I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
– Robert McCloskey
As A. J. Liebling put it:
Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.
I wonder how he’d modernize that quote today, where almost anyone can say anything and reach almost everyone with the internet. And for almost nothing.
As a journalist he might say:
Freedom of the press is unlimited on the Internet. But some authors should have the good taste to limit themselves.
As you probably know, I don’t feel that way!
You don’t get anything clean without getting something else dirty.
- Cecil Baxter
Words to live by. Especially when you don’t want to be imprisoned in an oh-so-clean house!
This quote from “The Steel Trap”, a short story written in 1898, by the interesting character George Ade popped up today in my Quotes of the Day feed. Besides being very amusing it sums up so much about our present day society with an incredible economy of language:
‘Whom are you?’ he asked, for he had attended business college.
I have always loved the television show Dr. Who and so enjoyed seeing a quotation from that character on my quotes of the day feed:
There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.
I’m not sure I fully grok that quote but, as old as I am, I’m not willing to give up the right to be childlike (and sometimes childish) either.
The program itself is in Guinness World Records as the longest running SF TV show and, as it began in 1963, is exactly as old as I am although it took a break between 1989 and 1996 and then again until 2005. I missed it terribly.
For those Who fans who haven’t see it I recommend the Rowan Atkinson (et. al.) parody.
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999 US physicist (1933 – )
I think this shows just how short-sighted and prejudiced some people can
be. Of course in the modern era (which, we should always remind
ourselves, won’t be so modern in the next) religion is a convenient
scapegoat for those who think Dan Brown’s DaVinci code are nonfiction.
It is too easy to believe that. And so that kind of logic should be
suspect. Science could easily be substituted for religion here. But,
in the end, I believe it’s just as simplistic to say science brings evil
Even if you contend that ends justifies the means, certain means can be
considered evil. For example, it is often argued that the thousands who
died in the blasts and subsequent radiation sickness in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, allowed for an end to the war and so saved lives. Personally
I don’t believe that argument but it would be hard to argue that what
happened to the innocent people in those two cities was not evil. Now
that bomb was the product of the Manhattan Project and so directly
caused by physicists and politicians not priests nor rabbis nor mullahs
nor any kind of religious zealot.
That isn’t to say that evil hasn’t been perpetrated in the name of a
religion. It certainly has but as I just showed, it’s been done for
other causes too.
No Mr. Weinberg. It does not take religion for good people to do evil
things. Evil happens all the time and around us all and doesn’t require
the help of religion or science or any other paradigm. It’s just
people. Stop the simple-minded scapegoating so we can deal with the
I believe that there is, within each of us, the potential for great good
or great evil even if something lukewarm in between is the norm. We can
easily hide behind excuses about end causes but it always comes down to
a single personal choice. Who’s to know what we shall each pick?
Depending on your state of self-esteem you might want to be like the rest, or like those in your crowd, or you may wish to be the best individual you can be, or you can just relax into who you are. I don’t think I’m average. I don’t know if I ever was. So this quote might just apply to me:
The average person thinks he isn’t.
- Father Larry Lorenzoni
But I think not. I think (implying by the word ‘think’ that I may be quite wrong) that everyone is different. So, then, if everyone is different it follows that being different is an average state of being.
Doesn’t that put the silly in syllogism?
I love this quote:
There is no reciprocity. Men love women, women love children, children love hamsters.
Alice Thomas Ellis
It ties everything up in one neat package. Of course, the world is more complicated than this. For example, I like guinea pigs too. Especially Peruvian guinea pigs in a nice hot sauce. Yum! They’re called “Coy” there and served by families from the Andes as a traditional birthday meal. But I may be getting off topic there.