November 16, 2016

"Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”– from Macbeth and Trump memes, to Slackers and Superman…

Macbeth sound and fury quote V3 wm


“Life’s but a walking shadow...a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

William Shakespeare
Act 5, Scene 5
       Even if you’re not a Shakespeare fan you’ve probably seen or heard things or people
described as “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” These words are spoken by Macbeth near the end of The Bard’s play about him, first performed in 1606. They reflect Macbeth’s realization that all the scheming he’d done and the murders he’d committed to become the King of Scotland had ultimately led him to a joyless, grim and meaningless end. Macbeth says the lines after being told that his wife is dead. Soon after, so is he.
       The phrase “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” turned into a common way of saying that something, or some person, is loud or attention-getting but essentially inconsequential or irrelevant. 
       Author William Faulkner helped make “sound and fury” an an especially common phrase by titling what would become his most famous novel
The Sound and the Fury (first published in 1929).
       By the way, if you are a Shakespeare fan like me, I highly recommend two modern adaptations of Macbeth that you can stream on Amazon: the 2010
PBS “Great Performances” adaptation starring Patrick Stewart as Macbeth in a fascist-style realm, and the visually-stunning 2015 film starring Michael Fassbender in the title role.

Sound and fury idiot Trump


       One of the many snarky internet
memes about candidate Donald Trump posted on Facebook prior to his victory in the November 8, 2016 presidential election, a result that was widely dismissed as unlikely or even impossible before it happened.

Trump protesters November 2016


“Whatever reactions the protesters have, they need to face the facts that Clinton’s large margin in popular votes didn’t translate into an electoral victory. Their protests are mostly ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’ more than profound disappointment.”
       Mitch Edelman
       American journalist
In his column about the post-election anti-Trump on the Carroll County News site, November 14, 2016

Slacker book Richard Linklater


“I’m what, a slacker?...I’m in that white space where consumer terror meets irony and pessimism, where Scooby Doo and Dr. Faustus hold equal sway over the mind, where the Butthole Surfers provide the background volume, where we choose what is not obvious over what is easy. It goes TV channel-cruising, no plot, no tragic flaws, no resolution, just mastering the moment, pushing forward, full of sound and fury, full of life signifying everything on any given day.”
Richard Linklater
       American filmmaker, screenwriter and actor 
In his book Slacker (1992), about the making of his 1991 movie Slacker             

LA Story movie poster


“Sitting there at that moment I thought of something else Shakespeare said. He said, ‘Hey, life is pretty stupid, with lots of hubbub to keep you busy but really not amounting to much.’ Of course I'm paraphrasing.”
Steve Martin as the character Harris K. Telemacher
In the movie L.A. Story (1991)

Miss Peregrine’s Home poster


“Once you get past all the sound and fury, what you’re left with is basically emptiness.”
Allison Shoemaker
       Staff writer for the Consequence of Sound entertainment website
In her review of Tim Burton's 2016 film Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Dawn of Justice poster


“‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is a rancid brew of silence, sound and fury, signifying the absolute worst the comic book movie genre has to offer.” 
Alex Biese
       American entertainment journalist and reviewer
In his review of the film for the Asbury Park Press, March 28, 2016

       NOTE: For some other uses and variations of “full of sound and fury…” see the previous post at this link.

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November 9, 2016

“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.

Cyndi Lauper 2016


“I don’t think I have ever achieved greatness despite everything I’ve done, but it’s not so much greatness, it’s happiness you need to focus on. Enjoying life is the best revenge. You have to stay connected to life and the things that excite you. Life is for learning.”
       Cyndi Lauper
       American singer, songwriter and actress
       In an interview posted on the Music News website and others in November 2016


“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
an old discussion thread 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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