Ex Libris. Miscellaneous quotations NOS (Not Otherwise Specified)

"Take every statement I make as a question, not as an assettion." (Niels Bohr)

More useful things to quote:
    • White light for Wokies
    • What men are willing to put up with
    • Individual genitl organs (IGO)
    • Biden: Putin has to go (March 2022)
    • A liberal is
    • Robert Ballard on education
    • John Adams on the life of the mind
    • Where woke, political correctness came from (cf.: cancel culture)
    • What secrets tell (surprise endings)
    • Claude Levi-Strauss
    • Another hamburger
    • Ferenczi on childrearing
    • Arnold Gehlen
    • Levinas, the word by way
    • Individuality and Society (Jan Szczepanski, UNESCO, "Impact of science on society", 31(4), 461-466)
    • Harper's magazine Open Letter


    • Clifford Stoll
    • Husserl's Plato
    • Superman saves the day, for Truth, Justice and The American Way
    • Nonviolence
    • Rabelais on time
    • Milton Glaser
    • Negotiation / compromise
    • Ethics | Melanie Klein
    • J. Robert Oppenheimer
    • Alcatraz
    • Luke 2:41-52 (Education)
    • Pogo troops
    • Truth speaks to power (Ben Ali; Tunesia)

The rich
See / Say
Good Nazi
French women
Stanley Fish
MeToo Sanity
Buddhist arrow
Protests Viet
The musician
Sophie Freud

No institution is more sacred than the individuals it serves. (Hugh Burns, Dominican priest, NPR Morning Edition, 25Jan02 06:30AM EST. Father Burns was referring to sexual abuse of children by relatives and priests.)

The Rich Are Different. They Know When To Leave. (Louis Uchitelle, "Exit Strategies", NYT Week in Review, 20Jan02, p.W1: "In a trend not only limited to Enron, top executives are walking away with money in their pockets while their employees have watched their savings disappear.")

I've been wondering lately what multiculturalism was.... I remember all the talk about overthrowing the 'dead white males' of the old canon and opening it up to the 'subaltern' and the 'displaced' and the 'other.'... [/] Meanwhile, disciplines that might once have sponsored in-depth study of other cultures -- political science, for example -- were taken over by scholars who eschewed fieldwork in favor of computer models and game theory.... [/] Multiculturalism may not have prodded us to study cultures fundamentally different from our own; the war on terrorism will have to. (Margaret Talbot, "Other Woes: Multiculturalism's triumph, tied to weak foreign-language skills, has deafened us to many of the world's dangers", NYT Magazine, 18Nov01, pp.23,24.)

There are good days,
and there bad days.
And this has been one of them.
(Lawrence Welk (1903-1992; bio), conductor of "The Champagne Music Makers" band/orchestra. Ref. lost.)

President Bush poked fun at perceptions that he is a little short of intelligence... as he made his first appearance in the Gridiron Club's 116th annual spoof Saturday night.... Bush [said]... he has been told that his lips 'are where words go to die.' ("Bush Gives His First Talk at Gridiron Club", 25Mar01, The New York Times on the Web (Associated Press, filed 4:43AM EST))

In the military, order and discipline are paramount, command authority absolute. At the same time, it has long been thought that the greatest strength of the American military is its empowerment of junior officers, sergeants, chiefs, even the enlisted troops, to speak their minds. [/] "We instill the mind-set that if we're about to go on the rocks, it doesn't matter if you're a boatswain's mate, you turn around and say, 'Yo, skipper, what the hell are you doing?' " a senior naval officer said. ("Sub's Crew May Have Hesitated to Question a Trusted Captain", by Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times on the Web, 12Mar01)

Because you could not come to me, I came to you. (Pope John XXIII, said concerning his visits to Italian prisons to give mass to the prisoners (heard on NPR Morning Edition radio program, 28Oct00).)

At age 100 Birnbaum remarked, "If I was only 90 again... the things I would do!' ("In Memory of Aaron Birnbaum 1895-1998", advertisement by K.S. Art, Winter 1998/99 "Folk Art" magazine, p.27.)

No one should expect an honest answer to a question which no one is entitled to ask.... In this instance, a lot of things matter more than the truth. (Matt Miller (Senior Writer, U.S. News and World Report), National Public Radio Morning Edition (31Jul98), "Halting the Lewinsky Madness".) See also: here.

"French fashion people... like their businessmen erudite and protective.... [Christian] Dior... put his talent in the service of his workers' skills with a humility that manifested itself whenever he encountered an employee, however lowly, in one of the house's corridors. Invariably, Dior would step aside to let the employee pass." (Holly Brubach, NYT Magazine (12Jul98, p.29, "And Luxury for All", an article about Bernard Arnault, who has bought up Dior and other producers of luxury items: "Arnault reportedly keeps walking, head down. He has not taken the time to get to know the people at Dior...." (p.29))

"So is there a beast wrestling with an angel in each of us? ....[My mother] affirmed her belief one day in 1940 as she ran desparately around Berlin wondering how she and I -- marked as Jews and also as Polish 'enemy aliens' in wartime -- might obtain a permit to escape from Nazi Germany at last. She came upon a commissioner of police who, though angered by her invasion of his office, nonetheless dared to close the door and whisper the name and location of the Gestapo chief to whom she should apply. As she thanked him and turned to leave, the commissioner suddenly asked, Where did you say you want to go?" [reply:] To America. [commissioner:] If you get there, will you tell them we're not all bad? To her last day, she did." (Max Frankel, NYT Book Review (28Jun98, p.7; review of: A Nation on Trial: The Goldenhagen Thesis and Historical Truth).)

"If someone has a pain in his hand ... one does not comfort the hand, but the sufferer: One looks into his face" ([Philosophical Investigations] §286)

In Poland... the very notion that Western-style capitalism will work in the eastern nation that embraced it perhaps most heartily is under attack.... [E]conomist... Krzysztof Bledowski... said... "There is an apropos graffiti[:] 'Free market, enslaved people' ....The mood has shifted. Capitalism is not seen by many people as a system for justice, growth, better times for kids and so on." (Ian Fisher, "As Poland Endures Hard Times, Capitalism Comes Under Attack", NYT, 12Jun02, p.A1 (emphasis added).)

...24-7... relies upon its agents to abide by an agreement they must keep secret, even from themselves[:]... we will so conduct ourselves that everything becomes an emergency. [/] Under that agreement, stress is how reality feels. (Thomas de Zengotita, "The Numbing of the American Mind", Harper's Magazine, April 2002, emphasis added (quoted in: NetFuture, Issue #131))

Look at the Taliban. Look at the Vatican. Now, look at the bonobo. Bonobos, or pygmy chimpanzees, live in the equatorial rain forests of Congo, and have an extraordinarily happy existence. And why? Because in bonobo society, the females are dominant. Just light dominance, so that it is more like a co-dominance, or equality between the sexes. "They are less obsessed with power and status than their chimpanzee cousins, and more consumed with Eros," The Times's Natalie Angier has written. "Bonobos use sex to appease, to bond, to make up after a fight, to ease tensions, to cement alliances...." The males were happy to give up a little dominance once they realized the deal they were being offered: all those aggressive female primates, after a busy day of dominating their jungle, were primed for sex, not for the withholding of it. There's no battle of the sexes in bonoboland. (Maureen Dowd, "The Baby Bust", The New York Times on the Web, 10Apr2002)

"We're not out to beat Interbrew," the big Belgian brewery that competes with the likes of Anheuser-Busch and Heineken for global dominance. "Quality has to be first -- quality in the product, and in the working conditions, in relations among people." (John Taglibue, "Monks' Brew Showers Blessings on Belgian Town", NYT, 15Jan03, p.A4)

A study conducted by two academics at Iowa State University has shown a remarkably high rate of "decay" for online citations. Michael Bugeja, professor of journalism and communication, and Daniela Dimitrova, assistant professor of communication, looked at five prestigious communication-studies journals from 2000 to 2003 and found 1,126 footnotes that cite online resources. Of those, 373 did not work at all, a decay rate of 33 percent; of those that worked, only 424 took users to information relevant to the citation. In one of the journals in the study, 167 of 265 citations did not work.... Anthony T. Grafton, a professor of history at Princeton University and author of a book on footnotes, agreed that citation decay is a real and growing problem, describing the situation as "a world in which documentation and verification melt into air." ("STUDY SHOWS ONLINE CITATIONS DON'T AGE WELL", Chronicle of Higher Education, 14 March 2005, abstracted in Edupage, 14Mar05)

Mireille Guiliano... C.E.O. of Clicquot Inc. and a director of Champagne Veuve Clicquot... knows [Americans] eat too fast in front of the TV or with newspaper in hand, while French women make a ritual out of every meal. She knows we eat portions that are too big and food that is too bland. French women, on the other hand, stress flavor and variety over quantity and, therefore, are more satisfied with less. (Bland food and too much of one kind, a big bowl of pasta for example, breeds boredom, which leads you to alleviate it by eating more.) She knows our tendency to gorge ourselves on Snickers bars rather than savoring a single piece of fine dark chocolate. French women eat slowly and 'with all five senses.'... And then there is the fact that while close to two-thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight, French women really don't get fat. The reason behind that most enviable difference, says Guiliano, is that "French women take pleasure in staying thin by eating well, while American women see it as a conflict and obsess over it." Put another way, "French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat.".... (Julia Reed, "'French Women Don't Get Fat': Like Champagne for Chocolate", NYT Book Review, 06Feb05, pp.12-13; You are what you eatStuff your face!)

All trash to recycling!CARVILLE: Can we agree that masturbation does not cause pregnancy, just -- it's simple enough. Yes or no?
[GENEVIEVE] WOOD[, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL]: I'm not going to debate that thing -- no, I'm not talking going to talk -- that's not what this is about.
CARVILLE: Well, can you...
WOOD: That's not what this is about. What this is about is a political agenda.
(CNN CROSSFIRE, "Sex Talk in Schools", Aired December 2, 2004 - 16:30 ET)[1][5]

[After a professor told his class some idea he believed that is not generally acceptable to say: A]cademic freedom has nothing to do with content. It is not a subset of the general freedom of Americans to say anything they like (so long as it is not an incitement to violence or is treasonous or libelous). Rather, academic freedom is the freedom of academics to study anything they like.... / [T]he number of viewpoints Mr. Barrett presents to his students is not the measure of his responsibility. There is, in fact, no academic requirement to include more than one view of an academic issue, although it is usually pedagogically useful to do so. The true requirement is that no matter how many (or few) views are presented to the students, they should be offered as objects of analysis rather than as candidates for allegiance. (Stanley Fish, Prof. of Law, Florida International Univ., "Conspiracy Theories 101", Op-Ed Piece, NYT, 23Jul06, p.WK13)Go get plain text copy of this text!
See also: "Harper's Magazine letter on justice and open debate.

Listen to: Woke riot at a conservative college.

An Amazon executive was confronting his new role as a buyer of large appliances, like dishwashers, after several years as a book buyer. "We had beaten publishers into submission," the executive said, noting giddily that when "Amazon asked for a nickel, publishers know to give a dime.... We aren't there yet with the Whirlpools and the Samsungs," he added. "We'll get them under our thumb." (Greg Bensinger, "A Final Word Before Mr. Bezos Blasts Off", NYT OpEd, +2021.06.27)

Well now, of course, we know that the superior mind does not learn by comparison, it learns by analysis. The inferior mind will learn by comparing this to that, which is how I guess we got to the old saying that "comparisons are odious." They're not enlightening, they're odious, because you don't get to the truth of anything that way; you simply slip around on the surface. But here, if you get the habit of analysis, and you study a thing for its nature, then come to a decision -- that's enlightenment, not conditioning. The conditioned mind will learn by comparison. The enlightened mind will learn by analysis. (Frank Lloyd Wright)

The story of the Boeing 737 Max would end up exposing corporate deception and a broken regulatory process. But at the center was a software system supposed to keep people safe but instead led to their deaths. (PBS Frontline, "Boeing's Fatal Flaw". The 737 Max Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) problem)

"'As much as I love my job, I'm realizing that it's not worth my life,' [Cutter Ray Palacios, a low-paid worker in the film industry] said. 'It's unhealthy when your whole life is tied to a waged job. You don't realize how bad that is until it's too late.'" ("The Film Industry Wants to Keep the Status Quo? Then Shut It Down.", NYT, +2021.10.08)

"Yes, I had read John Wild's essays back in the early 1960s, found them interesting, but also found them oversimplifying. Wild, however, had the great merit of encouraging and promoting interest in the phenomenological classics and in this way helped bring about the emergence of a whole new dimension for the Anglo-American philosophic world." (Prof. R.B., personal email, Dec04; R.B. must be Ronald Bruzina)

Parole hearings create a terrible Catch-22 for wrongfully convicted people. If they admit guilt, they can undermine any attempt to overturn their conviction. If they continue to assert their innocence, they can doom their best chance at freedom -- parole -- because parole applications effectively require statements of remorse. (NYT, "The Morning", +2021.12.06)

As Peter Robison demonstrates in "Flying Blind: The 737 Max Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing" ultimate blame for the crashes lies with the highly paid executives who waged a decades-long campaign to transform Boeing from a company "once ruled by engineers who thumbed their noses at Wall Street" into "one of the most shareholder-friendly creatures of the market," a company that "celebrated managers for cost cutting, co-opted regulators with heaps of money and pressured suppliers with Walmart-style tactics." ("The Crash of Two Airplanes and the Crisis at Boeing", NYT, +2021.12.01, David Gelles)

"So I want to say first of all this as a principle: A historic period needs to be interpreted with the hermeneutic of that epoch, not with that of ours. For example, take the case of slavery: We say the abuses of 100 years ago were a brutality, but the way they understood it then was not the same as today.... We must always interpret things with the hermeneutic of that time, not ours." ("Pope Francis:'I accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Paris not on the altar of truth but on the altar of hypocrisy'", +2021.12.06, America: The Jesuit Review, Gerard O'Connell)

All known cultures have in one way or another depersonalized as well as personalized, so that no human culture has been worth preerving the way it was -- although all have been worth improving. (Walter Ong, "Fighting for life", p. 201, Note the implicit value judgment here: that a person has velue as an individual, not only as a member of a group, a worker bee in a hive.)

Behind every joke is a grievance. The funny man is a man with a grudge. (Marshall McLuhan)

"Food for powder" (Shakespeare's Falstaff)

"Naturally, the common people don't want war ... but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." (Hermann Göring, at the Nuremberg trials)Go get plain text copy of this text!

[Concerning sexual abuse allegations against New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo:] The question of the generation gap re-emerges: "I'm old, which doesn't make me tolerant of abuse of women, whether in the home or the workplace, far from it. But women my age distinguished -- and I still do -- between the Trumps, Kavanaughs, Weinsteins, Cosbys and the millions of males flirting or leering .... Until someone proves that Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually assaulted a woman or made sex the price of a hire, I see the cries for impeachment or resignation as ridiculous. (Emita Hill, former vice president of Lehman College, CUNY; NYT, +2021.03.17)

What having baby can do to a woman's body.

After the balloon deflates...

I expect to be skewered on a stick for posting this comment, but here it goes. I never wanted children for a lot of reasons, never had them, and never regretted my decision for one minute and I'm decades past menopause. When I was a teenager, I saw my mother's pendulous breasts, flabby belly and my grandmother's prolapsed uterus, quickly figured out the reason, and decided I wanted no part of that. Humans are in no danger of dying out. There will always be women who, for some unfathomable reason, lust after the idea of getting pregnant and giving birth -- I'm just not one of them. And if humanity doesn't succeed in doing self in, within a few decades the artificial womb will have been perfected, and articles like this one will be a historical curiosity and a moot point. (Letter to the Editor, NYT, "Opinion: After Birth: How Motherhood Changed My Relationship With My Body", +2019.01.19)[2][3]Go get plain text copy of this text!

There is a long-standing conflict between scientists, who see themselves as citizens of a cosmopolitan republic of unrestricted inquiry, and the state, which is likelier to assign a property value to knowledge. Benjamin Franklin held that "science must be an international pursuit'" in service of the "improvement of humanity's estate." ("Reporter at large: Dangerous Minds", Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, +2022.03.21, p. 44)

Cavalier witnesses of online shaming have been known to recommend that their targets "just log off" and resume existence IRL. But logging off --- and returning to the sphere in which people are apt to forgive one another for venal offenses --- is no longer an option. Reality is less real than the Internet, where jobs are lost and lives are ruined in a few clicks. There is no "off" left. ("Hang your head: Why shaming became a national pastime", Becca Rothfeld, The New Yorker, +2022.03.28, p. 83. Reminds me of: "The Activist")

John Gillis, Trinity [College, Dublin, Ireland]'s chief book conservator... lowered his voice conspiratorially: "I'm a conservator. Librarians are our enemy. We say, 'Don't touch that old book!' and they want to let people open it and read it!" (Ed O'Loughlin, NYT, May 28, 2022, "An Irish National Treasure Gets Set for a Long-Needed Restoration")

Chenxing Han, a chaplain and teacher, told a Buddhist parable. A man is shot with a poisoned arrow, Ms. Han recounted as she drove a group of high school seniors to visit a Thai temple in Massachusetts. The arrow piercing his flesh, the man demands answers. What kind of arrow is it? Who shot the arrow? What kind of poison is it? What feathers are on the arrow, a peacock's or a hawk's? But all these questions miss the point, the Buddha tells his disciple. What is important is pulling out that poison arrow, and tending to the wound. "We need to be moved by the pain of all of the suffering. But it is important that we are not paralyzed by it," Ms. Han said. "It makes us value life because we understand life is very precious, life is very brief, it can be extinguished in a single instant." ("The Arrow in America's Heart: Relentless mass shootings, a million dead from Covid — How much do we value a single life?", Elizabeth Dias, May 31, 2022;[4]

As often before, I'm reminded of a lesson I learned long ago. In the late 1960s, I took part in a meeting in Europe with a few representatives of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam ("Viet Cong," in U.S. parlance). It was during the brief period of intense opposition to the horrendous U.S. crimes in Indochina. Some young people were so infuriated that they felt that only a violent reaction would be an appropriate response to the unfolding monstrosities: breaking windows on Main Street, bombing an ROTC center. Anything less amounted to complicity in terrible crimes. The Vietnamese saw things very differently. They strongly opposed all such measures. They presented their model of an effective protest: a few women standing in silent prayer at the graves of U.S. soldiers killed in Vietnam. They were not interested in what made American opponents of the war feel righteous and honorable. They wanted to survive. ("Noam Chomsky: US Military Escalation Against Russia Would Have No Victors", +2022.03.01)

Example of "meta": The most insensitive comments were deleted, but two arguments, in particular, remained.... And with that pushback, the comments section devolved into meta discussions of pointed criticism and defensive justifications ("There's a New Gerber Baby and Some Parents Are Mad", +2022.06.05, NYT)

...a [George W.] Bush speech was interrupted by Mike Prysner, an activist and Iraq veteran, "Mr. Bush, when are you going to apologize for the milliion Iraqis who are dead because you lied?" Prysner screamed. "You lied about weapons of mass desruction! ("NeoCon[servative]", NYT Sunday Magazine, p. 10, +2022.06.12. See also: here) was in Bosnia, the biggest single act of ethnic cleaning I had witnessed to date.... and there was an old man who stopped to talk to us.... and he was 80 years old and he looked as though he had already died.... and I asked him do you mind if I ask you Are you a Croat or a muslim? And he said, "I'm a musician".... (BBC World Service, June 26, 2022 03:00AM-06:00AM BST, Internet Archive), [See also: here, and: here]Go get plain text copy of this text!

"I shall think of the sorrow of my children, and of the sorrow of my grandchildren for their children, in this harsh new world," Professor Freud wrote, "and I will leave the world with relief thinking of all that will have been spared me." (Sophie Freud, New York Times obituary, Sam Roberts, Published June 3, 2022, Updated June 6, 2022)

The history of science and technology of the post-war [post-1945] era is filled with examples of reckless and unreflective "progress" which, while beneficial or at least profitable to some in the short run, may yet devastate much life on this planet. Perhaps it is too much to hope, but I hope nonetheless that as our discipline matures our practitioners will mature also, that all of us will begin to think about what we are actually doing and ponder whether, whatever it is, it is what those who follow after us would want us to have done. (Joseph Weizenbaum, Professor of Computer Science, MIT)

Sweden is not a smaller, colder America with better child care. It is a different society — a country of just 10 million people, built on consensus and collectivism, where schoolteachers are instructed, as part of the government's national guidelines for educators, to emphasize the importance to children of being able to "relate to and understand the situation of others and to develop a desire to act while considering what is also best for those others." ("Opinion: The Case That Killed #MeToo in Sweden", Jenny Nordberg, March 15, 2022, NYT)


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  1. "SHORT TAKE The church can help prevent sexual violence—by doing a better job teaching about sex Far from encouraging sexual activity, the right kind of sex education can teach children that they have the agency to say "no." Parishes and faith-based groups are ideal for delivering this message." (From American Media, The Jesuit Review) But shouldn't young persons also be taught to seek out situations where thay can healthily say "Yes"? What are the benefits of privation? Iron rusts.
  2. Your Comment on The Future Isn't Female Anymore
    The New York Times <>
    11:59 AM (55 minutes ago) [+2022.06.17]
    Your comment has been approved!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with The New York Times community.
    Bradford McCormick | New York
    I am all for gender equality. I feel that all persons, irrespecctive of secondary qualities, should participate in public lifeand personal opportunities according to thei ability to engage in self-acountable discourse, and everybody else should be protected by fiduciary arrangements. Example: infants. The very word means "unable to speak". I wonder if women really want to be equal. Do they want preferntial seating on the lifeboats of a sinking ship? Do they want equality in numbers of battlefield casualties and deaths. Traditionally, women have given males a sob story about their vulnerability and tried to shame the men into submitting to military constription, combat and the expected casualties. Are they willing to "woman up"? Not a few XXs are even physically stonger then some XYs (at age 18 years when the SSS wanted me for meat in Vietnam, I was 6'1", 129 pounds, and today my bones are thinner than many ladies -- my physician had me do a test often reserved for old women: a bone deisity scan). So do the ladies want equality, or do they still want to have their cake and eat it too? In A Letter to the Editor of the New York Times: "Opinion: After Birth: How Motherhood Changed My Relationship With My Body", +2019.01.19, one lady wrote that after she saw her mother's pendulous breasts and ner grandmother's propalsed uerus, she knew she wanted none of it, that the human species is not at risk of dying out and that soon artificlal wombs will make it all moot.
  3. Read more about this: here. Thank you.
  4. My accepted comment to The New York Times: "Respectfully, the Buddhist proverb could -- should -- also apply to where even more people are being killed: In the Ukraine war. An immedate unconditional cease fire in place would show we value for human life more than who shot the arrow."
  5. Your Comment on Georgia Judge Suspends State's Abortion Ban
    The New York Times <>
    6:20 AM (16 hours ago) [+2022.11.15]
    Your comment has been approved!
    Bradford McCormick | New York
    There is a "nuclear option" solution to the abortion issue which probably nobody will publicly sign up for because of all the benighted taboos around the subject, but it would 100% work: People need to stop having vaginal intercourse and thereby remove the potential cause for abortion. There are many way to have loving and satisfying intimate activity wihout risk of getting pregnant. I recall the advice of The New York City Department of Public Health at the start of the Covid pandemic where they affirmed that sexual activity is an important part of normal healthy life and: "You are your own safest sex partner."
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