Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Monday, April 18, 2005

Clichés and Quotations Ready for Retirement

“There are no second acts in American lives.” --Fitzgerald
Whenever anybody makes a successful comeback in the arts or business, count on this one to be hauled out for refutation. Again.

“[In the near future,] everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” --Warhol
When Andy Warhol said this, it was perceptive, amusing, and entirely in keeping with his approach to art. When people say it now, the “in the near future” part of the quote is removed, because it’s assumed we’ve arrived. Kyrie eleison.

“Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.” --Fitzgerald
Yeah, Scotty loved epigrams. Gore Vidal wrote an essay on him that noted how Fitzgerald was always pining for an imaginary perfect past. When he was in college, he pined for his high school days. When he was in Paris, he pined for college. When he was in Hollywood, he pined for Paris. To him, the past was always better. Poor bastard.

Any variation on “comedy is serious business.”
Journalists who employ any version of this cliché should be confronted, chastised, and then given open-handed slaps across the face for fifteen minutes.

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” –Orwell
A popular online quote by men in (or recently out of) the military to puff themselves up. If you press your ear against the monitor, you can almost hear the bluster.* Fittingly, Orwell never wrote this. It’s an inaccurate paraphrase taken from an essay he wrote about Rudyard Kipling. That just adds to the irritation.

*Not to pick on soldiers in particular. My tolerance for bluster is so low it cannot be measured by scientific instruments. I don’t care who’s puffing himself up; I’ll call him an ass. This misquote gets a lot of use by those seeking to feel important, so it gets the caning today.


Post a Comment

<< Home