Saturday, March 24, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas March 24, 2007

471 “…inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence….” [Resolution on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.] Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

108 ‘True comedy,’ said Voltaire, ‘is the speaking picture of the follies and foibles of a nation.’ E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

220 Robertson Davies: …comedy is fully as revealing in its probing of human problems as is tragedy. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

220 Stanley Elkin: There can be no consequences in comedy. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

2 The figures of comedy, historical or invented, are familiar contemporary types…. Hadas, ed., The Complete Works of Aristophanes.

7 The tragic poet might explore large questions of the ways of god to man; the comic poet told his audiences what was wrong with foreign policy or politicians, or how educationists were corrupting sound learning or neoteric poets corrupting good taste, and he invited immediate action, not merely a change in attitude. Hadas, ed., The Complete Works of Aristophanes.

11 …New Comedy represents the relationships and problems of Everyman, and is therefore the most exportable of all ancient dramatic forms. Hadas, ed., The Complete Works of Aristophanes.

369 Johnson on comedy vs. farce: It is comedy, which exhibits the character of a species, as that of a miser gathered from many misers; it is a farce which exhibits individuals. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

xviii Ten thousand committees could never produce the Sistine ceiling. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Common Sense
285 I never understood what common sense meant applied to complicated problems—unless it means that a general practitioner can perform a better operation than a specialist. Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night.

48 Einstein: …common sense is actually nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down in the mind prior to the age of eighteen [and] every new idea one encounters in later years must combat this accretion of “self-evident” concepts. Barnett, The Universe and Dr. Einstein

133 On some bright tomorrow, so I hope and pray, someone will write a history of common sense. Mencken, Minority Report.

198 It would no doubt surprise the average man, even the average intelligent man, to learn that he harbors [within him] an epistemology…the epistemology of common sense. Mencken, Minority Report.

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