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Archives for 1997

Quotes of the Week: The Hollywood Ten

November 23rd, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Quotations

Fifty years ago, on November 24, 1947, The Un-American Activities Committee found the “Hollywood Ten” in contempt because they refused to reveal whether they were communists or not. This is a part of history that was hardly covered in my history classes in school. The entire “McCarthy Era” was glazed over and barely acknowledged. I wonder if it was because of shame or if it was still too controversial to cover when I was a child. The most coverage this era received was in my literature class when we read The Crucible by Arthur Miller. He was a victim of a blacklist that started with a senator named Joseph McCarthy.

Joseph McCarthy, along with Richard M. Nixon and Chairman J. Parnell Thomas, was involved with The Un-American Activities Committee. Over the span of a few years, this committee systematically brought people to them on the charges that they were “un-American.” There were a group of ten artists affiliated with Hollywood that were brought before this committee who refused to answer whether they were communists on the grounds that what senator McCarthy was doing was unconstitutional. Many famous actors and actresses, like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, went to Washington to support these industry leaders, only to find themselves threatened with blacklists.

The following quotes are meant to be read in groups of two. The first is a quote that supports this sort of witch-hunting, and the second is another quote rebuking it.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

“I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five [people] that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.”
Joseph Raymond McCarthy, speech, Wheeling, West Virginia, Febuary 9, 1950

“In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me – and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
Pastor Martin Niemoller, Dachau, 1944

“Rebellion is like witchcraft. That’s what it is, it’s like witchcraft.”
Missouri State Rep. Jean Dixon, on labeling “offensive music”. USA Today, March 20, 1990

“A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”
Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

“It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
Pat Robertson, The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1993

“After ages of transmitted prejudice and silly teaching, only one person in twenty puts any real heart into the harrying of a witch. And yet apparently everybody hates witches and wants them killed. Some day a handful will rise up on the other side and make the most noise — perhaps even a single daring man with a big voice and a determined front will do it — and in a week all the sheep will wheel and follow him, and witch-hunting will come to a sudden end.”
Mark Twain, “The Mysterious Stranger”, 1922

For more information about The Hollywood Ten and the McCarthy Era, try these links:

Quotes of the Week: High School Reunions and Friendship

November 16th, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Quotations

Last week I attended my ten year high school reunion. After saying that I wouldn’t go, I went. I had fully decided that when the invitation came, I would return the information sheet, but, regretfully, not attend. But when the envelope arrived and the information sheet was completed, I paid the fee to go. I knew instantly that there were people I wanted to see, so I made a list of their names and awaited the day.

Although I was apprehensive about former enemies, I was not nearly as scared as a few of my colleagues. Their feelings ranged from worrying about their physical safety to the desire to show off their improved wealth, appearance, or fame. For them, the evening was safer than they expected. Most of the bullies and bitches didn’t attend, and the few that did, were strangely docile.

Almost all of the people I wished to see were there. I reproached myself for not keeping in touch with these people, but I was very happy to have found them again. We could start anew. I gathered addresses and made promises about lunches and dinners.

Seeing the face of a dear friend after being separated for ten years is an odd feeling. I wish I could describe the combination of regret and joy. Instead, I can only recommend the following quotes.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

“A friend is someone who will help you move. A real friend is someone who will help you move a body.”

“True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.”
Charles Caleb Colton

“Remember, the greatest gift is not found in a store nor under a tree, but in the hearts of true friends.”
Cindy Lew

“Don’t be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.”
Richard Bach

“False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports.”
Richard Burton

“I keep my friends as misers do their treasure, because, of all the things granted us by wisdom, none is greater or better than friendship.”
Pietro Aretino, letter to Giovanni Pollastra, July 7, 1537

“Old friends, we say, are best, when some sudden disillusionment shakes our faith in a new comrade.”
Gelett Burgess, “Old Friends and New,” 1916

“No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.”
Robert Southey

For more information about High School Reunions and Friendship, try these links:

  • Yahoo’s High School Reunion Pages – Find your high school reunion page (mine wasn’t there, so this may be only helpful to a few). Most pages include forms to enter your information, some merely contain e-mail addresses. You too can enjoy the bliss of finding old friends.

  • The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
  • The Friendship Quote Page – A huge collection of quotes regarding friendship, both positive and negative.
  • The Friendship Page – Links to pages related to friendship. Find an e-mail friend or just read some friendship poetry. You’ll be sick of the word friend by the time you finish with this page.
  • Quotes of the Week: Carl Sagan

    November 9th, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    I like to think that my childhood is no different than that of my peers. I pretend that all children watched Cosmos on Saturday nights on PBS with their fathers, but I’m sure that is not the case. While I counted the days to Saturday to see Carl Sagan’s television show, other kids were counting the days to see Dukes of Hazzard. It explains much of my persona to know that I was raised with the ideas and philosophies of Carl Sagan.

    Nearly a year ago, when Carl Sagan died, many news shows televised brief biographies of his life. It was then that I realized that I would never be able to do him justice on a single web page. Here are a few quotes from Mr. Sagan. I hope you can enjoy him as much as I have my entire life.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English — up to fifty words used in correct context — no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese.”

    “Prejudice is making a judgment before you have looked at the facts. Postjudice is making a judgment afterwards. Prejudice is terrible, in the sense that you commit injustices and you make serious mistakes. Postjudice is not terrible. You can’t be perfect of course; you may make mistakes also. But it is permissible to make a judgment after you have examined the evidence. In some circles it is even encouraged.”
    The Burden of Skepticism, Skeptical Enquirer, Vol. 12, pg. 46

    “In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.”
    1987 CSICOP Keynote Address

    “The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.”

    “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

    “Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.”

    “Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

    “We have heard so far the voice of life on one small world only. But we have at last begun to listen for other voices in the cosmic fugue.”
    Cosmos, One Voice In The Cosmic Fugue, pg. 31

    For more information about Carl Sagan, try these links:

    Quotes of the Week: Will Rogers

    November 2nd, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    This week marks the birthday of Will Rogers. He’s been called the Cowboy Philosopher, but I never thought of him in that manner. My earliest recollection of anything to do with this hilarious man dealt primarily with the newspaper. His written word was a daily feature in my hometown newspaper. I remember reading his columns and loving every word, never knowing that he had died long before I was ever born. It’s amazing how well his work stands today.

    It wasn’t until I had read his column for over a year that I noticed inconsistencies. When I highlighted them to my mom, she laughed heartily, replying that the commentaries that I had been reading were reprints. She pointed to a sentence above his picture that gave the original date in which it ran. I felt silly, of course, but that was just the first in a long line of silliness to come.

    The following are a few of the many quotes from William Rogers. Enjoy!

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.”
    Illiterate Digest (1924),

    “In Hollywood the woods are full of people that learned to write but evidently can’t read; if they could read their stuff, they’d stop writing.”

    “When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad ones you did do – well, that’s Memoirs.”
    The Autobiography of Will Rogers (1949)

    “The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.”

    “You can’t say that civilization don’t advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.”
    New York Times, 23 Dec 1929

    “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”

    “Let Wall Street have a nightmare and the whole country has to help get them back in bed again.”
    The Autobiography of Will Rogers (1949)

    “Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”
    New York Times, 29 Apr 1930

    “Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing — and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even.”

    “Instead of giving money to found colleges to promote learning, why don’t they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition one did, why, in five years we would have the smartest race of people on earth.”

    For more information about Will Rogers, try these links:

    Quotes of the Week: Halloween

    October 26th, 1997 by Laura Moncur in Quotations

    I love Halloween because it’s the one time of the year when I can put aside my normal fears of life and choose to temporarily be scared of the things that go bump in the night again. When did I stop being scared of vampires and start being scared of my boss? Ok, I can answer that one, but it’s all Ann Rice’s fault. Until Lestat, I was scared of vampires. But when did witches stop being instruments of terror and start being a convenient name to call a co-worker? Ok, I can answer that one too, and Elizabeth Montgomery has some explaining to do.

    The following quotes are associated with the fears of adults (my fear of ghosts and other spirit entities doesn’t count). At Halloween, I spend so much time creating artificial fear, that I find myself forgetting about the real ones. To bring myself back to the real stuff, here are some of my favorites.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.”
    Sir Francis Bacon, Essays [1625], “Of Death”

    “There are many who dare not kill themselves for fear of what the neighbors will say.”
    Cyril Connolly

    “Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth– more than ruin, more even than death.”
    Bertrand Russell

    “You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.”
    Eric Hoffer

    “To suffering there is a limit; to fearing, none.”
    Sir Francis Bacon, Essays [1625], “Of Seditions and Troubles”

    “Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”
    Louis E. Boone

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”
    Nelson Mandela

    “I moved to New York City for my health. I’m paranoid and New York was the only place where my fears were justified.”
    Anita Weiss

    “A thousand fearful images and dire suggestions glance along the mind when it is moody and discontented with itself. Command them to stand and show themselves, and you presently assert the power of reason over imagination.”
    Sir Walter Scott

    “For as children tremble and fear everything in the blind darkness, so we in the light sometimes fear what is no more to be feared than the things children in the dark hold in terror and imagine will come true.”
    Titus Lucretius Carus [99-55 B.C.], De Rerum Natura, bk. III, l. 87

    For more information about Halloween (you’ll have to explore fear on your own), try these links:

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