May 18, 2015

“The evil that men do…”


FAMOUS FUNERAL ORATION QUOTE:

“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.



THE GOD CONUNDRUM:

“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.



AN EARLY LABOR ACTIVIST’S VIEWPOINT:

“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



A MODERN ACTIVIST’S VIEWPOINT:

“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



THE SEXIST PARSON’S OPINION:

“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...” 

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Related reading…

May 8, 2015

“Where the West begins” – and the East peters out…


THE FAMOUS COWBOY POEM:

“Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,
            That’s where the West begins;
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter;
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter;
            That’s where the West begins.”
      Arthur Chapman (1873-1935)
       American journalist, poet and editor
       His poem
“Out Where the West Begins,” first printed in the Denver Republican, December 3, 1911.


WILL ROGERS’ QUIP:

“Fort Worth is where the West begins and Dallas is where the East peters out.”
       Will Rogers (1879-1935)
       American humorist
       A famous quip
generally attributed to Rogers. 
       The city of Forth Worth has long used the official slogan “Where the West Begins.” An old nickname of Dallas is “where the East ends.”


A JOURNALIST’S VIEW OF FORT WORTH’S MOTTO:

“As Fort Worth has grown into a very big city, the cultural identity of our fair burg is changing. City leaders like to trot out ‘Cowtown’ and ‘Where the West Begins’ as cultural touchstones, but neither has been true for some time. We don’t slaughter cattle for beef anymore, and I don’t know where the West begins now, but it certainly isn’t here.”
       Dan McGraw
       Texas journalist and author 
      
In his column in the Fort Worth Weekly, March 28, 2007


THE FAMED CUBAN BAR’S MOTTO:

“First port of call, out where the wet begins.”
       Prohibition-era marketing slogan for
Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana, Cuba 
       Noted in the excellent book
Havana Before Castro by Peter Moruzzi


THE HAWAIIAN VARIATION:

“Out where the zest begins, in the Hawaiian islands, grow these royal pineapples...brought to you by Dole.”
       From
an ad for Dole Pineapples in LIFE magazine, May 8, 1939


RINTY’S VARIATION:

“Where the North Begins”
       Title of the
first film starring the first Rin-Tin-Tin, released in 1923. (A silent film set in the “Great White North” – the north woods of Canada.)

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Related reading and listening: classic examples of Cowboy – and Cowgirl – poetry

May 1, 2015

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” (And maybe 90% mental?)


THE FAMOUS EDISON QUOTE (THAT HE PROBABLY NEVER SAID):

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
       Attributed to
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
       American inventor and businessman 
       This oft-cited line is traditionally credited to Edison and he did say some things like it. However, the familiar version of the quote is not included in his writings or in his recorded speeches or interviews. The first mention of a definition of genius by Edison is in an article about him in
the April 1898 issue of the Ladies Home Journal. A paragraph in that article says:
       “Once, when asked to give his definition of genius, Mr. Edison replied: ‘Two per cent is genius and ninety-eight per cent is hard work.’ At another time, when the argument that genius was inspiration was brought before him, he said: ‘Bah! Genius is not inspired. Inspiration is perspiration.’” 
       An article
in a 1902 issue of Scientific American claimed that Edison once remarked: “Genius is 2 percent inspiration and 98 percent perspiration,” but it gave no source for the quote. That 2%/98% definition was also mentioned in a 1908 biography of Edison and a 1911 article in Chamber’s Journal — without providing any information on when Edison supposedly said it. Then in 1932, a year after Edison died, an article Harper's Monthly Magazine noted that sometime around 1902 or 1903 Edison said: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” No source for the quote was given by Harper’s. However, this version became legendary and is cited by many books and websites (often giving Harper’s Monthly Magazine as the source).


YOGI BERRA’S ADAPTABLE ADAPTATION:

“Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.”
       Yogi Berra
       US baseball catcher, manager and coach known for his funny, linguistically unique sayings
       This is one of the famous “Yogisms” that Yogi is generally believed to have actually said, though various versions have been cited and he used somewhat different wording at various times. In The Yogi Book: I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said! (1998), he quotes himself as saying: “90% of the game is half mental.” In What Time Is It? You Mean Now? (2010) he cites it as “Ninety percent of this game is half-mental.” In a commencement speech at Montclair State University (New Jersey) in 1996, Yogi gave the line a twist, telling the graduating students: “Remember that whatever you do in life, 90 percent of it is half mental.” In Baseball's Greatest Quotations, quotation maven Paul Dickson notes that baseball outfielder Jim Wolford may have used a version of the line before Yogi made it his own. 


A T-SHIRT FOR “GENIOUSES”:

“Genious is one per cent inspiration and ninety nine per cent perspiration.”
       A version on the Edison saying printed on a t-shirt with the word genius misspelled, offered for sale by the upscale European fashion store chain H & M.
       (Spotted and mocked by the Metro.co.uk.com site in April 2015.)


A TIP FOR WASHINGTON SPEECHWRITERS:

“Successful Washington speechwriting is one percent literary talent and ninety-nine percent political infighting.” 
       Attributed to Will Sparks
       Former speechwriter for President Johnson
       Quoted by Bradley H. Patterson Jr. in his book The Ring of Power: the White House Staff and Its Expanding Role in Government


THE POLICE WORK ADAPTATION:

“Real police work is ninety-nine percent facts, one percent inspiration.”
       Glover Wright
       British author and former rock ‘n’ roll guitarist 
       Line said by a character in his novel The Torch (1980)

For more variations of Edison’s famed quote, see this previous Quote/Counterquote post.

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Related reading…

April 26, 2015

“Every day, in every way…”


FAMOUS PSYCHOTHERAPY MANTRA:

“Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.”
(“Tous les jours, a tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux.”) 
       Émile Coué
(1857-1926)
       French psychologist and pharmacist
       Coué was renowned for his theories about the healing power of “conscious autosuggestion” or self-hypnosis, also called Couéism or the Coué method. This famous line was inscribed on the wall of Coué’s sanitarium in Nancy, France in 1910 and promoted in his books, such as De la suggestion et de ses application (“On Suggestion and its Applications”), published in 1915.
       Coué claimed that people with mental or physical problems could be cured by saying his catchphrase to themselves 15 to 20 times every day.


UPDATED PSYCHOTHERAPY QUOTE:

“It seems to me that psychotherapy, perhaps like so much else in our current culture, has learned to chant a distinctly counter-Coué mantra: ‘Every day, in every way, I get worse and worse.’”
      
Professor Ernesto Spinelli
       British psychotherapist and psychologist
       In his book The Mirror and the Hammer (2004)


WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY COUNTERQUOTE:

“Every day, in every way, things [in America] are getting worse and worse. It wouldn’t be so bad if, while running through the darkening wood, we knew we were headed toward daylight, but we don’t know any such thing.”
      
William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008)
       Conservative political commentator and author
       In his column in The National Review, July 2, 1963


SCARY MOTHER TERESA VARIATION:

“We think of our own faces as ugly because of the wrinkles and lines and sagging flesh...When you look in the mirror, don't ask yourself whether you look like Marilyn Monroe. Say instead to yourself — every day in every way, I look more like Mother Teresa!”
      
Dr. Ronda Chervin
       American theologist
       In her book Seeking Christ in the Crosses & Joys of Aging (2003)


HENRY MILLER’S COSMIC VERSION:

“I am living out my share of life and thus abetting the scheme of things. I further the development, the enrichment, the evolution and the devolution of the cosmos, every day in every way. I give all I have to give, voluntarily, and take as much as I can possibly ingest.”
      
Henry Miller (1891-1980)
       American novelist, painter and social commentator
       In his book The Wisdom of the Heart (1960)


TRANSFORMERS BEAST WAR VERSION:

“EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY, I’M GETTING BADDER.”
       Hydra
       His motto in
The Transformers Beast Wars Sourcebook (2008)

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Related reading…

April 8, 2015

Opiates of the people: from religion and cellphones to voting and political correctness…


THE FAMOUS OVERSIMPLIFIED SOUND BITE:

“Religion...is the opium of the people.”
(“Die Religion...ist das Opium des Volks.”)
       Karl Marx (1818-83)
       German philosopher, historian and “Founding Father” of socialism and communism
       In his Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right (1844)
       The quote above (sometimes translated as “Religion...is the opiate of the people” or “Religion...is the opium of the masses”) is the familiar, condensed sound bite taken from a more nuanced point Marx made
in the introduction to A Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right. Here’s what he actually said: “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.” 


THE MODERN ZOMBIE APPLICATION:

“Cellphones are the new opiate of the masses, stifling conversation with friends and strangers alike, even worse than those music-carrying earbuds that keep people looking straight ahead like cattle, showing blank, uncurious faces, totally unaware that we might be approaching the slaughterhouse.”
       Tony Vagneur 
       American rancher and newspaper columnist
       In his March 27, 2015 column in the The Aspen Times


THE COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY COUNTERQUOTE:

“REVOLUTION IS THE OPIUM OF THE INTELLECTUALS.”
       Graffiti on a wall in the film
O Lucky Man! (1973)


AN AMERICAN COMMUNIST’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“I think voting is the opium of the masses in this country. Every four years you deaden the pain.”
       Line spoken
the film Reds (1981) by American Communist leader Emma Goldman (played by actress Maureen Stapleton) 
       It does not appear to be taken from Goldman’s actual written works
 


THE ANTI-PC VARIATION:

“Political correctness is the opium of the liberal…It makes them feel good.”  
       Comment in a
letter to the editor in the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, August 20, 2010


THE HOMOSEXUAL TAUTOLOGIST’S VARIATION:

Gudrun (actress Susanne Sachsse): “Heterosexuality is the opiate of the masses.”
Holger (actor Daniel Bätscher): “I thought opiates were the opiate of the masses.”
       In the film
The Raspberry Reich (2004)


THE ECONOMISTS’ VARIATION:

“Popular culture distracts and confuses Americans through distorting perceptions of social issues and existing social institutions. If religion was ‘the opium of the masses’ in the nineteenth century, the electronic media is the ‘opium of the masses’ in the late twentieth century.”
       Economists William E. Halal and Kenneth B. Taylor
       In their book 21st Century Economics (1999)

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