage, lurked throughout my very enjoyable six months of lesbianism, and has seen considerable active service in my rich and strange inner life over the years since then.
  • Tears are sometimes an inappropriate response to death. When a life has been lived completely honestly, completely successfully, or just completely, the correct response to death's perfect punctuation mark is a smile.
    • Attributed to Burchill in: Mark Water (2000) The New Encyclopedia of Christian Quotations. p. 111
  • We may be saddled with Bush and Blair, but you've got Prince Charles (a big friend of the Islamic world, probably because of its large number of feudal kingdoms and hardline attitude to uppity women), the Catholic church (taking a brief break from buggering babies to condemn any western attack as "morally unacceptable") and posturing pansies such as Sean Penn, Sheryl Crow and Damon Albarn.
  • Cherie Blair can call herself a feminist all she likes, but any feminist worth her salt would have made a point of having a termination - on the NHS, naturally - when she got knocked up the last time. . . Famous women would rather admit to having been sexually abused as children than to having had a termination. . . Myself, I'd as soon weep over my taken tonsils or my absent appendix as snivel over those [five] abortions. I had a choice, and I chose life - mine.
    • from "Abortion: still a dirty word" in The Guardian (25 May 2005)[1].
  • A woman who looks like a girl and thinks like a man is the best sort, the most enjoyable to be with and the most pleasurable to have and to hold.
    • Attributed to Julie Burchill in: Austin Imoru (2008) The Woman and Her Sexuality. p. 109

Sex & sensibility (1992)


Julie Burchill (1992) Sex & sensibility.

  • Writing is more than anything a compulsion, like some people wash their hands thirty times a day for fear of awful consequences if they do not. It pays a whole lot better than this type of compulsion, but it is no more heroic.
    • p. 20
  • It has been said (by Shelley Winters) that a pretty face is a passport. But it's not - it's a visa, and it runs out fast.
    • p. 55

About Burchill

  • Burchill divides up the chosen people into Good Jews (hardliners, Israelites) and Bad Jews (liberal Jews) with the enthusiasm of an antisemite. Hilariously, she sets herself up as the Jewishness Police, railing against Jews who are not Jewish enough; and one of those, it turns out, is her local rabbi, Elli Tikvah Sarah. Burchill rails against the rabbi for, in this order: ignoring a bottle of champagne Burchill gave her in favour of elderflower wine made by the rabbi’s girlfriend; "canoodling" with said girlfriend ("a Sapphic free-for-all", sneers the heretofore not exactly prudish Burchill), and advocating a dialogue with Islam.
    Burchill doesn’t include this in the book but, according to Rabbi Sarah, Burchill emailed the synagogue’s congregants railing that "your rabbi respects PIG ISLAM". Aww, being used as a launchpad for a British columnist’s racism – we’re living in the Promised Land now, fellow Jews!
  • [On the comment about Islam.] I could have done a big public exposure [...] But what I did was email her and said: "Julie, firstly this is deeply, deeply offensive. Both Jews and Muslims don’t eat pig. I don’t know what you’re doing but this is really unacceptable and offensive. I was incredibly polite."
  • The problem is she doesn’t have any in-depth knowledge. I can imagine her endlessly watching the film Exodus with Paul Newman. She’s got a kind of Hollywood view of Jews. You know, ‘Jews are so clever, we’ve survived ...
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