December 19, 2014

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” – or maybe a Jewish, gay, green, brown or red one...


THE FAMOUS “JEWISH” CHRISTMAS SONG:

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write.
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.”
      
Irving Berlin (1888-1989)
       American songwriter 
       Lyrics of Berlin’s song
“White Christmas”
       “White Christmas” was publicly introduced and made famous by the 1942 film Holiday Inn, in which it is
sung by Bing Crosby. The fact that it became one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time may seem a bit ironic, since Berlin was Jewish. However, as noted by journalist Nate Bloom in a post on the InterfaithFamily.com website, 12 of the 25 most popular Christmas holiday songs were written by Jews.


THE GAY FRIENDLY VERSION:

“I’m dreaming of a gay Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where the treetops shimmer with rainbow glitter
And ev-ry fella had a beau.
Oh, I’m dreaming of a gay Christmas
With Every Streisand song I play.
And no matter which way you sway
I hope all your Christmases are gay.”
       The “Gay Christmas” song, from
the “Last Christmas” musical show, first performed in 2007 by the California-based gay and lesbian theatre group, 

Theatre Out.


THE ECO-FRIENDLY VERSION:

“I’m dreaming of a green Christmas
Not like the ones I used to know.
With presents handmade or re-gifted
To prevent the climate being shifted
And leaving Christmas trees to grow.” 
      
Nancy Hiler, the “Go Green Gal” 
       In a blog post titled
“I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas (with apologies to Irving Berlin)” 


THE LATINO VERSION:

“I’m dreaming of a brown Christmas,
Just like the one in Mexico.
Where bunuelos glisten,
Posadas at the mission,
And yes, we don’t need no snow.”
      
El Vez (stage name of Robert Lopez)
       Mexican-American rock and roll artist
       From his song
“Brown Christmas”


THE CHRISTMAS CHEERS! VERSION:

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
But if the white runs out
I’ll drink the red.” 
       A
popular variation I first saw as the caption of this cartoon from the now defunct website YourFunnyStuff.com

       Cheers and Happy Holidays from QuoteCounterquote.com!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook Page

More Christmas music parodies…

October 27, 2014

“Every nation has the government it deserves” – and the criminals, drugs and donuts…


THE FAMOUS MISINTERPRETED QUOTE:

“Every nation has the government it deserves.”
(“Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite.”)
      
Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821)
       French-speaking Savoyard philosopher, writer, lawyer and diplomat
       Comment in a letter he wrote in August 1811, later published in Lettres et Opuscules Inedits (1851)
       Whenever Election Day draws near, I am reminded of this famous quote by Joseph de Maistre. He wrote this aphorism in 1811 when he was serving as the King of Piedmont-Sardinia’s envoy to Russian Czar Alexander I. At that time, Alexander was introducing reforms that were moving Russia toward a European-style constitutional government. It’s ironic that Maistre’s quote is now commonly used to suggest that citizens should get more involved in politics, actively push for more democratic governments and rebel against tyrants. Maistre disliked democracy and believed that hereditary monarchies were a divinely-sanctioned, superior form of government. For example, he opposed the French Revolution and supported restoration of the French monarchy. And, in his 1811 letter, Maistre was actually expressing his negative views of Alexander’s reform policies in Russia. He said a European-style constitutional system would be “over the heads” of the Russian people.
One early translation of Maistre’s aphorism in that letter was: “Every nation has the government which it is fit for.” This paternalistic translation may best capture what Maistre really meant. The more familiar translation — “Every nation [or ‘country’] has the government it deserves” — is often wrongly attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville and Abraham Lincoln. They never said it. Maistre did, but what he meant by it is probably different than what most people think.


THE FAMOUS VERSION ABOUT CRIMINALS:

“Society has the criminals it deserves.”
(“La société a les criminels qu’elle mérite.)
       Alexandre Lacassagne (1843-1924)
       French physician and criminologist
       In “L’homme criminel comparé a l’homme primitif,”  Bulletin du Lyon médical (1882)
       This is often translated as “Every society has the criminals it deserves,” to parallel Maistre’s quotation. It comes from a longer comment Lacassagne made about the justice system: "Justice shrivels up, prison corrupts and society has the criminals it deserves." (“La justice flétrit, la prison corrompt et la société a les criminels qu’elle mérite.”)


ROBERT KENNEDY’S RESPONSE:

“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”
      
Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968)
       U.S. Attorney General and Democratic politician
       In his book
The Pursuit of Justice (1964)


GEORGE ORWELL’S FAMOUS FACE VARIATION:

“At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”
      
George Orwell (1903-1950)
       Last words in his notebook, April 17, 1949
       Published posthumously in
The Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell (1968)


THE WOODSTOCK GENERATION VARIATION:

“Everybody gets the drugs they deserve. Everyone gets the god they deserve. Everyone gets the electrons they deserve. Go for it all.”   
      
Dr. Timothy Leary (1920-1996)  
       American psychologist, writer and psychedelic drug guru 
       In the spoken word piece “Fifty Million Years,” on his posthumously released CD
Beyond Life (1996)


THE NEW GENERATION’S VARIATION:

“Not every generation gets the politics it deserves. When baby boomer journalists and politicians talk about engaging with youth politics, what they generally mean is engaging with a caucus of energetic, compliant under-25s who are willing to give their time for free to causes led by grown-ups...We need to being to formulate an agenda of our own.”
      
Laurie Penny 
       British journalist and social activist
       In a chapter she contributed to the multi-author book
Fight Back! (2010)


A PIONEERING PORN MAVEN’S OPINION:

“Every nation gets the pornography it deserves…and if we forbid the writing of erotica to all but those willing to break the law, we have no complaint if the results are mean and inartistic.”
      
Ralph Ginzburg (1929-2006)
       Pioneering American author, editor, publisher and free speech advocate
       In his book An Unhurried View of Erotica (1958)


A PIONEERING RIGHT-WING TELEVANGELIST’S OPINION:

“A godless people will chose a godless leader. A democratic people gets the kind of government it deserves!”
      
Father Charles E. Coughlin (1891-1979)
       Controversial American radio evangelist
       Comment made on
his radio show on January 7, 1940, in one of his rants attacking President Franklin D. Roosevelt


THE FILM CRITIC’S PSYCHOKILLER THEORY:


“Every era gets the psychos it deserves, at least in art. Our own violent culture has splattered us with real-life assassins and serial killers who have pervaded our consciousness through television and newspapers and left a disturbing, revealing, often entertaining legacy of fictional lunatics.” 
       Caryn James
       American film critic
       In
an article about recent psychokiller movies, published in The New York Times, March 10, 1991


THE THEATRE CRITIC’S THEORY:


“Every civilization gets the theatre it deserves.”
      
Michael Feingold 
       Theatre critic for The Village Voice
       Quoted in
Directors and the New Musical Drama (2008)


THE DONUT CRITIC’S VERSION:



“Was it Alexis de Tocqueville or Jonathan Gold who said, ‘Every city gets the donuts it deserves’? Either way, you have to wonder what Houston did to deserve Shipley Do-Nuts. The Shipleys may be lovely people, and the corporation gets much respect for being active in the community and maintaining its Houston roots. But their donuts are consistently mediocre.”
      
Matthew Dresden   
       Food critic and journalist
       In
an article posted on HoustonPress.com, February 10, 2011

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *    

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

Further reading: books of quotations about government and politics….

September 29, 2014

A man’s (and a girl’s) best friends...



THE ORIGIN OF “MAN’S BEST FRIEND”:

“The best friend a man has...is his dog.”
       George Graham Vest (1830-1904)
       American lawyer and politician
       These words are from Vest’s summation in the trial of a sheep farmer who shot and killed his neighbor’s dog, Old Drum. The trial was held at the Johnson County Courthouse in Warrensburg, Missouri on September 23, 1870. Vest’s client, the broken-hearted owner of Old Drum, had sued the farmer for compensation. Vest brought the jury to tears when he said:
 
      “The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith…The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.”
       The first six words of that paragraph, combined with the last three — “The best friend a man has...is his dog” — is traditionally credited as the origin of the dog-lovers’ saying we know today: “A dog is a man’s best friend.” (Sometimes given as “A man’s best friend is his dog.”)  You can read more about the Old Drum case in this post on my This Day In Quotes site.



THE MARX-FLAVORED VARIATION:

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
      Groucho Marx (1890-1977)
       Legendary American comedian
       This quip has been credited to Groucho since the 1970s. However, as noted in a post on the great Quote Investigator site, it doesn’t appear in his movies or written works and a similar joke was published in the February 1954 issue of Boys’ Life magazine, so he probably didn’t coin it.



THE INTENTIONALLY CREEPY VERSION:

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”
       Actor Anthony Perkins, as the character Norman Bates, in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Psycho (1960)



THE UNINTENTIONALLY CREEPY VERSION:

“Whoever said, ‘A dog is man’s best friend’ must have been a single fellow. As helpful and useful as all of God's creation would be to man, none of these animals were socially, intellectually, or sexually compatible to man.”
       From “At The Beginning: A Study of Marriage” 
       An article posted on the Christian “electronic magazine” called “The Expository Files.” (Which are not related to The X Files…Or are they?)



THE GIRLS CLICHÉ IMMORTALIZED BY MARILYN:

“A kiss on the hand may be quite continental,
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

       From the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” written by songwriters Jule Styne and Leo Robin
       This great song comes from the 1949 Broadway musical Gentleman Prefer Blondes, which was adapted from the 1925 book Gentleman Prefer Blondes, written by Anita Loos. It was introduced by Carol Channing in the original Broadway production. But for many people, the most remembered and iconic version was performed by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.



THE COUNTERQUOTE TO THE GIRLS  CLICHÉ:

“Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend never had a dog.”
       A dog-lovers’ quote of anonymous origin that has reached meme level status in the Internet.

       (The girls in the photo are my wife BJ and our dog Barbie Boo.)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on my quotations Facebook group.

Related reading and viewing…

September 7, 2014

“Knowledge is power” – and everything most people know about that quote is wrong!


THE FLAWED TRADITIONAL ATTRIBUTION:

“Knowledge itself is power.” (“...ipsa scientia potestas est”)
       Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
       English philosopher and essayist
       Meditationes Sacrae, De Haeresibus (1597)
       Thousands of books and websites claim that Sir Francis Bacon coined or first recorded the saying “Knowledge is power.” In fact, that concept existed long before Bacon’s time and the Latin phrase “scientia potestas est,” which means “Knowledge is power,” probably did as well. Bacon used a version of it in his essay De Haeresibus (“Of Heresies”), one of ten essays in his book Meditationes Sacrae (“Religious Meditations”), which he wrote in Latin. 
       In one of Bacon’s typically long, run-on sentences, full of much religious and philosophical blah-blah-blah, the Latin words scientia (knowledge, science), potestas (power, strength) and est (is) are embedded in a famed parenthetical phrase. The full phrase is “nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.” This is generally translated as “for knowledge itself is power.” That’s not quite as pithy as “Knowledge is power.” Moreover, in the context of the sentence and Bacon’s points in the essay, it doesn’t actually have the literal meaning that has become a cliché. In the essay, Bacon was making an obtuse argument about atheists and other people who deny the will and power of God, including those dolts who give more weight to God’s knowledge than His power. (‘Cause, duh, God’s knowledge is itself power. Get it? I don’t.)
       Anyway, you are now armed with the power to impart some factual knowledge about this famous quote/misquote next time you hear someone wrongly claim: “As Francis Bacon said, ‘Knowledge is power.’”
       Personally, I like the following variations better...


COOLIO’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“If knowledge is power and power is knowledge, then
  how so many idiots be graduating from colleges?” 
       Coolio
       American rap musician, record producer and actor 
       A line in the lyrics of his song “The Winner” (on the Space Jam movie soundtrack)


CERSEI’S COUNTERQUOTE:

Power is power!”
       Cersei Lannister (played by actress Lena Headey
       A point she makes, menacingly, to Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (actor Aidan Gillen), in the the first episode of Season Two of HBO’s series Game of Thrones.
       In this intense scene, Baelish hints to Cersei that he knows she has an incestuous relationship with her brother and might use that knowledge to his advantage. “Prominent families often forget a simple truth,” he says. “Knowledge is power.”
       Cersei responds by telling her guards: “Seize him. Cut his throat.” The guards grab Baelish and prepare to carry out her order. As Baelish begins to panic, Cersei says almost flippantly: “Stop. Oh, wait. I’ve changed my mind. Let him go.” After they do, she glares at Baelish and tells him an even higher truth that applies in the world of Game of Thrones: “Power is power!”


THE KICK-BUTT COUNTERQUOTE:

“Knowledge is not power. It’s the implementation of knowledge that is power. It’s not what you know that matters, it’s what you do with what you know that matters.”
       Larry Winget
       American author and motivational speaker
       In his book Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life: A Kick-Butt Approach to a Better Life  (2011)


A VERSION APPLICABLE TO FERGUSON?

“Knowledge may be power under some circumstances, but, in others, power rests on denial and studied displacement. This image of a smoothly functioning social order lends itself to the creation of the capacity for fascist self-delusion.”
       An observation in the book Ethnography in Unstable Places: Everyday Lives in Contexts of Dramatic Political Change
       Edited by Carol J. Greenhouse, Elizabeth Mertz, Kay B. B. Warren
       (Cartoon by Kevin Siers)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

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

Related reading…

August 12, 2014

“Carpe diem.” (This one’s for you, Robin…)



THE PLUCKY LATIN QUOTE:

“Carpe diem.” [Traditionally translated as “Seize the day.”]
      
Horace (Quintas Horatius Flaccus, 65-8 B.C.)
       Roman poet
       The famous phrase from Book I of his Odes (35 B.C.)
       “Carpe diem” is one of the two most famous quotations from Horace’s Odes. The other is:
“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” (“It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”) Although the usual translation of “Carpe diem” is “Seize the day,” Latin scholars have pointed out that the more accurate translation is “Pluck the day.”  
       In fact, the phrase does come at the end of a poem that uses several pastoral and harvest-related metaphors. So, “pluck” is probably closer to the original literal meaning. Below is a longer section of the poem, translated to English:
  
    “Ask not — we cannot know — what end the gods have set for you, for me;
            nor attempt the Babylonian reckonings Leuconoë.
       How much better to endure whatever comes, 
            whether Jupiter grants us additional winters or whether this is our last,
            which now wears out the Tuscan Sea upon the barrier of the cliffs!
       Be wise, strain the wine; and since life is brief, prune back far-reaching hopes!
       Even while we speak, envious time has passed:
            seize [pluck] the day, putting as little trust as possible in tomorrow!”  
       Regardless of variations in translation, the meaning of the poem and the famous phrase is clear. Live life to the fullest every day and take advantage of the pleasures and opportunities each day offers. Or, as Warren Zevon put it:
“Enjoy every sandwich.”



RIP, ROBIN. YOU WERE INDEED EXTRAORDINARY…

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
      
Robin Williams (1951-2014), as English teacher John Keating
       His advice to his students in the movie
Dead Poets Society (1989)
       This quote comes at the end of a great sequence in which Keating says to his students:
       “‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.’ The Latin term for that sentiment is Carpe Diem... Seize the day. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Why does the writer use these lines?...Because we are food for worms lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die. Now I would like you to step forward over here and peruse some of the faces from the past. [Old photos of previous students.] You’ve walked past them many times. I don't think you've really looked at them. They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because you see, gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Carpe. Hear it? Carpe. Carpe Diem. Seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”



STEVE ZAHN’S VERSION:

“Carpe poon, man.”
      
Steve Zahn (as the character Wayne)
       In the movie
Saving Silverman (2001), after seeing a good looking woman in a bar
       Thanks to fans of the movie, “Carpe poon” has now made it into the
Urban Dictionary



ERMA BOMBECK’S VERSION:

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”
      
Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)
       American humorist
       Quoted as one of “Erma Bombeck’s 10 Rules To Live By” in
David Wallechinsky’s Book of Lists



SKYLER’S VERSION:

Question on a school test: “Define carpe diem.”
Skyler’s answer:
“Fish of the day.” 
       In the 
Shoe cartoon strip, by Jeff MacNelly, October 8, 2010



TEDDY ROOSEVELT’S VERSION:

“Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.”
      
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919)
       26th President of the United States
       Teddy’s advice to his children, quoted in David McCullough’s book Mornings on Horseback (1981)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

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

Related reading and viewing…

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy


Creative Commons License
Copyright © 2009-2014 by 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.