Monday, June 25, 2007

Quotes: Jail. Japanese-Americans. Jargon. Jealousy. Jefferson. Jesus. Jews. JFK.

The feelings of one who is in jail are indescribable unless you are actually there to see it.
Jail 576 …but there was the same air about them all—a listless jailbird careless swagger, a vagabondish who’s afraid sort of bearing, which is wholly indescribable in words, but which any man can understand in one moment if he wish by setting foot in the nearest debtor’s prison…. Dickens, Pickwick.

A prisoner is a person who is dead to society but without the pity that accompanies real death.
Jail 594 Prisoner: “I am a dead man, dead to society, without the pity they bestow on those whose souls have passed to judgment.” Dickens, Pickwick.

Unlike the Chinese, the Japanese tried to be assimilated into American culture.
Japanese-Americans 328 Unlike the Chinese, [the Japanese immigrants] immediately sought to Americanize themselves…relinquished the ways of their old world. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Examples of jargon:
Jargon 128 “The capacity to generate language viability destruction.” Newman, Strictly Speaking.

Jargon 148 On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln was on the side of social scientists when he said, “God must have loved the people of lower and middle socio-economic status, because he made such a multiplicity of them.” Newman, Strictly Speaking.

Jargon 16 Clutter from inter-office memos: The trend to mosaic communication is reducing the meaningfulness of concern about whether or not demographic segments differ in their tolerance of periodicity. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Jargon 16 Clutter from the computer world: We are offering functional digital programming options that have built-in parallel reciprocal capabilities with compatible third-generation contingencies and hardware. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Jargon 16 Clutter from the Pentagon: Invasion = a “reinforced protective reaction strike” … need for “credible second-strike capability” and “counterforce deterrence.” Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Jargon is a method used by professions to keep laymen from understanding their specialized knowledge.
Jargon 17 …every profession has its growing arsenal of jargon to fire at the layman and hurl him back from its walls. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

A Biblical passage transformed into jargon.
Jargon 126 Ecclesiastes: I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. [Orwell translates into jargon]: Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account. Zinsser, On Writing Well.

Some examples of jargon in education.
Jargon and education 144 “Authored”: Why not, “He playwrighted a play”...? Newman, Strictly Speaking.

Jargon in education 143 In June, 1974, Hampshire College in South Amherst, Massachusetts graduated it first class...plans for the college were set out in December 1966, as a “working paper,” and…these were some of the positions taken: that social structure should optimally be the consonant patterned expression of culture; that higher education is enmeshed in a congeries of social and political change; that the field of the humanities suffers from a surfeit of leeching, its blood drawn out by verbalism, explication of text, Alexandrian scholasticism, and the exquisite preciosities and pretentiousness of contemporary literary criticism; that a formal curriculum of academic substance and sequence should not be expected to contain mirabilia which will bring all the educative ends of the college to pass, and that any formal curriculum should contain a high frangibility factor; that the College hopes that the Hampshire student will have kept within him news of Hampshire’s belief that individual man’s honorable choice is not between immolation in a senseless society or withdrawal into the autarchic self but instead trusts that his studies and experience in the College will confirm for him the choice that only education allows: detachment and skill enough to know, engagement enough to feel, and concern enough to act, with self and society in productive interplay, separate and together; that an overzealous independence reduces linguistics to a kind of cryptographic taxonomy of linguistic forms, and that the conjoining of other disciplines and traditional linguistics becomes most crucial as problems of meaning are faced in natural language; and that the College expects its students to wrestle most with questions of the human condition, which are, What does it mean to be human? How can men become more human? What are human beings for? Newman, Strictly Speaking.

Jealousy leads to shameless degradation.
Jealousy 344 It is impossible to picture to oneself the shame and moral degradation to which the jealous man can descend without a qualm of conscience. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Thomas Jefferson was versatile.
Jefferson 430 JFK: “This is the most extraordinary collection of talent [American Nobel Prize winners] …that has ever been gathered together at the White House—with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” Sorenson, Kennedy.

Jefferson was a universal man.
264 Thomas Jefferson…was the typical universal man of the eighteenth century, linguist, scientist, agriculturist, educator, town planner and architect…love of music, the management of horses…. Clark, Civilization.

Jesus used techniques of modern advertising.
Jesus 18 Bruce Barton…who had discovered two decades earlier that Jesus, too, was an advertising man. Blum, V Was for Victory

The essence of being a Jew is suffering.
Jews 82 “I think a Jew is a Jew…because he suffers.” Blum, V Was for Victory

The history of the Jews.
Jews 146 The story of the Jews since the Dispersion is one of the epics of European history: Driven from their natural home by the Roman capture of Jerusalem (70 AD), and scattered by flight and trade among all the nations and to all continents; persecuted and decimated by the adherents of the great religions--Christianity and Mohammedanism--which had been born of their scriptures and their memories; barred by the feudal system from owning land, and by the guilds from taking part in industry; shut up within congested ghettos...mobbed by the people and robbed by the kings; building with their finance and trade the towns and cities indispensable to civilization; outcast and excommunicated, insulted and injured;--yet, without any political structure, without any legal compulsion to social unity, without even a common language, this wonderful people has maintained itself in body and soul, has preserved its racial and cultural integrity, has guarded with jealous love its oldest rituals and traditions, has patiently and resolutely awaited the day of its deliverance, and has emerged greater in number than ever before, renowned in every field for the contributions of its geniuses, and triumphantly restored, after two thousand years of wandering, to its ancient and unforgotten home. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza.

The Jews survived because of hatred and persecution.
Jews 165 Spinoza: The Jews have survived chiefly because of Christian hatred of them; persecution gave them the unity and solidarity necessary for continued racial existence; without persecution they might have mingled and married with the peoples of Europe, and been engulfed in the majorities with which they were everywhere surrounded. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza.

Joseph Alsop said that JFK was a Stevenson with courage and panache [vigor].
JFK 24 Joseph Alsop on JFK: “Isn’t he marvelous—a Stevenson with balls!” Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

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