September 19, 2013

“Never underestimate the power of a woman.”


“Never underestimate the power of a woman.” 
       A saying popularized by the Ladies Home Journal through its use as an advertising slogan for the magazine
       The Ladies Home Journal was first published in 1883 and has been in print ever since. The editors launched the slogan “Never underestimate the power of a woman”
in the March 1941 issue. At that time, the “power” did not have a modern feminist slant. As used by the editors in the March 1941 issue, and illustrated with cartoons, it referred to the power of wives to “subtly” lead their men “to the right decisions.” Interestingly, that same issue, which featured a ballerina on the front cover, also had an full-page ad for Chesterfield cigarettes inside, showing that tobacco companies and their pre-Mad Men era ad agencies were at least eager to give women an equal right to smoke.


“Never underestimate the human urge to look like a big-time operator, at least to the valet parking guy.”
      Jim Motavalli
       American journalist, speaker and book author
       In a post on the Mother Nature Network site about Hertz’s recent addition of pricey Tesla electric cars to its rental fleets in certain cities, to appeal to wealthy customers — and wannabe poseurs.


“Never underestimate a man’s ability to underestimate a woman.”
       Kathleen Turner, as Chicago police detective V.I. Warshawski
       In the 1991 movie
V.I. Warshawski (based on the series of novels written by Sara Paretsky).


“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) 
       American athlete who overcame leg damage from childhood polio and went on to
became an Olympic gold medalist
       This quote by Rudolph is
widely cited, though usually without any specific source or date. In his great book Neverisms, quote maven Mardy Grothe says it was a remark she made shortly after the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, during which she became the first American to win three track-and-field gold medals.


“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”
       Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)
       American author best known for his science fiction stories and novels
       A quip from his time travel novel Time Enough for Love: the Lives of Lazarus Long (1973)


“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” 
       Brendan Bradley, as the character Brad in the movie Friends (With Benefits) (2009)
       One of Brad’s 100 rules about life


“Never underestimate the power of the human mind to believe what it wants to believe, no matter the conflicting evidence.”  
       A quote attributed to the fictional character Caedmon Erb in the sci-fi novel Dune: House Harkonnen (2001), by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
       (The photo is from
The Creation Museum, where exhibits show how humans lived with dinosaurs in a world where evolution has supposedly never existed.)

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Further reading: books of quotes by and about women…

September 6, 2013

“The first casualty of war is truth”


“The first casualty of war is truth.”
       Attributed to
Hiram Warren Johnson (1866-1945)
       American politician who served as US Senator for California from 1917 to 1945
       This popular aphorism
is widely attributed to Johnson, sometimes in the form “The first casualty when war comes is truth.” Typically, it’s alleged to be something he said in a speech in the US Senate in 1917 or 1918, around the time when Congress was debating whether to approve President Woodrow Wilson’s proposal to have America declare war on Germany and enter World War I. However, as noted by quotation experts like Barry Popik, neither version of the line appears in Johnson’s recorded speeches. 
Popik’s authoritative post about “The first casualty of war is truth” on his “Big Apple” site also notes two documented uses prior to 1917. One is in a speech made in 1916 by British politician Philip Snowden. Interestingly, the other was in a speech made a year earlier Snowden’s wife Ethel. Both Snowdens cited the line as an existing saying.  
       Many websites and books claim that Greek writer Aeschylus (456-524 B.C.) penned a version of the aphorism centuries earlier, usually cited as “In war, the first casualty is truth.” But as Popik and other quote mavens have pointed out, no such quote exists in any of the written works of Aeschylus. Of course, when it comes to attributions of famous quotations, a common casualty is fact-checking, especially now that alleged “quotes” are often posted and reposted without any on the Internet. 
       Cartoon by Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Paul F. Conrad (1924-2010)


“Truth was always the first casualty of war. But there was a time when there was a sense that in the big things – and there is no bigger thing than the leading of a country into war – our leaders would not dissemble. Or, let us be frank, lie. That ended with Iraq…And yet -- How can we stand back when chemical weapons are being used by mad Assad whose stockpile is rumoured to contain up to 1,000 tonnes of the stuff?”
Lindy McDowell
       Irish newspaper columnist 
an opinion piece published by the Belfast Telegraph, September 04, 2013, concerning proposals by US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron for a military strike against Syrian President Assad over his alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian rebels. (Cartoon by Eric Allie,


“Experience shows that the first casualty of peace is such wisdom, if any, as has been learned in war.”
Richard Henry Tawney (1880-1962)
       British economic historian
       In his book Why Britain Fights (1941)


“The first casualty of war is innocence.”
       Poster tagline for
Oliver Stone’s film Platoon (1986)


“The oldest cliché is that truth is the first casualty of war. I disagree. Journalism is the first casualty. Not only that: it has become a weapon of war, a virulent censorship that goes unrecognized in the United States, Britain, and other democracies; censorship by omission, whose power is such that, in war, it can mean the difference between life and death for people in faraway countries.”
John Pilger
       Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker based in London
In an address he gave at Columbia University in 2006


“The first casualty of war is room service.”
      Jason Burke
       British journalist and author
       Quoting a legendary quip by his fellow journalist
Chris Buckland in the book On the Road to Kandahar (2006)

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