July 5, 2015

“Man’s inhumanity to man…”


“Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!”

Robert Burns (1759-1796)
       Scottish poet and lyricist
“Man Was Made to Mourn: A Dirge” (1784), stanza 7
       The phrase “man’s inhumanity to man” was coined in this poem, written by Burns in 1784. It was included in his first book of poetry, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, also known as
the Kilmarnock edition. That volume, published in 1786, made Burns famous and contains several poems that gave us immortal phrases, including: “man’s inhumanity to man,” “the best laid schemes of mice and men” (from “To a Mouse”) and “to see ourselves as others see us” (from “To a Louse” ).
       “Man Was Made to Mourn” reflects Burns’ antipathy toward the social and economic caste system that had been imposed on Scotland by Great Britain, which created a huge, poor, disenfranchised underclass and benefited a relatively small number of wealthy landowners and businessmen. The poem also seems to subtly reflect Burns’ support for Scottish independence —
a radical position at the time.


“The story of ISIS is not about Islam, it is about the universal human story of cruelty and man’s inhumanity to man, whether it be ISIS, Nazism, fascism or pure hatred of others. Intolerance and arrogance mixed with power and politics has caused most wars.”
       Alia Hogben
       Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women
       In an op-ed published by The Kingston Whig-Standard, October 8, 2014
       (Cartoon by artist Steve Greenberg)


“There is only one way in which one can endure man’s inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one’s own life, to exemplify man’s humanity to man.”
Alan Paton (1903-1988)
       South African writer and anti-apartheid activist
From his essay “The Challenge of Fear,” originally published in the Saturday Review, September 9, 1967


“Revolution is the negation of the existing, a violent protest against man’s inhumanity to man with all the thousand and one slaveries it involves. It is the destroyer of dominant values upon which a complex system of injustice, oppression, and wrong has been built up by ignorance and brutality.” 
Emma Goldman (1869-1940)
       Russian-born social activist and anarchist
In her book My Disillusionment in Russia (1925)


“Given the reality of female oppression, how women treat each other matters more, not less...I am not saying that woman’s inhumanity to woman is on the same level as man’s inhumanity to woman; it is not. But women have enormous influence over each other; we have the power to encourage each other to either resist or to collaborate with tyranny.”
Phyllis Chesler
       Pioneering feminist and Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at City University of New York
In the introduction of her book Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman (2009)


“Man’s inhumanity to man has received a lot of press, but man’s inhumanity to animals is worse, by far, if such a thing can be imagined. It is remarkable that animals will have anything whatever to do with us.”
       D. V. Barrett 
In the book Little Thoughts, Big Oughts (2001)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

July 2, 2015

Of all sad words of tongue or pen – which are the saddest?


“Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” 
       John Greenleaf Whittier
       American poet and anti-slavery activist
       The oft-quoted lines from his poem
“Maud Muller” (1856) 
       Whittier’s “Maud Muller” tells the story of a poor farm maid and a wealthy judge who saw each other in passing when they were young. Maud thinks it would be nice to be married to a rich, high-society man like the judge. The judge thinks it would be nice to be married to a beautiful farm girl like Maud and lead the pastoral life of a farmer. But, because of the class-based social conventions of the time, neither one acts on their mutual attraction. They simply pass each other by. Later in life, when they are both stuck in unfulfilling marriages, they think sadly about the life they might have had together. The final lines of the poem note that many people have such regrets, saying:      
      “God pity them both! and pity us all,

       Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;   
       For of all sad words of tongue or pen, 
       The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’ 
       Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies 
       Deeply buried from human eyes;   
       And, in the hereafter, angels may 
       Roll the stone from its grave away!”


“Of all cold words of tongue or pen
The worst are these: ‘I knew him when – ’”
      Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943)
       American writer best known for
his humorous poems
       From a poem in his book Prophets in Their Own Country (1927)


“Of all sad words of lip or pen
The worst are these, ‘I’ve flunked again.’” 
       Parody poem published in the University of Michigan’s Chronicle magazine in 1883


“The Moral is that gardeners pine
Whene’er no pods adorn the vine.
Of all sad words experience gleans
The saddest are: ‘It might have beans.’” 
       Guy Wetmore Carryl (1873-1904)
       American humorist and poet.
       From his book
Grimm Tales Made Gay (1902)


“Of all sad words that I've ever seen.
The saddest are ‘Three putts to the green.’” 
       Poem published in
The American Golfer magazine in 1910 (p. 153)


“Of all sad words asked married men
The saddest are these: Where have you been?” 
       Letter to the editor of Time Magazine, April 25, 1960


“Of all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, Michael Bay is making another ‘Transformers’ movie.”
       Cody Clark 
       Film critic
       In one of his reviews published in the Provo, Utah Daily Herald

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…


June 19, 2015

“What the world needs now...”


“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”
Hal David (1921-2012)
       American song lyricist; frequent songwriting partner of Burt Bacharach 
       The well-known line from the song
“What the World Needs Now Is Love,” one of many with lyrics by David and music by Bacharach. 
       The song was first recorded and popularized by Jackie DeShannon in 1965 and has since recorded by hundreds of other singers and bands.


“What the world needs now, and is ready for, is a patriot’s love for neighbor, fellow-citizen, and native land, based on sympathy and charity for all humanity.”
       P.M. Magnusson (fl. late 1800s)
       Minnesota educator and writer
       Comment in an article published in the School Education Journal, January 1896


“What the world needs is six months of peace so we can catch up on our worrying.”
Herbert V. Prochnow (1897-1998) 
       American toastmaster, author and bank executive
       A quip included in his book 1000 Stories and Illustrations for All Occasions (1994)
       (Cartoon by
Mike Keefe)


“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
       Howard Thurman 
       American author, theologian, educator and civil rights leader
       A popular quote of Thurman’s cited by many books and websites. It appears to have been originally quoted by theologian Gil Bailie as something Thurman said to him (recorded in Bailie’s book Violence Unveiled).


“I used to charge for access to my blog. But now it’s free, because I’ve realized what the world needs now is not love and peace and other boring turds, but raw unauthorized lists of things that YOU need to do to improve your SEO, PageRank and weiner size.”
       Noah Stokes
       American product design and development consultant 
       A quip on
his old website explaining why he is “the best choice for all your front end development needs”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related listening and reading…

June 8, 2015

“Don’t trust anyone over 30” – or under 30 (or over 40)…


“Don’t trust anyone over 30.” 
       Jack Weinberg
       American political activist  
       A saying based on a comment Weinberg made to a reporter in 1964
       This famed Sixties slogan has been attributed to various people, most frequently to Yippie leader Jerry Rubin. Rubin and his Yippie pals did use and help popularize the catchphrase to appeal to young supporters (and because they enjoyed annoying older mainstream Americans). However, most sources agree that the real credit for the saying belongs to Jack Weinberg.
       In November 1964, Weinberg was an organizer of “Free Speech Movement” protests at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. At one event, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter asked him if the actions of students were being directed behind the scenes by Communists (a common claim at the time). Weinberg responded: “We have a saying in the movement that we don’t trust anybody over 30.”
       The line was picked up by other news reports and then by other activists, usually in the form “Don’t trust anyone over 30” or “Never trust anyone over 30.” Weinberg later said his remark to the reporter was an off-the-cuff quip he made as “a way of telling the guy to back off, that nobody was pulling our strings.” It’s not clear if the saying actually existed before Weinberg made his remark, but he has since been given (and takes) credit for coining it.


“I’m going to make something entertaining. I grew up in the era of don’t trust anyone over 30. I still believe that.”
George Lucas
       American film director
       A consciously ironic comment made by the 70-year-old director at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival 
       The photo at left is Lucas as a teenager. Given his Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie series, I suspect he’s still a teenager at heart in terms of his taste in movies. (Like me. And I’m 65.)


“There are people over 30 I trust. I’m over 30, and I trust me.”
Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998)
       American writer, 1960s Black Panther Party leader  
       Remark in an interview in Playboy, December 1968 in response to the question by interviewer Nat Hentoff: “Do you agree with those who feel that this generation of youth is going to ‘sell out’ to the status quo as it moves into middle age?”
       Cleaver’s full response to the question was: “I expect all of us will become somewhat less resilient as we get into our 40s and 50s—if we live that long—and I'm sure that those who come after us will look back on us as being conservative. Even us Panthers. But I don’t think this generation will become as rigid as the ones before; and, for that matter, I don’t write off all older people right now. There are a lot of older whites and blacks who keep working for change. So there are people over 30 I trust. I’m over 30, and I trust me.”


“Never trust anyone over-dirty.”
Robert Byrne 
       American writer and novelist best known for as the editor of five popular collections of humorous quotations 
       Quoting himself in his book 1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said


“Some aging Boomers are now more likely to mutter under their breath, ‘Don’t trust anyone under thirty.’ So it goes.”
Mary Ann Wynkoop
       Professor of History Emerita at the University of Missouri-Kansas City
       In her book Dissent in the Heartland: The Sixties


“Every man over forty is a scoundrel.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
       Irish playwright and social critic 
       In “Maxims for Revolutionists,” part of the written appendix of his play Man and Superman (1903) 
       (At left is a photo of Shaw at age 43, looking a bit, er, scoundrelish.)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

May 18, 2015

“The evil that men do…”


“The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.”
       William Shakespeare (1564-1616) 
       Lines said by Mark Antony in Act 3, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar
       This is one of several well-known quotes in the funeral oration Mark Antony gives for Julius Caesar after Caesar is assassinated.
It follows the famous opening words: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” The oration in the play is loosely based on a real speech Antony gave at Caesar’s funeral, a few days after Caesar was stabbed to death by his political enemies on March 15, 44 B.C. (the “Ides of March”). An account of what Antony said was recorded by the Greek-born Roman historian Appian in his history of Rome’s civil wars. It does not include any of the famous lines in Shakespeare’s play. According to Appian, the Roman masses became so angry after hearing Antony’s subtly inflammatory speech that they burnt down the Senate building where Caesar was killed and went hunting for his murderers, who were forced to flee Rome.


“If, as the theologians say, ‘the very act of free choice is traced to God as to a cause’...if ‘everything happening from the exercise of free choice must be subject to divine providence,’ must not the evil that men do be attributed to God as cause?”
       From a commentary on the philosophical debate over free will in
The Great Ideas volume of Encyclopedia Britannica’s multi-volume series about the great books and ideas of the Western World, which was edited by Mortimer J. Adler and first published in 1952.


“It is sins of omission, not commission, that are most fruitful of harm; not the evil that men do, but the good they did not do, that lives after them.”
       Editorial comment in an 1889 issue of
The Railway Conductor’s Monthly
       Included in The Conductor and Brakeman Vol. 6, compiled by The Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen


“It’s not the evil that men do that outlives them; it’s the mischief that computers and genetic research can get us into when they are spliced together that we need to worry about.” 
From the book
Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Business Ethics and Society (2006), written by Lisa Newton, Elaine Englehardt and Michael Pritchard 
       Paraphrasing of the views of technology critics like Jeremy Rifkin


“Parson Fawcett said: the evil that men do lives after them; but the evil that women do goes on for countless generations through their breeding.”
Catherine Cookson (1906-1998)
       British novelist
       In her period romance novel The Love Child (1990)

See more takeoffs and variations on “The evil that men do...” 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    

Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy

Creative Commons License
Copyright © Subtropic Productions LLC

The Quote/Counterquote blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Any duplicative or remixed use of the original text written for this blog and any exact duplications the specific sets of quotations collected for the posts shown here must include an attribution to QuoteCounterquote.com and, if online, a link to http://www.quotecounterquote.com/

To the best of our knowledge, the non-original content posted here is used in a way that is allowed under the fair use doctrine. If you own the copyright to something we've posted and think we may have violated fair use standards, please let me know.

Subtropic Productions LLC and QuoteCounterquote.com are committed to protecting your privacy. We will not sell your email address, etc. For more details, read this blog's full Privacy Policy.