November 10, 2012

“Living well is the best revenge.”


“Living well is the best revenge.” 
       Generally attributed to
George Herbert (1593-1633)
       English clergyman and poet
       A saying included in his collection of proverbs, first published in Outlandish Proverbs (1640)
Many books and websites credit “Living well is the best revenge” to Herbert. It’s one of hundreds of common proverbs from various languages that he collected and translated as a scholarly hobby, and as grist for sermons he gave as an Anglican priest. Seven years after Herbert died, 1,032 of the sayings he collected were assembled into a book published under the name Outlandish Proverbs. This was republished with some additional entries in 1651, with the title Jacula Prudentum (Latin for “javelins of the wise”). It’s likely that Herbert heard and recorded “Living well is the best revenge,” rather than coining it. But its inclusion in his widely-read, pioneering collection of proverbs certainly helped popularize this old saying.


“Voting’s the best revenge.”
President Barack Obama
a campaign speech four days before the 2012 presidential election 
       While Obama was speaking to a group of supporters in Springfield, Ohio on November 2, 2012, some people in the audience booed when he mentioned his Republican opponent,
Mitt Romney. Obama told them: “No, no, no! Don’t boo, vote. Vote! Voting’s the best revenge.” Romney and his political consultants thought Obama’s comment would somehow offend swing voters and tried to use it against him. Later that day, Romney said in campaign appearance: “Did you see what President Obama said today? He asked his supporters to vote for revenge. For revenge! Instead, I ask the American people to vote for love of country.” Romney’s campaign team quickly produced a TV ad showing Obama saying “Voting is the best revenge,” followed by Romney’s red-white-and-blue retort. It was aired heavily during the final few days of the campaign. Unfortunately for Romney, it did not seem to have the desired effect on swing voters.


“Everybody join the club,
Failure is the best revenge.
Only one way of doing things right,
   but a thousand ways wrong.
So join the fight
   in showing the winners we don’t play their games
An army of losers, retarded and lame.”
The Vandals
       American punk rock band
       Lyrics from their song
“Failure Is The Best Revenge,” on their album The Quickening (1996)


“That’s the best revenge of all: happiness. Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone have a good fucking life.” 
Chuck Palahniuk
       American novelist and journalist, best known for his novel Fight Club (1996)
       This quip is widely attributed to Palahniuk, though
a discussion on the biggest fan site for the author suggests he may not have said it.


“Sticks and stones may break bones, but a poison pen is the best revenge.”
Kristen Bell, as the voice of the unseen blogger “Gossip Girl”
       In a voiceover in the
“You've Got Yale!” episode of the TV series Gossip Girl (Season 2, Episode 16, first aired January 19, 2009)


“Living well is the best revenge...and by living well, I mean seeing my enemies die in agony.”
Mike Stivers
       American cartoonist 
       Word bubbles in a cartoon created by Stivers in 2003

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