March 21, 2017

“Familiarity breeds contempt” – and various other things…

Aesop Fox and the Lion

THE FAMILIAR SAYING ABOUT FAMILIARITY:

“Familiarity breeds contempt.”
       Aesop (c. 620-564 B.C.)
       The moral of
“The Fox and the Lion” story in Aesop’s Fables
       In traditional English translations of Aesop’s Fables, there’s a phrase at the end of each brief tale that summarizes “the moral of the story.” The origin of the proverbial saying “Familiarity breeds contempt” is widely credited to the traditional translation of Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Lion,” which reads:
       
When first the Fox saw the Lion he was terribly frightened, and ran away and hid himself in the wood. Next time however he came near the King of Beasts he stopped at a safe distance and watched him pass by. The third time they came near one another the Fox went straight up to the Lion and passed the time of day with him, asking him how his family were, and when he should have the pleasure of seeing him again; then turning his tail, he parted from the Lion without much ceremony.
       “Familiarity Breeds Contempt”

Daniel Katz CUNY

AN UNFAMILIAR COUNTERQUOTE:

“Just as unfamiliarity breeds fear, an intimate introduction to multiple cultures breeds trust.”
       Daniel Katz 
       Professor of History and labor history expert, City University of New York (CUNY)
       In his 2012 book Labor Rising: The Past and Future of Working People in America (co-edited with Richard A. Greenwald)

The Affluent Society-8x6

J.K. GALBRAITH’S SOCIOECONOMIC OBSERVATION:

“Familiarity may breed contempt in some areas of human behavior, but in the field of social ideas it is the touchstone of acceptability. Because familiarity is such an important test of acceptability, the acceptable ideas have great stability.”
      
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)
       American economist
      
In Chapter 2 of his pioneering book about social economics, The Affluent Society (1958)

Aldous Huxley quote 1000

ALDOUS HUXLEY’S PSYCHEDELICIZED OBSERVATION:

“Familiarity breeds indifference. We have seen too much pure, bright color at Woolworth’s to find it intrinsically transporting. And here we may note that, by its amazing capacity to give us too much of the best things, modern technology has tended to devaluate the traditional vision-inducing materials.”
      
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
       British author and social critic
       In his book length essay Heaven and Hell (1956), often published together with his earlier essays extolling the benefits of hallucinogenic drugs, The Doors of Perception (1954)

pretty-little-liars-season-2-poster

A PRETTY LITTLE LIAR’S VARIATION:

Melissa Hastings (actress Torrey DeVitto): “I was hoping you'd be happy for me.”
Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario):
“Well, you know what they say about hope: it breeds eternal misery.”
       Some repartee from
the pilot episode of the TV show Pretty Little Liars (2010)

g-frank-lydston-photo

A PRETTY WEIRD SEXUAL THEORY:

“The undue familiarity usually existing between husband and wife is a feeder of psycho-sexual aberrations. Once the halo of sex mystery is dispelled, romance often fails completely... Familiarity breeds satiety. Satiety is the parent of sexual discontent. The satiated, discontented man often browses in queer pastures in search of new thrills for his exhausted psycho-sexual centers.”
      
George Frank Lydston (1858–1923)
       An American urologist who had some unusual theories (and issues)
       The quote above is from Lydston’s book
Impotence and Sterility: with Aberrations of the Sexual Function and Sex-Gland Implantation (1917).
       In addition to coming up with the odd theory that men who became too “familiar” with their wives would turn gay, Lydston experimented with the transplantation of testicular tissue from animals into humans, as a form of
“androgen therapy” for older men. The donors included dogs, goats, monkeys and even guinea pigs. (Really. I’m not making this stuff up.)

Mark Twain familiarity breeds children quote QC

MARK TWAIN'S BETTER KNOWN SEXUAL THEORY:

“Familiarity breeds contempt — and children.” 
       Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens; 1835-1910) 
       A quip Twain recorded in his journal in 1894; included in his posthumously published Notebooks (1935)

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Related and recommended reading…

March 5, 2017

“Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”

Peter O'Toole - My Favorite Year-8x6
THE FAMOUS QUOTE ABOUT DYING VS. COMEDY:

“Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” 
       Actor
Peter O’Toole, playing the washed-up actor Alan Swann
       In the 1982 movie
My Favorite Year  
       Precursors of this widely-quoted line in the movie
have been attributed to English actors Edmund Kean and Edmund Gwenn (among others)

Tony Blair
TONY BLAIR'S POST-TRUMP, POST BREXIT VERSION:

“Outrage is easy; strategy is hard…The emotional response to the rightist populism sweeping the West is one of protest and dismay. But if there is to be an effective fightback, there has to be a cool analysis of what is happening, why and what can be done...The politics of the progressive center has not died, but it needs reinventing and re-energizing. For liberal democracy to survive and thrive, we must build a new coalition that is popular, not populist.”
       Tony Blair
       Former leader of the British Labour Party; Prime Minister of Britain from 1997 to 2007
      
In an op-ed in the New York Times, March 3, 2017

Art Buchwald-8x6
A HUMORIST’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“Dying is easy. Parking is hard.”

      
Art Buchwald(1925-2007)
       American humorist and journalist 
       A quip he made while dying from kidney failure 
      
Quoted in Time magazine, shortly after his death

Donald Cook - First Marine Captured in Vietnam-8x6
A POW’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“Cook said POWs must realize simple truths: dying is easy, living is hard, and surviving the day is always in doubt. Thus, he said, to awaken each morning to a new day is a victory.”   
       Donald L. Price  
       Retired Marine Colonel and author 
      
In his book The First Marine Captured in Vietnam (2007)
       Referring to Medal of Honor recipient,
U.S. Marine Col. Donald G. Cook, who died in a Viet Cong prison camp in 1967

Christopher Reeve - Nothing is Impossible-8x6
A REAL LIFE SUPERHERO’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“I've slipped into that ‘numb zone’ many times. That’s when creating humor and appreciating it becomes very difficult, but even more necessary....If you get stuck in it for a long period of time you may end up going back to square one, when life after a catastrophe has no meaning....I agree with the dying comedian; sometimes humor is hard but it’s worth it.”
      
Christopher Reeve (1952-2004)
       American actor and patient advocate
       In his inspiring book
Nothing is Impossible (2004)

Dennis Lehane-8x6
THE SYMPATHY VS. EMPATHY VARIATION:

“Sympathy is easy. It's always given from a position of power...But when you have empathy, you empathize with the person. You put yourself on equal footing. Sympathy is easy. Empathy is hard.” 
       Dennis Lehane 
       American novelist
       In a commencement speech he gave at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2004
       Quoted in
Here We Stand: 600 Inspiring Messages the World’s Best Commencement Addresses (2009)

Carl Reiner-8x6
THE LUST VS. LOVE VS. LIKE VARIATION:

“Lust is easy. Love is hard. Like is most important.”
      
Carl Reiner (b. 1922)
       American comedian, actor, director and producer   
       A comment he made in an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2005
that is still widely quoted

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