February 24, 2013

“Power without responsibility” – the prerogative of harlots, Internet jerks and imperialists…


“Power without responsibility — the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”
       Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947)
       British Conservative Party politician
       Baldwin made this memorable insult famous when he used it in a speech in London on March 17, 1931. He aimed it at wealthy news barons who owned British newspapers that had attacked him in editorials and articles, but it has since been used to describe many other types of people (including politicians). As later noted by many sources, Baldwin got the zinger from his cousin, writer Rudyard Kipling. (For the story behind the quote, see
this post on ThisDayinQuotes.com.)


“Online anonymity gives users a power without responsibility. They tweet what they would never dare say to your face and in forums inhabited by like-minded, asinine souls they egg each other on. The lack of accountability results in misogyny, racial abuse, threats of violence and insane rants posted without fear of repercussions.”
       Rita Panahi
       Australian journalist and social commentator 
an article in the Herald Sun, February 7, 2013


“Responsibility without control...the prerogative of the cuckold.”
       Ben Chu
       Economics Editor for the The Independent (UK) newspaper
       Commenting in
his February 6, 2013 column on the seeming inability of government agencies to effectively regulate giant “too big to fail” banks


“Power without responsibility, the prerogative of the imperialist throughout the ages.”  
Piers Brendon 
       British historian and writer
       In his book
The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997 (published in 2007)
       Brendon made this observation after describing the forced removal of the indigenous people of Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian Ocean that was depopulated in 1971 to make way for UK and US military facilities. Nesting bird populations were also destroyed. Brendon notes the infamous, arrogant quip that British official Sir Denis Greenhill made about these shameful acts: “Unfortunately, along with the Birds go some few Tarzans or Men Fridays.”


“In the face of the disaster that has overtaken Iraq in the ten years since the 2003 invasion, a number of journalists have quietly lamented their own performance...But the fact is that even the most cynical, hard-right media propagandists complicit in this horrendous crime have not paid any kind of price — they continue, unaffected, with their lucrative, high-profile careers. This facilitation of the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians abroad is a function of the media’s power without responsibility.”
       Editorial on the DissidentVoice.org site, February 7, 2013


“The exercise of power without responsibility is the prerogative of the whore — not of the critic.”  
       Lindsay Anderson (1923-1994) 
British film and theatre director
Responding to a bad review of a play, as quoted by author Michael Billington in the book One Night Stands: a Critic’s View of Modern British Theatre (2002)

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February 14, 2013

“You can’t handle the truth!” – from Jack Nicholson to Zero Dark Thirty to Liz Lemon’s boobies…


“You can’t handle the truth!”   
       Jack Nicholson (as Col. Nathan R. Jessep) 
       Nicholson’s shouted response to Tom Cruise (playing Lt. Daniel Kaffee) in the movie
A Few Good Men (1992), after Cruise tells him “I want the truth!” during the climactic court-martial scene.
       After yelling his now iconic line, Nicholson’s character Col. Jessep goes on
a long rant that unwittingly leads to an admission of his culpability in the death of Marine PFC William Santiago at the American military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Col. Jessep felt Santiago had disrespected the chain of command and wasn’t living up to Marine traditions. So, he secretly ordered two other Marines to subject Santiago to a “Code Red,” a term for harsh, unsanctioned physical punishment. This unintentionally caused Santiago’s death and led to a military trial. During intense questioning by Kaffee, Jessep ultimately admits he ordered the Code Red, but not before giving a riveting speech about the need for tough military personnel who are willing to do what’s needed to protect American civilians.
       Here’s a transcript of their memorable exchange:    
  Jessep (Jack Nicholson): You want answers?    
  Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I’m entitled to them.    
  Jessep: You want answers?    
  Kaffee: I want the truth!  
You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said ‘thank you’ and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to! 
Did you order the Code Red? 
I did the job that —    
Did you order the Code Red? 
  Jessep: You’re goddamn right I did!


Zero Dark Thirty...earned five Academy Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture. But director Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar for her 2008 war drama The Hurt Locker, didn’t get a nod for her efforts...‘She showed what was really happening,’ [Producer Madison] Jones said. ‘Maybe sometimes we can’t handle the truth.’ The Academy did not respond to a request for comment.”
Hollie McKay
       Pop Culture/Entertainment Columnist at FoxNews.com
In a report on the Academy Award nominations for movies released in 2012 
       Kathryn Bigelow’s gutsy film Zero Dark Thirty created an uncomfortable moral dilemma for many liberals, like some of the Hollywood set that votes on who gets Academy Awards. The movie graphically depicts the fact that torture (which they oppose) was used on Muslim prisoners by the American military to gain information that helped in the search for and elimination of
Osama Bin Laden (a goal they supported). This is suspected to be the reason why Bigelow was left out of the Academy’s nominations for Best Director.


“Look Marge, you don't know what it’s like - I’m the one out there every day putting his ass on the line. And I’m not out of order. You’re out of order. The whole freakin’ system is out of order. You want the truth? You want the truth? You can’t HANDLE the truth. ‘Cause when you reach over and put your hand into a pile of goo that was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do. Forget it, Marge, it’s Chinatown.”  
       Homer Simpson (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) 
       Homer’s rant in the
“Secrets of a Successful Marriage” episode of The Simpsons, first aired on May 19, 1994. In addition to using lines from A Few Good Men, his rant includes references to famous quotes from the movies ...And Justice for All (1979), Patton (1970) and Chinatown (1974).


“To call a woman who is intellectually-challenged and painfully inexperienced in politics a bimbo isn’t sexist, it’s simply the truth. In fact, to argue that a dumb woman shouldn’t be called bimbo is sexist — it implies that women are too fragile to handle the truth.”
       Robert Paul Reyes
       Liberal journalist and blogger
       In a post about Sarah Palin
on “The Student Operated Press” website, February 28th, 2011


Liz Lemon (actress Tina Fey): “You want the truth, Kenneth, you want the truth?”
Kenneth Parcell (actor Jack McBrayer):
“I can’t handle the truth!”
“There is an adult picture of me on that phone...It’s a boobies picture, Kenneth, and I only kept it because for once they were both pointing in the same direction.”
       In the “Larry King” episode of 30 Rock (Season 3, Ep. 12), first aired on February 26, 2009

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February 6, 2013

Brevity is the soul of wit – and lingerie...


“Brevity is the soul of wit.” 
       William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
       British playwright and poet
       Famous phrase spoken by the character Polonius in Act 2, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet (c. 1602)
       Polonius, the chief counselor to Hamlet’s nemesis King Claudius, is a pompous windbag. So, although this aphorism is often used with serious intent, Shakespeare was originally making a joke of it by having the words spoken by Polonius.
       In fact, they’re embedded in an example of Polonius’ bloviating manner of speaking, which is anything but brief and to the point.
       After spying on Hamlet for King Claudius and Queen Gertrude (Hamlet’s mother), Polonius reports:
           “This business is well ended.
            My liege, and madam, to expostulate
            What majesty should be, what duty is,
            Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
            Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
            Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
            And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
            I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
            Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
            What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?
            But let that go.” 
       Alas, poor Polonius pays a heavy price for spying on Hamlet. While hiding behind a tapestry, he is stabbed to death by the brooding Prince, who thinks he’s killing Claudius.

       Prior to that, in Act 1, Scene 2, Polonius utters two other lines that have come to be repeated as proverbial words of wisdom: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be” and “To thine own self be true.” In Act 2, Scene 2, while talking to Hamlet, he speaks a famous aside to the audience about Hamlet's apparent crazy talk
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t” — the origin of the idiom “a method in one’s madness.”


“Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”
       Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)
       American writer and critic  
       One of her most frequently quoted wisecracks, made famous when mentioned by her fellow Algonquin Round Table member, Alexander Woollcott, in his book While Rome Burns (1934)
       Parker created this quip around 1916, while working as a caption writer for Vogue magazine. It was part of a caption she wrote for a photo spread about women’s undergarments. As noted by several books about Parker, the full caption was: “From these foundations of the autumn wardrobe, one may learn that brevity is the soul of lingerie, as the Petticoat said to the Chemise.” 


“Impropriety is the soul of wit.”
       W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
       British novelist
       An oft-cited quote from his novel The Moon and Sixpence (1919)


“Brevity may be the soul of wit, but not when someone’s saying ‘I love you’. When someone’s saying ‘I love you,’ he always ought to give a lot of details: Like, Why does he love you? And, How much does he love you? And, When and where did he first begin to love you?”
       Judith Viorst
       American journalist, poet and book author
       In her book Love and Guilt and the Meaning of Life, Etc. (1987)


“Digression is the soul of wit. Take the philosophic asides away from Dante, Milton or Hamlet’s father’s ghost and what stays is dry bones.”
       Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)
       American novelist, short story writer and screenwriter
       Comment made in a special Coda he wrote for the 1979 Del Rey edition of his dystopian novel about censorship and book burning, Fahrenheit 451 (originally published in 1953) 
       Bradbury’s Coda expresses his distaste any efforts to censor or otherwise change what an author wrote, including digest versions of books that cut out parts of the original text deemed “unnecessary.” Such condensations, says Bradbury, show “there is more than one way to burn a book.” 

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