“unspeakable vileness”

A quote from Balzac that sums up last week at work:

“Anybody who was once caught up in journalism, or is caught up in it still, is under the cruel necessity of greeting men he despises, smiling at his worst enemy, condoning actions of the most unspeakable vileness, soiling his hands to pay his agressors out in their own coin. You grow used to seeing evil done, to letting it go; you begin by not minding, you end by doing it yourself. In the end, your soul, spotted daily by shameful transactions always going on, shrinks, the spring of noble thoughts rusts, the hinges of small talk wear loose and swing unaided. The Alcestes become Philintes, character loses temper, talent degenerates, the belief in works of beauty evaporates. A man who wanted to take pride in his pages spends himself in wretched articles which sooner or later his conscience will tell him were base actions.”

From Balzac, “A Harlot High and Low”

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