Chamblee54

The Covid Debt

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 27, 2021


“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.” Herbert Hoover said this, at the Nebraska Republican Conference, January 16,1936. In 1936, the national debt was $33.7 billion. This was during the depression, when the government was trying to revive the economy. When Mr. Hoover was President, in 1932, the debt was $19.4 billion.

The national debt today is $28.2 trillion. This is 855 times the debt in 1932. The government likes to spend more money than it has.

2020 was a big year for the national debt. When covid hit, the economy shut down. The government went on a spending spree. The resulting budget deficit (the amount added onto the national debt) for fiscal year 2020 is estimated to be $3.7 trillion. The fiscal year is October 1 through September.

$3.7 trillion is larger than the total national debt in 1991, $3.666 trillion. $3.7 trillion works out to $71.1 billion per week, $10.1 billion per day, $422.3 million per hour. This does not include government spending covered by tax revenue.

“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” This gem is credited to the late Everett Dirkson, Republican Senator from Illinois. In 1965, the photogenic Senator was losing sleep over raising the national debt to $328 billion.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend. A billion seconds ago, it was 1989. A billion minutes ago, the Roman empire flourished. (There are 24 hours/1440 minutes in a day. There are 525,600 minutes in a non-leap year.) Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. These men were soldiers in the War Between the States. In 1865, the national debt was $2.6 billion.

Always Take Sides

Posted in Commodity Wisdom, Library of Congress, Quotes by chamblee54 on May 14, 2021


“… always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.” This meme, illustrated by the gnomic face of Elie Wiesel, turns up on facebook a lot. (Elie Wiesel is pronounced like Elly Mae Clampett) Some find it inspiring. Others think it is simplistic and manipulative.

There are two questions. Did Mr. Wiesel say that? What was the context? The quote appears in the acceptance speech for the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. The next sentence is “Sometimes we must interfere.” We immediately go from the absolute always, to the conditional sometimes. That is progress, even if it does not fit on a bumper sticker.

“Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet, Romania, in 1928. … In May 1944, Wiesel was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp along with his parents and his sisters. Wiesel and his father were slave laborers at Auschwitz. His father died in January 1945 during a forced march to another camp, Buchenwald, and his mother and younger sister were murdered as well. After the war, Wiesel moved to France, where he worked as a journalist.”

The Israel-Palestine problem was just as vexing in 1986 as today. Here is what Mr. Wiesel said in his speech. “More people are oppressed than free. And then, too, there are the Palestinians to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore. Violence and terrorism are not the answer. Something must be done about their suffering, and soon. I trust Israel, for I have faith in the Jewish people. Let Israel be given a chance, let hatred and danger be removed from her horizons, and there will be peace in and around the Holy Land.”

Who is the oppressor in the Middle East, and who is the victim? Many sides can make a case for their cause. Who is the better at persuasion? Who is better at playing the shady game of influence, and money. Often, more noise encourages the tormentor. The answer to age old conflicts is seldom found in bumper stickers, or facebook memes.

“… to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore.” “Always take sides” means that you pick one side in a conflict, and use the tools of rhetoric to promote that cause. It can be tough to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Human suffering is human suffering. Simplistic rhetoric is *never* the answer.

In 1986, the Iran-Iraq war was raging. Hundreds of thousands of men died. Many said the war was allowed to go on intentionally. Allegedly, if Iran and Iraq were not fighting each other, they would be fighting Israel. The United States was allied with Iraq, while making arms deals with Iran. Israeli dealers participated in the United States-Iran arms trading. The profits from those deals went to supply terrorists in Central America. “Sometimes we must interfere.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

Truth About Opinions

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 11, 2021






Chamblee54 is normally a profanity free blog. However, for this piece, certain cuss words are essential to the free flow of information. In other words IF YOU DON’T LIKE CUSS WORDS, YOU DO NOT NEED TO READ THE TEXT.

Once, when his blog was active, a radio whiner referred to a study, that said that one third of all people were not qualified to have opinions. This was said before a commercial break, without saying why this percentage should be without opinions. Possible reasons would be lack of education, inability to think critically, or a disturbing tendency to disagree with the person doing the study.

Opinion is derived from “1250-1300; Middle English < Old French < Latin opīniōn- (stem of opīniō), derivative of opīnārī to opine.” In other words, the verb for sharing these thoughts is the namesake of the idea. The anagram of opinion is onion pi. The Power Thesaurus has 1,326 synonyms for opinion. Many are notoriously anal, like assumption. Or the sister of suppository, supposition.

“Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got theirs .” The truth is, opinions have more in common with the waste that comes out of the anal sphincter, than the port of exit. Feces (thesis) is the product of food fed into the digestive system. Opinions are the result of information (and misinformation) fed into the thought system. Doodoo is influenced by the digestive system, like opinions are influenced by the attitudes, and thought patterns, of the individual. They all stink.

“Four Jews, Five opinions” is another crowd pleaser, like “You are entitled to your opinion.” The latter is usually said when you disagree with what you have just heard. When a Court of Law issues a ruling, it is called an opinion. Sometimes, a justice will write a dissenting opinion. When getting a provider to pay for a procedure, you often need to get a second opinion.

Opinions are frequently more valued by the giver than by the receiver . Some opinions are best kept to the owner. You should be wary of someone who feels that his shit does not stink, because he will usually feel the same about his opinions. You don’t have to have an opinion about everything. Many things are beyond or control, or do not interest you. Also, you should be wary of those who try to “fire up” your opinions. Often these people do not have the best of motives.

Opinions are seldom humble, no matter what the owner of the opinion might say. In fact, the act of holding an opinion is often self aggrandizing, and contrary to humility. Opinions are seen as a way of asserting ones individuality. Many people have lives of quiet desperation, full of struggle and turmoil. There are many situations where what the individual thinks is simply useless to the powers that be. In times like this, having opinions can restore a sense of self worth to the individual. I am somebody. I have my opinion. This does not mean that anyone is listening.

This is a repost with pictures from The Library of Congress. U.S.S. Brooklyn, after supper Edward H. Hart was the photographer, working for Detroit Publishing Co. The picture was taken between 1896 and 1899. The pictures are more reliable than the text.




Winston Churchill Said What

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes, War by chamblee54 on May 8, 2021


Another ghastly meme has surfaced on facebook. It has a large fuchsia quote mark for illustration. There is a quote from a famous man. The left side has a quote mark. The right side has a question mark, but no quote mark. The margins are much larger on the top, and left side, than on the right side, and the bottom. That this visual atrocity supports funding for the arts is a cruel irony.

Perhaps instead of the arts, the government funding should go for fact checking. The quote is generally considered to be bogus. For the record, here is the quote. “When Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, he simply replied, “then what are we fighting for?” The quote is not in the Churchill archive, which is either fifteen million documents, or fifteen million words. The authorities use the figures interchangeably.

The Telegraph has an article debunking the meme. It has a splendid sentence: “But that anecdote does not so easily play into the screeching rhetoric of today’s 140-character political ding-dongs.” There are also some lovely quotes from Mr. Churchill.

pink quote marks01 In 1937, Mr. Churchill spoke before the Peel Commission It was discussing “partitioning British mandated Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.” At the time, Mr. Churchill was a minor figure in British politics, disgraced by his blundering in the Great War. The quote: “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

Winston Churchill is quite the quote magnet. This is somehow fitting for a man whose most famous speech was read, on the radio, by an actor. There is a page on the internet devoted to times when he was falsely accused of saying something inspiring.

One of these stories is notable. “The only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash… Churchill’s assistant, Anthony Montague-Browne said that although Churchill had not uttered these words, he wished he had.” This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.

Marilyn Truther

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 2, 2021


Marilyn Monroe was photographed reading Ulysses, the famously difficult book by James Joyce. 63 years later, a man posted the picture on twitter, while promoting a study course on Ulysses. If Marilyn read it, then you can too! PG said something uncooperative, and a brief twitter fight broke out. Since the Ulysses dude, and his tweeting buddy, did not give permission, they will not be quoted here. One exception, the titular “Marilyn Truther,” was coined by the study course promoter.

@chamblee54 It was a joke, at one time, to give models a book to pose with. It was considered funny to give them a difficult book like “Ulysses” ~ Who needs to show a citation? I may be wrong. I asked Mr. Google, and found this. ~ According to photographer, she did not read it from start to finish. A more accurate answer is that she read parts of it Story by photographer should not be taken as unchallenged truth, but it is all we have I should have researched this before i spoke. Did you? ~ I had read that about other models. I also read numerous quotes, attributed to Marilyn, that proved to be phony. Photography is a medium open to manipulation, and creation of fantasy. Just because you see a picture, that does not mean it happened. ~ Eve Arnold… a woman … took that picture. How do we know Marilyn told the truth? Maybe Marilyn was just trying to make a good impression on the lady. Would Marilyn have said the same thing if the photographer was a man?

PG disputed that Marilyn Monroe had read Ulysses, and will never know for sure either way. He was not the first person to wonder about this. “Richard Brown, a Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Leeds with a special interest in James Joyce, was intrigued by Eve Arnold’s photos of Marilyn. Curious to know if Marilyn was indeed reading Joyce’s novel or if she was merely posing for the photo, Brown wrote Arnold a letter, which she replied on 20 July 1993. Unfortunately, I don’t have Arnold’s complete letter to show you … In any case, the excerpt from Arnold’s letter is interesting as she was telling Brown exactly what he wanted to know”:

“We worked on a beach on Long Island. She was visiting Norman Rosten the poet…. I asked her what she was reading when I went to pick her up (I was trying to get an idea of how she spent her time). She said she kept Ulysses in her car and had been reading it for a long time. She said she loved the sound of it and would read it aloud to herself to try to make sense of it — but she found it hard going. She couldn’t read it consecutively. When we stopped at a local playground to photograph she got out the book and started to read while I loaded the film. So, of course, I photographed her. It was always a collaborative effort of photographer and subject where she was concerned — but almost more her input.” “Quoted in Richard Brown, “Marilyn Monroe Reading Ulysses: Goddess or Postcultural Cyborg?”, in R. B. Kershner (Ed), Joyce and Popular Culture, p. 174.”

“Monroe is reading the 1934 Random House edition, with the dust jacket removed. This is the edition that was famously set from a pirate version containing numerous errors. This defect notwithstanding, the dust-jacket artwork and typographic design by Ernst Reichl constitute one of the great works in the history of book design.”

What does this say about a screen icon who died in 1962? Maybe she was smarter than your typical dumb blonde. Maybe not. Marilyn had an instinct for the camera, and looking good on the screen brought joy to millions of fans. Is this post mortem resurrection, as an intellectual philosopher, merely another fantasy concocted by well meaning fans? Pictures never lie, and there is a picture of Marilyn, reading Ulysses, with a serious look on her pretty face. Of course it is real! A fantasy involving Norma Jean Baker Marilyn Monroe? How absurd! As long as the merchandise is paid for, and the instagrammers inspired, should we even care?

The cult of Marilyn has shown up on chamblee54 before. “Someone told me that Marilyn Monroe once remarked that she enjoyed reading poetry “because it saves time.” I like this quotation so much that I’ve never dared to confirm it; I’d feel disenchanted to learn it was bogus.” This search for authenticity led to a forum called Data Lounge… “… get your fix of gay gossip, news and pointless bitchery.” The “Marilyn: Smart or Stupid” debate rages through 200 comments, reaching a peak at comment 196. “Yes MM said every one of those quotes by herself! … But I’m worried for her, cause She’s my main spirit guide and Saviour and she recently commanded me to share this message! …

In 2014, a facebook notice appeared. It was promoting a blog post by known idiot Matt Walsh. “If you can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”… “the original quote is from Marilyn Monroe. It’s even more vapid and nauseating when taken in its full context: “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Out of all the profundities ever uttered, what does it say about our society that THIS is the quote we’ve decided to take to heart?” It is generally accepted that Marilyn did not say that. The top debunker is now a malware distributor, and not available for viewing. Somehow, that seems appropriate.

Pictures today are from the Library of Congress. “Listening to speeches at mass meeting of Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers protesting congressional cut of relief appropriations. San Francisco, California.” Photographer: Dorothea Lange February 1939. This is a repost

I’m Here To Help

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, Quotes by chamblee54 on May 1, 2021


Two popular quotes have surprising back stories. One is by President Ronald W. Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” The other is from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.: “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

@HayesBrown “the funny thing about this quote: Reagan said it during a press conference where he was calling for more federal funding to help out struggling farmers” @HayesBrown “Reagan giving that quote was literally him going “okay, yeah, i’m for smaller govt, but until we get my ideas passed, we are gonna spend SO MUCH MONEY helping out farmers” and now it gets trotted out… to argue against federal aid, period”

“Some sectors of our farm economy are hurting … Our ultimate goal, of course, is economic independence for agriculture and, through steps like the tax-reform bill, we seek to return farming to real farmers. But until we make that transition, the government must act compassionately and responsibly. … In order to see farmers through these tough times, our administration has committed record amounts of assistance, spending more in this year alone than any previous administration spent during its entire tenure. … The message in all this is very simple: America’s farmers should know that our commitment to helping them is unshakable. As long as I’m in Washington, their concerns are going to be heard and acted upon.”

The rest of the prepared statement features a fun quote. “One other brief point: tomorrow, the Senate will cast a crucial vote. The question is that of assistance to the freedom fighters, who are trying to bring democracy to Nicaragua where a communist regime, a client state of the Soviet Union, has taken over. The question before the Senate is: Will it vote for democracy in Central America and the security of our own borders, or will it vote to passively sit by while the Soviets make permanent their military beachhead on the mainland of North America?”

The press conference took place August 12, 1986, in Chicago IL. On November 3, 1986, “the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa … reported that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran … in a bid to secure the release of seven American hostages being held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.” On November 25, 1986, “Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that, on White House orders, the proceeds of secret arms sales to Iran were illegally diverted to fund the Contras — Nicaraguan rebels waging a guerrilla war to overthrow that country’s elected leftist regime.” The resulting Iran-Contra scandal dominated the Reagan administration for the next few months.

@ggreenwald The pro-censorship cliché “can’t yell fire in a crowded theater” comes from a now-discredited 1919 SupCt case upholding Woodrow Wilson prosecution of socialists under *The Espionage Act* for the “crime” of opposing a US role WW1. Why would you want to attach yourself to that? @ggreenwald The set of cases from which that cliché emerged is one of the most shameful in US Supreme Court history, designed to criminalize dissent. For that reason, it’s embarrassing but revealing when censors invoke it because that’s their real mentality.

SCHENCK v. UNITED STATES was the case. “During World War I, socialists Charles Schenck and Elizabeth Baer distributed leaflets declaring that the draft violated the Thirteenth Amendment prohibition against involuntary servitude. The leaflets urged the public to disobey the draft, but advised only peaceful action. Schenck was charged with conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act of 1917 by attempting to cause insubordination in the military and to obstruct recruitment. Schenck and Baer were convicted of violating this law and appealed …

The Court held that the Espionage Act did not violate the First Amendment and was an appropriate exercise of Congress’ wartime authority. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes concluded that courts owed greater deference to the government during wartime, even when constitutional rights were at stake. … Holmes reasoned that the widespread dissemination of the leaflets was sufficiently likely to disrupt the conscription process. Famously, he compared the leaflets to falsely shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, which is not permitted under the First Amendment.”

There were a couple of other cases. If you have a lot of free time, you can read about it here. Included is one charming quote: “Famed socialist Eugene V. Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison for a speech that Holmes summarized at length (are there any short socialist speeches?) in support of the basis for Debs’ conviction.”

Pictures, of soldiers in the War Between the States, are from The Library of Congress. On April 2, 2021, Radiolab presented What Up Holmes, about free speech opinions written by Justice Holmes. The show did not mention “falsely shouting fire in a theatre.”

Thomas Jefferson Said What?

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Politics, Quotes by chamblee54 on April 17, 2021

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Desmond Tutu. Some lines sound good, but don’t hold up to a bit of thinking. Desmond Tutu may very well have said it. (or maybe one of his rivals said it, and Mr. Tutu copied it.) The quote has been attributed to Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Burke, Patrick Henry, and probably others. Almost no one has a source, for the quote, from the dead white guys.
A post called MISQUOTING THE FOUNDERS did not mince words.
“The only problem … is that Thomas Jefferson never said that, never wrote that, and quite possibly never thought it. … Right now if I Google “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent” the entire first page of results wrongly attribute it to Thomas Jefferson. The quote and its many variants have been attributed in the past to Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke, but no record exists of the quote in any of their writings or contemporary accounts.”
On November 13, 1787, Mr. Jefferson wrote a letter to William Smith. The letter is full of zesty quotes.
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”
A few lines above that, Mr. Jefferson said
“God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion.” Twenty years after he wrote this, Mr. Jefferson was President. He probably did not want to deal with a revolution when he was President.
Getting back to the quote about tyranny, Martin Porter wrote an entertaining essay, A study of a Web quotation. He gives credit, or blame, to Edmund Burke. First, a list of different versions is presented. This is a clue that something is awry. The conclusion:
“There is no original. The quote is bogus, and Burke never said it. It is a pseudo-quote, and corresponds to real quotes in the same way that urban legends about … alligators in the sewers correspond to true news stories.”
Mr. Porter wrote a follow up essay, Four Principles of Quotation. These principles are:
Principle 1 (for readers) Whenever you see a quotation given with an author but no source assume that it is probably bogus. Principle 2 (for readers) Whenever you see a quotation given with a full source assume that it is probably being misused, unless you find good evidence that the quoter has read it in the source. Principle 3 (for quoters) Whenever you make a quotation, give the exact source. Principle 4 (for quoters) Only quote from works that you have read.
If these principles were to be used, then there would be a lot less hotheaded talking on the intercom. Pictures for this feature are from The Library of Congress. These pictures are Union soldiers, from the War Between the States. When war is discussed, all inspiring quotes are in doubt.
This is a repost. It is written like James Joyce. In the past year, doing due diligence on alleged quotes has become a hobby. Many people don’t care who said it, if they agree with the thoughts expressed. The prevailing thought is that an idea becomes more true with a famous name at the end. If the famous person is deceased, and cannot defend his/her reputation, that is not a problem. People do not like being told that Santa Claus does not exist.

How Twitter Causes Brain Damage

Posted in Library of Congress, Politics, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 13, 2021

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The story starts when Sleepy Joe announces yet another attempt to become POTUS. The announcement focused on the tiki torch rave in Virginia, rather than climate change, financial foolishness, police brutality, endless war, or Donald Trump’s latest hair color. The Foxnews fuddy duddies went on email jihad, focusing on what President tiny hands did, or did not say, after the tiki torches were put out. Meanwhile, the national debt went up by a $8,000,000,000.00.

At the bottom of one of the existential emails was a tag line: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” – Winston Churchill. The last time PG heard that chestnut, truth was putting her shoes on. This sounds like a job for google.

Before you can say trending topic, quote investigator has the answer. “In conclusion, there exists a family of expressions contrasting the dissemination of lies and truths, and these adages have been evolving for more than 300 years. … At this time, there is no substantive support for assigning the saying to Mark Twain or Winston Churchill.”

Google is not through creating mischief. NFL’s Colin Kaepernick incorrectly credits Winston Churchill for quote about lies It seems as though knee pad model Colin Kaepernick felt the need to quote Mr. Churchill. This is deep. A tweet, about a false quote, about spreading a lie. Pictures for this deplorable dispatch today are from The Library of Congress. Nobody forced you to read this.

This is a repost from 2019. Eleven months later, covid turned the world on its ear. Sleepy Joe was elected POTUS, despite the worst efforts of President Trump. The economy went into a covid depression, with the national debt increasing by a few trillion dollars. Colin Kaepernick became obsolete. The custom of telling lies is as popular as ever. Winston Churchill is still dead.

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This Is Your Life

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 9, 2021


Am all caps graphic washes up on the digital shores from time to time. The author, and copyright status, are not known. It was not written here. Reading it can be a chore, even though it looks cool. It is also selfish… the only opinion that matters is the individual reading it. It doesn’t have a good beat, but you can dance to it. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

This is your life.
Do what you love, and do it often.
If you don’t like something, change it.
If you don’t like your job, quit.

If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop:
They will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.

Stop over analyzing, life is simple
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.

Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people,
We are united in our differences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is,
And share your inspiring dream with them.

Travel often, getting lost will help you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.

Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them
So go out and start creating.
Life is short. Live your dream, and wear your passion.

“Do you have to be a poet? If you don’t have to be a poet, be a prose writer. You’ll get further faster. Poetry — there’s probably more poetry published today than any time in the history of the world. Nevertheless, there is this — people think they have this blindness when they see a line in the typography of poetry, and it just blocks them. So if you can say the same thing in prose, you’ll probably be better off” Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Fifteen Minutes

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes by chamblee54 on February 26, 2021

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Andy Warhol is quoted as saying that “in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” This has become a popular saying. If a celebrity is getting tiresome, people will wonder when their fifteen minutes will be up. After hearing about fifteen minutes his entire life, PG began to wonder if Drella really said that. If you can’t be cynical about Andy Warhol… This is a repost.

Wikipedia is a good place to start. “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” … appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. Photographer Nat Finkelstein claimed credit for the expression, stating that he was photographing Warhol in 1966 for a proposed book. A crowd gathered trying to get into the pictures and Warhol supposedly remarked that everyone wants to be famous, to which Finkelstein replied, “Yeah, for about fifteen minutes, Andy.” Nat Finkelstein was a sketchy character, in the Warhol tradition. His version is suspect. The Swedish museum part is real.

“Andy Warhol’s first European museum solo show took place at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm from February through March 1968. Pontus Hultén curated the exhibition together with Olle Granath. The exhibition came with a catalogue that was, like the show, named ‘Andy Warhol’. Kasper König, who worked for the Moderna Museet as an intern of sorts in New York, developed a basic concept for the book. … After Warhol had given his approval to this first proposal, König proceeded to create a dummy. … When König returned his dummy to the Factory, Warhol scrutinized it carefully but made only a small number of changes. Contrary to what Warhol wanted to be popular belief, those who produced input at the Factory were carefully monitored. … The final edits on the dummy were made in Stockholm by Olle Granath. He compiled a small selection of Warhol quotes and aphorisms from a stack of books and clippings collected by Hultén and placed them in the book as an introduction before the image sections.”

“Sometime in the autumn of 1967, Pontus Hultén called and asked me if I (Olle Granath) could help him and the Moderna Museet to organize an Andy Warhol exhibition that was due to open in February…. An important part of the exhibition was the production of a book. It was not supposed to be an analytical catalog of Warhol’s work, but a book that conveyed his aesthetics without heavy texts. … One day, Pontus brought me a box, almost the size of a Brillo box, and told me that it contained everything written by and about Andy Warhol (today the equivalent would probably be two truck loads). My job was to read it all and present a proposal for a manuscript with Swedish translations. After a couple of nights of reading and taking notes I delivered a script to Pontus and awaited his reaction with great anticipation. ‘Excellent,’ Pontus said when he called me, ‘but there is a quotation missing.’ ‘Which one?’ I said. ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,’ Pontus replied. ‘If it is in the material I would have spotted it,’ I told him. The line went quiet for a moment, and then I heard Pontus say, ‘If he didn’t say it, he could very well have said it. Let’s put it in.’ So we did, and thus Warhol’s perhaps most famous quotation became a fact.”

“The exhibition in Stockholm attracted a relatively small number of visitors, due to the extremely cold winter, but also to the fact that leftist radicalization increasingly drove the Museets public to mistrust anything American or consumerist. There was no space yet for a more complex reading of Warhol’s relation to consumption. The book, however, became very popular: its enormous edition allowed it to be distributed in nightclubs and record stores, not only museums. A timeless update on the latest from New York, it first became a cult object, then a collectors item.”

Did Andy say that? Probably, but not definitely. Andy was shot by Valerie Jean Solanas on June 3, 1968, a few months after the show in Sweden. Andy survived, and had fifteen more minutes. Pictures today are from Pictures are from The Library of Congress. The 1927 pictures were taken at “California Beauty Week, Mark Hopkins Hotel, July 28 to Aug. 2, auspices of San Francisco Chronicle.”

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What Is A Cynic?

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, The English Language by chamblee54 on December 10, 2020


“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” ― Oscar Wilde. This quote is one of Oscar’s greatest hits. If you think about it for a minute, it is not totally accurate. You are not supposed to think. Quoting Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde is about sounding clever, not making sense. Did he really create that definition of a cynic? This is a repost.

Oscar Wilde is a quote magnet. This is more than something you put on your refrigerator. When people hear something clever, odds are good that Oscar will get the blame. As Dorothy Parker wrote: “If, with the literate, I am, Impelled to try an epigram, I never seek to take the credit; We all assume that Oscar said it. [Life Magazine, June 2, 1927]”

Wikiquote says this line is from Act III of Lady Windermere’s Fan. It was spoken by Lord Darlington. Did the play write intend for the line to be taken seriously, or was he making the character look foolish by saying it? With Oscar Wilde, it could be both of these things at the same time.

Principle Four, of the four principles of quotations, reads “Only quote from works that you have read.” In the case of Lady Windemere’s Fan, this would mean a youtube video of the play. There is a posh BBC production available. You don’t have to watch the cell phone recording of high school players.

Lady Windemere’s Fan is a production where upper class Brits say clever things in glorious costumes. Nobody ever goes to the bathroom, or looks less than perfect. Lady Windemere’s six month old child is neither seen, nor heard. Lady Windemere finds out her husband, Lord Windemere, is having an affair with a Mrs. Erlynne. The Lord proceeds to invite the floozy to Lady Windemere’s birthday party.

After the party, the men go to their club, then to Lord Darlington’s room. There are five men in the conversation, beginning with Lord Windemere. Lord Darlington has just told Lady Windemere that he loves her, and wants her to run off with him. Lady Windemere said no. Lord Augustus is a suitor of Mrs. Erlynne, and is begging her to marry him. Cecil Graham, and Mr. Dumby, wear their splendid costumes with conviction.

The scene starts with the men saying clever things, most of them insulting to someone. Lord Augustus, or Tuppy, is the butt of many jokes. Before long, we get this exchange:
Dumby. I don’t think we are bad. I think we are all good, except Tuppy.
Lord Darlington. No, we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Dumby. We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars? Upon my word, you are very romantic to-night, Darlington.
Cecil Graham. Too romantic! You must be in love. Who is the girl?
Lord Darlington. The woman I love is not free, or thinks she isn’t. [Glances instinctively at Lord Windermere while he speaks.]

A few minutes later, we hear another famous Oscarism.
Lord Darlington. What cynics you fellows are!
Cecil Graham. What is a cynic? [Sitting on the back of the sofa.]
Lord Darlington. A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Cecil Graham. And a sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything, and doesn’t know the market price of any single thing.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Did Socrates Read And Write?

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes by chamblee54 on November 6, 2020

This story starts with a facebook meme. A fbf posted a picture of a thoughtful statue. The text read ‘When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.’ -Socrates. PG thought that Socrates never wrote anything that survived. All of what we attribute to Socrates was written by Plato. People reading this blog should know what happened next. This is a repost
Did Socrates Say Slander Is ‘The Tool of the Losers”? is one of several results. They all said the same thing … the quote is bogus. A tweet from Eric Trump is not evidence of authenticity.

PG began to think, which is never a good sign. Was Socrates able to read and write? was on the screen a few minutes later. The speculation is mixed. Some say that that Socrates was stone illiterate.

Thomas Musselman “Socrates served in the government on juries. Historians now know that legal proceedings were common over business matters of great sophistication and the the juries were well-educated concerning such matters. General literacy existed by the late 400s BC for the general pubic in primary school. Upper class males even in Socrates’ day would have been literate and there was an active book-seller market. To function in the world that Socrates functioned in required literacy.”

Google turned up a curious document. It is a passage written by Plato,“Phaedrus.” Pp. 551-552 in Compete Works. An Egyptian G-d is talking to a King, about an invention … writing.

“In fact, it (writing) will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is external and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own. You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality. Your invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing. And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.”

SOCRATES: “But, my friend, the priests of the temple of Zeus at Dodona say that the first prophecies were the words of an oak. Everyone who lived at that time, not being as wise as you young ones are today, found it rewarding enough in their simplicity to listen to an oak or even a stone, so long as it was telling the truth, while it seems to make a difference to you, Phaedrus, who is speaking and where he comes from. Why, though, don’t you just consider whether what he says is right or wrong?”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Part two is after the break.


A facebook friend posted a meme. It had an picture of Bertrand Russell, quoted as saying “If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” PG consulted with Mr. Google, and had his answer in seconds.

“From the wikiquotes page of Anatole France Si 50 millions de personnes disent une bêtise, c’est quand même une bêtise. If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. As quoted in Listening and Speaking : A Guide to Effective Oral Communication (1954) by Ralph G. Nichols and Thomas R. Lewis, p. 74. Misattributed to Bertrand Russell, by Laurence J. Peter, in The Peter Prescription : How To Make Things Go Right (1976), but he subsequently attributed to France in Peter’s Quotations: Ideas for Our Time (1977).”

“As I’ve said on many occasions, I don’t care who a quote is (mis)attributed to. I share a meme because its message resonates for me.” PG “If a million facebook users post a misattributed quote, it is still a misattributed quote … I have this vague sense that it does make a difference, but I can’t find the words to say why. Maybe google will have a snappy quote, preferably in English, that will give me a reason why correct attribution matters.”

“With google available, it is so, so easy to verify a quote before you post it. Often, the context of the quote puts a different shade on the meaning. Like the quote above. I have no idea why Mr. France said that, or what he meant. Sometimes, the words come from a foolish character in a story, and the author is making fun of them. Since I do not read French, I do not know how accurate the translation is.” (Google translate says “If 50 million people say stupidity, it’s still a stupidity.”)

“There is a famous quote from Ben Franklin about security and liberty. The quote is totally legitimate. It is taken from an Editorial Mr. Franklin was paid to write. The editorial supported the colonial government, in their efforts to levy a tax on farmers.”

The Ben Franklin post linked above has a useful link. “‘Contextomy’ refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original linguistic context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning, also known as ‘quoting out of context’. Contextomy is employed in contemporary mass media to promote products, defame public figures and misappropriate rhetoric. A contextomized quotation not only prompts audiences to form a false impression of the source’s intentions, but can contaminate subsequent interpretation of the quote when it is restored to its original context.”

Another chamblee54 post, about a dubious quote, refers to the Four Principles of Quotation. Principle 1 Whenever you see a quotation given with an author but no source assume that it is probably bogus. Principle 2 Whenever you see a quotation given with a full source assume that it is probably being misused, unless you find good evidence that the quoter has read it in the source. Principle 3 Whenever you make a quotation, give the exact source. Principle 4 Only quote from works that you have read.

This does not answer the question… is it WRONG to put the incorrect name at the bottom of a quote? Sharing a meme on facebook is not the same as putting a goofy quote in a term paper. While this is something that PG is loath to do, is it really that bad for someone else? Certainly there are concerns about context. Memes often do not use the quote as the author would have intended.

After a few frustrating search terms, PG decided to google “I don’t care who a quote is (mis)attributed to. I share a meme because its message resonates for me.” Google replied “Did you mean: I don’t care who a quote is (mis)attributed to. I share a meme because it’s message resonates for me” Apparently, Google does not know that the possesive form of its does not have an apostrophe. It’s is short for it is.

There were some lively results, though few answered the key question. “Furthermore, and this does bear mentioning, Andy Rooney did not write this. He died in 2011 so the words in the post, “let’s make 2019/2020 the year the silent majority is heard,” is ridiculous.” “Ever since the quote’s real author emerged, there’s been a lively discussion on Facebook about whether it even matters who said it – as long as someone said it.”

One result typifies the entire commodity wisdom catalog. Best Inspirational Quotes For Killer Social Media Posts There is a pop-up ad that will not go away. “149 Inspirational Quotes: Free PDF! Want to inspire your friends and followers with uplifting words? Grab my collection of 149 short quotes that are just the right length for social media posts, PLUS tips on how to make and post them! Sign up now and you’ll have the free PDF in a flash” Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.