“Can a writer, or thinker, or, in this case, a critic, be held responsible because other people will misunderstand his ‘teachings,’ or ideas, or opinions?
…In other words, everything can be misunderstood and abused. Every strong position, every highly articulate position can be misinterpreted, vulgarized, exaggerated, used for shabby purposes that the person who initially expressed in a different form didn’t intend. And there’s no way you can be safe from this, unless you’re totally mediocre and have no opinions of any kind of force, or shape, or individuality—in which case, you can probably still be misquoted in some ways, but with greater difficulty and it wouldn’t matter—but anybody else is always open to being misinterpreted. And if people are vicious, or stupid, or intolerant, there’s no helping it, and there’s no way of legislating it away. I think human nature is what it is…”
— John Simon in 1985, from Ned Rorem’s Other Entertainment.