One of many perfectly phrased lines in Peli Grietzer's (ultimately quite moving) Tumblr essay on the attraction of the contemporary avant-garde:
"If the history of Avant Garde really is a history of failed revolutionary quests, it is a failure so total it can't even be called that — it would be like saying I failed to become fluent in Italian by re-watching The Godfather. Wouldn't it be better to say I was just watching The Godfather? In the absence of any sufficiently appropriate action there is no sense of speaking of intention."
"The greatest misfortune of a man of letters is not perhaps being the object of his confreres' jealousy, the victim of the cabal, the despised of the men of power; but of being judged by fools. Fools go far sometimes, particularly when bigotry is added to ineptitude, and to ineptitude the spirit of vengeance. The further great misfortune of a man of letters is that ordinarily he is unattached. A bourgeois buys himself a small position, and there he is backed by his colleagues. If he suffers an injustice, he finds defenders at once. The man of letters is unsuccoured; he resembles a flying-fish; if he rises a little, the birds devour him; if he dives, the fish eat him.
Every public man pays tribute to malignity, but he is paid in honours and gold."
— Voltaire, The Philosophical Dictionary, trans H.I. Woolf