April 26, 2011

“A bridge too far” – then and now…


“I think we might be going a bridge too far.”
Lt. General Frederick “Boy” Browning (1896-1965)
       British military officer
       Comment to Field Marshal Montgomery on September 10, 1944, expressing doubts about the Allied plan to capture the bridge at Arnhem from the Germans as part of
“Operation Market Garden.” Browning’s concern turned out to be prophetic. The attempt to take the bridge failed and thousands of British soldiers were killed, wounded and captured. In 1974, Browning’s phrase “a bridge too far” was used by historian Cornelius Ryan as the title of his best-selling book about this event. The book was made into the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, which featured an all-star cast. The popularity of the book and movie helped make “a bridge too far” — and variations on it — an idiomatic way saying that something is flawed because it is excessive or otherwise goes “too far.”


“I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for president of the greatest and most powerful nation on Earth to submit their ‘early baptismal or circumcision certificates,’ among other records, to the Arizona Secretary of State. This is a bridge too far.”
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
Comment to the press on April 18, 2011, explaining why she vetoed a wacky bill concocted by “Birthers” who refuse to believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States. 


“Marriage is an institution that’s a bridge too far for too many African-American woman and is not desirable among African-American males.”
Sen. Rick Santorum
       Conservative Republican senator and presidential candidate
Comment to the press on June 2, 2009, demonstrating again why the top result when you Google “Santorum” seems highly appropriate.


“I don’t know whether you and I will play ping-pong in public. That may be a bridge too far.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton
       U.S. Secretary of State
Remark to Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong at a U.S.-China diplomatic event in Washington, DC, April 12, 2011, lamely referencing the Nixon-era matches between Chinese and American ping pong players in 1971, which was then a historic sign of a thaw in U.S.-Chinese relations (commonly referred to as “ping pong diplomacy”).


“Visualising this brash casino-owner and his Slovenian ex-model trophy wife Melania in the White House is a stretch but hardly a stretch too far when US voters have elected an actor for president, a muscle-bound Austrian-American action star for Governor of California and a Slovak-American wrestler as Governor of Minnesota.”
Linda S. Heard 
       British journalist
an April 12, 2011 commentary in the Dubai-based Gulf News on the possibility of Donald Trump being elected President of the United States.


“[Agatha Christie] fans are most furious about the decision...Purists think the remake is a crime too far. But we think our sizzling shots of Garner, star of hit movies Elektra and Juno, show it’s no mystery why audiences might want to see her in the role.”
Adam Thorn
       Columnist for the UK
News of the World
an April 3, 2011 story about negative reactions to the casting of Jennifer Garner as Agatha Christie’s character Miss Marple in an upcoming movie remake.

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