June 25, 2012

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”


We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
       President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) 
       The closing words of his Gettysburg Address, delivered on November 19, 1863 (as recorded in the “Hay Copy” of the speech stored at the Library of Congress, one of five written versions)
       As noted in The Quote Verifier and other sources, Lincoln’s phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is the best known use of the of/by/for the people formula, but Lincoln probably adapted his version from a similar phrase used in the 1850s by abolitionist preacher Theodore Parker. During the early months of the Civil War, Lincoln’s law partner William Herndon gave the president a book of Parker’s sermons and speeches. It included a sermon titled
“The Effect of Slavery on the American People,” which Parker delivered at the Music Hall in Boston, Massachusetts on July 4, 1858. In that sermon, Parker said: “Democracy is direct self-government over all the people, for all the people, by all the people.” According to Herndon, Lincoln marked those words in his copy before he wrote the Gettysburg Address. Parker had used a similar line in earlier sermons and speeches. For example, in a speech he gave in Boston on May 29, 1850, Parker defined democracy as “a government of all the people, by all the people, and for all the people.” However, the of/for/by the people formulation was not coined by Parker. Some older uses — and some later variations — are shown below.


“Government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations.”

       TalkBackTees.com t-shirt slogan
       A sad-but-true summation of the impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision (2010), which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence political campaigns and launched a new political era dominated by so-called SuperPACS.  


“It is, Sir, the people’s government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people. The people of the United States have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme law.”
       Daniel Webster (1782-1852)
       American lawyer, politician, orator and statesman
       Discussing the limitations of state’s rights and the supremacy of federal law in his
“Second Speech on Foote’s Resolution” in the U.S. Senate, on January 26, 1830.


“In my opinion this government of ours is founded on the white basis. It was made by the white man, for the benefit of the white man, to be administered by white men, in such a manner as they should determine.”
       Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861)
       American Democratic politician; Congressman for Illinois from 1843 to 1847
       A line used, ironically, in one of his famed debates with Lincoln, on
July 9, 1858 in Chicago


“All modes of government are failures. Despotism is unjust to everybody...Oligarchies are unjust to the many, and ochlocracies are unjust to the few. High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.”
       Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
       Irish writer, poet and wit
       In his essay
“The Soul of Man under Socialism,” first published in the Fortnightly Review, February 1891


“America is still a government of the naive, for the naive, and by the naive. He who does not know this, nor relish it, has no inkling of the nature of his country.”
       Christopher Morley (1890-1957)
       American journalist, novelist, essayist and poet
       In his book
Inward Ho! (1923)


“We here want it stuck up straight for all to dig that these departed studs shall not have split in vain; that this nation, under the great swingin’ Nazz, shall ring up a whopper of endless Mardi Gras, and that the Big Law of you straights, by you studs, and for you kitties, shall not be scratched from the big race.”
       Lord Buckley (1906-1960)
       American entertainer known for telling stories using the hipster slang of black jazz musicians and beatniks 
       The quote above is from
Lord Buckley’s “hipster version” of the Gettysburg Address


“The last time I checked, the Constitution said ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.’  That’s what the Declaration of Independence says.”
       President Bill Clinton 
       Comment made in remarks attacking conservative Republicans for being unreasonably anti-government, after his Second Presidential Debate with Sen. Robert Dole in October 1996. The statement generated news and snickers in the following weeks because Clinton was astoundingly wrong about the source. It comes from the Gettysburg Address and does not appear in either the U.S. Constitution or Declaration of Independence. Time magazine listed this Clinton quote as one of the
“most embarrassing historical gaffes” of 1996.

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June 11, 2012

“We don’t need no stinking badges!” (Or badgers!)


“Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!” 
       Alfonso Bedoya, as the Mexican bandit “Gold Hat”
       In the classic film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
       Contrary to what many people think, the famous quote about “stinking badges” in the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is not “We don’t need no stinking badges!” That’s a comic paraphrase of the words spoken in the film.
       The movie’s famous lines are from a tense scene in which three American gold prospectors, played by Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt, are confronted by a group of heavily-armed Mexicans in a remote area of Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains. The character who is the leader of the Mexicans, called “Gold Hat” in the credits, is played by Alfonso Bedoya. He tells the prospectors: “We are federales. You know, the mounted police.” Bogart says skeptically: “If you’re the police, where are your badges?”
Bedoya sneeringly responds: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!” 
In the 1927 book by B. Traven that inspired the film, Gold Hat’s answer is: “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabron and ching’ tu madre.”


“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”
Mickey Dolenz 
       In a 1967 episode of The Monkees TV show
       “We don’t need no stinking badges!” was made world famous when it was used in the 1974 Mel Brooks film Blazing Saddles. But that was not the first use. In the Monkees episode
“It’s A Nice Place To Visit,” originally aired on September 11, 1967, Mickey and two of his Monkees bandmates, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith, dress up as Mexican bandits to save their singer Davy Jones from a “real” Mexican bandit. Before they leave to find Davy, Michael Nesmith says: “Wait a minute, don’t you think maybe we oughtta take something out with us, like a club card or some badges?” Mickey replies with a heavy Mexican accent: “Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!”


“Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!” 
Rick Garcia, playing a Mexican bandit 
       In the movie Blazing Saddles (1974)
       This is the use that popularized those famed words and made it common for people to say “we don’t need no stinking [whatever]” as a joking comment about almost anything. The lines come in a scene in which the corrupt State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr, played by Harvey Korman, gives a sheriff’s badge to one of his Mexican bandit henchmen, played by Rick Garcia. Hedley says: “Be ready to attack Rock Ridge at noon tomorrow. Here’s your badge.”
Garcia throws the badge away and sneers: “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”


“Badgers? Badgers? We don’t need no stinking badgers.”  
Trinidad Silva, playing TV show host Raul Hernandez
       In the 1989 “Weird Al” Yankovic movie UHF 
       The character Raul Hernandez is the host of a low-budget show about animals called “Raul’s Wild Kingdom” in this gonzo movie.
During one scene, a truck pulls up outside his house to deliver some new animals. The driver reads Raul a list of the animals in the shipment — which include three badgers. Raul responds with an homage to the Monkees/Blazing Saddles quote by saying: “Badgers? Badgers? We don’t need no stinking badgers.”


       In a cartoon about Noah and the ark by Alex Barker, on his
Cake or Death site

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June 6, 2012

“I Don’t Care” quotes – Part III…


“I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.”
       Mrs. Patrick Campbell (Beatrice Stella Tanner Campbell; 1865-1940)
       British stage actress
       This is the usual version of a legendary quotation about homosexuals that’s commonly attributed to Mrs. Campbell. It may be a paraphrase of her actual quote, or she may have said it different ways on different occasions.
In the biography Mrs. Patrick Campbell (1961), author Alan Dent gives her quote as: “Does it really matter what these affectionate people do — so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses!” In The Duchess of Jermyn Street (1964) by in Daphne Fielding, Campbell is quoted as saying “It doesn't matter what you do in the bedroom, as long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses.”
       Language maven Barry Popik has an in-depth post about the history of this quote on his great site “The Big Apple.” He notes that the
saying has been cited in print since at least 1929 and that Mrs. Campbell apparently said about an actor she knew or about the playwright Oscar Wilde.


You’re entitled to behave however the hell you like as long as you don’t scare the horses and the children.”
Piers Morgan
       TV talk show host and game show judge
In an interview with Charlie Sheen in February 2011
       Morgan seemed oblivious to allegations that Sheen had threatened and abused some of his wives and girlfriends.
As noted by Anna Holmes, creator of the feminist website Jezebel: “Mr. Morgan...like many of Mr. Sheen’s past and present press enablers, showed little to no urgency in addressing the question of violence against women. ‘You’re entitled to behave however the hell you like as long as you don’t scare the horses and the children,’ Mr. Morgan said at one point. Scaring women, it seems, was just fine.


“I don't care what position we take, as long as doggy style is included.”
Michael Wiener 
       A New Mexico County Commissioner who recently made headlines after
being photographed with some local hookers during a trip to the Philippines 
       This was
his reported response during a Bernalillo County Commission meeting in 2011, when someone asked if the Commission might change its position on an issue being discussed.

EXCERPT FROM “I DON’T CARE QUOTES – Part II” (The Sexual Preference Edition):

“I don’t care if a soldier is ‘straight’, as long as he can shoot straight.”
       Attributed to
Barry Goldwater (1909-1998)
       The common paraphrase of a remark Goldwater made in 1993 
What he actually said was “You don’t need to be ‘straight’ to fight and die for your country.” 
       To read the rest of this previous post,
click this link.

EXCERPT FROM “I DON’T CARE QUOTES – Part I” (The Celebrity Edition):

“I don’t care what they say as long as they talk about me.” 
Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968)
American theater and movie actress
Her famous version of the old Hollywood publicity axiom
       To read the rest of this previous post,
click this link. 

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