Doesn't translate well:
OCCUPY THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
I once asked a friend how, a country like England, a country with about 100,000 people who could read and write in the late 16th and early 17th Century, could produce writers such as Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe, Greene, Nash, Shakespeare, Bacon, Ben Jonson (I’m cutting off at 1620), and we, with over a hundred million have produced maybe Eugene O’Neil, Hemmingway, and a few others in a much longer period of time.
“Technology,” was his answer.
I have no response.
But I would like to start with a quote from one of the playwrights of the period, just the first two lines of one of his plays, the Alchemist (1610):
“FACE: Believe’t, I will
Subtle: Thy worse. I fart at thee.”
Now there is literature, English at it’s best, and the play developes from there!
So what do we get today?
I’d like to illustrate some of what has been produced lately. First, we have someone who actually is the favorite of far too many people to actually become President, Newt Gingrich. Here is a quote someone sent me recently:
Gingrich: “It’s really useful in debates to use facts to win, and I think it’s really dangerous not to use non-facts to win,” Gingrich said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation,"
Now wait. If I understand that correctly, unless you use non-facts in a debate you will run into danger. Now, fortunately, we have a place to find non-facts: Fox News. They are free and plentiful.
Recently, I tried to remember a statement our last President made, but knew I could not get it right. In fact, I defy anyone with any sense of our language and in his right mind to be able to remember a singly quotation from George W. Bush.
However, the same friend found the quote and I think it might reflect Russia’s attitude towards us and the UN when it comes to vote on Syria, although I’m sure the Russian would be better. The saying as it was taught to me in Chicago was, “The first time you fool me, that’s your fault. The second time, it’s my fault.” Here is how Bush has it:
Bush: There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.
Ah yes, what a leader! A few other of his statements:
People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you.
I'm thrilled to be here in the bread basket of America because it gives me a chance to remind our fellow citizens that we have an advantage here in America - we can feed ourselves.
I'd rather have them sacrificing on behalf of our nation than, you know, endless hours of testimony on congressional hill.
And so, in my State of the - my State of the Union - or state - my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation - I asked Americans to give 4,000 years - 4,000 hours over the next - the rest of your life - of service to America. That's what I asked - 4,000 hours.
It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber.
Russia is no longer our enemy and therefore we shouldn't be locked into a Cold War mentality that says we keep the peace by blowing each other up. In my attitude, that's old, that's tired, that's stale.
Columbia carried in its payroll classroom experiments from some of our students in America.
The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself.
One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end.
I think the American people - I hope the American - I don't think, let me - I hope the American people trust me.
There's only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug but having committed the troops, I've got an additional responsibility to hug and that's me and I know what it's like.
The law I sign today directs new funds and new focus to the task of collecting vital intelligence on terrorist threats and on weapons of mass production.
I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will.
First, we would not accept a treaty that would not have been ratified, nor a treaty that I thought made sense for the country.
This administration is doing everything we can to end the stalemate in an efficient way. We're making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end.
Ann and I will carry out this equivocal message to the world: Markets must be open.
We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House - make no mistake about it.
I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well.
I'm hopeful. I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure.
Now, he was a master, no doubt about it to the famous statements of his predecessor: “I did not have sex with that woman….” Brilliant! We will remember that for ages!
Or even better, another one “It all depends on what ‘is’ is.”
Well, yes, I suppose it does.
Well, yes, I suppose it does.
Another line that I have always wondered about was the line from JFK, somewhat plagiarized, that everyone quotes with such admiration: “Ask not what your country can do for you – Ask what you can do for your country!” Inspiring, I suppose, until you realize that the best thing you can do for your country is to make sure it works for you, not for mega-corporations, wars, banks, and the 1%. It is about time WE got a bit selfish for a change.
Or to quote an old Chicagoism: “Where’s mine?”