September 25, 2010

You are what you eat – among other things…


FAMOUS ORIGINAL QUOTE:

“You Are What You Eat”
       Dr. Victor Hugo Lindlahr (1895-1969)
       Pioneering American health food advocate
       The title of his 1942 book, which popularized the phrase 


THE FACEBOOK/YOUTUBE GENERATION VERSION:


“You Are What You Post.”
       Title of a BusinessWeek article about how "Bosses are using Google to peer into places job interviews can't take them."


CRITTERS COUNTERQUOTE:

“YOU ARE WHAT THEY EAT.”
       Ad slogan for the movie Critters 3 (1991) 
       One of Leonardo DiCaprio’s early films


BUDDHA’S VARIATION:

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”
       Buddha (c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE)
       Indian spiritual teacher
       The Dhammapada (c. 300 BCE)


WEEKLY WORLD NEWS VERSION:

“You are what you were: expert reveals how past lives control everything you do – TODAY!”
       Headline from The Weekly World News (Nov. 6, 2001)
       The world’s ONLY reliable news source (now online)


BRAINY GUY’S VERSION:

“You are what you know.”
       James Burke (b. 1936)
       British science historian
       In his book The Day the Universe Changed (1985)

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September 21, 2010

You’re no Jack Kennedy / Sarah Palin / Ronald Reagan / (Insert Name Here)...


THE FAMOUS ORIGINAL DISS:

“I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
       Lloyd M. Bentsen (1921-2006)
       U.S. Senator from Texas and 1988 Democratic candidate for Vice President
       This legendary put down was unleashed by Bentsen against Republican vice-presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle in their televised debate on October 5, 1988. Prior to the debate, Quayle had been defending his relative youth and lack of experience by comparing himself to the young John F. Kennedy. Bentsen was ready to pounce if Quayle mentioned Kennedy in the debate. Sure enough, Quayle answered a question from journalist Tom Brokaw by saying: “I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of Vice President of this country. I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency.” Bentsen responded with his famous “You’re no Jack Kennedy” zinger, creating a new formula for an insult that has been used ever since. 


THE SARAH PALIN VARIATION:

“I know Sarah Palin. I respect Sarah Palin. And with all due respect - Christine O’Donnell is no Sarah Palin.”
       Republican media pundit Bill Kristol
       Comment to CNN on September 13, 2010, dissing Connecticut Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell a few days before she defeated Republican Party favorite Mike Castle in the state’s Republican primary election. O’Donnell had been publicly endorsed by Sarah Palin.


RONALD REAGAN’S QUIP:

“This fellow they’ve nominated claims he’s the new Thomas Jefferson. Well, let me tell you something. I knew Thomas Jefferson. He was a friend of mine. And Governor, you’re no Thomas Jefferson!”
       President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)
       His joking comment about Democratic Presidential nominee Bill Clinton (and his own age) in an address at the Republican National Convention, August 17, 1992


A REAGAN DAUGHTER’S VERSION:

“The 2008 [Republican] presidential candidates try to imitate my father and proclaim themselves more Reaganesque than their competitors. Where is Lloyd Bentsen when you need him? ‘I knew Ronald Reagan…Senator [or Governor], you’re no Ronald Reagan.’”
       Patti Davis
       Actress, author and daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan
       In an op-ed in Newsweek, December 29, 2007


HARRY TRUMAN’S DAUGHTER’S VERSION:

“I would say to George Bush, ‘You are no Harry Truman.’”
       Margaret Truman (1924-2008)
       Daughter of President Harry Truman
       Her response to comments by President George H. W. Bush comparing himself to President Harry Truman, during the 1992 Presidential campaign


THE AL GORE FARMBOY VARIATION:

“Al, I was an Iowa farmboy. Iowa farmboys are friends of mine, and you’re no Iowa farmboy.”
       Republican National Committee Chair Jim Nicholson
       Quote in an RNC press release (March 17, 1999) responding to Vice President Al Gore’s claim that he did a lot of farm work as a young man, such as cleaning out “hog waste with a shovel and a hose.” Nicholson added: “Mr. Vice President, with all due respect, you’re shoveling a lot more of it right now than you ever did back then.”

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Brush up on your insults…

September 16, 2010

Is fear of God the beginning of wisdom?


THE FAMOUS BIBLICAL QUOTATION:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”  
       Psalms 111:10    
       The full verse in Psalms 111:10 says: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” There’s a similar verse in The Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 1:7): “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Job 28:28 offers this variation: “And unto man he [God] said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”


CLARENCE DARROW’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom. The modern world is the child of doubt and inquiry, as the ancient world was the child of fear and faith.”
       Clarence Darrow (1857-1938)
       American lawyer, agnostic and free speech advocate
       In his essay “Why I am an agnostic” (1896) 


BERTRAND RUSSELL’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty.  To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom, in the pursuit of truth as in the endeavour after a worthy manner of life.” 
       Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
       British philosopher, mathematician, atheist and social critic
       Unpopular Essays, “An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish” (1950)


THOMAS AQUINAS COUNTERQUOTE:

“The beginning of a thing is a part of it. But fear is not a part of wisdom, since fear is in the appetitive power, whereas wisdom is in the intellectual power. Hence it seems that fear is not the beginning of wisdom.”
       Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
       Italian Catholic priest, philosopher and saint 
       In his Summa Theologica (“Summary of Theology”), written 1265-1274 A.D.


PROVERBIAL COUNTER-COUNTERQUOTE:

“To question a wise man is the beginning of wisdom.” 
       German proverb
       Quoted in The Multicultural Dictionary of Proverbs (2005) 


THE BOTTOM LINE QUOTE:

“If the fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom, it is at least the beginning of religion.”
       George William Foote (1850-1915)
       British writer and social critic
       “Letters to the Clergy,” published in The Freethinker, Volume 10 (1890)

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September 6, 2010

What’s the real the opium of the people?


FAMOUS ORIGINAL QUOTATION:

“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.” 


COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY COUNTERQUOTE:

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


COMMUNIST COUNTERQUOTE:

“I think voting is the opium of the masses in this country. Every four years you deaden the pain.”
       American Communist leader Emma Goldman (played by actress Maureen Stapleton)
       In the film Reds (1981)


CONSERVATIVE COUNTERQUOTE:

“Political correctness is the opium of the liberal voter because it makes them feel good.”
       Conservative voter Jerry Frost
       In a letter to the editor 
       Published in the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, August 20, 2010


TAUTOLOGIST’S COUNTERQUOTE:

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 MASS MEDIA 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. Without a drama of epic proportions on the world stage to attract their attention, most Americans turn their heads to their television or computer screens.”
       Economists William E. Halal and Kenneth B. Taylor
       In their book 21st Century Economics (1999)

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



Further reading…

The Best Quotations of Karl Marx


Translated by Edward Aveling and Samuel Moore

September 1, 2010

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


FAMOUS LINES OF REGRET:

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” 
       American poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
       The well-known quote from his poem “Maud Muller” (1856) 
       Whittier’s poem 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 they don’t act on their mutual attraction. Later in life, they are both stuck in unfulfilling marriages and 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!” 


THE FORMER FRIEND’S LAMENT:

“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)


THE STUDENT’S LAMENT:

“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 GARDENER’S LAMENT:

“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.’
(I did not make this up myself:
'Twas in a book upon my shelf.
It's witty, but I don’t deny
It's rather Whittier than I!)”
       Guy Wetmore Carryl (1873-1904)
       American humorist and poet.
       From his book Grimm Tales Made Gay (1902)


THE GOLFER’S LAMENT:

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


THE WIFE’S LAMENT:

“Of all sad words asked married men
The saddest are these: Where have you been?”
       Reader letter to the editor by Anne Alman of St. Augustine, Florida
       Published in Time Magazine, April 25, 1960

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