December 11, 2009

“Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

 William Shakespeare-8x6[1]


“Life’s but a walking shadow...a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

       William Shakespeare
       Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5 
       These words are spoken by the Macbeth near the end of The Bard’s play about him, first performed around 1606. He says the lines after being told that his wife is dead. Soon after, so is Macbeth.
       The phrase “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” became a common way of saying that something, or some person, is loud or attention-getting but essentially meaningless or irrelevant.

Al Gore-8x6


“To paraphrase Shakespeare, it’s sound and fury signifying nothing...The noise machine built by the climate deniers often seizes on what they can blow out of proportion, so they’ve thought this is a bigger deal than it is.”
       Former Vice President Al Gore
       Commenting on the hacked “Climategate” emails, which purportedly proved that some scientists were distorting weather data to try to validate and increase concerns about the human role in global warming.  
       In and interview on, December 8, 2009

 Transformers Revenge of the Fallen poster-8x6[1]


“This film is a relentless pyrotechnical assault on the senses, the sound and fury signifying nothing more than a 150-minute commercial for Hasbro toys.” 
       Marc Lee
       UK movie critic
In his review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen


“[Sportswriter] Bill Simmons...really had no defined angle after all, just a bunch of shards of sound and fury, signifying sports fans’ appetite for brainless nothingness from their sportswriting rather than something substantive and challenging.”
       Sportswriter Andy Hutchins
In his column on the Sporting Blog, Nov. 21, 2009


“While I applaud Merriam-Webster for correctly identifying the sound and fury signifying nothing from the far right as the dominant characteristic of 2009, I believe they picked the wrong word to truly embody the movement.”
       Journalist Howard Megdal 
Commenting on Merriam-Webster’s selection of “admonish” as Word of the Year
       (“Admonish" shot to the top of the list three days after Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during a speech made by President Obama, and it remained among our top lookups for weeks,” explained Peter A. Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster's Editor at Large.)

NOTE: For some other uses and variations of “full of sound and fury…” see the post at this link.

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