August 24, 2013

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”


THE FAMOUS POETRY QUOTE:

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” 
      
Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
       English poet 
       The popular saying created by line 525 of Pope’s poem An Essay on Criticism, Part II (1711) 
      
In the original poem, as published in 1711, the line is given as “To err is humane; to forgive, divine.” This is not because Pope erred in his spelling or believed that making a mistake was a compassionate thing to do. At the time, humane was the common spelling used for the word human. 
      
An Essay on Criticism was Pope’s first major work. Although the title calls it an “essay” it’s actually written as a poem, in the rhyming heroic couplet format. “To err is human; to forgive, divine” is one of three well-known quotes from the poem. The others are “a little learning is a dangerous thing” and “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
       Pope didn’t create the phrase “to err is human.” That’s the traditional English translation of the ancient Latin proverb
“Errare humanum est.” However, by adding “to forgive, divine” he did create the longer saying that is still commonly used and adapted for both serious and humorous purposes.
       The usual meaning ascribed to Pope’s version is that every human can make a mistake, so we should forgive those that do, just as God is said to show his divine mercy in forgiving sinners. The line comes at the end of
a stanza in the poem that discusses (in an amazingly obtuse and flowery way) how writers sometimes overly praise or harshly criticize other writers.         


THE ETHICALLY-CHALLENGED POLITICIAN VARIATION:

“To err is human. To forgive is divine, but to repeat is stupid.”
       Jaime Cardinal Sin (1928-2005)
       Catholic Archbishop of Manila
       When Sin made this comment in 2002 he was referring to certain politicians in the Philippines. But it reminds me of a certain American politician sometimes known as “Carlos Danger.”


THE ETHICALLY-CHALLENGED LAWYER’S VARIATION:

“To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.” 
      
Alan Shore (played by actor James Spader) 
       Shore, one of the lawyer characters in the TV series
 The Practice, makes this quip in the episode “Equal Justice” (first aired December 7, 2003)


THE ETHICALLY-CHALLENGED CORPORATIONS VARIATION:

“When it comes to the scope of environmental threat, to err may be human, but to repeat the error is criminal, and to make a profit out of it is obscene.”
       Fred H. Knelman 
       British Physicist, author and founder of Scientists For Social Responsibility 
       In his book Every Life Is A Story: The Social Relations of Science, Ecology and Peace (1998)


THE COMPUTER PRINCIPLE:

“To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer.” 
       This modern witticism is widely attributed to American biologist and author
Paul R. Ehrlich, though it doesn’t appear in his books and I could find no record of him using it in a speech or interview. 
       A
post on the authoritative Quote Investigator site notes that the earliest documented use of the saying was by Virginia newspaper columnist Bill Vaughan in 1969.


THE PETER PRINCIPLE VERSION:

“To err is human. To blame it on someone else shows management potential.”
       Sign sold by specialty retail site warkswings.com


THE BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL PRINCIPLE:

“To err is human but to really screw up it takes the Berkeley City Council.”
       Gordon Wozniak
       Berkeley, California City Council member
       Comment on the controversy over a resolution calling for the Berkeley City Council to send a letter to the U.S. Marines saying that Marine recruiters were “unwelcome intruders” in the city. Quoted
in the San Francisco Chronicle, February 14, 2008.


PROCHNOW’S PRINCIPLE:

“To err may be human, but to admit it isn’t.”
       Herbert V. Prochnow (1897-1998)
       U.S. bank executive, toastmaster and author
       In his book
1001 Ways to Improve Your Conversation & Speeches (1952)


THE CANOPHILISTS’ VIEW:

“To err is human; to forgive, canine.” 
       This saying, which dog lovers know is poignantly true, dates back to at least the mid-1800s.

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August 18, 2013

“You got some ‘splainin’ to do!” – updated for today’s world…


THE “I LOVE LUCY” CATCHPHRASE THAT RICKY NEVER SAID:

“Lucy! You got some ‘splainin’ to do!”
       Catchphrase associated with the TV show
I Love Lucy (1951-1957)
       This famous line is commonly assumed to have been said to Lucille Ball by Desi Arnaz, as the character Ricky Ricardo, on the I Love Lucy show. Most people think he said it regularly, with a Cuban accent that turned explaining into ‘splainin,’ when he confronted Lucy about some wacky thing she’d done.
       However, as noted
on many websites, including posts by I Love Lucy fans who have watched every episode, Arnaz never actually said the line in any episode of the show. (He did say a few similar lines, such as “OK, Lucy, ‘splain” and “All right, start ‘splainin.’”) At some point in the 1950s, some comedian or journalist must have used the familiar catchphrase and it caught on, becoming part of our language.
       Today, saying a person or entity “has some ‘splainin’ to do” is a humorous way of suggesting that they have done (or may have done) something stupid, hypocritical, illegal or otherwise embarrassing.


THE “GERALDO LOVES GERALDO” VERSION:

“Hmm, looks like a meltdown. Ok, maybe that’s not entirely accurate. Maybe it’s a lapse in judgment. Whatever it is, Geraldo’s got some serious ‘splainin’ to do.”
       A July 21, 2013 post on
EurWeb.com’s “Electric Urban Report”
       This was one of the more moderate observations made about the half-nude “selfie” photo tweeted by FOX News “On Air Personality” Geraldo Rivera, with the comment “70 is the new 50.” Geraldo later
blamed it on a few too many tequilas.
       This was followed by another stunning revelation when a prominent news magazine released a copy of the original photo, showing what Geraldo actually looked like before he Photoshopped the selfie.


THE “MATT NO LONGER LOVES OBAMA” VERSION:

“There are a lot of things that I really question. The legality of those drone strikes and these NSA revelations...He’s got some explaining to do, particularly for a constitutional law professor.”
       Actor Matt Damon 
       His widely-reported remarks about President Barack Obama, in an August 2013 interview on the BET channel.
       Damon was a prominent supporter of Obama during the 2008 election, but now says he feels disappointed in the President and his policies, especially with respect to the continuing use of drones to kill people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the the NSA's monitoring of phone calls and emails. “He broke up with me,” Damon said.


ABOUT THAT END OF THE WORLD THING:

“To paraphrase Ricky Ricardo, Harold Camping has got some ‘splaining to do...The Judgment Day has come. And it has gone. And we’re all still here.”
      
Matt Butts
       Freelance writer and blogger
       In a post on his blog,
The Mind of Matt, May 22, 2011. Camping had generated worldwide news for predicting that the second coming of Jesus Christ and the end of the world would occur on May 21, 2011, and for plugging the prediction on billboards and his Christian radio show. When the world survived, he changed the date to October 21, 2011. As I write this, Harold is 92 years old and still alive. I predict that we’ll hear another prediction from him again, from beyond the grave, on May 21, 3011.

ABOUT OSAMA HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT IN PAKISTAN:

“It seems to me that Pakistan's leaders, including former President Musharraf, have some ‘splainin’ to do.”
      
Jon Stewart
       Comedian and host of The Daily Show
       Commenting on the revelation that Osama Bin Laden had been “hiding” for years in Pakistan, in a
segment on the May 2, 2011 edition of The Daily Show.


THE DONALD TRUMP STFU VARIATION:

“Yup, now we know the real reason he dropped out! He would have had a lot of ‘splainin to do.”
       Post on the
Donald Trump Will You Please Just STFU Facebook page, May 20, 2011  
       This comment, posted after Trump dropped out of the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, was linked to
news about allegations that “Trump University” uses deceptive trade practices, misrepresents its ability to place students in jobs and has poor quality of instruction.


THE SPERMINATOR VARIATION:

“The Terminator turned Governator now Impregnator has some splaining to do!!!” 
       A
Facebook comment on the People magazine report that Arnold Schwarzenegger had a secret affair and love child with a household staff member .

This post is dedicated to my sister-in-law and fellow Lucy fan, Marcy Lynn Simon.

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August 9, 2013

Hot, Sexy and: (a) Dead (b) Undead (c) Other...


FAMOUS ROLLING STONE COVER HEADLINE:

“He’s Hot, He's Sexy and He’s Dead” 
       Rolling Stone magazine’s famed headline about Jim Morrison, on the cover of the September 17, 1981 issue
       These memorable words were used for a Rolling Stone story about the legendary singer and lyricist for The Doors, published a few months after the 10th anniversary of Morrison’s death.  
       The article, written by Rosemary Breslin, noted that Doors albums were selling better than ever. A spokesperson for the band’s label Elektra/Asylum Records, told her: “The group is bigger now than when Morrison was alive. We’ve sold more Doors records this year than in any year since they were first released.”
       The catchy Rolling Stone headline soon became reused, repurposed and parodied — and still is today — in variations that use a three-adjective formula that may or may not use the words hot, sexy or dead, even though most are consciously (or unconsciously) based on the 1981 Rolling Stone headline.


INFAMOUS ROLLING STONE COVER VARIATION:

“He’s hot. He’s sexy. He’s an accused terrorist.”
       Mary Elizabeth Williams
       Staff writer for Salon.com
       In a July 17, 2013 Salon.com post about the outrage over the cover of the August 1, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone, which featured a photo of “Boston Marathon Bomber” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.   
       Many observers harshly criticized Rolling Stone for seeming to glamorize the “accused” (but obviously guilty) terrorist, by not only featuring him on the cover but also picking a photograph in which he looks sexy and attractive. “With tousled hair and bedroom eyes,” Williams wrote, “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev looks more like this month’s emo chart burner than a bombing suspect.” Nonetheless, Williams defended Rolling Stone. She noted that the magazine had always covered news and politics as well as music, and Tsarnaev was newsworthy. “With news comes notoriety, and a photograph is not automatically glamorization,” she concluded. “But the fury over the Tsarnaev image shows that it’s not always so clear, and the unease that the fuzzy line between infamy and fame brings.”


THE UNDEAD PINUP BOY VARIATION:

“The genius of the Twilight saga is the way it celebrates the passion of the all-American fang hag, with Robert Pattinson as the perfect plasma-slurping pinup boy:  He’s hot, he’s sexy, and he’s undead.”
       Rolling Stone review of the soundtrack album from the 2009 movie New Moon, the second film based on the Twilight saga book series.


THE UNDEAD HOOKER VARIATION:

“She’s hot. She’s sexy. And she’s sutured to please.” 
     Promotional tagline for the cult classic horror flick Frankenhooker (1990)


THE UNDEAD JIM MORRISON VERSION:

“Morrison: Still Hot, still sexy, still dead.”  
       Associated Press headline for a review of the 1991 movie The Doors, starring Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison

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