In a struggle to be happy and free

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Category: quotes Page 2 of 24

Memetic disappointment

I saw this fantastic meme on Facebook:

I love it because what he says is brilliant and because he said it some 1900 years ago. But as with many of these graphics, there are a few problems.

The guy in the image is not Aurelius. It’s Caracalla. Wrong emperor.

Even worse is that the quote doesn’t belong to Aurelius at all. According to Wikiquote,

No printed sources exist for this prior to 2009, and this seems to have been an attribution which arose on the internet, as indicated by web searches and rationales provided at “Marcus Aurelius and source checking” at Three Shouts on a Hilltop (14 June 2011)

It’s so disappointing, but I’d rather know than spread incorrect information.

Food for thought

The success of the modern food industry lies in its ability not just to provide us with hitherto unimaginable quantities of food, but to deliver it in good, or at least edible, condition. Most of it doesn’t taste as nice as it might have done straight out of the ground, but since most of us rarely eat really fresh food, we’ve forgotten what it’s supposed to taste like anyway.

Carolyn Steel, Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives, 2008

The Royal ‘we’

A new book, and some new knowledge! In this case, why a monarch will use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ when referring to themselves.

Since mediaeval times, the King had been seen as two bodies in one: a mortal entity and “the King’s person,” representing unending royal authority; monarchs therefore referred to themselves in the plural form as “we.”

Alison Weir, Henry VIII: The King and His Court, 2001

I’m shocked!

The other day, I have a dim recollection of hearing the President of the United States delivering a line from Casablanca, and then having a talking head explain it all. Of course it was a dream right?

Later the same evening, I came across the source of what seemed like a dream, but wasn’t. Obama was giving a speech to the Democratic National Committee in which he offered his thoughts on Donald Trump.

How can you be shocked? This is the guy, remember, who was sure that I was born in Kenya — who just wouldn’t let it go. And all this same Republican establishment, they weren’t saying nothing. As long as it was directed at me, they were fine with it. They thought it was a hoot, wanted to get his endorsement. And then now, suddenly, we’re shocked that there’s gambling going on in this establishment.1

It’s the last sentence. It echoes the scene from the film in which Captain Renault is closing Rick’s Cafe on the orders of German Major Strasser. Since he has no reason to do this, he makes one up.

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?

Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

Captain Renault: [aloud] Everybody out at once!2

That is one of my favourite lines from the film and I have used it in conversation. It was especially timely as I just watched Casablanca again recently with Julie, because she had never seen it before. We certainly had to fix that! Then a couple of weeks later, this!

I find it curious that the television news report felt the need to explain it while the Washington Post article did not.


  1. Nora Chokshi, “Obama’s brutal assessment of the rise of Donald Trump: He’s ‘selling stuff like it’s the Home Shopping Network’” from The Washington Post (as reprinted in The National Post), March 12, 2016.
  2. Casablanca,” The Internet Movie Database, retrieved March 15, 2016.

The Bachelor

I often watch television with my mom. We have ridiculously different taste in television programming but it’s her TV so the programming is her choice. One of her favourite shows is The Bachelor. It would be the last show I’d choose, but it’s mom’s choice!

That’s not to say it’s completely without redeeming value, however. I enjoy when people try to be what they’re not, because they think they’ll impress someone. With that in mind, this is a quote by a woman who did not make the cut:

I wanna talk smart things!

Olivia Caridi, The Bachelor, season 20 (Ben Higgins)

Priceless!

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