Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quips and Quotations

A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him.

--George Orwell


  1. I heard today the climate bill will not be brought up this summer. Virtue has not triumphed. Man will be seen by many as the victim. Our own stupidity may destroy us.
    Really interesting quote.

  2. @Dreamfarm--Orwell was apparently way ahead of his time.

  3. Orwell also said, "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." Hmm... I feel the need for a ride coming on.

  4. "They" say that virtue is its own reward, but unfortunately, for some people, so is evil.

  5. @Badger--I commend your cycling skills, Badger. It's been so long since I've been on a bicycle, I don't know if I remember how to start the thing (something to with moving pedals in a circular motion, right?) When I walk through the park, I sometimes see multiple bike riders carrying on conversations as they ride past me. If I tried that, I think I'd ride right into a tree. Heck, I've come close to walking into a tree just talking to myself!

    @Kass--John Lennon once said we're all Hitler and we're all Jesus (hmm, maybe I should have used that quote instead.)

  6. Isn't it amazing what insight John Lennon (and Paul McCartney) had?

  7. @Kass--Don't go there, or else I may end up quoting the entire White Album.

  8. aw, c'mon kirk, do it! i double-dog dare you...

  9. Norfolk PD took my car again.
    wv nograc

    I haven't responded because I don't know what Orwell is talking about. Isn't this Ayn Rand wrapped up in one sentence.

  10. @standing--Suppose I start out with Sgt Pepper or Abbey Road and move my way up to the White album.

    @Tag--For starters, you're under no obligation whatsoever to leave a comment on a post that may not interest you.

    Having said that, the word "tragedy" is being used in the literary sense. The quote is taken from an essay by Orwell trashing an essay by Leo Tolstoy trashing William Shakespeare's King Lear. I haven't read Tolstoys essay, but according to Orwell, he objects to King Lear having an unhappy ending. Tolstoy apparently saw something vaguely immoral about unhappy endings. Orwell was defending Shakespear, claiming the unhappy ending was motivated in the first place by the Bard's moral concerns.

    None of the above is the reason why I used the quote. I didn't even know where the quote came from when I first came across it. The quote resonated with me because of the whole Sharron Sherrod controversy that was going on at the same time. Sherrod was a black Argriculture Department employee who was caught on tape making some racist comments in to a NAACP gathering. Glenn Beck threatened to show PART of the tape on his TV show. The Obama Administration (define that term however you want) responded by firing Ms. Sherrod without having viewed the tape themselves. The full unedited tape eventually emerged and, to quote Gomer Pyle, SURPRISE, SURPRISE, her words were taken out of context. The Department of Agriculture has since offered her her job back. So I guess what I meant (I have no way of knowing if Orwell would agree with me) by tragedy is the way Obama White House was hoodwinked by a bunch of right-wing troublemakers. They should have been smarter than that.

    Of course, I didn't say any of the above in my quote. I wanted it to be open for interpretation. I have to say, I rather like Dreamfarm Girl's interpretation.

    I'll blow up a building before I ever quote Ayn Rand in this space.

  11. Good, the fewer Ayn Rand quotes in the world the better off we'll off all be.


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