August 28, 2011

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”


“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
Nathan Hale (1755-1776)
       American schoolteacher, spy and Revolutionary War hero
       According to legend, Hale uttered this brave quote on September 22, 1776, just before he was hung by the British for being an American spy. According to modern historians, he probably didn’t say it. If he did, he was probably paraphrasing an earlier quote from Joseph Addison’s play Cato (1713), which was popular in the 1770s and almost certainly known to Hale. In Act IV, Scene 4 of the play, Cato says: “What pity is it / That we can die but once to serve our country!”


“I regret that I have but one life to give. I want more lives!”
Stephen Colbert
       American political satirist
his intro to the June 5, 2008 episode of The Colbert Report


“I only regret that I have but one shirt to give for my country.”
Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989)
       American political activist and leader of the Yippies
His response in October 1968 after being found guilty of the “crime” of wearing an American flag shirt.


“I only regret that I have but one liver to give for my country.”
Fred Chapin (1929-1969)
       American diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Guatemala and Ethiopia
       Chapin, famous for his ability to drink a bottle of Scotch and still give a lucid interview, is generally credited with coining this quip. It’s
said to be well-known in Foreign Service circles.


“I only regret that I have but nine lives to give for my Cheez-site.” 
       Posted by
       Another one of those cute LOLcat photo/quotes

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Related reading:

August 17, 2011

How do we love to parody Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43? Let me recount some ways...


“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
       English poet
       The famous opening words of Sonnet 43, from her
Sonnets from the Portuguese (written 1845-46, published 1850)
       Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett fell deeply in love after meeting at her father’s home in 1845. Elizabeth soon began writing a series of poems expressing her love for Robert. Robert was soon calling her by the pet name
“my little Portuguese,” a reference to her dark hair and complexion. In 1846, they eloped. Four years later, the love poems Elizabeth had written for Robert before they married were published in an anthology of her poetry, under the collective title Sonnets from the Portuguese. Sonnet 43 is the best known. Its ten opening words are among the most famous — and most parodied — bits of poetry in the English language.


“How do I hate GLEE? Let me count the ways. For starters, this is a saccharine snorefest. And don’t even get me started on gleeks, autotune, the characters…”
Daniel Bettridge
       British TV and film critic
In a review posted on The Guardian’s TV & Radio Blog on March 15, 2010


“Is Mitt Romney, well-coiffed automobile heir and consulting savant, weird? Let us count the ways.”
Juli Weiner
       Former writer now on the staff of Vanity Fair magazine
In a post on Vanity Fair’s “VF Daily” blog, August 9, 2011


“Ah, Nancy how do I love thee, let me count the ways. You stimulate me to no end. My heart flutters when I think about your passing Obamacare. And of course we all know you come from that wonderful city of San Francisco that so embraces our core American values like a collective hate of the McDonald’s Happy Meal.”
Dr. Richard Swier
       Conservative blogger and host of the Dr. Rich Show, a Florida-based radio talk show
a November 14, 2010 post bashing Nancy Pelosi, on the “Red County” website


“How Much Do I Love Ryan Gosling’s Arms? Let Me Count The Ways.
1. They’re huge.
2. They can envelop a pack of wild animals.
3. They were in Young Hercules. (LOL)
4. He can probably crush a can of spinach with the contents flying directly into his mouth Popeye-style.
5. He could probably grill paninis in between his hands.
6. He can hoist Al Roker up over his head, Dirty Dancing style.” 
Michelle Collins 
       American comedian and Managing Editor of VH1’s site
       Gushing about Gosling in
a July 20, 2011 blog post, after seeing him in an appearance on the Today Show.

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Further reading: by and about Elizabeth Barrett Browning…

August 10, 2011

“Let them eat cake” – the misinterpreted origin, recent political uses and some politically incorrect variations...


“Let them eat cake.” (“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”)

       Attributed to
Marie Antoinette (1755-1793)
       Queen of France from 1774 to 1792; beheaded in 1793 in the wake of the French Revolution 
       This classic expression of disdain for the common people has traditionally been attributed to Marie Antoinette. She supposedly said it when she was told that most French people were do poor they were unable to buy bread to eat.
Many scholars now doubt that she actually said it. Moreover, if she did say the line as traditionally given in French — “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” — it has long been mistranslated and possibly misunderstood. In English, those words actually mean “Let them eat brioche,” referring to a bakery product that is not what we usually think of as a “cake.” Brioche is a light, fluffy pastry with a flaky crust. As explained by the excellent Phrase Finder site, French law in Marie Antoinette’s time required bakers to sell fancier products like brioche at the same price as a common loaf of bread, to prevent them from using too much of the limited flour supplies to make products that would typically be more profitable to the bakery but unaffordable to poor French families. Thus, “Let them eat brioche” could have been an expression of compassion rather than disdain, suggesting that poor people should have access to a product they would have been unable to afford without price controls.


“While chastising the Republicans for not agreeing to a debt ceiling deal that would include his suggestions to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits, President Obama said Congressional members needed to do their work, reach a deal and just ‘eat their peas.’...While no one knows for sure if Marie Antoinette ever really said, ‘Let them eat cake,’ we do know the elite in France all those years ago in the 1700s were clueless to the cries of people who couldn't afford bread much less the cake they had been admonished to eat. It appears that in 2011 in the United States of America, we can now replace that admonition with our own: ‘Let them eat their peas.’”
Donna Smith
       Healthcare reform activist and Founder of American Patients United
       In an
opinion piece posted on on July 18, 2011


“Now, once again the reincarnated Marie Antoinette Michele Bachmann is screaming from the floor of the House of Representatives and from Iowa televisions ‘I will not raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances. Let them eat corn!’ If the GOP once again drive the country and the world into a financial ditch can martial law and a fascist dictatorship in the United States be far behind?”
Karen Fish
       Freelance blogger
an op-ed posted on site on July 23, 2011


“Let Them Eat Pussy”
       Title of
the 1998 debut album by the “psychobilly” rock band Nashville Pussy


“I saw this video once, yeah, they was all dressed up like Marie Antoinette. Well, they wore the wigs. Let Them Eat Cock it was called.”
Fraser Ayres
       As the character Clint,
in an episode of the BBC comedy TV series The Smoking Room (2004–2005)

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Related reading…

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