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The difficulty of dealing with St. Thomas Aquinas in this brief article is the difficulty of selecting that aspect of a many-sided mind which will best suggest its size or scale. Because of the massive body which carried his massive brain, he was called "The Ox"; but any attempt to boil down such a brain into tabloid literature passes all possible jokes about an ox in a teacup. He was one of the two or three giants; one of the two or three greatest men who ever lived; and I should never be surprised if he turned out, quite apart from sanctity, to be the greatest of all. Another way of putting the problem is to say that proportion alters according to what other men we are at the moment classing him with or pitting him against. We do not get the scale until we come to the few men in history who can be his rivals.
..Auspex was the cleverest imaginable man for jokes and chit-chat, for despising all mankind, gratifying his friends, and making reprisals upon his enemy. Many bitter and witty epigrams of his spoken to various people are reported, and many to Severus himself. Here is one of the latter. When the emperor was enrolled in the family of Marcus, Auspex said: "I congratulate you, Caesar, upon having found a father." This implied that up to this time his obscure origin had made him as good as fatherless.
The biography of Cervantes provides an extremely typical example of what could befall a man living during the transition from romantic chivalry to realism. Without knowing this story it is impossible to appreciate Don Quixote sociologically. … The parodying of chivalry was no new thing in his lifetime … In Italy, where knighthood was represented to some extent by middle-class elements, the new chivalry did not take itself quite seriously. It was doubtless here, that Cervantes was prepared for his sceptical attitude, here in the home of liberalism and humanism, and it was to Italian literature that he probably owed the first suggestion for his epoch-making joke. His work was not intended, however, merely to take a rise out of the artificial and mechanical novels of fashion, nor to become merely a criticism of out-of-date chivalry, but also to be an indictment of the world of the disenchanted, matter-of-fact reality, in which there was nothing left for an idealist but to dig himself in behind his idée fixe. The novelty in Cervantes' work was, therefore, not the ironic treatment of the chivalrous attitude to life, but the relativizing of the two worlds of romantic idealism and realistic rationalism. What was new was the indissoluble dualism of his world-view, the idea of the impossibility of realizing the idea in the world of reality and of reducing reality to the idea. … He wavers between the justification of un-wordly idealism and of worldy-wise common sense. From that arises his own conflicting attitude toward his hero. Before Cervantes there had only been good and bad characters, deliverers and traitors, saints and blasphemers, in literature; here the hero is saint and fool in one and the same person.
High Churchman and scholar though was, our friend Heylyn puts on no saturnine or crabbed visage. His manner, on the contrary, is gay, lively, unctuous, flavorous, good-humoured, and full of character. His style has a chuckle in it whenever he can tell you a quaint story or an odd bit of national manners. Great relish for a joke has Peter; and you may now and then catch him telling a naughty tale with a twinkle in the eye. With no solemn pretence of abstruse wisdom does our geographical mentor conduct us on the long pilgrimage through a world; but rather with the air of a genial and well-informed companion, familiar with history, antiquity, and tradition; full of anecdote and illustration; observant of new forms and modes of life; not deficient in the broad daylight of statistics (such as were then known) yet having strong love for glimmering fables and twilight myths; no indiscriminate swallower of lies, though willing to believe any strange tale; and, poet-like, increasing in riches as he passes onward into regions and more remote. Sometimes we laugh with Peter, sometimes at him; yet there is no denying that his book is the result of great industry, great learning, much careful research in many volumes, and considerable literary tact in selection and condensation. Let us dip a little into the old quarto, and see how the world has altered in many things—how remained stationary in some—since the year sixteen hundred and twenty-nine.
He was indecisive, vacillating, with more wit than judgment, and with more judgment than earnestness. In that age of high hearts, stormy passions, and determined purpose, he looks helpless and not at home, like a butterfly in an eagle's eyrie. A gifted, accomplished, and apparently an amiable man, he was a feeble, and almost a despicable character. The parliament seem to have thought him hardly worth hanging. Cromwell bore with him only as a kinsman, and respected him only as a scholar. Charles II liked to laugh at his jokes, and to Saville his company was as good as an additional bottle of wine. … Although he unquestionably in some points improved our correctness of style and our versification, there is not much to be said either for or against his poetry. It is as a whole a mass of smooth and easy, yet systematic, trifling. Nine-tenths of it does not rise above mediocrity, and the tenth that remains is more distinguished by grace than by grandeur or depth.
Then gave him some familiar Thumps, A College Joke to cure the Dumps.
Round-heads and Wooden-shoes are standing jokes.
For every ten jokes, thou hast got a hundred enemies.
If you give a jest, take one. Let all your jokes be truly jokes. Jesting sometimes ends in sad earnest.
And gentle Dulness ever loves a joke.
A man severe he was, and stern to view; I knew him well, and every truant knew: Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace The day's disasters in his morning face; Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee, At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; Full well the bust whisper, circling round, Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned; Yet he was kind; or if severe in aught, The love he bore to learning was in fault; The village all declared how much he knew; 'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too.
Well had the boding tremblers learn'd to trace The day's disasters in his morning face; Full well they laugh'd with counterfeited glee At all his jokes, for many a joke had he; Full well the busy whisper circling round Convey'd the dismal tidings when he frown'd. Yet was he kind, or if severe in aught, The love he bore to learning was in fault; The village all declar'd how much he knew, 'T was certain he could write and cipher too.
A joke's a very serious thing.
Thou canst not joke an Enemy into a Friend; but thou may'st a Friend into an Enemy.
We may use Lichtenberg’s writings as the most wonderful dowsing rod: wherever he makes a joke, there a problem lies hidden.
I have been reading a translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister. Is it good? To be it seems perhaps the very worst book I ever read. No Englishman could have written such a book. I cannot remember a single good page or idea,, and this priggishness is the finest of its kin that I can call to mind. Is it all a practical joke? If it really is Goethe's Wilhelm Meister that I have been reading, I am glad I have never taken the trouble to learn German.
The joke loses everything when the joker laughs himself.
I should say to Emile, "This is a matter of self-defence, for the aggressor does not let you know whether he means to hurt or frighten you, and as the advantage is on his side you cannot even take refuge in flight. Therefore seize boldly anything, whether man or beast, which takes you unawares in the dark. Grasp it, squeeze it with all your might; if it struggles, strike, and do not spare your blows; and whatever he may say or do, do not let him go till you know just who he is. The event will probably prove that you had little to be afraid of, but this way of treating practical jokers would naturally prevent their trying it again. Why should my pupil be always compelled to wear the skin of an ox under his foot? What harm would come of it if his own skin could serve him at need as a sole. It is clear that a delicate skin could never be of any use in this way, and may often do harm. The Genevese, aroused at midnight by their enemies in the depth of winter, seized their guns rather than their shoes. Who can tell whether the town would have escaped capture if its citizens had not been able to go barefoot? Let a man be always fore-armed against the unforeseen. Let Emile run about barefoot all the year round, upstairs, downstairs, and in the garden. Far from scolding him, I shall follow his example; only I shall be careful to remove any broken glass.
Not that our conversation ever flagged, or that she showed any signs of weariness during our walks; but we had not a sufficient number of ideas in common to make a great stock. We could no longer speak incessantly of our plans, which henceforth were limited to plans of enjoyment. The objects around us inspired me with reflections which were beyond her comprehension. An attachment of twelve years had no longer need of words; we knew each other too well to be able to find anything fresh. The only resource left was gossip, scandal, and feeble jokes. It is in solitude especially that one feels the advantage of living with someone who knows how to think. I had no need of this resource to amuse myself in her society; but she would have needed it, in order to be able always to amuse herself in mine.
It is a recognised fact that the greatest composers were likewise the greatest virtuosos; but did they play like the pianists of the present day, who run up and down the keyboard with passages studied beforehand? Pooh! pooh! pooh! Don't tell me! A real virtuoso, when extemporising, plays pieces which hold together and possess a form. Were the ideas in them fixed instantly on paper, they would be taken for pieces written at leisure. That is what I call playing the piano; everything else is a bad joke.
It requires a surgical operation to get a joke well into a Scotch understanding.
If you could be alarmed into the semblance of modesty, you would charm everybody; but remember my joke against you about the Moon and the Solar System;—"Damn the solar system! bad light — planets too distant — pestered with comets — feeble contriviance; — could make a better with great ease."
According to his frequently expressed view, Gauss considered the three dimensions of space as specific peculiarities of the human soul; people, which are unable to comprehend this, he designated in his humorous mood by the name Bœotians. We could imagine ourselves, he said, as beings which are conscious of but two dimensions; higher beings might look at us in a like manner, and continuing jokingly, he said that he had laid aside certain problems which, when in a higher state of being, he hoped to investigate geometrically.
Some one is generally sure to be the sufferer by a joke.
[S]ome of my letters must have gone astray, as you seem only to have heard incidentally about the spear thrown at me by the natives, and some other affairs which have been nearly forgotten by me. I must now tell you about the spear. One day (as children's tales commence) I was standing in the parlour between two windows, when I was startled by a smart heavy blow on the window frame at my left side; thinking it was a practical joke of some passing friend, I went out leisurely and was surprized to see two natives running away. On looking at the window, I found the point of a spear buried about two inches in the corner of the window frame; the spear lay under the window. I was, as you may suppose, more satisfied to see it there than sticking in my side, for which it seemed well aimed. This occurred long ago, and I have never seen a native here since; it was the celebrated Ya-gan, who so complimented me.
"Now, I've been laughed at for my notions, sir, and I've been talked to. They an't pop'lar, and they an't common; but I stuck to 'em, sir; I've stuck to 'em, and realized well on 'em; yes, sir, they have paid their passage, I may say," and the trader laughed at his joke.
There was something so piquant and original in these elucidations of humanity, that Mr. Shelby could not help laughing in company. Perhaps you laugh too, dear reader; but you know humanity comes out in a variety of strange forms now-a-days, and there is no end to the odd things that humane people will say and do.
The public of this country is so youthful, not to say simple-minded, that it cannot understand the meaning of a fable unless the moral is set forth at the end. Unable to see a joke, insensible to irony, it has, in a word, been badly brought up. It has not yet learned that in a decent book, as in decent society, open invective can have no place; that our present-day civilisation has invented a keener weapon, none the less deadly for being almost invisible, which, under the cloak of flattery, strikes with sure and irresistible effect.
What good are the passions? For sooner or later their sweet sickness ends when reason speaks up; And life, if surveyed with cold-blooded regard is stupid and empty — a joke.
An overstrained sense of manliness is the characteristic of seafaring men. This often gives an appearance of want of feeling, and even of cruelty. From this, if a man comes within an ace of breaking his neck and escapes, it is made a joke of; and no notice must be taken of a bruise or cut; and expression of pity, or any show of attention, would look sisterly, and unbecoming a man who has to face the rough and tumble of such a life. From this cause, too, the sick are neglected at sea, and, whatever sailors may be ashore, a sick man finds little sympathy or attention, forward or aft. A man, too, can have nothing peculiar or sacred on board ship; for all the nicer feelings they take pride in disregarding, both in themselves and others. A "thin-skinned" man could hardly live on shipboard. One would be torn raw unless he had the hide of an ox.
A difference of taste in jokes is a great strain on the affections.
It is — or seems to be — a wise sort of thing, to realise that all that happens to a man in this life is only by way of joke, especially his misfortunes, if he have them. And it is also worth bearing in mind, that the joke is passed round pretty liberally & impartially, so that not very many are entitled to fancy that they in particular are getting the worst of it.
The heritage of honor and integrity that he had handed down while in his affluence, was never squandered nor dissipated, and so he bore the respect and goodwill of the best of his people to the end. The jokes played upon him had been harmless, and the merriment that he sometimes excited had been without the bitter venom of ridicule.
If sincere, his was a career of long heroic sacrifice; if an imposter, he must be ranked as one of the most extraordinary of that class who has yet lived. He left no successor. The emoluments of an unattractive throne and an empty royalty were not alluring; there was none strong enough to follow him; and finally the world was entering upon an epoch of materialism in which there is no provision for such a monarch. From that strange stage through the doors of oblivion, thus passes forever Norton I, Emperor of the United States, and Protector of Mexico. L'Empereur est mort.
Though he made a joke when asked to do the right thing, he always did it. He was so much more in earnest than he appeared. He did not do himself justice.
"All my jokes are Indianapolis. All my attitudes are Indianapolis. My adenoids are Indianapolis. If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business. What people like about me is Indianapolis."
I still feel just as I told you, that I shall come safely out of this war. I felt so the other day when danger was near. I certainly enjoyed the excitement of fighting our way out of Giles to the Narrows as much as any excitement I ever experienced. I had a good deal of anxiety the first hour or two on account of my command, but not a particle on my own account. After that, and after I saw that we were getting on well, it was really jolly. We all joked and laughed and cheered constantly.
The days and weeks of screwed-up smiles and laboured courtesy, the mock geniality, the hearty shake of the filthy hand, the chuckling reply that must be made to the coarse joke, the loathsome, choking compliment that must be paid to the grimy wife and sluttish daughter, the indispensable flattery of the vilest religious prejudices, the wholesale deglutition of hypocritical pledges.
I feel it is our duty to sustain the federated action of Europe. I think it has suffered by the somewhat absurd name which has been given to it—the Concert of Europe—and the intense importance of the fact has been buried under the bad jokes to which the word has given rise. But the federated action of Europe—if we can maintain it, if we can maintain this Legislature—is our sole hope of escaping from the constant terror and the calamity of war, the constant pressure of the burdens of an armed peace which weigh down the spirits and darken the prospects of every nation in this part of the world. ["Hear, hear!"] The federation of Europe is the only hope we have; but that federation is only to be maintained by observing the conditions on which every Legislature must depend, on which every judicial system must be based—the engagements into which it enters must be respected.
Housekeeping ain't no joke.
How far is it from Winckfield to Rotherwick? Now do not deceive me, you wretched child! If it is more than a hundred miles, I can't come to see you, and there is no use to talk about it. If it is less, the next question is, How much less? These are serious questions, and you must be as serious as a judge in answering them. There mustn't be a smile in your pen, or a wink in your ink (perhaps you'll say, "There can't be a wink in ink: but there may be ink in a wink" - but this is trifling; you mustn't make jokes like that when I tell you to be serious) while you write to Guildford and answer these two questions. You might as well tell me at the same time whether you are still living at Rotherwick - and whether you are at home - and whether you get my letter - and whether you're still a child, or a grown-up person--and whether you're going to the seaside next summer - and anything else (except the alphabet and the multiplication table) that you happen to know.
At that time there was some truth in the old joke which describes the English dislike of speculation by saying that all our philosophy consists of a short catechism in two questions: “What is mind? No matter. — What is matter? Never mind.” The only accepted appeal was to tradition.
[Citing a familiar "American joke":] In Boston they ask, How much does he know? In New York, How much is he worth? In Philadelphia, Who were his parents?
Guides cannot master the subtleties of the American joke.
When grown-up persons indulge in practical jokes, the fact gauges them. They have lived narrow, obscure, and ignorant lives, and at full manhood they still retain and cherish a job lot of left-over standards and ideals that would have been discarded with their boyhood if they had then moved out into the world and a broader life.
He [Mark Twain] spoke of humor, and thought it must be one of the chief attributes of God. He cited plants and animals that were distinctly humorous in form and in their characteristics. These he declared were God’s jokes.
This view of the case amused Esther for a time, but not for long — the matter was too serious for any treatment but a joke, and joking made it more serious still.
...the huge church [...] was thundering its gospel under her eyes.To have Niagara for a rival is no joke. Hazard spoke with no such authority; and Esther's next idea was one of wonder how, after listening here, any preacher could have the confidence to preach again. "What do they know about it?" she asked herself. "Which of them can tell a story like this, or a millionth part of it?"
In all the works on pedagogy that ever I read — and they have been many, big, and heavy — I don't remember that any one has advocated a system of teaching by practical jokes, mostly cruel. That, however, describes the method of our great teacher, Experience. She says,
Open your mouth and shut your eyes
And I'll give you something to make you wise;
and thereupon she keeps her promise, and seems to take her pay in the fun of tormenting us.
But when a great artist or a great writer lays hold upon either sort of ugliness he transfigures it instantaneously. With a touch from the magic ring he metamorphoses it into beauty. His Is a sort of fairy alchemy.His Is a sort of fairy alchemy. When Velasquez, paints Sebastian, King Philip's dwarf, he gives him such an appealing look that we read the poor creature's secret and see the tragedy it involved — a man forced to get his living by discarding his human dignity, and becoming a toy, a living joke. The more poignant his martyrdom, within that misshapen body, the more beautiful the artist's work. When Millet paints a poor rustic leaning upon a hoe, a wretch broken by fatigue, scorched by the sun, degraded as a beast of the field, he has only to add an expression of resignation in order to make this hideous nightmare a magnificent symbol of humanity. When Shakespeare gives us Tago or Richard III, and when Racine gives us Néron and Narcisse, moral ugliness, interpreted by minds so clear, so penetrating, becomes a marvelous theme of beauty.
..once started, nothing could stop him [Manet, correcting in a painting, fresh painted by Berthe - a portrait of her sister Edma with her young child Cornélie]; from the skirt he went to the bust, from the bust to the head, from the head to the background. He cracked a thousand jokes, laughed like a madman, handed me the palette, took it back; finally by five o'clock in the afternoon we had made the best caricature you have ever seen.
I am all at once what Christ is, ' since he was what I am, and This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, ' patch, matchwood, immortal diamond, Is immortal diamond.
You could read Kant by yourself, if you wanted; but you must share a joke with someone else.
The count uttered several rather risky witticisms, but so tactfully were they said that his audience could not help smiling. Loiseau in turn made some considerably broader jokes, but no one took offence; and the thought expressed with such brutal directness by his wife was uppermost in the minds of all: "Since it's the girl's trade, why should she refuse this man more than another?"
Maupassant made two divisions of his spare hours, one for boating, and the other for literature. Every evening in spring, every free day, he ran down to the river whose mysterious current veiled in fog or sparkling in the sun called to him and bewitched him. In the islands in the Seine between Chatou and Port-Marly, on the banks of Sartrouville and Triel he was long noted among the population of boatmen, who have now vanished, for his unwearying biceps, his cynical gaiety of good-fellowship, his unfailing practical jokes, his broad witticisms. … During these long years of his novitiate Maupassant had entered the social literary circles. He would remain silent, preoccupied; and if anyone, astonished at his silence, asked him about his plans he answered simply: "I am learning my trade."
There is a grim and ghastly humor -- the humor that is born of a pathetic philosophy -- which now and then strikes me in reading the bright and keen-witted work of our American paragraphers. It is a humor that may be crystallized by hunger and sorrow and tears. It is not found elsewhere as it is in America. It is out of the question in England, because an Englishman cannot poke fun at himself. He cannot joke about an empty flour-barrel. We can: especially if by doing it we may swap the joke for another barrel of flour. We can never be a nation of snobs so long as we are willing to poke fun at ourselves.
My way of joking is to tell the truth. It's the funniest joke in the world.
He was a Tolstoy with jokes, a modern Dr Johnson, a universal genius who on his own modest reckoning put even Shakespeare in the shade.
I have no perfect panacea for human ills. And even if I had I would not attempt to present a system of philosophy between the soup and fish, but this much I will say: The distinctively modern custom of marital bundling is the doom of chivalry and death of passion. It wears all tender sentiment to a napless warp, and no wonder is it that the novelist, without he has a seared and bitter heart, hesitates to follow the couple beyond the church door. There is no greater reproach to our civilization than the sight of men joking the boy whose heart is pierced by the first rays of a life-giving sun, or of our expecting a girl to blush because she is twice God's child today she was yesterday.
The scenery and costumes of 'The Wizard of Oz' were all made in New York — Mr. Mitchell was a New York favorite, but the author was undoubtedly a Chicagoan, and therefore a legitimate butt for the shafts of criticism. So the critics highly praised the Poppy scene, the Kansas cyclone, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, but declared the libretto was very bad and teemed with 'wild and woolly western puns and forced gags.' Now, all that I claim in the libretto of 'The Wizard of Oz' is the creation of the characters of the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, the story of their search for brains and a heart, and the scenic effects of the Poppy Field and the cyclone. These were a part of my published fairy tale, as thousands of readers well know. I have published fifteen books of fairy tales, which may be found in all prominent public and school libraries, and they are entirely free, I believe, from the broad jokes the New York critics condemn in the extravaganza, and which, the New York people are now laughing over. In my original manuscript of the play were no 'gags' nor puns whatever. But Mr. Hamlin stated positively that no stage production could succeed without that accepted brand of humor, and as I knew I was wholly incompetent to write those 'comic paper side-splitters' I employed one of the foremost New York 'tinkerers' of plays to write into my manuscript these same jokes that are now declared 'wild and woolly' and 'smacking of Chicago humor.' If the New York critics only knew it, they are praising a Chicago author for the creation of the scenic effects and characters entirely new to the stage, and condemning a well-known New York dramatist for a brand of humor that is palpably peculiar to Puck and Judge. I am amused whenever a New York reviewer attacks the libretto of 'The Wizard of Oz' because it 'comes from Chicago.'"
A nickname may be the best record of a success. That's what I call putting the face of a joke upon the body of a truth.
I have always noticed that deeply and truly religious persons are fond of a joke, and I am suspicious of those who aren’t.
To James's intimates, however, these elaborate hesitancies, far from being an obstacle, were like a cobweb bridge flung from his mind to theirs, an invisible passage over which one knew that silver-footed ironies, veiled jokes, tiptoe malices, were stealing to explode a huge laugh at one's feet.
Chess is a form of intellectual productiveness, therein lies, its peculiar charm. Intellectual productiveness is one of the greatest joys -if not the greatest one- of human existence. It is not everyone who can write a play, or build a bridge, or even make a good joke. But in chess everyone can, everyone must, be intellectually productive and so can share in this select delight. I have always a slight feeling of pity for the man who has no knowledge of chess, just as I would pity for the man who has no knowledge of love. Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.
David Lloyd George was the best-hated statesman of his time, as well as the best loved. The former I have good reason to know; every time I made a pointed cartoon against him, it brought batches of approving letters from all the haters. Looking at Lloyd George's pink and hilarious, head thrown back, generous mouth open to its fullest extent, shouting with laughter at one of his own jokes, I thought I could see how it was that his haters hated him. He must have been poison to the old school tie brigade, coming to the House an outsider, bright, energetic, irrepressible, ruthless, mastering with ease the House of Commons procedure, applying all the Celtic tricks in the bag, with a talent for intrigue that only occasionally got away from him.
I always had the greatest difficulty in making Lloyd George sinister in a cartoon. Every time I drew him, however critical the comment, I had to be careful or he would spring off the drawing-board a lovable cherubic little chap. I found the only effective way of putting him definitely in the wrong in a cartoon was by misplacing this quality in sardonic incongruity — by surrounding the comedian with tragedy.
He rises early.... Six newspapers to read, forty Madras cheroots to smoke.... A kindly tiffin to linger.... A game of billiards... 12 pegs to drink... band on the Mall, dinner, chatter.... Scandals... jokes.....
The crisis of yesterday is the joke of to-morrow.
To joke in the face of danger is the supreme politeness, a delicate refusal to cast oneself as a tragic hero.
Although Coolidge was characteristically laconic and withdrawn, this was exaggerated in apocryphal stories. But most of the jokes about Coolidge were originally affectionate. In fact, he gave an average of 8 press conferences a month, had a very relaxed, friendly relationship with the press, and was the first president to address the nation by radio, which he did regularly. That doesn't quite fit the 'Silent Cal' image. By one count, he ended up giving more speeches than any previous president, though they were not the kind of speeches that pushed great projects, hectored people, or even attacked anyone. They usually just enunciated what he regarded as American principles; not the kind of thing to thrill the intelligentsia later on.
The country was as much amused as affronted when Sir F. E. Smith became Attorney-General. But it is carrying a joke beyond the limits of pleasantry to make him Lord Chancellor. There are gradations in these matters.
A joke is a very serious thing.
Following the pattern set by Julius Caesar in The Gallic War, Churchill wrote books to vindicate policy; but he may also have made policy with an eye toward writing books. If so, the implications are alarming. Did Churchill conceive bold operations, such as the disastrous 1915 Dardanelles offensive, because these would make exciting episodes in the text of his life? A. J. Balfour once joked that Winston had written an enormous book about himself and called it The World Crisis. Was there more truth in that joke than we have so far known?
It is not only possible to say a great deal in praise of play; it is really possible to say the highest things in praise of it. It might reasonably be maintained that the true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. To be at last in such secure innocence that one can juggle with the universe and the stars, to be so good that one can treat everything as a joke — that may be, perhaps, the real end and final holiday of human souls.
It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.
A foreigner is a man who laughs at everything except jokes. He is perfectly entitled to laugh at anything, so long as he realises, in a reverent and religious spirit, that he himself is laughable. I was a foreigner in America; and I can truly claim that the sense of my own laughable position never left me. But when the native and the foreigner have finished with seeing the fun of each other in things that are meant to be serious, they both approach the far more delicate and dangerous ground of things that are meant to be funny. The sense of humour is generally very national; perhaps that is why the internationalists are so careful to purge themselves of it. I had occasion during the war to consider the rights and wrongs of certain differences alleged to have arisen between the English and American soldiers at the front. And, rightly or wrongly, I came to the conclusion that they arose from the failure to understand when a foreigner is serious and when he is humorous. And it is in the very nature of the best sort of joke to be the worst sort of insult if it is not taken as a joke.
I own any form of humor shows fear and inferiority. Irony is simply a kind of guardedness. So is a twinkle. It keeps the reader from criticism. Whittier, when he shows any style at all is probably a greater person than Longfellow as he is lifted priestlike above consideration of the scornful. Belief is better than anything else, and it is best when rapt, above paying its respects to anybody's doubt whatsoever. At bottom the world isn't a joke. We only joke about it to avoid an issue with someone to let someone know that we know he's there with his questions: to disarm him by seeming to have heard and done justice to this side of the standing argument. Humor is the most engaging cowardice.
Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.
And this is no aristocratic joke
At the expense of negligible folk.
We see how seriously the races swarm
In their attempts at sovereignty and form.
They are our wards we think to some extent
For the time being and with their consent,
To teach them how Democracy is meant.
He knew that women appreciated neither irony nor sarcasm, but simple jokes and funny stories. He was amply provided with both.
What the country needs is a good big laugh. ... If someone could get off a good joke every ten days, I think our troubles would be over.
I once played the chief part in a rather exciting business without ever once budging from London. And the joke of it was that the man who went out to look for adventure only saw a bit of the game, and I who sat in my chambers saw it all and pulled the strings. 'They also serve who only stand and wait,' you know.
In the past the mood of the comic postcard could enter into the central stream of literature, and jokes barely different from McGill's could casually be uttered between the murders in Shakespeare's tragedies. That is no longer possible, and a whole category of humour, integral to our literature till 1800 or thereabouts, has dwindled down to these ill-drawn postcards, leading a barely legal existence in cheap stationers' windows. The corner of the human heart that they speak for might easily manifest itself in worse forms, and I for one should be sorry to see them vanish.
Fiction pays best of all and when it is of fair quality is more easily sold. A good joke will sell quicker than a good poem, and, measured in sweat and blood, will bring better remuneration. Avoid the unhappy ending, the harsh, the brutal, the tragic, the horrible - if you care to see in print things you write. (In this connection don't do as I do, but do as I say.) Humour is the hardest to write, easiest to sell, and best rewarded... Don't write too much. Concentrate your sweat on one story, rather than dissipate it over a dozen. Don't loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don't get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.
Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.
In Germany many readers, blandly ignoring the implicit criticism in the novel, tended to see in Hesse's cultural province nothing but a welcome Utopian escape from the harsh postwar realities. More discerning European critics have usually been so preoccupied with the fashionably grave implications that they have neither laughed at its humor nor smiled at its ironies. In part these one-sided readings are understandable, for the humor is often hidden in private jokes of the sort to which Hesse became increasingly partial in his later years. The games begin on the title-page, for the motto attributed to "Albertus Secundus" is actually fictitious. Hesse wrote the motto himself and had it translated into Latin by two former schoolmates, who are cited in Latin abbreviation as the editors: Franz Schall ("noise" or Clangor ) and Feinhals ("slender neck" or Collo fino ). The book is full of this "onomastic comedy" that appealed to Thomas Mann, also a master of the art.
To illustrate to what extent Hardy and Littlewood in the course of the years came to be considered as the leaders of recent English mathematical research, I may report what an excellent colleague once jokingly said: 'Nowadays, there are only three really great English mathematicians: Hardy, Littlewood, and Hardy-Littlewood.'
Einstein joked to his dear friend Max Born that he had a version of the Midas touch: everything he said turned to newsprint. Einstein’s science made him a worldwide celebrity, a status others might have enjoyed, but which Einstein despised. He was no shrinking violet, yet he detested the shallowness and meaningless absurdity that came with his universal adoration. But he realised that it could be handy. He was given a cultural megaphone and he decided that its best use was to amplify the concerns of those whose voices were least heard.
So when all the yielding and objections is over, the other Senator said, "I object to the remarks of a professional joker being put into the Congressional Record." Taking a dig at me, see? They didn't want any outside fellow contributing. Well, he had me wrong. Compared to them I'm an amateur, and the thing about my jokes is that they don't hurt anybody. You can say they're not funny or they're terrible or they're good or whatever it is, but they don't do no harm. But with Congress — every time they make a joke it's a law. And every time they make a law it's a joke.
When I die, my epitaph or whatever you call those signs on gravestones is going to read: "I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I didn't like." I am so proud of that I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved. And when you come to my grave you will find me sitting there, proudly reading it.
• Variant: I joked about every prominent man in my lifetime, but I never met one I didn't like.
The Wardens of Earth sometimes unbar strange windows, I suspect — windows which face on other worlds than ours: and They permit this-or-that man to peer out fleetingly, perhaps, just for the joke's sake; since always They humorously contrive matters so this man shall never be able to convince his fellows of what he has seen or of the fact that he was granted any peep at all. The Wardens without fail arrange what we call — gravely, too — "some natural explanation."
Cabell’s humour is complex and many layered, ranging from erudite jokes to evasion to broad satire to double entendres (“Why, I travel with a staff, my dear, as you perceive; and it suffices me.” “Certainly it is large enough, in all conscience.”). … Cabell’s portrayal of Hell and Heaven (which Jurgen visits in that order) is perhaps the cleverest part of the book, and caused him considerable trouble – his attitude to religion offended Sumner and co. as much as his oblique portrayals of sex. Both are, essentially, fakes, created by Koshchei at the insistence of Jurgen’s own forebears and using the Bible as his model. However, “whatever Koshchei wills, not only happens, but has already happened beyond the ancientest memory of man and his mother. How otherwise could he be Koshchei?” So, despite being fakes, the Heaven and Hell of the Bible are also true, and always have been. The two things, we are told, that are impossible for Koshchei are love and pride, and his fascination with these two realms is that they are based on these two emotions: Heaven on the love that creates ideal versions of what is very far from ideal, Hell on the pride that demands petty sins and crimes as worthy of being recognised and punished. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels, which include a few Cabellian references, adopt this image of Hell, while being silent on the nature of Heaven.
The final test of truth is ridicule. Very few dogmas have ever faced it and survived. Huxley laughed the devils out of the Gadarene swine. Not the laws of the United States but the mother-in-law joke brought the Mormons to surrender. Not the horror of it but the absurdity of it killed the doctrine of infant damnation. But the razor edge of ridicule is turned by the tough hide of truth. How loudly the barber-surgeons laughed at Huxley—and how vainly! What clown ever brought down the house like Galileo? Or Columbus? Or Darwin? . . . They are laughing at Nietzsche yet . . .
Of all the religions ever devised by the great practical jokers of the race, [Christianity] is the one that offers most for the least money, so to speak, to the inferior man. It starts out by denying his inferiority in plain terms: all men are equal in the sight of God. It ends by erecting that inferiority into a sort of actual superiority: it is a merit to be stupid, and miserable, and sorely put upon—of such are the celestial elect. Not all the eloquence of a million Nietzsches, nor all the painful marshalling of evidence of a million Darwins and Harnacks, will ever empty that great consolation of its allure. The most they can ever accomplish is to make the superior orders of men acutely conscious of the exact nature of it, and so give them armament against the contagion.
Although her voice was faint she could still joke, for one day taking my hand she felt a large ring, which she raised close to her face for inspection. With a faint smile she whispered, "Ah, like Edith Sitwell I see." She was given the last rites by her priest and died on June 5th. Eleanor was buried in the romantic little churchyard which spans the side of Hampstead Hill between the Protestant church in Church Row and the Catholic church in Holly Walk. Her grave is generally smothered by a big rambler rose and is hard to discover. She was never keen on personal publicity.
No one can escape the power of language, let alone those of English birth brought up from childhood, as Mrs. Hilbery had been, to disport themselves now in the Saxon plainness, now in the Latin splendor of the tongue, and stored with memories, as she was, of old poets exuberating in an infinity of vocables. Even Katharine was slightly affected against her better judgment by her mother's enthusiasm. Not that her judgment could altogether acquiesce in the necessity for a study of Shakespeare's sonnets as a preliminary to the fifth chapter of her grandfather's biography. Beginning with a perfectly frivolous jest, Mrs. Hilbery had evolved a theory that Anne Hathaway had a way, among other things, of writing Shakespeare's sonnets; the idea, struck out to enliven a party of professors, who forwarded a number of privately printed manuals within the next few days for her instruction, had submerged her in a flood of Elizabethan literature; she had come half to believe in her joke, which was, she said, at least as good as other people's facts, and all her fancy for the time being centered upon Stratford-on-Avon.
Lord, how I praise God that I had a bent strong enough to coerce every minute of my life since I was born! This fiddling and drifting and not impressing oneself upon anything – this always refraining and fingering and cutting things up into little jokes and facetiousness – that's what's so annihilating. Yet given little money, little looks, no special gift – what can one do? How could one battle? How could one leap on the back of life and wring its scruff?
The trenches wound in meandering lines and white faces peered from dark dugouts – a lot of men were still preparing the positions, and everywhere among them there were graves. Where they sat, beside their dugouts, even between the sandbags, crosses stuck out. Corpses jammed in among them. It sounds like fiction – one man was frying potatoes on a grave next to his dugout. The existence of life here had already become a paradoxical joke.
Some subjects are so serious that one can only joke about them.
A good mathematical joke is better, and better mathematics, than a dozen mediocre papers.
Medicine is a very old joke, but it still goes on.
I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. … I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. … I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
Manstein despised Göring and loathed Himmler. To his most trusted colleagues he admitted to Jewish antecedents. He could also be scathing about Hitler. As a joke, his dachshund Knirps had been trained to raise his paw in salute on the command "Heil Hitler". On the other hand, his wife was a great admirer of Hitler, and more importantly, Manstein, as already mentioned, had even issued that order to his troops mentioning "the necessity of hard measures against Jewry"
I guess the biggest joke of all was that story that got out about "Say it ain't so, Joe." Charley Owens of the Chicago Daily News was responsible for that, but there wasn't a bit of truth in it. It was supposed to have happened the day I was arrested in September of 1920, when I came out of the courtroom. There weren't any words passed between anybody except me and a deputy sheriff. When I came out of the building this deputy asked me where I was going, and I told him to the Southside. He asked me for a ride and we got in the car together and left. There was a big crowd hanging around the front of the building, but nobody else said anything to me. It just didn't happen, that's all. Charley Owens just made up a good story and wrote it. Oh, I would have said it ain't so, all right, just like I'm saying it now.
And I learned very early (he was ten years, ed.) how to make imitation of wood grain. This is something I have in common with Georges Braque. Braque also learned very early from his father how to imitate marble or wood grain. So I could easily make the appearance of oak or walnut on pine. That is very easy; a very simple technique. And I learned how to imitate marble. I never made such a good joke as Braque did. When he was in the Mediterranean he fooled his friends. He painted a rowboat that had wood on one side and marble on the other side. You see, when he’d row out of the city it looked as if he were in a boat of a different material than when he came back, you see, one side was imitation wood and the other side was imitation marble.
A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.
Moreover, humour is itself but a superficial view of that which is in truth both tragic and terrible—the contrast between human pretence and cosmic mechanical reality. Humour is but the faint terrestrial echo of the hideous laughter of the blind mad gods that squat leeringly and sardonically in caverns beyond the Milky Way. It is a hollow thing, sweet on the outside, but filled with the pathos of fruitless aspiration. All great humorists are sad—Mark Twain was a cynic and agnostic, and wrote "The Mysterious Stranger" and "What Is Man?" When I was younger I wrote humorous matter—satire and light verse—and was known to many as a jester and parodist. … But I cannot help seeing beyond the tinsel of humour, and recognising the pitiful basis of jest—the world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind.
Our modern worship of empty ideals is ludicrous. What does the condition of the rabble matter? All we need do is to keep it as quiet as we can. What is more important, is to perpetuate those things of beauty which are of real value because involving actual sense-impressions rather than vapid theories. "Equality" is a joke — but a great abbey or cathedral, covered with moss, is a poignant reality. If it is for us to safeguard and preserve the conditions which produce great abbeys, and palaces, and picturesque walled town, and vivid sky-lines of steeples and domes, and luxurious tapestries, and fascinating books, paintings and statuary, and colossal organs and noble music, and dramatic deeds on embattled fields — these are all there is of life: take them away and we have nothing which a man of taste or spirit would care to live for. Take them away and our poets have nothing to sing — our dreamers have nothing to dream about. The blood of a million men is well shed in producing one glorious legend which thrills posterity and it is not at all important why it was shed.
No one thinks or feels or appreciates or lives a mental-emotional-imaginative life at all, except in terms of the artificial reference-points supply'd him by the enveloping body of race-tradition and heritage into which he is born. We form an emotionally realisable picture of the external world, and an emotionally endurable set of illusions as to values and directions in existence, solely and exclusively through the arbitrary concepts and folkways bequeathed to us through our traditional culture-stream. Without this stream around us we are absolutely adrift in a meaningless and irrelevant chaos which has not the least capacity to give us any satisfaction apart from the trifling animal ones . . . Without our nationality—that is, our culture-grouping—we are merely wretched nuclei of agony and bewilderment in the midst of alien and directionless emptiness . . . We have an Aryan heritage, a Western-European heritage, a Teutonic-Celtic heritage, an Anglo-Saxon or English heritage, an Anglo-American heritage, and so on—but we can't detach one layer from another without serious loss—loss of a sense of significance and orientation in the world. America without England is absolutely meaningless to a civilised man of any generation yet grown to maturity. The breaking of the saving tie is leaving these colonies free to build up a repulsive new culture of money, speed, quantity, novelty, and industrial slavery, but that future culture is not ours, and has no meaning for us . . . Possibly the youngest generation already born and mentally active—boys of ten to fifteen—will tend to belong to it, as indeed a widespread shift in their tastes and instincts and loyalties would seem to indicate. But to say all this has anything to do with us is a joke! These boys are the Bedes and Almins of a new, encroaching, and apparently inferior culture. We are the Boëthii and Symmachi and Cassiodori of an older and perhaps dying culture. It is to our interest to keep our own culture alive as long as we can—and if possible to reserve and defend certain areas against the onslaughts of the enemy.
That was the worst of Dr Reilly. You never knew whether he was joking or not. He always said things in the same slow melancholy way — but half the time there was a twinkle underneath it.
I have been accused of being a joker. But the most successful art to me involves humor.
The Russians are primitive folk. Besides, Bolshevism is something that stifles individualism and which is against my inner nature. Bolshevism is worse than National Socialism — in fact, it can't be compared to it. Bolshevism is against private property, and I am all in favor of private property. Bolshevism is barbaric and crude, and I am fully convinced that that atrocities committed by the Nazis, which incidentally I knew nothing about, were not nearly as great or as cruel as those committed by the Communists. I hate the Communists bitterly because I hate the system. The delusion that all men are equal is ridiculous. I feel that I am superior to most Russians, not only because I am a German but because my cultural and family background are superior. How ironic it is that crude Russian peasants who wear the uniforms of generals now sit in judgment on me. No matter how educated a Russian might be, he is still a barbaric Asiatic. Secondly, the Russian generals and the Russian government planned a war against Germany because we represented a threat to them ideologically. In the German state, I was the chief opponent of Communism. I admit freely and proudly that it was I who created the first concentration camps in order to put Communists in them. Did I ever tell you that funny story about how I sent to Spain a ship containing mainly bricks and stones, under which I put a single layer of ammunition which had been ordered by the Red government in Spain? The purpose of that ship was to supply the waning Red government with munitions. That was a good practical joke and I am proud of it because I wanted with all my heart to see Russian Communism in Spain defeated finally.
I was hurt so deep that I made up my mind never to hurt anybody else, no matter what. I never made jokes about anybody's big ears, their stut- terin', or about them bein' off their nut.
I remember President Kennedy once stated... that the United States had the nuclear missile capacity to wipe out the Soviet Union two times over, while the Soviet Union had enough atomic weapons to wipe out the United States only once... When journalists asked me to comment... I said jokingly, "Yes, I know what Kennedy claims, and he's quite right. But I'm not complaining... We're satisfied to be able to finish off the United States first time round. Once is quite enough. What good does it do to annihilate a country twice? We're not a bloodthirsty people."
Jack: When they laugh at one of my jokes... it just gets me right here. [Puts hand on heart]
Bob Hope: Let's not do any jokes we didn't plan on, eh.
Athenodorus used to stroke his beard slowly and rhythmically as he talked, and told me once that it was this that made it grow so luxuriantly. He said that invisible seeds of fire streamed off from his fingers, which were food for the hairs. This was a typical Stoic joke at the expense of Epicurean speculative philosophy.
Once upon a time all the men of mind and genius in the world became of one belief—that is to say, of no belief. But it wearied them to think that within a few years after their death many cults and systems and prognostications would be ascribed to them which they had never meditated nor intended. So they said to one another: 'Let's join together and make a great book that will last forever to mock the credulity of man. Let's persuade our more erotic poets to write about the delights of the flesh, and induce some of our robust journalists to contribute stories of famous amours. We'll include all the most preposterous old wives' tales now current. We'll choose the keenest satirist alive to compile a deity from all the deities worshipped by mankind, a deity who will be more magnificent than any of them, and yet so weakly human that he'll become a byword for laughter the world over—and we'll ascribe to him all sorts of jokes and vanities and rages, in which he'll be supposed to indulge for his own diversion, so that the people will read our book and ponder it, and there'll be no more nonsense in the world. 'Finally, let us take care that the book possesses all the virtues of style, so that it may last forever as a witness to our profound scepticism and our universal irony.' So the men did, and they died. But the book lived always, so beautifully had it been written, and so astounding the quality of imagination with which these men of mind and genius had endowed it. They had neglected to give it a name, but after they were dead it became known as the Bible.
The street was hot at three and hotter still at four, the April dust seeming to enmesh the sun and give it forth again as a world-old joke forever played on an eternity of afternoons. But at half past four a first layer of quiet fell and the shades lengthened under the awnings and heavy foliaged trees. In this heat nothing mattered. All life was weather, a waiting through the hot where events had no significance for the cool that was soft and caressing like a woman's hand on a tired forehead.
In 1871... Darwin's Descent of Man... made... a great stir; again the opposing army trooped forth... The Dublin University Magazine... charged Mr. Darwin with seeking "to displace God by the unerring ring action of vagary," and with being "resolved to hunt God out of the world." ...the eminent French Catholic physician, Dr. Constantin James... in On Darwinism or the Man Ape ...1877 ...not only refuted Darwin scientifically but poured contempt on his book, calling it "a fairy tale,"... that a work "so fantastic and so burlesque" was, doubtless, only a huge joke, like Erasmus's Praise of Folly or Montesquieu's Persian Letters. ...Pope Pius IX... thanked... the writer for the book in which he "refutes so well the aberrations of Darwinism. ...A system," His Holiness adds, "which is repugnant at once to history, to the tradition of all peoples, to exact science, to observed facts, and even to Reason herself, would seem to need no refutation, did not alienation from God and the leaning toward materialism, due to depravity, eagerly seek a support in all this tissue of fables... And, in fact, pride, after rejecting the Creator of all things and proclaiming man independent, wishing him to be his own king, his own priest, and his own God—pride goes so far as to degrade man himself to the level of the unreasoning brutes, perhaps even of lifeless matter, thus unconsciously confirming the Divine declaration, When pride cometh, then cometh shame. But the corruption of this age, the machinations of the perverse, the danger of the simple, demand that such fancies, altogether absurd though they are, should—since they borrow the mask of science—be refuted by true science."
He was a friendly man … he didn't act higher than you. You could talk to him, joke with him. Except when he was working. Then no interruptions.
But that has changed when a few months later during a lull in the battle of the attack on Verdun, he was telling his comrade a dirty anecdote. To his amazement, his buddy did not laugh: “Kutscher, didn’t you find that one funny?” The reaction of poor fellow to joke was no longer a laughing matter: a shrapnel of an enemy grenade struck him right into the heart - he collapsed dead to the ground. "I still see myself on the edge of the trench. A bright light, brighter than the atomic bomb struck me: he is now standing before holy God! And the next thought was: if we had sat in different arrangement, then the splinter grenade would have hit me instead, and then I would be standing face-to-face before God right now! My friend was laying dead in front of my eyes. For the first time in many years, I folded my hands and uttered a prayer, which consisted of only one sentence: "Dear God, I beg You, do not let me fall before I'll be sure not go to hell!"" A few days later, he then entered with a New Testament in the hand a broken French farmhouse, fell to his knees and prayed: "Jesus! The Bible says that you have come from God in order to save sinners. I am a sinner. I cannot promise anything in the future, because I have a bad character. But I do not want to go to hell, if I get a shot. And so, Lord Jesus, I surrender myself to you from head to foot. Do with me whatever you want!" Since there was no bang, no big movement, I just went out. I had found the Lord, a gentleman to whom I belonged."''БУШ (Busch), ВИЛЬГЕЛЬМ (Wilhelm) (1995), Приди домой (Come home), language: Russian, page: 8, pages: 158, place: Bielefeld, publisher: CLV, Christliche Literatur -Verbreitung, ISBN: 3-89397-721-X, retrieved: 2011-11-19
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
For those who planned and were leaders and were beaten And for those, humble and stupid, who had no plan But were denounced, but were angry, but told a joke, But could not explain, but were sent away to the camp, But had their bodies shipped back in the sealed coffins, "Died of pneumonia." "Died trying to escape."
Noticing some fair-haired children in the slave market one morning, Pope Gregory, the memorable pope, said (in Latin), 'What are those?' and on being told that they were Angels, made the memorable joke – ' Non Angli, sed Angeli ' (' not Angels, but Anglicans ') and commanded one of his saints called St Augustine to go and convert the rest.
Just before he went to Dhulia Jail in 1931, he promised the 10-year-old Pushpaben [his daughter] a wristwatch if she came first in class. Taking him at his word, says Pushpaben: "When I demanded my gift from him, [[w:Jamnalal Bajaj|Jamnalal Bajaj, who was his jailmate, jokingly came up with a ghada (a water pitcher) instead of a ghadi (watch).
A despot doesn't fear eloquent writers preaching freedom — he fears a drunken poet who may crack a joke that will take hold.
You know lots of criticism is written by characters who are very academic and think it is a sign you are worthless if you make jokes or kid or even clown. I wouldn't kid Our Lord if he was on the cross. But I would attempt a joke with him if I ran into him chasing the money changers out of the temple.
They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.
American society, literary or lay, tends to be humorless. What other culture could have produced someone like Hemingway and not seen the joke?
At its most basic, Mr. Astaire's technique has three elements - tap, ballet and ballroom dancing. The ballet training, by his account, was brief but came at a crucial, early age. He has sometimes been classed as a tap dancer, but he was never the hoofer he has jokingly called himself. Much of the choreographic outline of his dancing with his ladies—be it Miss Rogers or Miss Hayworth—is ballroom. But of course, no ballroom dancer could dance like this.
It is of first-rate importance to notice from the start that stupidity is not the same thing, or the same sort of thing, as ignorance. There is no incompatibility between being well-informed and being silly, and a person who has a good nose for arguments or jokes may have a bad head for facts.
He was a very religious man, but he didn't believe you had to go to church to be religious. … He respected every religion. There wasn't any that he ever criticized. He wouldn't even tell religious jokes.
Charles was a stubborn Swede, you know, and he himself never felt the need to explain his feelings about where he stood and about past statements. But I feel free now to elaborate on his actual attitudes. He never wanted to be regarded as a hero or leader, and he never had political ambitions. His prewar isolationist speeches were given in all sincerity for what he thought was the good of the country and the world. ... He was accused of being anti-Semetic, but in the 45 years I lived with him I never heard him make a remark against the Jews, not a crack or joke, and neither did any of our children.
He brought his malformed wisdom, his pool-hall, locker-room, joke-book wisdom to the front.
A deep sense of humor and an unusual ability for telling stories and jokes endeared Johnny even to casual acquaintances. He could be blunt when necessary, but was never pompous. A mind of von Neumann's inexorable logic had to understand and accept much that most of us do not want to accept and do not even wish to understand. This fact colored many of von Neumann's moral judgments. "It is just as foolish to complain that people are selfish and treacherous as it is to complain that the magnetic field does not increase unless the electric field has a curl. Both are laws of nature." Only scientific intellectual dishonesty and misappropriation of scientific results could rouse his indignation and ire — but these did — and did almost equally whether he himself, or someone else, was wronged.
Fate seemed to be playing a series of extraordinarily unamusing jokes.
A deep sense of humor and an unusual ability for telling stories and jokes endeared Johnny even to casual acquaintances. He could be blunt when necessary, but was never pompous. A mind of von Neumann's inexorable logic had to understand and accept much that most of us do not want to accept and do not even wish to understand. This fact colored many of von Neumann's moral judgments. … Only scientific intellectual dishonesty and misappropriation of scientific results could rouse his indignation and ire — but these did — and did almost equally whether he himself, or someone else, was wronged.
(While smiling, and jokingly) You haven't come to see me for three weeks. I wondered whether you had become disgusted with us war criminals - particularly me, the so-called archcriminal of them all.
It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself.
And man’s highest mission on earth is to spiritualize everything, it is his excrement in particular that needs it most. As a result, I increasingly dislike all scatological jokes and all forms of frivolity on this subject. Indeed, I am dumbfounded at how little philosophical and metaphysical importance the human mind has attached to the vital subject of excrement.
Childhood was the germ of all mistrust. You were cruelly joked upon and then you cruelly joked. You lost the remembrance of pain through inflicting it.
It is natural that people do not want to be involved with us too much. There is no problem down to the smallest egotistical longing which the Gestapo cannot solve. Regarded in this way we are, if a joke is permitted, looked upon as a cross between a general maid and the dustbin of the Reich.
Even in his palmiest days there were good friends who could stand only limited stretches of the Lambert barrage of ideas, jokes, fantasy, quotations, apt instances, things that had struck him as he walked through London, not because these lacked quality, on the contrary because the mixture was after a while altogether too rich.
In short, Mr. McCabe is under the influence of a primary fallacy which I have found very common in men of the clerical type. Numbers of clergymen have from time to time reproached me for making jokes about religion; and they have almost always invoked the authority of that very sensible commandment which says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." Of course, I pointed out that I was not in any conceivable sense taking the name in vain. To take a thing and make a joke out of it is not to take it in vain. It is, on the contrary, to take it and use it for an uncommonly good object. To use a thing in vain means to use it without use. But a joke may be exceedingly useful; it may contain the whole earthly sense, not to mention the whole heavenly sense, of a situation. And those who find in the Bible the commandment can find in the Bible any number of the jokes.
And it is not very difficult to see where we have really to look for it. The people (as I tactfully pointed out to them) who really take the name of the Lord in vain are the clergymen themselves. The thing which is fundamentally and really frivolous is not a careless joke. The thing which is fundamentally and really frivolous is a careless solemnity. If Mr. McCabe really wishes to know what sort of guarantee of reality and solidity is afforded by the mere act of what is called talking seriously, let him spend a happy Sunday in going the round of the pulpits. Or, better still, let him drop in at the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Even Mr. McCabe would admit that these men are solemn—more solemn than I am. And even Mr. McCabe, I think, would admit that these men are frivolous—more frivolous than I am. Why should Mr. McCabe be so eloquent about the danger arising from fantastic and paradoxical writers? Why should he be so ardent in desiring grave and verbose writers? There are not so very many fantastic and paradoxical writers. But there are a gigantic number of grave and verbose writers; and it is by the efforts of the grave and verbose writers that everything that Mr. McCabe detests (and everything that I detest, for that matter) is kept in existence and energy. How can it have come about that a man as intelligent as Mr. McCabe can think that paradox and jesting stop the way? It is solemnity that is stopping the way in every department of modern effort.
How tell what remains ? But it’s the end. Or have I been dreaming, am I dreaming? No no, none of that, for dream is nothing, a joke, and significant what is worse.
My life, my life, now I speak of it as of something over, now as of a joke which still goes on, and it is neither, for at the same time it is over and it goes on, and is there any tense for that? Watch wound and buried by the watchmaker, before he died, whose ruined works will one day speak of God, to the worms.
But Shadrach was a name from the Bible. And now he wasn't sure that it was right to name a rabbit with a name from the Bible. Shadrach was one of the three young men that old Nebuchadnezzar in the old testament had tossed into the fiery furnace— Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Suddenly he thought that Shadrach must be a good black name— Shadrach must have got pretty black in that fiery furnace. He didn't smile, because it wasn't right to joke about things from the Bible, and he still didn't know whether you should name a rabbit with a name from the Bible. It worried him.
Charles was a stubborn Swede, you know, and he himself never felt the need to explain his feelings about where he stood and about past statements. But I feel free now to elaborate on his actual attitudes. He never wanted to be regarded as a hero or leader, and he never had political ambitions. His prewar isolationist speeches were given in all sincerity for what he thought was the good of the country and the world... He was accused of being anti-Semetic, but in the 45 years I lived with him I never heard him make a remark against the Jews, not a crack or joke, and neither did any of our children.
“Yes, maybe it’s just one colossal big joke with no point to it.” Lazarus stood up and stretched and scratched his ribs. “But I can tell you this, Andy, whatever the answers are, here’s one monkey that’s going to keep on climbing, and looking around him to see what he can see, as long as the tree holds out.”
I have never been able to see life as anything but a vast complicated practical joke, and it’s better to laugh than cry.
Maslow's psychology, firmly based upon Freud and Watson, simply points out that the optimistic side of the picture has been overlooked; the deterministic laws of our 'lower nature' hold sway in their won field; but there are other laws. Man's freedom is a reality -- a reality that makes a difference to his physical, as well as his mental health. When Frankl's prisoners ceased to believe in the possibility of freedom, they grew sick and died. On the other hand, when they saw that Dachau had no chimney, standing out all night in the rain seemed no great hardship; they laughed and joked. The conclusion needs to be stated in letters ten feet high. In order to realise his possibilities, man must believe in an open future; he must have a vision of something worth doing. And this will not be possible until all the determinism and pessimism that we have inherited from the 19th century -- and which has infected every department of our culture, from poetry to atomic physics -- has been dismissed as fallacious and illogical. Twentieth century science, philosophy, politics, literature -- even music -- has been constructed upon a weltanschauung that leaves half of human nature out of account.
War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say and it seems to me I have been saying it forever. Unless they are immediate victims, the majority of mankind behaves as if war was an act of God which could not be prevented; or they behave as if war elsewhere was none of their business. It would be a bitter cosmic joke if we destroy ourselves due to atrophy of the imagination.
For if this book is a joke it is a joke against me. I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. If there is an element of farce in what follows, the farce is at my own expense; for this book explains how I fancied I was the first to set foot in Brighton and then found I was the last. It recounts my elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious. No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself; no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him: I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne. I freely confess all the idiotic ambitions of the end of the nineteenth century. I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it. I did strain my voice with a painfully juvenile exaggeration in uttering my truths. And I was punished in the fittest and funniest way, for I have kept my truths: but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine. When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom. It may be, Heaven forgive me, that I did try to be original; but I only succeeded in inventing all by myself an inferior copy of the existing traditions of civilized religion. The man from the yacht thought he was the first to find England; I thought I was the first to find Europe. I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.
The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. Heaven may encore the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat, or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain. Repetition may go on for millions of years, by mere choice, and at any instant it may stop. Man may stand on the earth generation after generation, and yet each birth be his positively last appearance.
When Henry Ford said, "The customer can have a car in any color as long as it's black," he was not joking.
One, a poet, went babbling like a fountain Through parks. All were jokes to children. All had the pale unshaven stare of shuttered plants Exposed to a too violent sun.
The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz. The quote is associated with Theodor Adorno's analysis of a "secondary antisemitism", often explained as an antisemitism not despite of but because of Auschwitz. In Der ewige Antisemit (The Eternal Antisemite) Broder wrote in chapter 5, titled The offender as probation officer, or The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz: And for Auschwitz, a sagacious Israeli once said, for Auschwitz the Germans will never forgive us.„Und Auschwitz, sagte mal ein kluger Israeli, 'Auschwitz werden uns die Deutschen nie verzeihen'". Henryk M. Broder: Der ewige Antisemit. Kapitel 5: Der Täter als Bewährungshelfer oder Die Deutschen werden den Juden Auschwitz nie verzeihen. 1st edition Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag Frankfurt/Main 1986, p. 130; edition btb Berlin 2005, p. 158 books.google In 1988, Gunnar Heinsohn identified Broder's sagacious Israeli as Zvi Rix, a friend of his (Heinsohn's), born in Vienna in 1909 and died in Rechovot/Israel in 1981, who had used to concentrate the drive of antizionism in the sentence: »For Auschwitz the Germans will never forgive us!«Ein 1909 in Wien geborener und 1981 in Rechovot/Israel gestorbener Freund, Zvi Rix, pflegte den Grund des Antizionismus in der Sentenz zu verdichten: »Auschwitz werden uns die Deutschen niemals verzeihen!«. Gunnar Heinsohn: Was ist Antisemitismus? Eichborn, Frankfurt/Main 1988, p. 115. In 2005, Heinsohn in his book Söhne und Weltmacht (Sons and World-Power) suggested, that Rix had read his Hobbes,Gunnar Heinsohn: Söhne und Weltmacht. Orell-Füssli 2005. V. Youth bulges im transnationalen Terror. p. 139 and quoted from Leviathan: "To have done more hurt to a man than he can [...] expiate inclineth the doer to hate the sufferer."Thomas Hobbes: Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan. Chapter XI: Of the Difference of Manners. bartleby.com But Rix may as well have read the book Post Mortem. The Jews in Germany--now (1968) by Leo Katcher, where the German Jewish journalist Hilde Walter is quoted as follows: "(...) It seems the Germans will never forgive us Auschwitz. That is their sickness and they desperately want a cure. But they want it to be easy, painless. They refuse to go under the knife by facing up to the past and their part in it (...)".Leo Katcher: Post Mortem. The Jews in Germany--now. Hamish Hamilton 1968, p. 87-8. Atina Grossmann: Trauma, Memory and Motherhood, in Archiv für Sozialgeschichte vol. 38 (1998), p. 234 https://books.google.de/books?id=2LfZAAAAMAAJ&q=dps https://books.google.de/books?id=2LfZAAAAMAAJ&q=154+f. (also in Richard Bessel, Dirk Schumann: Life after Death 2003, p. 120) with reference to Norbert Mühlen: The Return of Germany. A Tale of Two Countries, Chicago 1953, p. 154-5, quotes, Jewish DPs in Germany after the war had joked among themselves: "The Germans will never forgive us for what they did to us." This however can not be found in Mühlen op.cit. The script for Axel Corti's film Where To and Back Part 2: Santa Fe (winner of a Nymphe d'Or award at the Monte Carlo Festival in February 1986) has the Austrian Jew Treumann who has found refuge in New York during World War II say about his former countrymen: "They'll never forgive us for what they did to us."Alex Corti's Films Explore World War II's Impact by Annette Insdorf. The New York Times July 24, 1988 This caused protests from writers Hans Sahl as well as Stefan Heym, who claimed certain rights to variants of this line, screenwriter Georg Stefan Troller revealed in 2013. But when Troller met with Heym the next time in Paris, Heym generously waived any objections: Jewish jokes are wanderers like the famous puchlines of the comedians. The original author cannot be ascertained any more.„Judenwitze sind wie die berühmten Wanderpointen der Humoristen. Der eigentliche Urheber ist nicht mehr auszumachen ...“ Excerpt from Therese Hörnigk (ed.): Ich habe mich immer eingemischt. Erinnerungen an Stefan Heym. Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg 2013, p. 156 In 1982 a line, which Walter Mehring had sent his fellow refugee from Nazi Germany Hans Sahl in 1948, had been published in Germany: They will never forgive us, that we did not accept being slain or gassed a little.„Man wird uns nie verzeihen, daß wir uns nicht haben erschlagen oder ein bißchen vergasen lassen.“ Christoph Buchwald: Odysseus hat entweder heimzukommen oder umzukommen. Notizen zur Rezeption Walter Mehrings nach 1950, in the quarterly die horen 1982, p. 15
Mr. Butz was forced to resign in October 1976 after telling a joke that was derogatory to blacks.... In the 1976 incident, the Times said, Butz "made a remark in which he described blacks as 'coloreds' who wanted only three things — satisfying sex, loose shoes and a warm bathroom — desires that Mr. Butz listed in obscene and scatological terms."
We are no one's, always at a boundary, always someone’s dowry. Is it a wonder then that we are poor? For centuries now we have been seeking our true selves, yet soon we will not know who we are, we will forget that we ever wanted anything; others do us the honour of calling us under their banner for we have none, they lure us when we are needed and discard us when we have outserved the purpose they gave us. We remain the saddest little district of the world, the most miserable people of the world, losing our own persona and nor being able to take on anyone else's, torn away and not accepted, alien to all and everyone, including those with whom we are most closely related, but who will not recognise us as their kin. We live on a divide between worlds, at the border between nations, always at a fault to someone and first to be struck. Waves of history strike us as a sea cliff. Crude force has worn us out and we made a virtue out of a necessity: we grew smart out of spite. So what are we? Fools? Miserable wretches? The most complex people in the world. No one is such a joke of history as we are. Only yesterday we were something that we now wish to forget, yet we have become nothing else. We stopped half way through, flabbergasted. There is no place we can go to any more. We are torn off, but not accepted. As a dead-end branch that streamed away from mother river has neither flow, nor confluence it can rejoin, we are too small to be a lake, too big to be sapped by the earth. With an unclear feeling of shame about our ancestry and guilt about our renegade status, we do not want to look into the past, but there is no future to look into; we therefore try to stop the time, terrified with the prospect of whatever solution might come about. Both our brethren and the newcomers despise us, and we defend ourselves with our pride and our hatred. We wanted to preserve ourselves, and that is exactly how we lost the knowledge of our identity. The greatest misery is that we grew fond of this dead end we are mired in and do not want to abandon it. But everything has a price and so does our love for what we are stuck with. Original: A mi nismo ničiji, uvijek smo na nekoj međi, uvijek nečiji miraz. Zar je onda čudno što smo siromašni? Stoljećima mi se tražimo i prepoznajemo, uskoro nećemo znati ni tko smo, zaboravljamo već da nešto i hoćemo, drugi nam čine čast da idemo pod njihovom zastavom jer svoje nemamo, mame nas kad smo potrebni a odbacuju kad odslužimo, najtužniji vilajet na svijetu, najnesretniji ljudi na svijetu, gubimo svoje lice a tuđe ne možemo da primimo, otkinuti a neprihvaćeni, strani svakome i onima čiji smo rod, i onima koji nas u rod ne primaju. Živimo na razmeđu svjetova, na granici naroda, svakome na udaru, uvijek krivi nekome. Na nama se lome talasi istorije, kao na grebenu. Sila nam je dosadila, i od nevolje smo stvorili vrlinu: postali smo pametni iz prkosa. Šta smo onda mi? Lude? Nesrećnici? Najzamršeniji ljudi na svijetu. Ni s kim istorija nije napravila takvu šalu kao s nama. Do jučer smo bili ono što želimo danas da zaboravimo. Ali nismo postali ni nešto drugo. Stali smo na pola puta, zabezeknuti. Ne možemo više nikud. Otrgnuti smo, a nismo prihvaćeni. Kao rukavac što ga je bujica odvojila od majke rijeke, i nema više toka ni ušća, suviše malen da bude jezero, suviše velik da ga zemlja upije. S nejasnim osjećanjem stida zbog porijekla, i krivice zbog otpadništva, nećemo da gledamo unazad, a nemamo kamo da gledamo unaprijed, zato zadržavamo vrijeme, u strahu od ma kakvog rješenja. Preziru nas i braća i došljaci, a mi se branimo ponosom i mržnjom. Htjeli smo da se sačuvamo, a tako smo se izgubili, da više ne znamo ni šta smo. Nesreća je što smo zavoljeli ovu svoju mrtvaju i nećemo iz nje. A sve se plaća, pa i ova ljubav.
Or to take another obvious instance: the jokes about a mother-in-law are scarcely delicate, but the problem of a mother-in-law is extremely delicate. A mother-in-law is subtle because she is a thing like the twilight. She is a mystical blend of two inconsistent things—law and a mother. The caricatures misrepresent her; but they arise out of a real human enigma. "Comic Cuts" deals with the difficulty wrongly, but it would need George Meredith at his best to deal with the difficulty rightly. The nearest statement of the problem perhaps is this: it is not that a mother-in-law must be nasty, but that she must be very nice.
I was not withheld by any feeling that the joke was getting a little obvious; for an obvious joke is only a successful joke; it is only the unsuccessful clowns who comfort themselves with being subtle.
The subconscious popular instinct against Darwinism was not a mere offense at the grotesque notion of visiting one's grandfather in a cage in the Regent's Park. Men go in for drink, practical jokes and many other grotesque things; they do not much mind making beasts of themselves, and would not much mind having beasts made of their forefathers. The real instinct was much deeper and much more valuable. It was this: that when once one begins to think of man as a shifting and alterable thing, it is always easy for the strong and crafty to twist him into new shapes for all kinds of unnatural purposes. The popular instinct sees in such developments the possibility of backs bowed and hunch-backed for their burden, or limbs twisted for their task.
Living is a pretty grim joke, but a joke just the same. The entire function of man is to survive. The outermost limit of endeavour is creative work. Anything less is too close to simple survival until death happens along. So I am engaged in striving to maintain equilibrium sufficient to at least realize survival in a way to astound the gods. I turned the thing up so it's up to me to survive in a big way . . . Foolishly perhaps, but determined none the less, I have high hopes of smashing my name into history so violently that it will take a legendary form even if all books are destroyed.
A psychiatrist today has the power to (1) take a fancy to a woman (2) lead her to take wild treatment as a joke (3) drug and shock her to temporary insanity (4) incarnate her (5) use her sexually (6) sterilize her to prevent conception (7) kill her by a brain operation to prevent disclosure. And all with no fear of reprisal. Yet it is rape and murder… We want at least one bad mark on every psychiatrist in England, a murder, an assault, or a rape or more than one… This is Project Psychiatry. We will remove them.
It's true that what is morbid is highly valued today, and so you may think that I am only joking or that I've devised just one more means of praising Art with the help of irony.
We can truly say that once the Leader of the Opposition had discovered what the Liberals and the SNP were going to do, she found the courage of their convictions. So, this evening, the Conservative Party, who want the Act repealed and oppose even devolution, will march through the Lobby with the SNP, who want independence for Scotland, and with the Liberals, who want to keep the Act. What a massive display of unsullied principle! The minority parties have walked into a trap. If they win, there will be a general election. I am told that the current joke going round the House is that it is the first time in recorded history that turkeys have been known to vote for an early Christmas.
I'm not joking when I refer to our country as the United States of Amnesia, although I was corrected recently by Studs Terkel out of Chicago. And he said, “Gore, it's not the United States of Amnesia; it's the United States of Alzheimer's.”
"He wasn't literary; he himself made jokes about the writers of "nine-dollar words," he worked the homespun line in public as religiously as he wore Charvet shirts.
Many many heartfelt thanks for your letter of September 25. Though it filled me with shame and remorse, I was grateful for the Christian impulse which moved you to stretch out a hand to me in my wretchedness. You say "We become that with which we busy our mind." Too true! Alas, too true! I recall that as a boy the school chaplain said to my class, "If you tell dirty jokes you will grow to look like a dirty joke!" This is been my hapless destiny.... Would you do me a favour? Will you send me a photograph of yourself, so that I may behold a countenance suffused with Christian love, and perhaps even repent?
The critic must be reconciled to his necessary, ambiguous role, and however much he may caper, joke, and posture for us in his writings, we are unlikely to forget that he is a man who may, at any moment, tread heavily upon our dreams — unworthy dreams, foolish dreams, stupid dreams, sometimes — but still dreams.
A few years ago I had to answer some searching questions to a Customs official about a book which I had with me, printed in Latin, and which the official suspected to be Russian; it was a jestbook, as a matter of fact, and I was so foolish as to say so, forgetting that a Latin joke is as strange to the modern imagination as a unicorn or an amphisbaena.
SF means Supreme Fascist — this would show that God is bad. I don't claim that this is correct, or that God exists, but it is just sort of half a joke. … As a joke I said, "What is the purpose of Life?" "Proof and conjecture, and keep the SF's score low."
Now, the game with the SF is defined as follows:
If you do something bad the SF gets at least two points.
If you don't do something good which you could have done, the SF gets at least one point.
And if nothing — if you are okay, then no one gets any point.
And the aim is to keep the SF's score low.
He was the Bob Hope of mathematics, a kind of vaudeville performer who told the same jokes and the same stories a thousand times. … When he was scheduled to give yet another talk, no matter how tired he was, as soon as he was introduced to an audience, the adrenaline (or maybe amphetamine) would release into his system and he would bound onto the stage, full of energy, and do his routine for the 1001st time.
He loved to play silly tricks to amuse children and to make sly jokes and thumb his nose at authority. But most of all, Erdős loved those who loved numbers, mathematicians.
An old racetrack joke reminds you that your program contains all the winners' names. I stare at my typewriter keys with the same thought.
A recurrent theme in his poetry is that of God as a kind of joker — benign and malign by bewilderingly unpredictable turns. … Improving our understanding of temporal existence by distortion is exactly what, Thomas came to feel, the Surrealists did. That he saw their work as approximating that of the subtlest theologians is clear from the fine poem about Kierkegaard he included in his final volume, No Truce with the Furies, where Thomas's favorite theological thinker is characterized as "the first / of the Surrealists, picturing / our condition with the draughtsmanship / of a Dali".
In 1975, Emile Ajar's second novel, La Vie devant soi, was a French literary sensation. The fictionalised memoir of an Arab boy growing up in a Parisian suburb, packed with extraordinary slang, aggressive jokes and almost unbelievable characters, the book was lathered with praise by critics, eventually wining the Goncourt, the French equivalent of the Booker. It went on to become the bestselling French novel of the 20th century. There was only one problem: Ajar was actually Roman Gary, already a bestselling French author (and previous winner of the Goncourt, which is supposed to be awarded to any particular writer only once), who had reinvented himself to outwit the literary establishment and win a new readership.
To the people of New York, Paris, or London, "death" is a word that is never pronounced because it burns the lips. The Mexican, however, frequents it, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it; it is one of his favorite toys and most steadfast love. Of course, in his attitude perhaps there is as much fear as there is in one of the others; at least he does not hide it; he confronts it face to face with patience, disdain, or irony.
This poet is now, most of the time, an elder statesman like Baruch or Smuts, full of complacent wisdom and cast-iron whimsy. But of course there was always a good deal of this in the official rôle that Frost created for himself; one imagines Yeats saying about Frost, as Sarah Bernhardt said about Nijinsky: “I fear, I greatly fear, that I have just seen the greatest actor in the world.” Sometimes it is this public figure, this official rôle — the Only Genuine Robert Frost in Captivity — that writes the poems, and not the poet himself; and then one gets a self-made man’s political editorials, full of cracker-box philosophizing, almanac joke-cracking — of a snake-oil salesman’s mysticism; one gets the public figure’s relishing consciousness of himself, an astonishing constriction of imagination and sympathy; one gets sentimentality and whimsicality; an arch complacency, a complacent archness; and one gets Homely Wisdom till the cows come home.
When very young, Hannali would sit on the black ground and chuckle till it was feared he would injure himself. Whatever came over him, prenatal witticism or ancestral joke, he seldom was able to hold his glee. In all his life he never learned to hold it in.
'''''The place itself, and ne'er a good word spoke of it, You shiver when you even make a joke of it.''' Though some go cocky, gaily in hand-basket there, The most fare sadly in a clammy casket there… Undying pain and gaping loss, no doubt of it. A wide way leading in and no way out of it! But none have told the blackest horror shrouded there — Tall teeming terror‚ but it sure is crowded there.''
I don't want to be the joke of the world, and I don't want to be thought of as another Hitler swallowing up people.
A play is made by sensing how the forces in life simulate ignorance — you set free the concealed irony, the deadly joke.
I've always been indifferent to dressing. Amita Malik got it right when she put me among the worst dressed men in India. But yes, I am a born joker.
I used to joke to Bob Solow that the distance between me and Joan Robinson is less than the distance between Joan Robinson and me. His reply was, “You’ll never convince her of that.” Still on lives in hope.
I reproach myself for a gross error. But I would reproach myself more if I had persisted in an error after observations revealed it clearly to be that. I made a deal of money in the late 1940s on the bull side, ignoring Satchel Paige’s advice to Lot’s wife, “Never look back.” Rather I would advocate Samuelson’s Law: “Always look back. You may learn something from your residuals. Usually one’s forecasts are not so good as one remembers them; the difference may be instructive.” The dictum “If you must forecast, forecast often,” is neither a joke nor a confession of impotence. It is a recognition of the primacy of brute fact over pretty theory. That part of the future that cannot be related to the present’s past is precisely what science cannot hope to capture. Fortunately, there is plenty of work for science to do, plenty of scientific tasks not yet done.
Between meals I arranged a light, informal trivia competition. Had answers been counted, he would have won hands down. He even knew the third president—of Finland—a question I threw in as a joke.
He was a young man of pleasant appearance. Of medium height and exceedingly pale, he was nevertheless strongly built and quick and easy in his ways. Save for his deafness in one ear, his physical health was perfect. Handsome as he was, he was given to long silences. So girls didn't know what to make of him. But men liked him. After a while they saw that he was easy and meant no harm. He was the sort whom classmates remember fondly; they liked to grab him around the neck with an elbow and cuff him around. Good-looking and amiable as he was, however, he did not strike one as remarkable. People usually told him the same joke two or three times.
The lives of other people seemed even more farcical than his own. It astonished him that as farcical as most people's live were, they generally gave no sign of it. Why was it that it was he not they who had decided to shoot himself? How did they manage to deceive themselves and even appear to live normally, work as usual, play golf, tell jokes, argue politics? Was he crazy or was it rather the case that other people went to any length to disguise from themselves the fact that their lives were farcical? He couldn't decide.
“Is this the conduct of a ‘sly and unpredictable villain’?” “Decidedly so, if the villain, for the purposes of his joke, thinks to simulate the altruist.” “Then how will you know villain from altruist?” Cugel shrugged. “It is not an important distinction.”
"For years I used to bore my wife over lunch with stories about funny incidents. The words 'My book,' as in 'I'll put that in it one day,' became a sort of running joke. Eventually she said, 'Look, I don't want to offend you, but you've been saying that for 25 years. If you were going to write a book, you'd have done it. You're never going to do it now. Old vets of 50 don't write books.' So I purchased a lot of paper right then and started to write."Margolis, Jonathan (Dec. 12, 2002). "But It Did Happen To A Vet". Time Magazine On being a vet
Somebody muffed it?? Somebody wanted to joke.
As soon as I arrived at Cornell, I became aware of Dick as the liveliest personality in our department. In many ways he reminded me of Frank Thompson. Dick was no poet and certainly no Communist. But he was like Frank in his loud voice, his quick mind, his intense interest in all kinds of things and people, his crazy jokes, and his disrespect for authority. I had a room in a student dormitory and sometimes around two o'clock in the morning I would wake up to the sound of a strange rhythm pulsating over the silent campus. That was Dick playing his bongo drums. Dick was also a profoundly original scientist. He refused to take anybody's word for anything. This meant that he was forced to rediscover or reinvent for himself almost the whole of physics. It took him five years of concentrated work to reinvent quantum mechanics. He said that he couldn't understand the official version of quantum mechanics that was taught in textbooks, and so he had to begin afresh from the beginning.
Why should we care about Feynman? What was so special about him? Why did he become a public icon, standing with Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking as the Holy Trinity of twentieth-century physics? The public has demonstrated remarkably good taste in choosing its icons. All three of them are genuinely great scientists, with flashes of true genius as well as solid accomplishments to their credit. But to become an icon, it is not enough to be a great scientist. There are many other scientists, not so great as Einstein but greater than Hawking and Feynman, who did not become icons. ...
Scientists who become icons must not only be geniuses but also performers, playing to the crowd and enjoying public acclaim. Einstein and Feynman both grumbled about the newspaper and radio reporters who invaded their privacy, but both gave the reporters what the public wanted, sharp and witty remarks that would make good headlines. Hawking in his unique way also enjoys the public adulation that his triumph over physical obstacles has earned for him. I will never forget the joyful morning in Tokyo when Hawking went on a tour of the streets in his wheelchair and the Japanese crowds streamed after him, stretching out their hands to touch his chair. Einstein, Hawking, and Feynman shared an ability to break through the barriers that separated them from ordinary people. The public responded to them because they were regular guys, jokers as well as geniuses.
The third quality that is needed for a scientist to become a public icon is wisdom. Besides being a famous joker and a famous genius, Feynman was also a wise human being whose answers to serious questions made sense. To me and to hundreds of other students who came to him for advice, he spoke truth. Like Einstein and Hawking, he had come through times of great suffering, nursing Arline through her illness and watching her die, and emerged stronger. Behind his enormous zest and enjoyment of life was an awareness of tragedy, a knowledge that our time on earth is short and precarious. The public made him into an icon because he was not only a great scientist and a great clown but also a great human being and a guide in time of trouble. Other Feynman books have portrayed him as a scientific wizard and as a storyteller. This collection of letters shows us for the first time the son caring for his father and mother, the father caring for his wife and children, the teacher caring for his students, the writer replying to people throughout the world who wrote to him about their problems and received his full and undivided attention.
"Call me Meier," Goring said, but he did not pause to explain the joke.
If you hand a man a lemon and tell him that its sourness lies outside the lemon, he will think you are joking. Yet, with a perfectly straight face, that same man will tell you that his sour life is caused by external events. When will man learn that he is the cause of his own feelings for either happiness or anxiety?
We communicate with each other to inform, to instruct, to persuade, to amuse, to annoy. Informing and instructing aim to alter the receiver's concepts, whereas persuading, amusing or annoying aim to change his preferences or feelings. In a work situation people do make jokes and enemies, and use the arts of persuasion, but much of their communication has an informal or instructional aspect.
It would be very convincing to say that there’s no hope for movies — that audiences have been so corrupted by television and have become so jaded that all they want are noisy thrills and dumb jokes and images that move along in an undemanding way, so they can sit and react at the simplest motor level. And there’s plenty of evidence, such as the success of Alien. This was a haunted-house-with-gorilla picture set in outer space. It reached out, grabbed you, and squeezed your stomach; it was more gripping than entertaining, but a lot of people didn’t mind. They thought it was terrific, because at least they’d felt something: they’d been brutalized. It was like an entertainment contrived in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World by the Professor of Feelies in the College of Emotional Engineering.
In the sixties, the recycling of pop culture — turning it into Pop art and camp — had its own satirical zest. Now we're into a different kind of recycling. Moviemakers give movies of the past an authority that those movies didn't have; they inflate images that may never have compelled belief, images that were no more than shorthand gestures — and they use them not as larger-than-life jokes but as altars.
You've never produced a Michleangelo or a Bach. You've never even produced a great chef. And if you talk to me about opportunity, all I can say is, are you joking? Have you ever lacked the opportunity, to give history a great chef? You've produced nothing great, nothing!
The need for romance is constant, and again, it’s pooh-poohed by intellectuals. As a result they’re going to stunt their kids. You can’t kill a dream. Social obligation has to come from living with some sense of style, high adventure, and romance. It’s like my friend Mr. Electrico. … he was a real man. That was his real name. Circuses and carnivals were always passing through Illinois during my childhood and I was in love with their mystery. One autumn weekend in 1932, when I was twelve years old, the Dill Brothers Combined Shows came to town. One of the performers was Mr. Electrico. He sat in an electric chair. A stagehand pulled a switch and he was charged with fifty thousand volts of pure electricity. Lightning flashed in his eyes and his hair stood on end. … Mr. Electrico was a beautiful man, see, because he knew that he had a little weird kid there who was twelve years old and wanted lots of things. We walked along the shore of Lake Michigan and he treated me like a grown-up. I talked my big philosophies and he talked his little ones. Then we went out and sat on the dunes near the lake and all of a sudden he leaned over and said, I’m glad you’re back in my life. I said, What do you mean? I don’t know you. He said, You were my best friend outside of Paris in 1918. You were wounded in the Ardennes and you died in my arms there. I’m glad you’re back in the world. You have a different face, a different name, but the soul shining out of your face is the same as my friend. Welcome back. Now why did he say that? Explain that to me, why? Maybe he had a dead son, maybe he had no sons, maybe he was lonely, maybe he was an ironical jokester. Who knows? It could be that he saw the intensity with which I live. Every once in a while at a book signing I see young boys and girls who are so full of fire that it shines out of their face and you pay more attention to that. Maybe that’s what attracted him. When I left the carnival that day I stood by the carousel and I watched the horses running around and around to the music of “Beautiful Ohio,” and I cried. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I knew something important had happened to me that day because of Mr. Electrico. I felt changed. He gave me importance, immortality, a mystical gift. My life was turned around completely. It makes me cold all over to think about it, but I went home and within days I started to write. I’ve never stopped. Seventy-seven years ago, and I’ve remembered it perfectly. I went back and saw him that night. He sat in the chair with his sword, they pulled the switch, and his hair stood up. He reached out with his sword and touched everyone in the front row, boys and girls, men and women, with the electricity that sizzled from the sword. When he came to me, he touched me on the brow, and on the nose, and on the chin, and he said to me, in a whisper, “Live forever.” And I decided to.
I recall playing practical jokes with John Wayne. I once got a whole bunch of keys and had little tags made that said, "If lost, please return to John Wayne, RKO Studios. Reward." And I just dropped them all over town. [He got a lot of] phone calls, people showing up at the studio. He never learned who did it.
It is a kind of vehicle, you know. It’s a kind of making, spreading out ideas, that is what I think. It spreads out the idea. You must care for information and I personally try to make information available not only in a written way.. ..I try also to work with images, with fantasy, with jokes, with humor. It accelerates the discussion of the problem of a new society.. ..so I work coming from the idea of art as the most important means to transform the society.
Unofficially, nobody really minded the clap. It was a joke to those who had never had it and to those who had been over it for a while. No worse than a bad cold, they said. Apparently the only time it was not a joke was when you had it. And instead of hurting your unofficial reputation it boosted you a notch, it was like getting a wound stripe. They said that in Nicaragua they used to give out Purple Hearts. But officially it hurt your Service Record, and it automatically lost you your rating. On your papers it put a stigma on you. When he put in to get back in the Bugle Corps, he found that while he was away they had suddenly gone over-strength. He went back on straight duty for the rest of his enlistment.
When I got back into show business in 1961, I felt — for obvious reasons — that nothing in my life went right, and I realized that millions of people felt the same way. So when I first came back my catch phrase was "nothing goes right." Early on, that was my setup for a lot of jokes.
The telling of jokes is an art of its own, and it always rises from some emotional threat. The best jokes are dangerous, and dangerous because they are in some way truthful.
I don't think there would be many jokes, if there weren't constant frustration and fear and so forth. It's a response to bad troubles like crime.
Jokes can be noble. Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward — and since I can start thinking and striving again that much sooner.
If I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, "Kurt is up in heaven now." That's my favorite joke.
A joke is like building a mousetrap from scratch. You have to work pretty hard to make the thing snap when it is supposed to snap.
Redd Foxx had grown-up jokes. … You ain't never heard no Redd Foxx stand-up. Hell, you still watchin' Sanford & Son reruns.
I'd never malign another performer, but the style is not good enough. They've done away with laugh pay-offs. We were given nine minutes or eight minutes. Now they wander wherever they like, they don't get to any jokes before they've been on for two minutes. We had to make an impact in ten seconds.
I am not joking. I'm speaking
of spirit. Not dogma but spirit. The Way.
Cinema unifies us despite caste, creed and race. While watching a movie in a cinema hall, we don't care who is seated next to us. We laugh at the same jokes and cry at the same scenes. We should be proud of Indian cinema for integrating us,"
A branch of physics that I was working in for many years has lately become much less active. Many problems have been solved and others are so difficult that nobody knows what to do about them. This means that I do much less physics today than 15 years ago. By contrast, fractal tools have plenty to do. There is a joke that your hammer will always find nails to hit. I find that perfectly acceptable. The hammer I crafted is the first effective tool for all kinds of roughness and nobody will deny that there is at last some roughness everywhere.
Bob: To God, homosexuality is no joke!
...American society, literary or lay, tends to be humorless. What other culture could have produced someone like Hemingway and not seen the joke?
Now, that brings me to the Liberal Party. I gather that during the last few days there have been some ill-natured jokes about their new symbol, a bird of some kind, adopted by the Liberal Democrats at Blackpool. Politics is a serious business, and one should not lower the tone unduly. So I will say only this of the Liberal Democrat symbol and of the party it symbolises. This is an ex-parrot. It is not merely stunned. It has ceased to be, expired and gone to meet its maker. It is a parrot no more. It has rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is a late parrot. And now for something completely different.
Life seemed to be an educator's practical joke in which you spent the first half learning and the second half learning that everything you learned in the first half was wrong.
Within those confining walls, teachers — a bunch of men all armed with the same information — gave the same lectures every year from the same notebooks and every year at the same point in the textbooks made the same jokes.
It's all been a bad joke that just ran out of control. I got into food for fun but the business got a mind of its own. Now — my good Lord — look where it has gotten me. My products are on supermarket shelves, in cinemas, in the theater. And they say show business is odd.
It is the simple truth that man does differ from the brutes in kind and not in degree; and the proof of it is here; that it sounds like a truism to say that the most primitive man drew a picture of a monkey and that it sounds like a joke to say that the most intelligent monkey drew a picture of a man. Something of division and disproportion has appeared; and it is unique. Art is the signature of man.
One of my first journalistic adventures, or misadventures, concerned a comment on Grant Allen, who had written a book about the Evolution of the Idea of God. I happened to remark that it would be much more interesting if God wrote a book about the evolution of the idea of Grant Allen. And I remember that the editor objected to my remark on the ground that it was blasphemous; which naturally amused me not a little. For the joke of it was, of course, that it never occurred to him to notice the title of the book itself, which really was blasphemous; for it was, when translated into English, ‘I will show you how this nonsensical notion that there is God grew up among men.’ My remark was strictly pious and proper confessing the divine purpose even in its most seemingly dark or meaningless manifestations. In that hour I learned many things, including the fact that there is something purely acoustic in much of that agnostic sort of reverence. The editor had not seen the point, because in the title of the book the long word came at the beginning and the short word at the end; whereas in my comments the short word came at the beginning and gave him a sort of shock. I have noticed that if you put a word like God into the same sentence with a word like dog, these abrupt and angular words affect people like pistol-shots. Whether you say that God made the dog or the dog made God does not seem to matter; that is only one of the sterile disputations of the too subtle theologians. But so long as you begin with a long word like evolution the rest will roll harmlessly past.
He would find the trail of monsters blindly developing in directions outside all our common imagery of fish and bird; groping and grasping and touching life with every extravagant elongation of horn and tongue and tentacle; growing a forest of fantastic caricatures of the claw and the fin and the finger. But nowhere would he find one finger that had traced one significant line upon the sand; nowhere one claw that had even begun to scratch the faint suggestion of a form. To all appearance, the thing would be as unthinkable in all those countless cosmic variations of forgotten aeons as it would be in the beasts and birds before our eyes The child would no more expect to see it than to see the cat scratch on the wall a vindictive caricature of the dog. The childish common sense would keep the most evolutionary child from expecting to see anything like that; yet in the traces of the rude and recently evolved ancestors of humanity he would have seen exactly that. It must surely strike him as strange that men so remote from him should be so near, and that beasts so near to him should be so remote. To his simplicity it must seem at least odd that he could not find any trace of the beginning of any arts among any animals. That is the simplest lesson to learn in the cavern of the coloured pictures; only it is too simple to be learnt. It is the simple truth that man does differ from the brutes in kind and not in degree; and the proof of it is here; that it sounds like a truism to say that the most primitive man drew a picture of a monkey and that it sounds like a joke to say that the most intelligent monkey drew a picture of a man. Something of division and disproportion has appeared; and it is unique. Art is the signature of man.
Please don't make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe. I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one... I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity... If fame goes by, so long, I've had you, fame. If it goes by, I've always known it was fickle. So at least it's something I experienced, but that's not where I live.
Churches also have their problems with a Jesus whose only economics are jokes. A savior undermines the foundations of any social doctrine of the Church. But that is what He does, whenever He is faced with money matters. According to Mark 12:13 there was a group of Herodians who wanted to catch Him in His own words. They ask "Must we pay tribute to Caesar?" You know His answer: "Give me a coin – tell me whose profile is on it!." Of course they answer "Caesar's."
The drachma is a weight of silver marked with Caesar's effigy.
A Roman coin was no impersonal silver dollar; there was none of that "trust in God" or adornment with a presidential portrait. A denarius was a piece of precious metal branded, as it were, like a heifer, with the sign of the personal owner. Not the Treasury, but Caesar coins and owns the currency. Only if this characteristic of Roman currency is understood, one grasps the analogy between the answer to the devil who tempted Him with power and to the Herodians who tempt Him with money. His response is clear: abandon all that which has been branded by Caesar; but then, enjoy the knowledge that everything, everything else is God's, and therefore is to be used by you.
The message is so simple: Jesus jokes about Caesar. He shrugs off his control. And not only at that one instance… Remember the occasion at the Lake of Capharnaum, when Peter is asked to pay a twopenny tax. Jesus sends him to throw a line into the lake and pick the coin he needs from the mouth of the first fish that bites. Oriental stories up to the time of Thousand Nights and One Night are full of beggars who catch the fish that has swallowed a piece of gold. His gesture is that of a clown; it shows that this miracle is not meant to prove him omnipotent but indifferent to matters of money. Who wants power submits to the Devil and who wants denarri submits to the Caesar.
Standing well over six-feet tall, broad-shouldered and ramrod straight, he is an imposing military figure. He is considered a "soldier's soldier" who can joke and swear with the best of them and has attracted great loyalty among his juniors. Opposition leaders say he is not a sophisticated analyst, preferring to see the world about him in black and white, and making quick decisions. But since taking power he has displayed a shrewdness that has surprised both friends and foes.
The ranchers want to keep us divided in order to keep us weak. Many of us have signed individual "work contracts" with the ranchers or contractors, contracts in which they had all power. These contracts were farces, one more cynical joke at our impotence. That is why we must get together and bargain collectively. We must use the only strength that we have, the force of our numbers. The ranchers are few; we are many. United we shall stand.
It's mandatory in this day and age to be considered to have a sense of humor and to demonstrate it. You're not paying me for a joke, You're paying me for the right joke.
A young person today has a nanosecond attention span, so whatever you do in a humor has to be short. Younger people do not wait for anything that takes time to develop. We're going totally to one-liners. Telling a joke is risk taking. Younger people are more insecure and not willing to put themselves on the line, so a quick one-liner is much safer.
It always seems to someone outside the business that it is very difficult to write for a comedy show because it must be done quickly. Actually, it is much easier to write this humor than to do a joke or a show from scratch, because the audience knows the plot. Just mention what is going on and then deliver the punch line.
If somebody accuses you in a story of being a crook, you can demand that they prove it. But if a comic says it and you protest, people say, 'What's the matter, you can't take a joke?'
Very few people ever meet celebrities. All we really know is what we read about them and the most memorable lines are jokes. That's how we tend to define what we think of a public figure.
The relation of the performance of music to sound is complex and ambiguous: this is what makes possible Mark Twain's joke that Wagner is better than he sounds.
Che was wearing green fatigues, and his usual overgrown and scraggly beard. Behind the beard his features are quite soft, almost feminine, and his manner is intense. He has a good sense of humor, and there was considerable joking back and forth during the meeting … Although he left no doubt of his personal and intense devotion to communism, his conversation was free of propaganda and bombast. He spoke calmly, in a straightforward manner, and with the appearance of detachment and objectivity … I had the definite impression that he had thought out his remarks very carefully — they were extremely well organized.
I should say that when people talk about capitalism it's a bit of a joke. There's no such thing. No country, no business class, has ever been willing to subject itself to the free market, free market discipline. Free markets are for others. Like, the Third World is the Third World because they had free markets rammed down their throat. Meanwhile, the enlightened states, England, the United States, others, resorted to massive state intervention to protect private power, and still do. That's right up to the present. I mean, the Reagan administration for example was the most protectionist in post-war American history. Virtually the entire dynamic economy in the United States is based crucially on state initiative and intervention: computers, the internet, telecommunication, automation, pharmaceutical, you just name it. Run through it, and you find massive ripoffs of the public, meaning, a system in which under one guise or another the public pays the costs and takes the risks, and profit is privatized. That's very remote from a free market. Free market is like what India had to suffer for a couple hundred years, and most of the rest of the Third World.
Take any country that has laws against hate crimes, inspiring hatred and genocide and so on. The first thing they would do is ban the Old Testament. There's nothing like it in the literary canon that exalts genocide, to that extent. And it's not a joke either. Like where I live, New England, the people who liberated it from the native scourge were religious fundamentalist lunatics, who came waving the holy book, declaring themselves to be the children of Israel who are killing the Amalekites, like God told them.
What I don't like today is, to put it coarsely, the phony Hasidism, the phony mysticism. Many students say, "Teach me mysticism." It's a joke.
The usual jokes about the Army aside, one of the many fine things one has to admit is the way that the Army has carried the American democratic ideal to its logical conclusion, in the sense that not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed and color, but also on the grounds of ability.
The real issues I don't think most people touch. The Clinton jokes are all about Monica Lewinsky and all that stuff and not about the important things, like the fact that he wouldn't ban landmines.
You can make fun with Saddam Hussein jokes … but you can't make fun of, say, the concentration camps. I think my target was not so much evil, but benign stupidity people doing stupid things without realising or, instead, thinking they were doing good.
The gods too are fond of a joke.
Serious drinkers are like serious eaters or serious noneaters. They are like serious drug-addicts. Their addiction holds a spell over them which acts as some powerful secret at the center of everything they do. The serious eater listens to others talking of diets, Weight Watchers, exercises; she hears them excitedly comparing pounds lost, pounds gained. She hears them encouraging each other, joking, consoling. She is not one of them. She knows the diets better than they do; she knows Weight Watchers is useless for her; she knows her life is on some Almighty Scale that she has to step on alone. She is in some covenant with food — a covenant which she probably does not understand, but which nevertheless exerts some magical, compelling power over her. She hates it; she loves it; she keeps her covenant silent.
People always say: "You're a comedian, tell us a joke." They don't say: "You're an MP, tell us a lie."
I admit it worked fairly well but my first reaction was to get up and walk away from the job, but I couldn't. Once you've heard music like that with the picture, it makes your own scoring more difficult to arrive at, it clouds your thinking. Later, as an inside joke, I included a snippet of the Strauss in the score-and some critic pounced on me for stealing. You can´t win.
The whole thing -[actor Stewart Granger's pursuit of Jean Simmons]- began as a joke but very quickly developed into a romance. [-] One day my agent called and told me the master, Rank, would like me to have dinner with him in his private suite at the Dorchester Hotel. [-] 'Now, it's about Jean Simmons,' he started in his flat Yorkshire accent. 'I like to believe we're all a big family and I regard Jean as my daughter. (Well, you're a pretty damn mean father I thought, knowing the ridiculous salary he was paying to Britain's top female star.) 'You're a married man with two children and what I hear is going on is wrong.' 'Its a disgrace' added John Davis who had been eyeing me balefully [-] I told them I was no longer married and that I had been divorced for six months [and] beat a hasty retreat."
There are very few jokes about sociologists.
LISP has been jokingly described as "the most intelligent way to misuse a computer". I think that description a great compliment because it transmits the full flavor of liberation: it has assisted a number of our most gifted fellow humans in thinking previously impossible thoughts.
No, young man. No jokes here. There's a time and place. When you say something in class they take you seriously. You're the teacher. You say you went out with a sheep and they’re going to swallow every word. They don’t know the mating habits of the Irish.
When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land. This quote, often attributed to Jomo Kenyatta, was first written in a fiction play published by holocaust doubter Rolf Hochhuth, in his controversial The Deputy, a Christian tragedy (1964), Grove Press, p. 144. No reference to any historical or original source was given. Other citations are found in books written by critics of religion, such as Christos Tzanetakos's "The Life and Work of an Atheist Pioneer", iUniverse; and Jack Huberman0s "Quotable Atheist: Ammunition for Nonbelievers, Political Junkies, Gadflies, and Those Generally Hell-Bound" (2008), 175. No references are given. In Desmond Tutu: A Biography (2004) by Steven Gish, p. 101; is clarified Tutu used it as a joke which was not of him.
“What makes The Joker tick I wonder?” Fredric said. “I mean what are his real motivations?” “Consider him at any level of conduct,” Bruce said slowly, “in the home, on the street, in interpersonal relations, in jail—always there is an extraordinary contradiction. He is dirty and compulsively neat, aloof and desperately gregarious, enthusiastic and sullen, generous and stingy, a snappy dresser and a scarecrow, a gentleman and a boor, given to extremes of happiness and despair, singularly well able to apply himself and capable of frittering away a lifetime in trivial pursuits, decorous and unseemly, kind and cruel, tolerant yet open to the most outrageous varieties of bigotry, a great friend and an implacable enemy, a lover and abominator of women, sweet-spoken and foul-mouthed, a rake and a puritan, swelling with hubris and haunted by inferiority, outcast and social climber, felon and philanthropist, barbarian and patron of the arts, enamored of novelty and solidly conservative, philosopher and fool, Republican and Democrat, large of soul and unbearably petty, distant and brimming with friendly impulses, an inveterate liar and astonishingly strict with petty cash, adventurous and timid, imaginative and stolid, malignly destructive and a planter of trees on Arbor Day—I tell you frankly, the man is a mess.” “That’s extremely well said Bruce,” Fredric stated. “I think you’ve given a very thoughtful analysis.” “I was paraphrasing what Mark Schorer said about Sinclair Lewis,” Bruce replied.
The jokes of the gods are long in the telling.
It’s a family joke that when I was a tiny child I turned from the window out of which I was watching a snowstorm, and hopefully asked, "Momma, do we believe in winter?"
All I can tell you with certainty is that I, for one, have no self, and that I am unwilling or unable to perpetrate upon myself the joke of a self.... What I have instead is a variety of impersonations I can do, and not only of myself — a troupe of players that I have internalised, a permanent company of actors that I can call upon when a self is required.... I am a theater and nothing more than a theater.
I don't know that you can speak of shock … Nothing is too shocking for me. I don't really know what is shocking. When you tell the story of a man who is beheaded, you have to show how they cut off his head. If you don't, it's like telling a dirty joke and leaving out the punch line.
NO ONE GETS OUT OF CHILDHOOD ALIVE. It's not the first time I've said that. But among the few worthy bon mots I've gotten off in sixty-seven years, that and possibly one other may be the only considerations eligible for carving on my tombstone. (The other one is the one entrepreneurs have misappropriated to emboss on buttons and bumper stickers: The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
(I don't so much mind that they pirated it, but what does honk me off is that they never get it right. They render it dull and imbecile by phrasing it thus: "The two most common things in the universe are..."
(Not things, you insensate gobbets of ambulatory giraffe dung, elements! Elements is funny, things is imprecise and semi-guttural. Things! Geezus, when will the goyim learn they don't know how to tell a joke.
Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood.
There were never that many women stand-up comics in the past because the power to make people laugh is also a power that gets people upset. But the ones who were performing were making jokes on themselves usually and now that’s changed. So there are no rules exactly but I think if you see a whole group of people only being self-deprecating, it’s a problem. But I have always employed humor, and I think it’s absolutely crucial that we do because, among other things, humor is the only free emotion. I mean, you can compel fear, as we know. You can compel love, actually, if somebody is isolated and dependent — it’s like the Stockholm syndrome. But you can’t compel laughter. It happens when two things come together and make a third unexpectedly. It happens when you learn something, too. I think it was Einstein who said he had to be careful when he shaved because if he thought of something suddenly, he’d laugh and cut himself. So I think laughter is crucial. Some of the original cultures, like the Dalit and the Native American, don’t separate laughter and seriousness. There’s none of this kind of false Episcopalian solemnity.
Chico Fernandez, Roberto and myself, the three of us palled around. We went out to eat, we went to the movies together, we laughed and we joked. Oh yeah, he was funny. The three of us, we just laughed all the time. See, we joked amongst ourselves. Some people think because you’re colored, they’ve got the stereotype that we’re like those guys in the old days – always cracking jokes. I’m not a joke cracker. Clemente wasn’t either, but we could say things now and then that were funny and we could ad lib things.
Robby was one of the most decent men I ever met, yet somehow no one seemed to understand him. Maybe there was a language barrier. I don’t know. I do know he was absolutely selfless, not a distant person. When he talked about his physical problems, the writers made jokes, but what he was trying to say was that blacks and Latins play hurt, too. The writers didn’t get that. They said he was a hypochondriac. But I never knew a Pirate player who felt Clemente wouldn’t play with an injury unless it was so severe he simply couldn’t play. It was horrible when writers started coming in the clubhouse saying, "I wonder what’s going to be wrong with him today?" That was unfair – totally unfair. They always seemed to react to his words instead of the thought he was trying to convey – I guess it was easier than getting to know him.
He was my middle man if I needed help, if there was a problem between management and one of the players. A lot of people thought he was moody and temperamental, but he wasn’t. He was like a kid in many ways. He had that mischievous look. I always felt he wanted to be a practical joker but that he felt he had to be restrained, the proper leader. He was a god to the Latin-American players. They’d congregate around him in the dining room. If he laughed, they laughed. If he frowned, they frowned. And he was always making appearances you wouldn’t find out about until several days later. He’d go to a hospital or an orphanage and no one would know it. I’m not sure he confided in anyone except his wife.
For the two years I was there, it was hard to get close to Clemente. He would be invited to parties after games, but never attended.✱ But it’s not like he disliked his teammates. And he showed a good sense of humor in the clubhouse – hiding your shoes or playing other practical jokes. Joe Christopher was one of his targets. But Joe was kind of easy to egg on. [...] For the time I was there, Clemente and Murtaugh got along very well. Of course, I was there at a very good time – in 1960 when we won the Series. Everybody got along then. There might have been a few harsh words between players once in a while, but no major problems.
I never smile when I have a bat in my hands. That's when you've got to be serious. When I get out on the field, nothing's a joke to me. I don't feel like I should walk around with a smile on my face.
Watching their sets in a kind of trance were people in Mexico, people in France. They don't chase Jones but the dreams are the same — Mr. and Mrs. Everywhere, that's the right name! Herr und Frau Uberall or les Partout, A gadget on the set makes them look like you. When the Everywhere couple crack a joke It's laughed at by all right-thinking folk. When the Everywhere couple adopt a pose It's the with-it view as everyone knows. It may be a rumor or it may be true But a gadget on the set has it said by you! "What do you think about Yatakang?" "I think the same as the Everywhere gang." "What do you think of Beninia then?" "The Everywheres will tell me but I don't know when." Whatever my country and whatever my name A gadget on the set makes me think the same.
At one point Trudeau mentioned to me that the National Gallery wanted to buy a masterpiece by the great Italian painter Lotto, and it needed a million dollars from the Treasury Board. "Is that Lotto-Quebec or Lotto-Canada?" I joked, but I got the message, and the National Gallery got the painting.
The film studios learned to our dismay but to their pleasure that if they spent $200 million making a film they could make half a billion on it. So they were not interested anymore in quality films… They can’t afford to be that risky at those prices. Consequently you’re getting a lot of remakes, sequels, dopey comedies full of toilet jokes…
I don’t even think Woody does comedy. I think he does dramas with jokes. They’re all sad at their core.
In the mid-60s, when Elvis was making those godawful movies and my friends and I were buying albums by the Stones and the Yardbirds, a mate and I would always go to see Elvis on the big screen; we knew the formula and always used to laugh about them afterwards, but what I also remember is what used to happen in the cinema: not long after the opening credits the audience would start talking and laughing through the dialogue - but the second Elvis sang everyone would stop and listen; Elvis’ voice had that effect, even when he was considered as a joke by a generation grown up on tougher music and rock musicians who seemed much more rebellious, dangerous and innovative; so, for me, it has always been about the music and even when he was all but lost to us, in those final years, you can still hear that raw passion flare up; and I defy anyone, knowing that he had just separated from his wife and was heartbroken, to listen to "Always on my Mind" and "Fool", and not be moved; you can hear a man whose heart is breaking; listening to the best of his music, whether it be raw rock’n’roll or those genuinely heart aching ballads, confirms for me that Elvis has never left the building.
Nigel: Why the cheap jokes?
Jack: Cheap? When I was a kid, we were made to stay away from school on Empire Days so we wouldn't have to wave one of those little Union Jacks. We were the richest country in the world then, or so I'm told, and my old man bow-legged from malnutrition. Us kids nearly died laughing.
Jack: Well, I've been laughing ever since, haven't I? Put a few smiles between yourself and the world, Nigel. You don't bruise so easy that way.
In actual fact, the female function is to explore, discover, invent, solve problems crack jokes, make music - all with love. In other words, create a magic world.
"In the end, we should simply imagine a joke; a long joke that's being continually retold in an accent too thick and too strange to ever be completely understood. Life is that joke. The soul is its punchline."
The joker in the deck of lesbian fidelity is female vanity: no woman of fifty is going to undress in front of a woman of twenty no matter how much she might lust for her.
Mr. Holmes receives a telephone call from his neighbor Dr. Watson who states that he hears the sound of a burglar alarm from the direction of of Mr. Holmes' house. While preparing to rush home, Mr. Holmes recalls that Dr. Watson is known to be a tasteless practical joker...
Floating around the Internet these days, posted and e-mailed back and forth, are a number of writings attributed to me, and I want people to know they're not mine. Don't blame me.Some are essay-length, some are just short lists of one and two-line jokes, but if they're flyin' around the Internet, they're probably not mine. Occasionally, a couple of jokes on a long list might have come from me, but not often. And because most of this stuff is really lame, it's embarrassing to see my name on it.And that's the problem. I want people to know that I take care with my writing, and try to keep my standards high. But most of this "humor" on the Internet is just plain stupid. I guess hard-core fans who follow my stuff closely would be able to spot the fake stuff, because the tone of voice is so different. But a casual fan has no way of knowing, and it bothers me that some people might believe I'd actually be capable of writing some of this stuff.
The night room heaves a sigh, yes Heaves, a Sigh — old-fashioned comical room, oh me I'm hopeless, born a joker never change, flirting away through the mirrorframe in something green-striped, pantalooned, and ruffled — meantime though, it is quaint, most rooms today hum you know, have been known also to "breathe," yes even wait in hushed expectancy and that ought to be the rather sinister tradition here, long slender creatures, heavy perfume and capes in rooms assailed by midnight, pierced with spiral stairways, blue-petaled pergolas, an ambience in which no one, however provoked or out of touch, my dear young lady, ever, Heaves, a Sigh. It is not done.
It is a sad fact that when people are really enjoying themselves and laughing immoderately, they can afterwards remember very little of the conversation, very few of the jokes. There was the famous occasion when Peter addressed a group of revellers at a lunch celebrating 25 years of Private Eye. Almost everyone who was there, myself included, will tell you it was the funniest, most brilliant speech they had ever heard. But ask us to recall the jokes and there will be a complete blank. Peter's funniest performances were generally of this impromptu, unscripted variety.
If you have to do something, write me a funny AIDS play. Sure you can. It's the biggest joke played on us since sex itself - and with the longest punch line.
Don't you think this outlaw bit has done got out of hand? What started out to be a joke, the law don't understand. Was it singing through my nose that got me busted by the man? Maybe this here outlaw bit has done got out of hand.
The repeat run of Fawlty Towers (BBC2) drew bigger audiences than ever and deservedly so. Statistical surveys reveal that only the television critic of the Spectator is incapable of seeing the joke, which is that Basil Fawlty has the wrong temperament to be a hotel proprietor, just as some other people have the wrong temperament to be television critics.
Back in the late 1950s, on the sleeve of the Beyond the Fringe record album, Jonathan Miller made a dark joke about his worst fear: being tortured for information that he did not possess. The assumption behind the joke was that if he had something to reveal, the agony would stop. He was looking back to a world of polite British fiction, not to a world of brute European fact. In the Nazi and Soviet cellars and camps, people were regularly tortured for information they did not possess: i.e. they were tortured just for the hell of it.
For every wicked witch there is, in our cluture, a black magician, an alchemist, a Flying Dutchman, a Doctor Strangelove, a Vincent Price. The scientist, like the magician, possesses secrets. A secret — expertise — is somehow perceived as antidemocratic, and therefore ought to be unnatural. We have come a long way from Prometheus to Faust to Frankenstein. And even Frankenstein's monster is now a joke. Mr. Barnouw reminds us of "The Four Troublesome Heads" (1898), in which a conjuror punishes three of his own severed heads because they sing out of tune; he hits them with a banjo.
This book, at once scrupulous and provocative, reminds us of two habits of mind we seem to have misplace — innocent wonder and an appreciation of practical brain power. Peeled grapes are out and LSD is in. (Again, alas.) If we laugh at Frankenstein, we also laugh at Bambi. We are more inclined to shrug than we are to gasp. Isn't everything a trick? Am I putting you on? Of course not; you wouldn't fit. Hit me with a banjo.
The words, the style always reflects a habit of mind. And the habit of mind comes in from a different angle. The habit of mind uses the colloquial here and uses the joke there. And then creates some discordant music and then something strange and wonderful happens.
And you see things differently. You see a different light is shed on it.
Our meeting with Admiral Leighton Smith, on the other hand, did not go well. He had been in charge of the NATO air strikes in August and September , and this gave him enormous credibility, especially with the Bosnian Serbs. Smith was also the beneficiary of a skillful public relations effort that cast him as the savior of Bosnia. In a long profile, Newsweek had called him "a complex warrior and civilizer, a latter-day George C. Marshall." This was quite a journalistic stretch, given the fact that Smith considered the civilian aspects of the task beneath him and not his job — quite the opposite of what General Marshall stood for. After a distinguished thirty-three-year Navy career, including almost three hundred combat missions in Vietnam, Smith was well qualified for his original post as commander of NATO's southern forces and Commander in Chief of all U.S. naval forces in Europe. But he was the wrong man for his additional assignment as IFOR commander, which was the result of two bureaucratic compromises, one with the French, the other with the American military. General Joulwan rightly wanted the sixty thousand IFOR soldiers to have as their commanding officer an Army general trained in the use of ground forces. But Paris insisted that if Joulwan named a separate Bosnia commander, it would have to be a Frenchman. This was politically impossible for the United States; thus, the Franh objections left only one way to preserve an American chain of command — to give the job to Admiral Smith, who joked that he was now known as "General" Smith. … On the military goals of Dayton, he was fine; his plans for separating the forces along the line we had drawn in Dayton and protecting his forces were first-rate. But he was hostile to any suggestions that IFOR help implement any nonmilitary portion of the agreement. This, he said repeatedly, was not his job. Based on Shalikashvili's statement at White House meetings, Christopher and I had assumed that the IFOR commander would use his authority to do substantially more than he was obligated to do. The meeting with Smith shattered that hope. Smith and his British deputy, General Michael Walker, made clear that they intended to take a minimalist approach to all aspects of implementation other than force protection. Smith signaled this in his first extensive public statement to the Bosnian people, during a live call-in program on Pale Television — an odd choice for his first local media appearance. During the program, he answered a question in a manner that dangerously narrowed his own authority. He later told Newsweek about it with a curious pride: "One of the questions I was asked was, "Admiral, is it true that IFOR is going to arrest Serbs in the Serb suburbs of Sarajevo?" I said, "Absolutely not, I don't have the authority to arrest anybody"." This was an inaccurate way to describe IFOR's mandate. It was true IFOR was not supposed to make routine arrests of ordinary citizens. But IFOR had the authority to arrest indicted war criminals, and could also detain anyone who posed a threat to its forces. Knowing what the question meant, Smith had sent an unfortunate signal of reassurance to Karadzic — over his own network.
One of the great things about kids is, they haven't heard a lot of the old jokes. You can get away with the corny ones.
The Internet was done so well that most people think of it as a natural resource like the Pacific Ocean, rather than something that was man-made. When was the last time a technology with a scale like that was so error-free? The Web, in comparison, is a joke. The Web was done by amateurs.
All his leisure clothes were absurd — jokes, really — as though leisure itself had to be ridiculed.
(Jokingly) Sex in ten dimensions is impossible... topologically.
People say I'm the life of the party 'Cause I tell a joke or two. Although I might be laughing loud and hearty, Deep inside I'm blue.So take a good look at my face. You know my smile looks out of place. If you look closer, it's easy to trace The tracks of my tears.
I went to university on a scholarship that was funded by a church. I was on the way to becoming a Presbyterian missionary. In the end I left school. The reason was that I used to tell jokes about God and the people around me did not like the jokes. I asked them, What kind of God is this who can't cope with my lousy jokes? What kind of God feels threatened by these jokes? So I left. And the truth is that this is exactly what I have to say about the present situation. Everything has become too political and it is ludicrous. I understand why they are upset, but it has reached an absurd pass and the Muslims are only hurting themselves.
James Joyce, in his novel Finnegans Wake, in 1939, punned on the word “Hindoo” (as the British used to spell it), joking that it came from the names of two Irishmen, Hin-nessy and Doo-ley: “This is the hindoo Shimar Shin between the dooley boy and the hinnessy.
Yes, I received your letter yesterday (About the time the door knob broke) When you asked how I was doing Was that some kind of joke? All these people that you mention Yes, I know them, they're quite lame I had to rearrange their faces And give them all another name Right now I can't read too good Don't send me no more letters no Not unless you mail them From Desolation Row
An old paleontological in joke proclaims that mammalian evolution is a tale told by teeth mating to produce slightly altered descendant teeth.
As everybody who met him noted, Krajisnik had only one long and extraordinarily brushy eyebrow, which spanned his forehead, creating what looked like a permanent dark cloud over his deep-set eyes. Although Krajisnik had not been indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal - and could therefore participate in Dayton - it was hard to distinguish his views from those of his close friend Radovan Karadzic. Milosevic had often said that Krajisnik was "more difficult" than Karadzic, but we had little basis on which to make an indipendent judgment. (...) He and Izetbegovic knew each other well, from lengthy meetings in the Bosnian Assembly before the war. Krajisnik owned a five-hectare farm on the edge of Sarajevo, in an area that would probably revet to the Muslims in any settlement, and we often made bitter jokes that the war was really over "Krajisnik's five hectares".
Our meeting with Admiral Leighton Smith, on the other hand, did not go well. He had been in charge of the NATO air strikes in August and September , and this gave him enormous credibility, especially with the Bosnian Serbs. Smith was also the beneficiary of a skillful public relations effort that cast him as the savior of Bosnia. In a long profile, Newsweek had called him "a complex warrior and civilizer, a latter-day George C. Marshall." This was quite a journalistic stretch, given the fact that Smith considered the civilian aspects of the task beneath him and not his job - quite the opposite of what General Marshall stood for. After a distinguished thirty-three-year Navy career, including almost three hundred combat missions in Vietnam, Smith was well qualified for his original post as commander of NATO's southern forces and Commander in Chief of all U.S. naval forces in Europe. But he was the wrong man for his additional assignment as IFOR commander, which was the result of two bureaucratic compromises, one with the French, the other with the American military. General Joulwan rightly wanted the sixty thousand IFOR soldiers to have as their commanding officer an Army general trained in the use of ground forces. But Paris insisted that if Joulwan named a separate Bosnia commander, it would have to be a Frenchman. This was politically impossible for the United States; thus, the Franh objections left only one way to preserve an American chain of command - to give the job to Admiral Smith, who joked that he was now known as "General" Smith. (...) On the military goals of Dayton, he was fine; his plans for separating the forces along the line we had drawn in Dayton and protecting his forces were first-rate. But he was hostile to any suggestions that IFOR help implement any nonmilitary portion of the agreement. This, he said repeatedly, was not his job. Based on Shalikashvili's statement at White House meetings, Christopher and I had assumed that the IFOR commander would use his authority to do substancially more than he was obligated to do. The meeting with Smith shattered that hope. Smith and his British deputy, General Michael Walker, made clear that they intended to take a minimalist approach to all aspects of implementation other than force protection. Smith signaled this in his first extensive public statement to the Bosnian people, during a live call-in program on Pale Television - an odd choice for his first local media appearance. During the program, he answered a question in a manner that dangerously narrowed his own authority. He later told Newsweek about it with a curious pride: "One of the questions I was asked was, "Admiral, is it true that IFOR is going to arrest Serbs in the Serb suburbs of Sarajevo?" I said, "Absolutely not, I don't have the authority to arrest anybody"." This was an inaccurate way to describe IFOR's mandate. It was true IFOR was not supposed to make routine arrests of ordinary citizens. But IFOR had the authority to arrest indicted war criminals, and could also detain anyone who posed a threat to its forces. Knowing what the question meant, Smith had sent an unfortunate signal of reassurance to Karadzic - over his own network.
Without sex it would be so easy to choose appropriate people to live with. Sex was the joker in an otherwise rational deck.
My way of joking is to tell the truth. That's the funniest joke in the world.
Magnolia is a film of sadness and loss, of lifelong bitterness, of children harmed and adults destroying themselves. As the narrator tells us near the end, "We may be through with the past, but the past is never through with us." In this wreckage of lifetimes, there are two figures, a policeman and a nurse, who do what they can to offer help, hope and love. … The central theme is cruelty to children, and its lasting effect. This is closely linked to a loathing or fear of behaving as we are told, or think, that we should. … As an act of filmmaking, it draws us in and doesn't let go. It begins deceptively, with a little documentary about amazing coincidences (including the scuba diver scooped by a fire-fighting plane and dumped on a forest fire) … coincidences and strange events do happen, and they are as real as everything else. If you could stand back far enough, in fact, everything would be revealed as a coincidence. What we call "coincidences" are limited to the ones we happen to notice. … In one beautiful sequence, Anderson cuts between most of the major characters all simultaneously singing Aimee Mann's "It's Not Going to Stop." A directorial flourish? You know what? I think it's a coincidence. Unlike many other "hypertext movies" with interlinking plots, Magnolia seems to be using the device in a deeper, more philosophical way. Anderson sees these people joined at a level below any possible knowledge, down where fate and destiny lie. They have been joined by their actions and their choices. And all leads to the remarkable, famous, sequence near the film's end when it rains frogs. Yes. Countless frogs, still alive, all over Los Angeles, falling from the sky. That this device has sometimes been joked about puzzles me. I find it a way to elevate the whole story into a larger realm of inexplicable but real behavior. We need something beyond the human to add another dimension. Frogs have rained from the sky eight times this century, but never mind the facts. Attend instead to Exodus 8:2, which is cited on a placard in the film: "And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs." Let who go? In this case, I believe, it refers not to people, but to fears, shames, sins. Magnolia is one of those rare films that works in two entirely different ways. In one sense, it tells absorbing stories, filled with detail, told with precision and not a little humor. On another sense, it is a parable. The message of the parable, as with all good parables, is expressed not in words but in emotions. After we have felt the pain of these people, and felt the love of the policeman and the nurse, we have been taught something intangible, but necessary to know.
What did I think about this movie? As a film critic, I liked it. I liked the in-jokes and the self-aware characters. At the same time, I was aware of the incredible level of gore in this film. It is *really* violent. Is the violence defused by the ironic way the film uses it and comments on it? For me, it was. For some viewers, it will not be, and they will be horrified. Which category do you fall in? Here's an easy test: When I mentioned Fangoria, did you know what I was talking about?
Clerks spoke with the sure, clear voice of an original filmmaker. In Mallrats the voice is muffled, and we sense instead advice from the tired, the establishment, the timid and other familiar Hollywood executive types. The year that Clerks played at the Cannes Film Festival, I was the chairman of a panel discussion of independent filmmakers. Most of them talked about their battles to stay free from Hollywood's playsafe strategies. But Kevin Smith cheerfully said he'd be happy to do whatever the studios wanted, if they'd pay for his films. At the time, I thought he was joking.
Blue Velvet contains scenes of such raw emotional energy that it's easy to understand why some critics have hailed it as a masterpiece. A film this painful and wounding has to be given special consideration. And yet those scenes of stark sexual despair are the tipoff to what's wrong with the movie. They're so strong that they deserve to be in a movie that is sincere, honest and true. But Blue Velvet surrounds them with a story that's marred by sophomoric satire and cheap shots. The director is either denying the strength of his material or trying to defuse it by pretending it's all part of a campy in-joke. … What's worse? Slapping somebody around, or standing back and finding the whole thing funny?
The result is a horrible mess of a movie, without shape, trajectory or purpose — a one joke movie, if it had one joke. The two characters wander witlessly past the bizarre backdrops of Las Vegas (some real, some hallucinated, all interchangeable) while zonked out of their minds. Humor depends on attitude. Beyond a certain point, you don't have an attitude, you simply inhabit a state. I've heard a lot of funny jokes about drunks and druggies, but these guys are stoned beyond comprehension, to the point where most of their dialog could be paraphrased as "eh?"… As for Depp, what was he thinking he made this movie? He was once in trouble for trashing a New York hotel room, just like the heroes of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. What was that? Research? After River Phoenix died of an overdose outside Depp's club, you wouldn't think Depp would see much humor in this story — but then, of course, there *isn't* much humor in this story.
Battlefield Earth is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It's not merely bad; it's unpleasant in a hostile way. The visuals are grubby and drab. The characters are unkempt and have rotten teeth. Breathing tubes hang from their noses like ropes of snot. The soundtrack sounds like the boom mike is being slammed against the inside of a 55-gallon drum. The plot. … Some movies run off the rails. This one is like the train crash in The Fugitive. I watched it in mounting gloom, realizing I was witnessing something historic, a film that for decades to come will be the punch line of jokes about bad movies.
Saving Silverman is so bad in so many different ways that perhaps you should see it, as an example of the lowest slopes of the bell-shaped curve. This is the kind of movie that gives even its defenders fits of desperation. Consider my friend James Berardinelli, the best of the Web-based critics. No doubt 10 days of oxygen deprivation at the Sundance Film Festival helped inspire his three-star review, in which he reports optimistically, "Saving Silverman" has its share of pratfalls and slapstick moments, but there's almost no flatulence." Here's a critical rule of thumb: You know you're in trouble when you're reduced to praising a movie for its absence of fart jokes, and have to add "almost"… as for Neil Diamond, Saving Silverman is his first appearance in a fiction film since The Jazz Singer, and one can only marvel that he waited 20 years to appear in a second film, and found one even worse than his first one.
Deuce Bigalow is aggressively bad, as if it wants to cause suffering to the audience. The best thing about it is that it runs for only 75 minutes. … Does this sound like a movie you want to see? It sounds to me like a movie that Columbia Pictures and the film's producers … should be discussing in long, sad conversations with their inner child.
The movie created a spot of controversy... Rob Schneider took offense when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times listed [2004's] Best Picture nominees and wrote that they were "ignored, unloved, and turned down flat by most of the same studios that … bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic."
Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: "Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind. … Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers..." As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."
And the look on her face as she opened the door Was like an old joke told by a friend. It'd taken ten more years but she'd found her smile And I watched the corners start to bend.
You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent … I'm not joking.
I can't even really tell a joke. I find being funny very hard work. I am always asked about it and I feel guilty saying that, but it's the truth. I love my work but it ain't easy.
Me a playboy?! You must be joking. But playing something like Robert Redford's role in Indecent Proposal would be a pleasant surprise.
They're making a joke of our universe
Postmodernism is among other things a sick joke at the expense of... revolutionary avant-gardism.
In one decade, women had gotten more protection against offensive jokes in the workplace than men had gotten in centuries against being killed in the workplace.
Sexual harassment legislation feels unfair to men because if they sued over an ethnic joke, or over a woman discussing pornography or asking them out, they’d be laughed out of the company.
When a man is attracted to a woman, being expected to take the sexual initiative does not increase his power, it increases his paralysis. The possibility of a lawsuit just intensifies the paralysis. Ironically, the more dangerous the waters, the more [telling dirty jokes] serves as a way of testing the waters: if she laughs, maybe she’s interested; if she looks disgusted, maybe she’s not. He would feel much more powerful if she took responsibility for testing the waters.
[T]here are really seven different [kinds of] sexual interactions occurring in the workplace… Sexual blackmail. A boss threatens to fire an employee unless she or he is sexual… Sexual bribery. An executive promises a promotion in exchange for sex. This can be explicit or implicit… Workplace prostitution. An employee is sexual in exchange for a promotion; a salesperson is sexual to win a sale. The sex can be given or just promised… Workplace incest. Consensual sex among employees. The workplace, like the family, has lines of authority which sexual bonding tends to blur… Sexual harassment. Repeated sexual advances at work after an employee has said ‘no’… Workplace flirtation. Suggestive dress, flirtations eye contact, a combination of touching and eye signals… Workplace porn. Pinups, lewd jokes, and sexual innuendos made in groups…
By giving women training to sue a company for a ‘hostile environment’ if someone tells a dirty joke, we are training women to run to the Government as Substitute Husband (or Father). This gets companies to fear women, but not to respect women. The best preparation we can give women to succeed in the workplace is the preparation to overcome barriers rather than to sue: successful people don’t sue, they succeed.
Yes, I was a funny guy for a long time. When I started out, I just wanted to write humor. I wrote humor for kids. My very first book was called How to be Funny. It was about how to get big laughs at the dinner table and how to get laughs in school. Parents hated this book. I wrote joke books, like A Hundred and One Monster Jokes, and other joke books for years. I did maybe a hundred of them. I had a great time, and I did this humor magazine called Bananas for ten years. It was sort of Mad Magazine, but it was all in color, and it was great. That was all I ever wanted to do. I couldn't believe it. When that ended, I figured I would just coast for the rest of my career. That was it. I'd already done what I wanted to do. I had no idea what was coming up.
… they said, "Sir, we want to tell you a joke." I said, "You don't have time to tell me a joke." They said, "Oh, you gotta hear this one." So I came in, they shut the door, and they said, "Here's"— I said, "What's the joke?" I said, "What's the joke?" They said, "9/11. Saddam Hussein. If he didn't do it, too bad. He should've! Because we're gonna get him anyway." I said, "But that's not funny." I said, "That's not very funny." They said, "It sure isn't."
Okay bear with me this'll be a little tough. You should know this isn't the first time I thought about leaving. I thought about it some twenty years ago when a check that would soon become a part of Cincinnati folklore, made me see life from the bottom. To be honest, a thought about ending it all crossed my mind, but a more reasonable alternative seemed to be 'hey how about just leaving town? Running away? Starting life over, some place else?' You see, in political terms as well as human, here in Cincinnati, I was dead. But then in the, probably, the luckiest decision I ever made, I decided 'No! I'm staying put!' I would withstand all the jokes, all the ridicule. I'd pretend it didn't hurt, and I would give every ounce of my being to Cincinnati. 'Why in time,' I was thinking, 'you'd have to like me. Or if not like me, at least respect me.' And I'd run for council even unendorsed. And I'd prove to you I could be the best public servant you ever had, or I'd die trying. Be it as a mayor, an anchor, or a commentator, whatever it took, I was determined to have you know that I was more than a check and a hooker on a one night stand. But something happened along the way. Maybe it's God's way of teaching us. I don't know, but you see? In trying to prove something to you, I learned something about me. I learned that I had fallen in love with you. With Cincinnati. With you who taught me more about life, and caring, and forgiving, and also most importantly, giving. Giving something back. Which is part of the reason... I have been... Excuse me. So sad this week. why... Why it's so hard to say goodbye. God bless you, and goodbye.
Still, from his books, I am convinced Nixon was not a coarse-grained man. Perhaps he was even delicate. Hannah Nixon used to joke that she had wanted a daughter. And she said about Nixon, her famous son, long after he had boarded the train and made something of himself in the world, “He was no child prodigy.” But Hannah also remembered the way young Nixon needed her, as none of her other children did: “As a schoolboy, he used to like to have me sit with him when he studied."
He thought of the jungle, already regrowing around him to cover the scars they had created. He thought of the tiger, killing to eat. Was that evil? And ants? They killed. No, the jungle wasn't evil. It was indifferent. So, too, was the world. Evil, then, must be the negation of something man had added to the world. Ultimately, it was caring about something that made the world liable to evil. Caring. And then the caring gets torn asunder. Everybody dies, but not everybody cares.It occurred to Mellas that he could create the possibility of good or evil through caring. He could nullify the indifferent world. But in so doing he opened himself up to the pain of watching it get blown away. His killing that day would not have been evil if the dead soldiers hadn't been loved by mothers, sisters, friends, wives. Mellas understood that in destroying the fabric that linked those people, he had participated in evil, but this evil had hurt him as well. He also understood that his participation in evil, was a result of being human. Being human was the best he could do. Without man there would be no evil. But there was also no good, nothing moral built over the world of fact. Humans were responsible for it all. He laughed at the cosmic joke, but he felt heartsick.
Either I am going mad, or this country has lost its marbles, especially when it comes to our legal system. Listen to this. A child murderer had been awarded compensation because the food in jail did not cater for his Islamic beliefs — it was not halal. Halal food bans pork, and all other animals must be slaughtered in a certain way. I didn't know you had to kill cabbages. The baby killer is a Muslim. For four months, in the Maryborough Correctional Centre, he was fed a vegetarian diet. He complained to QCAT (the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal), and he got $3000. When I tell you what this callous bastard did, I think you'll agree he's lucky to even get bread and water. In some countries, he wouldn't still be alive to even get a meal. Raymond Akhtar Ali ran an halal butcher's shop. He was married, but started having an affair with a 22-year-old employee, Amanda Blackwell. The Supreme Court was told she become his "sex slave"; he got her pregnant. When the baby was born in secret, this devout Muslim killed the child, and the butcher, butchered the baby. The dismemebered body was buried throughout his house. In 2000, Ali was sentenced to life imprisonment. And this killer, due for parole next year, had the audacity to complain about the jail food. So he was fed vegetables. So what? This is a sick joke.
"Maybe Nina wouldn't have died if I hadn't moved in with them and drawn Sheener after me, but I can't feel guilty about that. I tried hard to be a good foster daughter to them, and they were happy with me. What happened was that life dropped a big custard pie on us, and that's not my fault; you can never see the custard pies coming. It's not good slapstick if you see the pie coming." "Custard pie?" he asked, perplexed. "You see life as a slapstick comedy? Like the Three Stooges?" "Partly." "Life is just a joke then?" "No. Life is serious and a joke at the same time." "But how can that be?" "If you don't know," she said, "maybe I should be the one asking the questions here."
Thank you. God told me to wear it. That's a joke.
Don't make a film if it can't be the film you want to make. It's a joke, and a sick joke, and it'll kill you.
And what exactly is a dream, and what exactly is a joke?
I don't believe Bond is superman, a cardboard cut out or two-dimensional. He's got to be a human being. He’s got to be identifiable, and that's what I'm trying to be... It's not a spoof, it's not light, it's not jokey.
Despite the Internet's origin in the late 1960s as a government sponsored means of communication between the Department of Defense, private industry, and academia, it has been at its best — and generated the greatest economic, social, and technological benefits — since it was 'liberated' by the hordes of 'geeks' who were originally hired to run it by employers who were not themselves conversant with computers, and couldn't tell when their employees were exchanging official traffic or trading dirty jokes and recipes for marijuana brownies.
Ted did not have any guilt. He did not have any remorse. He did not have a conscience. And so when he talks about being 99% normal and 1% abnormal, its an ugly joke. He was 100% abnormal.
Pat Sajak, whose new late- night talk show is scheduled to go up against Carson, says he will eschew Johnny Carson's introductory monologue to avoid the "miilisecond" of "panic" he sees in Johnny's eyes after a failed joke ("The Good Fortune of Pat Sajak," by Diane K. Shah, Dec. 11).
Ha ha! We are just poking a little friendly fun at Germany, which is famous for enjoying a good joke, or as the Germans say, "Sprechnehaltenzoltenfussenmachschnitzerkalbenrollen." Here is just one hilarious example of what we are talking about:
First German: How many Polish people does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Second German: I don't know! How many?
First German: Let's invade Poland and find out!
Millions of Other Germans: Okay!
He went to the finest of private schools, and I am a public school graduate. Given the poor state of public schools it is obvious why everybody makes all those jokes about me.
In 1989, during the heat and height of the Satanic Verses controversy, I was silly enough to accept appearing on a program called Hypotheticals which posed imaginary scenarios by a well-versed (what if…?) barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC. I foolishly made light of certain provocative questions. When asked what I’d do if Salman Rushdie entered a restaurant in which I was eating, I said, “I would probably call up Ayatollah Khomeini”; and, rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author, I jokingly said I would have preferred that it'd be the “real thing”.
Criticize me for my bad taste, in hindsight, I agree. … Certainly I regret giving those sorts of responses now. However, it must be noted that the final edit of the program was made to look extremely serious; hardly any laughs were left in and much common sense was savagely cut out. … Balanced arguments were cut out and the most sensational quotes, preserved.
Luck was a joke. Even good luck was just bad luck with its hair combed.
Don't forget that you're a mental being, with a humongous trillion gigawatt hard-drive at your disposal. Most of you have been running it like crazy for four years, moaning about all the books you've had to read, the papers you've had to write, and the tests you've had to take. Yet thanks to that hard-drive and about a thousand cups of coffee, you made it. Just...let me put it this way. I can find out where you live. I have my resources. And if I show up at your house ten years from now and find nothing in your living room but The Readers Digest, nothing on your bedroom nighttable but the newest Dan Brown novel, and nothing in your bathroom but Jokes for the John, I'll chase you down to the end of your driveway and back, screaming "Where are your books? You graduated college ten years ago, so how come there are no damn books in your house? Why are you living on the intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese?" I sound like I'm joking about this, but I'm not. You've got a brain under the cap you're wearing. Take care of the damned thing. Try to remember there's more to life than Vin Diesel and Tom Cruise. It wouldn't kill you to go to a movie once a month that has subtitles on the bottom of the screen. You can read them, you went to college, right?
Replying to Anatolii Kirillovich and Ilya Savelievich to their jokes about Aurica Rotaru Sofia Rotaru's sister, also singer, back-stage vocal in 1993 during one of the rehearsals in Krasnodar [Russia] ('93): - One more time, one can't here Aurica! - Well, she is echoing in Moldavian... - She is not echoing in Moldavian. I'll show you, khokhols!a Russian term used to describe a style of man's haircut that features a lock of hair sprouting from the top or the front of an otherwise closely shaven head. The word is also commonly used mostly by Russians as a derogatory name for Ukrainians, as it was a common haircut of Ukrainian Cossacks. [Sofia Rotaru is Ukrainian national, although of Moldavian origin considering herself also Russian]! Just sing, Aurica. - Well, I am not singing in the beginning... - I'm telling you: sing.
Well I don't know why I came here tonight. I got the feeling that something ain't right. I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair, And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs. Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, here I am, Stuck in the middle with you.
In 1989, during the heat and height of the Satanic Verses controversy, I was silly enough to accept appearing on a program called Hypotheticals which posed imaginary scenarios by a well-versed (what if…?) barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC. I foolishly made light of certain provocative questions. When asked what I’d do if Salman Rushdie entered a restaurant in which I was eating, I said, “I would probably call up Ayatollah Khomeini”; and, rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author, I jokingly said I would have preferred that it'd be the “real thing”.
Criticize me for my bad taste, in hindsight, I agree. But these comments were part of a well-known British national trait; a touch of dry humor on my part. Just watch British comedy programs like "Have I Got News For You" or “Extras”, they are full of occasionally grotesque and sardonic jokes if you want them! … Certainly I regret giving those sorts of responses now. However, it must be noted that the final edit of the program was made to look extremely serious; hardly any laughs were left in and much common sense was savagely cut out. Most of the Muslim participants in the program wrote in and complained about the narrow and selective use of their comments, surreptitiously selected out of the 3-hour long recording of the debate. But the edit was not in our hands. Balanced arguments were cut out and the most sensational quotes, preserved.
It's so funny that people think I actually ran for President. I am maybe the most un-political person you're ever going to meet. When I put "Elected" out, it was definitely a satire ... "Alice Cooper for President" ... when everybody realized I was running against Nixon, you known, even on a joke level, I think I got a lot of write-in votes.
What a country, and what a culture, when the liberals cry before they are hurt, and the reactionaries pose as brave nonconformists, while the radicals make a fetish of their own jokey irrelevance.
He’s a character I’ve known since I was a kid. He makes me laugh more than anything else, because he’s this faux character, a character he plays in a series called The O’Reilly Factor—the braggadocio Irish guy who plays as if he’s smarter than you, but in fact he doesn’t know very much and can’t really back up what he says. Everybody from my neighborhood knows that character and thinks that character is a joke. You know, the tough-guy part of it is the biggest fraud of all. Bill’s from Long Island. Sorry, that’s not tough-guy territory.
Only the saints would joke so about the gods, because it was either joke or scream, and they alone knew it was all the same to the gods.
I'd like to be remembered as someone who kept the comic novel going for another generation or so. I fear the comic novel is in retreat. A joke is by definition politically incorrect — it assumes a butt, and a certain superiority in the teller. The culture won't put up with that for much longer.
I am not a comic, I have never told a joke...The comedian's promise is that he will go out there and make you laugh with him...My only promise is that I will try to entertain you as best I can....They say, 'Oh wow, Andy Kaufman, he's a really funny guy.' But I'm not trying to be funny. I just want to play with their heads."
I never lie, even to this day. Not even a little. Unless you count playing pranks on people, which I don't. That's comedy. Entertainment doesn't count. A joke is different from a lie, even if the difference is kind of subtle.
Well, there's nothing funnier to me than the French. The French Resistance is probably the biggest mythical joke that ever existed. There were four guys in the French Resistance. They couldn't hand over the Jewish people fast enough. Oh, please, don't tell me about the French. The French have all sorts of secret deals with Saddam and everybody else for two cents a liter. It's an easy target.
Don't you know that I'm not joking? Aah, you think you won't, I think you will. Don't you know that this tongue can kill? C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon. Lady kiss that frog.
King Muss: Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? The absolutely true truth? The truly true truth? The positively true truth?
Pearl: I do. I do. Well, I was in the middle of a conference with King Muss. I wondered whether the Domesday Device was safe here on Humungo. Suddenly, an alarm went off. When we got to the vault, the device was......gone! I thought Harry the Heartless had stolen it, but there, in the empty vault, was...was...Mighty Mouse!
King Muss: Ooh. It looks bad for you, Mighty Mouse. I have a feeling you're going to spend the next 900 years rotting away in a cold, damp, dark prison cell.
Mighty Mouse: But I'm a superhero. Everyone knows of my valor and good deeds.
King Muss: Hmmm. In that case, maybe we can get you a cell with a view.
Mighty Mouse: This trial is a joke!
Harry: Yeah, and an old one, two!
All latin masters hav one joke.''Caesar adsum jam forte or caesar had some jam for tea.
We must resist the temptation to be “normal,” because those who are now considered normal accept the values and practices of an insane world. In modern society, for example, normal people strive to accumulate as many commodities as possible, because they believe that their success and personal worth are linked to the number of possessions they have acquired. As the joke goes, “The one who dies with the most toys, wins.” If we espouse this viewpoint, the toys we have to play with form the measure of our personal worth. Unfortunately, this notion confuses acquired material worth with our inherent worth as spiritual beings.
Everyone in the bus service liked him, back in those days. He used to move easily with everyone. But he was also a very short-tempered man. He would not get violent or anything like that when he lost his cool, but he never hesitated to shout at people if he felt they were in the wrong. Basically, he was a serious-minded type of chap, but he could also be the life and soul of a party, keeping everyone laughing with his jokes."
What is this thing between women, like men are a joke that women all told each other long ago but men never get it.
Robin Williams was a wonderful, kind and generous man. One important thing I remember about his personality is that he was unassuming — he never acted as if he was powerful or famous. Instead, he was always tender and welcoming, willing to help others with a smile or a joke. Robin was a brilliant comedian — there is no doubt. He was a compassionate, caring human being. While watching him work on the set of the film based on my life — Patch Adams — I saw that whenever there was a stressful moment, Robin would tap into his improvisation style to lighten the mood of cast and crew. … Contrary to how many people may view him, he actually seemed to me to be an introvert. When he invited me and my family into his home, he valued peace and quiet, a chance to breathe — a chance to get away from the fame that his talent has brought him. … I’m enormously grateful for his wonderful performance of my early life, which has allowed the Gesundheit Institute to continue and expand our work.
There were jokes of his that made me laugh hard, but it was the going from one thing to another, making those connections. It’s like how you watch an improv group take suggestions. It was like Robin had the most brilliant audience inside his head throwing out suggestions, because he would put combinations together that were just crazy. And how he could work out of the moment. That working out of the moment is a gift, but he did it on another level. … He’s gonna be missed. There’s a hole, and it’s gonna take a long time to be filled.
To the generation of kids who grew up on his movies, Williams was a revelation, a teacher and a lifeline. It might seem ridiculous for a generation to claim a universally loved celebrity as their own, but if there was ever a Millennial hero, it was Robin Williams. The news that Williams had died, at the age of 63, hit the world like a shockwave yesterday. For many older Millennials, like me, who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, the loss strikes as a particularly hard blow. … Williams’ Dr. Sean Maguire, a counselor who becomes a father-figure to the troubled title character in Good Will Hunting, punctured even my teenage gloom. He wasn’t jokey, he wasn’t zany, he wasn’t any of the things I had come to associate with Robin Williams, but his warmth was wholly recognizable and I was in awe. And then there’s Dead Poets Society, one of the ultimate teenage movies … The movie’s plot, which centers on a conservative boys school where a radical teacher works against the system to inspire his students, is hardly original and I knew that even back then. But the zeal and honesty that Williams’ poured into John Keating almost single-handedly elevated the movie from a cliché to an actual inspiration. Like any teenager, I was a bit disillusioned by school in general, but books and learning and truth were still things that could lure me and Williams’ Keating made a great case for them. To this day, I still can’t resist Williams’ line, “But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” Yet even with the years of cinematic evidence, I didn’t quite realize how much of an influence Williams had on my generation until today. … Everyone seemed to have their own personal memory about watching his films growing up. He was the teacher we always wanted, the baby-sitter we would have loved, the best friend who knew exactly how to make us laugh. It feels like I have always known that Robin Williams was an amazing actor, but I never understood just how amazing. Because looking back on it, I realize that his best roles didn’t define him — they helped define us.
In the late 1980’s, film producer Joel Silver set his sights on developing Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ massively successful graphic novel Watchmen into a feature film with director Terry Gilliam. Rumors swirled at the time, and the 2005 Entertainment Weekly oral history of the project confirmed that Arnold Schwarzenegger was in line for Dr. Manhattan, Richard Gere showed interest, and Robin Williams, fresh off his role as a delusional but sprightly vagabond in Gilliam’s The Fisher King, could be tapped as Rorschach.
During the hellish development, which would bounce between studios and producers for decades until Zach Snyder’s film hit theaters five years ago, casting attention switched from Williams to Brad Dourif, allegedly due to wariness over fan perception that Williams was unsuitable for the part. Going in a direction away from a captivating comedic performer with overtones of chained darkness looked foolish when Michael Keaton proved an excellent Batman as that comic franchise dominated the box office. And that criticism seems even more baseless decades later, after Good Will Hunting, Insomnia, One Hour Photo, and many other films that proved Williams’ heft. Rorschach, a deeply haunted man with an ever-changing mask that doesn’t hide an unmistakable voice, now seems like it would have been a perfect fit.
There’s little point in rueing a missed opportunity from 25 years ago. But in the aftermath of Williams’ death at his Bay Area home yesterday, many people were quick to point to a moment in Watchmen when Rorschach sneeringly recites a grim joke about a depressed man who seeks help from a doctor, which now rings frighteningly true:
I heard a joke once. Man goes to doctor, says he's depressed. Life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says "Treatment is simple. The great clown, Pagliacci, is in town. Go see him. That should pick you up". Man bursts into tears. "But doctor", he says, "I am Pagliacci." Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.
Though a terrifically engaging screen presence at his most gregarious and joke-focused, he had to chops to be just as mesmerizing when muted, which would only draw out tension for the moment when he could turn on the jets and shift to full bombast. I’m not sure I can think of another actor with Williams’ combined dominant traits: instantly recognizable for his warmth and energy, fiercely multitalented, flying between understated and exuberant emotional extremes in comedy and drama, and yet maligned whenever the unpredictable balance he struck in a given performance didn’t match the critical ideal. In that way his Academy Award for Good Will Hunting in 1997 is both the peak of his control and the most patronizing harness of his career. Here is your reward for taking the raging combustion, powerful as a radiant star, and tamping it down to understated levels while remaining perforated, so that emotional peaks still have a chance to flare out. It was an unhelpful and unjust expectation on an actor who did nothing but give of himself to his performance. … it’s too limiting right now to call Robin Williams simply a comedian, despite the tremendous outpouring from the comedy community that continues today. He was an actor, one of the most gifted and adventurous performers of his generation, and it’s a shame that it took something like his tragic death to take stock of the possibility that the outsized expectations of an audience could have prevented more people from simply enjoying the effort Williams made in so many films, no matter the critical adjudication.
I watched a rerun on television of a 1960s comedy programme called "Mr Ed", which was about a talking horse. Judging by the quality of the jokes, I would guess that Mr Ed wrote his own material.
There was a lot more joking going on when I was a kid. My dad, for instance, specialised in puns and I remember once we were on vacation in California and we were driving along the San Andreas Fault and he threw a quarter out of the window into the Fault because he said "he had always wanted to be generous to a fault".
While I was mayor, I learned that government is a system of checks and balances — you can't simply walk in and change things. It takes time. I used to joke that it would be nice if a magic wand came with the job, if I could just wave it and make things work the way they're supposed to. But unfortunately it's not that easy. The bureaucracy is so huge that in a lot of situations all I can do is tell people the truth and let the chips fall where they may.
While this may have been intended as a joke we take the matter seriously and will not subject AP staffers to wearing something that may be intended to demean them and their profession.
These experts who offer to do our thinking for us rarely share their conclusions about work, for all its saliency in the lives of all of us. Among themselves they quibble over the details. Unions and management agree that we ought to sell the time of our lives in exchange for survival, although they haggle over the price. Marxists think we should be bossed by bureaucrats. Libertarians think we should be bossed by businessmen. Feminists don't care which form bossing takes so long as the bosses are women. Clearly these ideology-mongers have serious differences over how to divvy up the spoils of power. Just as clearly, none of them have any objection to power as such and all of them want to keep us working. You may be wondering if I'm joking or serious. I'm joking and serious. To be ludic is not to be ludicrous. Play doesn't have to be frivolous, although frivolity isn't triviality: very often we ought to take frivolity seriously. I'd like life to be a game — but a game with high stakes. I want to play for keeps.
I am apt to hire musicians sometimes because I know they will have some good jokes to tell.
It's difficult to talk to people who whisper even at home, afraid of Americans eavesdropping on them. It’s not a figure of speech, not a joke, I'm serious.
This instrument is so easy, its a joke.
Do you remember that terrible moment, señors, when the self-righteousness of your youth died? When all the stern warnings of your elders, ignored until the consequences abruptly came crashing down on your head, made you see in a flash that the warnings hadn’t been unfair or mean-spirited or blind, they’d been right? All along your elders had been trying to tell you about the black joke that is life, trying to help you and save you from pain. But you insisted on running straight into the trap, mocking them as you ran, to the agony that was irreversible and permanent, with no one to blame, finally, but yourself. It’s not good to see yourself in the mirror then.
In the early days of his government, Tony Blair liked to paraphrase the famous joke from Monty Python's Life of Brian ('All right, but apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?') in order ironically to disarm his critics: 'They betrayed socialism. True, they brought more social security, they did a lot for healthcare and education, and so on, but, in spite of all that, they betrayed socialism.' As it is clear today, it is, rather, the reverse which applies: 'We remain socialists. True, we practice Thatcherism in economics, we attack asylum-seekers, beggars and single mothers, we made a deal with Murdoch, and so on, but, none the less, we're still socialists.'
Lisa: (after reading "C:DOSRUN" joke) Ha, only one person in a million would find that funny! Professor John Frink: Yes, we call that the "Dennis Miller Ratio." (The Simpsons, Season 10, Episode 22, They Saved Lisa's Brain. See The Dennis Miller Ratio for additional information.) In another episode of The Simpsons, the Simpson family upgraded the house to a fully automated, computer-controlled system: Dennis Miller-like voice: "Hey, cha-cha, this house has got more features than a NASA relief map of Turkmenistan." Lisa: "Isn't that the voice that caused all those suicides?" Marge: "Murder-suicides." (From CABF19, Treehouse of Horror XII).