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May 20, 2010

The last refuge – and sometimes the first…


FAMOUS ORIGINAL QUOTE:

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
       Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
       British writer, wit and lexicographer
       Quoted in James Boswell’s Life of Johnson (1791) 
       Boswell noted: “Let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self-interest.”


THE HAZARDS OF POSTING VERSION:

“Diversity is the Last Refuge of a Scoundrel...In large corporate bureaucracies, government and academia, in which accomplishment is hard to measure and has only distant effects on the success and survival of the organization, diversity is always on the agenda.”
       Physics Professor Jonathan I. Katz
       Washington University in St. Louis
       One of the posts on his website that got him fired from a team of scientists chosen to find ways to control the continuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (Along with such posts as “In Defense of Homophobia.")


BIGOTS’ REFUGE VARIATION:

“The Internet is the last refuge of bigots. Often when people shit on me, they mention something about my being Jewish.”
       Actor Jay Baruchel
       In a recent interview on NowToronto.com


SEX REHAB VERSION:

“A little scandal breaks over his extra-curricular activities, and what does the tough guy do? He runs off to pout on his yacht for a few months, and then seeks the last refuge of all scoundrels: rehab for the non-existent malady known as ‘sex addiction.’” 
       Email from “David” to sportswriter Berry Tramel
       Posted on Tramel’s blog, May 17, 2010


AVANT-GARDE RIFF:

“The last refuge of the untalented is the avant-garde.”
       George Russell (1923-2009)
       American jazz pianist and composer
       Comment in a Playboy panel discussion on “Jazz – Today and Tomorrow” (Feb. 1964)


ANTI-CONSENSUS VARIATION:

“Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.”
       Michael Crichton (1942-2008)
       American author, producer, director, screenwriter
       In a speech at Cal Tech, arguing against the theory of global warning, January 17, 2003

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New recommendation: more wisdom from Yogi Berra…

The Yogi Book: “I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said”

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