05 July, 2010

go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company.

so, on this cold winter morning i decided to re-aquatint myself with the wondrous show that is boston legal. funny thought provoking stuff that often quote the great works and idea of mark twain. i'm quite ashamed to admit that i do not own one book by this influential and prolific american author; anyone who knows my book collection understands how big a deal that is. still, i have, like many high school children, read 'the adventures of tom sawyer' and enjoyed it about as much as any kid does a book they are being forced to read.

still, this post isn't about twain's books per-se but, rather the idea that live behind his works. ideas that americans pride themselves. still, i'm not sure twain's countrymen today are living by his patriotic example and have even stopped listening. history teaches, why aren't these people listening? this is a nation, where one 5th of americans can't locate their own country on a map, a mere 13% of senior students in the state of mississippi can read at an adult level and one 3rd of students in california can't even find the pacific ocean. the pacific ocean! it's right there.

some of his quotes that could help these uneducated young adults to find some thirst for knowledge are:

- 'classic.' a book which people praise and don't read.
- whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's tome to pause and reflect.
- all you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.
- get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
- i don't like to commit myself about heaven and hell - you see, i have friends in
both places.
- we have the best government money can buy.
- a man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.
- don't let schooling interfere with your education.
- clothing make the man. naked people have little or no influence on society.
- all generalisations are false, including this one.
- fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. truth isn't.
- honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.
- action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
- there is no distinctly american criminal class - except congress.
- loyalty to the country always. loyalty to the government when it deserves it.
- better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak out and remove all doubt.
- familiarity breeds contempt - and children.
- i can live for two months on a good compliment.
- laws control the lesser man... right conduct controls the greater one.
- good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
- wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to
have any relation.
- such is the human race, often it seems a pity that noah... didn't miss the boat.
- the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
- the lack of money is the root of all evil.

and finally, my personal favourite in today's australian political climate...

- when red-haired people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn.

1 comment:

Anachronist said...

Ah yes, Twain's an old favourite...have a couple of his if you'd like to borrow sometime (I particularly like The Innocents Abroad). When I was studying screenwriting I butchered it horribly adapting it to the screen! A bunch of geriatrics on a "pleasure cruise" to Europe and the Holy Land- what's not to love? He's a gem old Sam!

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