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Frances Ann "Fran" Lebowitz

At the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Frances Ann Lebowitz
October 27, 1950 (1950-10-27) (age 59)
Morristown, New Jersey
Occupation Author
Nationality American

Frances Ann "Fran" Lebowitz (born October 27, 1950) is an American author.

Born and raised in Morristown, New Jersey,[1] Lebowitz is best known for her sardonic social commentary on American life through her New York sensibilities. Some reviewers have called her a modern day Dorothy Parker.

After being expelled from high school and receiving a GED, Lebowitz worked many odd jobs before being hired by Andy Warhol as a columnist for Interview. This was followed by a stint at Mademoiselle. Her first book was a collection of essays titled Metropolitan Life, released in 1978, followed by Social Studies in 1981, both of which are collected (with a new introductory essay) in The Fran Lebowitz Reader.

For more than twenty years she has been famous in part for not writing Exterior Signs of Wealth, a long-overdue novel purportedly about rich people who want to be artists, and artists who want to be rich. She also made several appearances on Late Night With David Letterman during the early part of its run. Recently she has made recurring appearances as Judge Janice Goldberg on the television drama Law & Order.

In September 2007, Fran Lebowitz was named one of the year's most stylish women in Vanity Fair's 68th Annual International Best-Dressed List,[2] and is known to sport tailored suits by the Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard.


  1. ^ Morris, Bob. " AT LUNCH WITH: Fran Lebowitz; Words Are Easy, Books Are Not", The New York Times, August 10, 1994. Accessed June 1, 2008. "Ms. Lebowitz grew up in Morristown, N.J., where her parents owned a furniture store."
  2. ^ The 68th Annual International Best-Dressed List: Entertainment & Culture:


  • Metropolitan Life ISBN 0-449-20089-2
  • Social Studies ISBN 0-671-45047-6
  • The Fran Lebowitz Reader ISBN 0-679-76180-2
  • Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas ISBN 0-679-86052-5

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Frances Ann Lebowitz (born 1951-10-27) is an American journalist.



  • I never met anyone who didn't have a very smart child. What happens to these children, you wonder, when they reach adulthood?
    • "Words Are Easy, Books Are Not," interview with Bob Morris, The New York Times (1994-08-10), Late Edition, Section C, page 1, column 1
  • There's no such thing as advice to the lovelorn. If they took advice, they wouldn't be lovelorn. You see, advice and lovelorn don't go together. Because advice makes love sound like some sort of cognitive activity, but we know that it isn't. We all know that it's some sort of horrible chemical reaction over which we have absolutely no control. And that's why advice doesn't work.
  • Should novels generally be 600 pages? No, they should not. Half of writing, maybe 3/4 of writing, is editing. This seems to be a thing that has not gotten through to them. It’s my impression that you could get rid of half of most of these books. These people are not good enough to be this long, but they’re apparently also not good enough to be shorter.
  • I doubt there’s ever been a true thing said on Fox. Maybe the weather report, maybe not.
    • Ruminator Magazine interview with Susannah McNeely (August/September 2005)
  • Most of my news, I get from the radio news stations. One of the stations' advertising lines is "Give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world." In 22 minutes, they just have time for the headlines, so they can only really tell you what happened — which, by the way, is the news. They tell you how many people were killed in Iraq today, but they don’t then bring on some Republican senator to explain to you how that’s good. Or, on the contrary, they don’t bring in a bunch of Democrats to tell you why it’s bad. They just tell you what happened. That’s the news. I am capable of analyzing my own news. What makes these people qualified to analyze my news for me? No matter what side they’re on, I never agree with them.
    • Ruminator Magazine interview with Susannah McNeely (August/September 2005)
  • Take away a man’s actual sense of manhood — which is conventionally based on the ability to work, to earn money, to be self-sufficient, to provide for children — and you’ve got to give them something else. And they did.

    This hideous religion that’s all over the country — these huge church-malls — that’s what substitutes for these lost towns. But that’s not a town. That’s a cult. A town is diverse, in a real way, not in this fake way we have now. A community is a butcher and a doctor, a minister, a town troublemaker. A "community" is not a bunch of people united by some grievance. That’s just self-righteousness — incredibly dangerous and antidemocratic. People have become so rigid; their opinions seem to them like themselves. When that happens (and it has happened) people can’t change their minds. If you are identified by your opinions — if that is the very basis of yourself — how can you change your mind?

    • Ruminator Magazine interview with Susannah McNeely (August/September 2005)
  • The terrible state of public education has paid huge dividends in ignorance. Huge. We now have a country that can be told blatant lies — easily checkable, blatant lies — and I’m not talking about the covert workings of the CIA. When we have a terrorist attack, on September 11, 2001 with 19 men — 15 of them are Saudis — and five minutes later the whole country thinks they’re from Iraq — how can you have faith in the public? This is an easily checkable fact. The whole country is like the O.J. Simpson jurors.
    • Ruminator Magazine interview with Susannah McNeely (August/September 2005)

Metropolitan Life (1974)

E.P. Dutton, 1978, ISBN 0-525-15562-7

  • All God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable. The most common error made in matters of appearance is the belief that one should disdain the superficial and let the true beauty of one's soul shine through. If there are places on your body where this is a possibility, you are not attractive — you are leaking.
    • "Manners" (p. 6)
  • Rome is a very loony city in every respect. One needs but spend an hour or two there to realize that Fellini makes documentaries.
    • "A World View" (p. 64)
  • Any child who cannot do long division by himself does not deserve to smoke.
    • "Digital Clocks and Pocket Calculators: Spoilers of Youth" (p. 84)
  • I love sleep because it is both pleasant and safe to use. Pleasant because one is in the best possible company and safe because sleep is the consummate protection against the unseemliness that is the invariable consequence of being awake. What you don't know won't hurt you. Sleep is death without the responsibility.
    • "Why I Love Sleep" (p. 91)
  • Life is something to do when you can't get to sleep.
    • "Mars: Living in a Small Way" (p. 101)
  • Bread that must be sliced with an ax is bread that is too nourishing.
    • "Food for Thought and Vice Versa" (p. 109)
  • Women who insist on having the same options as men would do well to consider the option of being the strong, silent type.
    • "Letters" (p. 143)
  • Having been unpopular in high school is not just cause for book publication.
    • "Letters" (p. 143)
  • If your sexual fantasies were truly of interest to others, they would no longer be fantasies.
    • "Letters" (p. 143)

Social Studies (1981)

  • Original thought is like original sin: both happened before you were born to people you could not have possibly met.
    • "People"
  • The conversational overachiever is someone whose grasp exceeds his reach. This is possible but not attractive.
    • "People"
  • The opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.
    • "People"
  • Do not elicit your child's political opinions. He doesn't know any more than you do.
    • "Parental Guidance"
  • Children do not really need money. After all, they don't have to pay rent or send mailgrams.
    • "Parental Guidance"
  • Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying.
    • "Parental Guidance"
  • Educational television should be absolutely forbidden. It can only lead to unreasonable expectations and eventual disappointment when your child discovers that the letters of the alphabet do not leap up out of books and dance around the room with royal-blue chickens.
    • "Parental Guidance"
  • No animal should ever jump up on the dining room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation.
    • "Pointers for Pets"
  • Remember that as a teenager you are in the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear the phone is for you.
    • "Tips for Teens"
  • Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra. In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.
    • "Tips for Teens"
  • I understand, of course, that many people find smoking objectionable. That is their right. I would, I assure you, be the very last to criticize the annoyed. I myself find many-- even most-- things objectionable. Being offended is the natural consequence of leaving one's home. I do not like aftershave lotion, adults who roller-skate, children who speak French, or anyone who is unduly tan. I do not, however, go around enacting legislation and putting up signs. In private I avoid such people; in public they have the run of the place. I stay at home as much as possible, and so should they. When it is necessary, however, to go out of the house, they must be prepared, as I am, to deal with the unpleasant personal habits of others. That is what "public" means.
    • "When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes...Shut Them"

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