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"I had hoped, as a broadcaster, to be merely ludicrous, but this is a hard world to be ludicrous in, with so many human beings so reluctant to laugh, so incapable of thought , so eager to believe and snarl and hate. So many people wanted to believe me!"
"Beginning with Santa Claus as a cognitive exercise, a child is encouraged to share the same idea of reality as his peers. Even if that reality is patently invented and ludicrous, belief is encouraged with gifts that support and promote the common cultural lies."
'''The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.
"You will probably have noticed that three of the defendants have very wisely chosen to exercise their inalienable right not to go into the witness box to answer a lot of impertinent questions. I will merely say that you are not to infer from this anything other than that they consider the evidence against them so flimsy that it was scarcely worth their while to rise from their seats and waste their breath denying these ludicrous charges..."
The ideas need not be complex. Most ideas that are successful are ludicrously simple. Successful ideas generally have the appearance of simplicity because they seem inevitable.
We may also observe, that, upon these occasions, the female Nimrods dispensed with the method of riding best suited to the modesty of the sex, and sat astride on the saddle like the men; but this indecorous custom, I trust, was never general, nor of long continuance, even with the heroines who were most delighted with these masculine exercises. An author of the seventeenth century speaks of another fashion, adopted by the fair huntresses of the town of Bury in Suffolk. "The Bury ladies," says he, "that used hawking and hunting, were once in a great vaine of wearing breeches," which it seems gave rise to many severe and ludicrous sarcasms. The only argument in favour of this habit, was decency in case of an accident. But in a manner more consistent with the delicacy of the sex, that is, by refraining from those dangerous recreations.
His friends weren’t Christians; that much was certain.
But even so they couldn’t play
as he could (brought up a Christian)
with a new religious system,
ludicrous in both theory and application.
They were, after all, Greeks. Nothing in excess, Augustus.
He is the first of our writers whose style is cloathed with that perspicuity, in which the English phraseology appears at this day to an English reader…Whether his subject be the life of a hermit or a hero, of saint Austin or Guy earl of Warwick, ludicrous or legendary, religious or romantic, a history or an allegory, he writes with facility.
"Beginning with Santa Claus as a cognitive exercise, a child is encouraged to share the same idea of reality as his peers. Even if that reality is patently invented and ludicrous, belief is encouraged with gifts that support and promote common cultural lies. The greatest consensus in modern society is our traffic system. The way a flood of strangers can interact, sharing a path, almost all of them traveling without incident. It only takes one dissenting driver to create anarchy."
That the uneducated and the ill-educated should think the hypothesis that all races of beings, man inclusive, may in process of time have been evolved from the simplest monad, a ludicrous one, is not to be wondered at. But for the physiologist, who knows that every individual being is so evolved—who knows, further, that in their earliest condition the germs of all plants and animals whatever are so similar, "that there is no appreciable distinction amongst them, which would enable it to be determined whether a particular molecule is the germ of a Conferva or of an Oak, of a Zoophyte or of a Man";—for him to make a difficulty of the matter is inexcusable.
SA men should be leaders, not ludicrous apes.
The ludicrous state of solid geometry made me pass over this branch.
[P]erhaps the best specimen that has yet appeared of personal satire ludicrously pompous.
The negroes are lovers of ludicrous actions, and hence all their ceremonies seem farcical.
To treat the living body as a mechanism was repugnant, and seemed even ludicrous, to Pascal.
All male animals, including men, when they are in love, are apt to behave in ways that seem ludicrous to bystanders.
If a young girl is being forced into a brothel she will not talk about her rights. In such a situation the word would sound ludicrously inadequate.
He really lit my fuse when he continued to assert that it was our fault we were attacked on Sept. 11 … [Ron Paul's comments were] ludicrous and unacceptable.
I have not had an affair with Petronella. It is complete balderdash. It is an inverted pyramid of piffle. It is all completely untrue and ludicrous conjecture. I am amazed people can write this drivel.
Human nature is not simple and any classification that roughly divides men into good and bad, superior and inferior, slave and free, is and must be ludicrously untrue and universally dangerous as a permanent exhaustive classification.
To an experienced Zen Buddhist, asking if one believes in Zen or one believes in the Buddha, sounds a little ludicrous, like asking if one believes in air or water. Similarly '''Quality is not something you believe in, Quality is something you experience.
Childish and altogether ludicrous is what you yourself are and all philosophers; and if a grown-up man like me spends fifteen minutes with fools of this kind, it is merely a way of passing the time. I've now got more important things to do. Goodbye!
Ludicrous concepts…like the whole idea of a "war on terrorism". You can wage war against another country, or on a national group within your own country, but you can't wage war on an abstract noun. How do you know when you've won? When you've got it removed from the Oxford English Dictionary?
The Diggbats didn’t like it one bit that they were being prevented from stealing copyrighted material … Kevin Rose has surrendered to the mob, and posted the code at his own blog, with a ludicrous explanation that amounts to endorsing the thugs … You either respect the concept of intellectual property, or you don’t."
Shakespeare has united the powers of exciting laughter and sorrow not only in one mind but in one composition. Almost all his plays are divided between serious and Ludicrous characters and they sometimes produce sorrow and sometimes laughter. That this is a practice contrary to the rules of criticism will be readily allowed; but there is always an appeal open from criticism to nature.
No doubt he is horrible, he is abject, he is a shining example of moral leprosy, a mixture of ferocity and jocularity that betrays supreme misery perhaps, but is not conducive to attractiveness. He is ponderously capricious. Many of his casual opinions on the people and scenery of this country are ludicrous. A desperate honesty that throbs through his confession does not absolve him from sins of diabolical cunning.
In October 2002, I flew to California. It was the first time I had ever been in the United States, and I realized almost immediately that my preconceptions of America were completely ludicrous. I was expecting rednecks and fat people, with lots of guns, very aggressive police, and overt racism – a caricature of a caricature. In reality, of course, I saw people living perfectly well-ordered lives, jogging and drinking coffee.
I believe Creationism is wrong; totally, utterly, and absolutely wrong. I would go further. There are degrees of being wrong. The creationists are at the bottom of the scale. They pull every trick in the book to justify their position. Indeed, at times they verge right over into the downright dishonest. Scientific Creationism is not just wrong, it is ludicrously implausible. It is a grotesque parody of human thought, and a downright misuse of human intelligence. In short, to the believer, it is an insult to God.
It is more difficult for a modern scientist to be a serious Christian, like Polkinghorne, than to be a serious Muslim, like the Nobel Prize-winning physicisit Abdus Salam. Salam happily proclaimed his Muslim faith but did not feel any need to write books about it. For Salam, the idea of a conflict between his faith and his science was ludicrous. Muslim faith has nothing to do with science. But Polkinghorne writes books to prove to himself and to us that his theology and his science can live together harmoniously..
Next day I dined with Johnson at Mr. Thrale's. He attacked Gray, calling him "a dull fellow." BOSWELL. "I understand he was reserved, and might appear dull in company; but surely he was not dull in poetry." JOHNSON. "Sir, he was dull in company, dull in his closet, dull in every where. He was dull in a new way, and that made many people think him GREAT. He was a mechanical poet." He then repeated some ludicrous lines, which have escaped my memory, and said "Is not that GREAT, like his Odes?"
I noticed how the History Channel is now portraying Saddam as the new Hitler. That's what's going to be set down in our history books—that George Bush and the American government saved the world from this Hitler wannabe? Sure, he did some terrible things, but this is ludicrous. Hussein gassed the Kurds, but where did he get the gas from? He got it from us. But no, let's not tell the truth and reveal that, at one time, Saddam was one of our biggest allies in the Middle East, and shaking hands with Donald Rumsfeld.
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.
Carol was discovering that the one thing that can be more disconcerting than intelligent hatred is demanding love. "She supposed that she was being gracefully dull and standardized in the Smails' presence, but they scented the heretic, and with forward-stooping delight they sat and tried to drag out her ludicrous concepts for their amusement. They were like the Sunday-afternoon mob starting at monkeys in the Zoo, poking fingers and making faces and giggling at the resentment of the more dignified race... They were staggered to learn that a real tangible person, living in Minnesota, and married to their own flesh-and-blood relation, could apparently believe that divorce may not always be immoral; that illegitimate children do not bear any special and guaranteed form of curse; that there are ethical authorities outside of the Hebrew Bible; that men have drunk wine yet not died in the gutter; that the capitalistic system of distribution and the Baptist wedding-ceremony were not known in the Garden of Eden;... that there are Ministers of the Gospel who accept evolution; that some persons of intelligence and business ability do not always vote the Republican ticket straight;... that a violin is not inherently more immoral than a chapel organ... 'Where does she get all them the'ries?' marveled Uncle Whittier Smail.
Life itself has become ludicrous.
It's both ludicrous and embarrassing to recall one's youth. - Snæfríður
There is no idea, no fact, which could not be vulgarized and presented in a ludicrous light.
if love is ludicrous, it is just as ludicrous whether I find a princess or a servant girl
I have not seen an actor who would play the most ludicrous roles without bothering about his star image.
Schiff likes to say he 'predicted' the financial collapse, but with ludicrous theories like these, we're predicting that he'll never be a U.S. Senator.
Most of us find it starkly ludicrous that the height of all possible ambition, to the ungifted, must be to drape oneself in crowns and robes.
Why, exactly, are scientists supposed to accord “respect” to a bunch of ancient fables that are not only ludicrous on their face, but motivate so much opposition to science?
We can’t rely on anything. Except ourselves. Ludicrous responsibility devolves on us, overwhelms us. In every regard, right up the present, people always have relied on each other—or God.
I'm a Jewish boy from Jersey. I was born with a strong sense of right and wrong, and a strong sense that the world can be a ludicrous, unfair, inhumane place.
Is there anything quite so ludicrous as two intellectuals grappling in a philosophy-department parking lot? Each of us wanted to pummel the other to a pulp, but neither knew how to go about it.
To label people as death-deserving enemies because of disagreements about real world politics is bad enough. To do the same for disagreements about a delusional world inhabited by archangels, demons and imaginary friends is ludicrously tragic.
After four decades of Israeli occupation, the infrastructure and superstructure of apartheid have been put in place. Outside the never-never land of mainstream American Jewry and U.S. media[,] this reality is barely disputed.--Norman FinkelsteinNorman Finkelstein, The Ludicrous Attacks on Jimmy Carter's Book, CounterPunch December 28, 2006, accessed January 3, 2006.
How much greater confidence has an advocate, retained with a large fee, in the justice of his cause! How much better does his bold manner make his case appear to the judges, deceived as they are by appearances! How ludicrous is reason, blown with a breath in every direction! 82
When we are customarily annoyed by what we see as the failings of others, we are judging them by a ludicrous standard: we are assuming that they fully understand our desires, quite possibly better than we do, and that they have nothing to do but arrange things to fall seamlessly into place around our probably ill-communicated wishes.
"Everything that happened prior to and during 2000 was premeditated, well planned with all the personal graffiti being churned out through government offices and business outlets … ludicrous paraphernalia designed to malign the former President's family's character. Some members of the 2000 and current Senate were openly telling the public that the Government was going to be changed soon. So what was the Fijian cause all about?"
What does it mean to die? What does it mean to be immortal? What does it mean to marry? I am indeed the one who continually says that between the simple person’s and the wise person’s knowledge of the simple there is only the ludicrous little difference-that the simple person knows it, and the wise person knows that he knows it or knows that he does not know it.
[Their foremost task] … is to denounce the violence on which the present system is based, and all the evil — material and spiritual — this entails for the masses of menu throughout the world.... So long as we are not dealing honestly and adequately with this ninety percent of our problem, there is something ludicrous, and perhaps hypocritical, about our concern over the ten percent of violence employed by the rebels against oppression.
I view it as a thoroughly bad peace – impolitic and impracticable in the case of Germany, absolutely ludicrous in the case of German Austria. Indeed I have not been able to read the comments of the Austrian delegates on our draft terms without deep emotion. I have fought this Peace from the inside with all my power, and have no doubt been able in the end to secure some small openings of hope for the future.
They, the conservatives, are the real outsides, they tell us, gazing with disgust upon the ludicrous manners of the high and mighty. Or, they tell us, they are rough-and-ready proles, laughing along with us at the efforts of our social "betters" to reform and improve us. That they are often, in fact, people of privilege doing their utmost to boost the fortunes of a political party that is the traditional tool of the privileged is a contradiction that does not trouble them.
We played game after game and at times it was almost impossible not to feel ludicrous. But they were all designed to help protesters defeat barriers — and police. Even the staunchest environmental protesters — some of whom come from the most far-flung fringes of society — regard the clowns with suspicion, as slightly untrustworthy anarchists. But then, almost everybody else was so earnest. There was a smattering of middle-aged, grey-haired folk, but many were cliches of "Swampy" — thin, vegan and humourless.
No agony, no ecstacy, no pleasure and no pain — so exquisitely uninteresting you drive your wife insane The TV is your oracle, the newspapers your guide and your shiny little vehicle is your passion and your pride You've done the same things every day for nigh on forty years and in your ludicrous routines you hide your worthless fears On the blandest boat in Boredom you are captain of the crew and every time I eat vegetables it makes me think of you.
I have a feeling," says Cavett, "that about 90% of my life has been shaped by my voice, both as an embarrassment and as an advantage. There was always the terrible incongruity of this deep voice barreling out of this little body. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was aware that it was ludicrous, that it took on an importance that wasn't really there. By the time I was in the fourth grade, I sounded exactly like my father on the phone.
Not to paint is the highest ambition of the painter but God who gives the gift requires that it be honoured. It is in the gesture that it lives. There is no escape. Picture-making is ludicrous in the light of the awful times we must endure. It is sufficient to contemplate the nature of composition to see that the picture itself is impossible. Each square inch of Titian contains the whole pointless — between the cradle and the grave. My paintings are merely signs that the activity was engaged in.
When we pay attention to reason, God seems to propose impossible matters in the Christian Creed. To reason it seems absurd that Christ should offer His body and blood in the Lord's Supper; that Baptism should be the washing of regeneration; that the dead shall rise; that Christ the Son of God was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, etc. Reason shouts that all this is preposterous. Are you surprised that reason thinks little of faith? Reason thinks it ludicrous that faith should be the foremost service any person can render unto God. Let your faith supplant reason.
When the ceremony took place upon St. Stephen's-day, they sang, as part of the mass, a burlesque composition called the Prose of the Ass, or the Fool's Prose. It was performed by a double choir, and at intervals, in place of a burden, they imitated the braying of an ass. Upon the festival of St. John the Evangelist they had another arrangement of ludicrous sentences, denominated the Prose of the Ox, equally reprehensible. These exhibitions were highly relished by the populace at large, and crept into the monasteries and nunneries, where they were practiced by the female votaries of religion.
I don't believe you, Kyle. Non-Democrats don't go to such lengths to defend Democrats. For instance, I don't much care what you claim about Republicans. The narrative you espouse is ludicrous, that the parties switched names. A six year old wouldn't buy it. History is quite clear. You have chosen to associate with an organization that has openly supported slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, lynchings, rapes, church bombings, etc., etc., and that is still dependent upon race hate for its very existence. The fact that you have made such a choice is very telling. I know I'd never join such a group.
There came a day when over the whole world - in Sumatra, in Wessex, in the innumerable cities of Courland and Brazil - the beds, when summoned by their tired owners, failed to appear. It may seem a ludicrous matter, but from it we may date the collapse of humanity. The Committee responsible for the failure was assailed by complainants, whom it referred, as usual, to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus, who in its turn assured them that their complaints would be forwarded to the Central Committee. But the discontent grew, for mankind was not yet sufficiently adaptable to do without sleeping.
We should have advised the Phalanxes to limit their land-investments to a minimum, and put their strength as soon as possible into some form of manufacture. Almost any kind of a factory would be better than a farm for a Community nursery. We find hardly a vestige of this policy in Macdonald's collections. The saw-mill is the only form of mechanism that f1gures much in his reports. It is really ludicrous to see how uniformly an old saw-mill turns up in connection with each Association, and how zealously the brethren made much of it ; but that is about all they attempted in the line of manufacturing.
This came down to a prosecutor either so sure Jackson was bad or so offended by Jackson's combination of celebrity and wackiness that he rushed into a case that looked shaky from hello. It looked worse as Tom Sneddon went along, and had become nearly ludicrous by the time Jackson's ex-wife left the stand. No matter how pure Sneddon's motives may have been (and I'm not saying they were, believe me), he began to look like a man pursuing a vendetta, one whose chief hope of securing a conviction lay in the obvious fact that the trial was a sideshow and the accused was … well, a freak.
In the fifteenth century men cross-examined and tormented a man because he preached some immoral attitude; in the nineteenth century we feted and flattered Oscar Wilde because he preached such an attitude, and then broke his heart in penal servitude because he carried it out. It may be a question which of the two methods was the more cruel; there can be no kind of question which was the more ludicrous. The age of the Inquisition has not at least the disgrace of having produced a society which made an idol of the very same man for preaching the very same things which it made him a convict for practising.
I have waited a while before saying anything about the Un-American Activities Committee's current investigation of the Hollywood film industry. I would not be very much surprised if some writers or actors or stagehands, or what not, were found to have Communist leanings, but I was surprised to find that, at the start of the inquiry, some of the big producers were so chicken-hearted about speaking up for the freedom of their industry.
One thing is sure — none of the arts flourishes on censorship and repression. And by this time it should be evident that the American public is capable of doing its own censoring. Certainly, the Thomas Committee is growing more ludicrous daily. (29 October 1947)
Education, journalism, technology, entertainment and business may also find better methods for their purpose than books and writing. But this does not mean that tapes and films have made books obsolescent—the contention is almost too ludicrous to be taken seriously. Books are certainly old fashioned, but only people with a very limited perception are silly enough to condemn ideas because of their age. It is, of course, equally silly to condemn the new fangled simply because it is strange, and I am full of admiration for the technologists who have developed all sorts of gadgets for the purpose of improving communications. However, I believe that all these fascinating machines are complementary to, and not substitutes for, books and the printed word.
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.
What worried Adams was not the commonplace; it was, as usual, his own education. Grant fretted and irritated him, like the Terebratula, as a defiance of first principles. He had no right to exist. He should have been extinct for ages. The idea that, as society grew older, it grew one-sided, upset evolution, and made of education a fraud. That, two thousand years after Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, a man like Grant should be called — and should actually and truly be — the highest product of the most advanced evolution, made evolution ludicrous. One must be as commonplace as Grant's own commonplaces to maintain such an absurdity. The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.
Any form of card-case, beyond the most battered and unassuming, is surely an aesthetic and social travesty. To withdraw, say, a silver case from the pocket before removing a card is surely to trumpet a ludicrous gaucheness and maladroit pretension. It is impossible for the intended recipient of the card to view the case as anything other than a misjudged piece of peacockery; unfeasible to avoid a brief inner commentary along the lines of oh, he’s bought one of those... he decided this would make the act of handing over a card a signal of his success as a businessman and a certain refined elegance as a gentleman... probably picked it out himself... please God it was a Father’s Day gift from a child who knew no better.
...and then suddenly pausing with a ludicrous expression and a gratuitous somerset, as if all the eyes in the universe were eyed on him -- for all the motions of a squirrel, even in the most solitary recesses of the forest, imply spectators as much as those of a dancing girl -- wasting more time in delay and circumspection than would have sufficed to walk the whole distance -- I never saw one walk -- and then suddenly, before you could say Jack Robinson, he would be in the top of a young pitch pine, winding up his clock and chiding all imaginary spectators, soliloquizing and talking to all the universe at the same time -- for no reason that I could ever detect, or he himself was aware of, I suspect.
Suppose someone sits down where you are sitting right now and announces to me that he is Napoleon Bonaparte. The last thing I want to do with him is to get involved in a technical discussion of cavalry tactics at the Battle of Austerlitz. If I do that, I'm getting tacitly drawn into the game that he is Napoleon Bonaparte. Now, Bob Lucas and Tom Sargent like nothing better than to get drawn into technical discussions, because then you have tacitly gone along with their fundamental assumptions; your attention is attracted away from the basic weakness of the whole story. Since I find that fundamental framework ludicrous, I respond by treating it as ludicrous – that is, by laughing at it – so as not to fall into the trap of taking it seriously and passing on to matters of technique.
“Shouldness is being flouted here,” said Launcelot. “Shouldness is perhaps self-explanatory, but I have never seen it adequately dealt with, either in print or in the lecture hall. When that huntress got me in the bum with an arrow, it was an offense to shouldness. It shouldn’t have gone that way. I told the story to Sir Roger, and now he never tires of telling it, tells it to everyone who comes down the pike. That a knight of the Round Table could be pierced in that way by a female has a significance quite apart from the ludicrous. It’s in the realm of those things which should not happen—a category which holds much philosophical interest, as anyone who has ever looked into anomaletics will recognize. The insult to my dignity was not nearly so grave as the insult to shouldness.”
I was, of course, angry and disappointed to see this happen, and I am deeply troubled by what it foretells for free speech in India in the present, and steadily worsening, political climate... I do not blame Penguin Books, India. Other publishers have just quietly withdrawn other books without making the effort that Penguin made to save this book [The Hindus: An Alternative History]. Penguin, India, took this book on knowing that it would stir anger in the Hindutva ranks, and they defended it in the courts for four years, both as a civil and as a Lawsuitcriminal suit. They were finally defeated by the true villain of this piece – the Indian law that makes it a criminal rather than civil offense to publish a book that offends any Hindu, a law that jeopardizes the physical safety of any publisher, no matter how ludicrous the accusation brought against a book.
It'd be ludicrous, because the idea of the British Empire is such an outmoded idea. The British Empire now, if it were a being, would be living out its days in some sunshine home on the South Coast, wouldn't it? - boring the tits off everyone, shuffling around in oversize slippers, boring everyone with their press cuttings of when they were famous: 'Ooh look! ooh yes! I was very popular in the world once. Ooh yes! I went all over the world. Look, you see here; they loved me here - Sri Lanka. Of course, we used to call that Ceylon. Now, let me see; what have we here? Oh yes! they loved us there - Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe! Of course, we didn't call it Zimbabwe then. It was Rhodesia. Rhodesia, you see? And this; oh, this marvellous tour I had here - now what was it? India! India - what did we used to call that? Oh yes... Ours!' (Linda Live, 1993)
The Golden Age of SF is universally dated from the July 1939, issue of Astounding because that's when "Black Destroyer," A. E. van Vogt's first SF story, appeared. Isaac Asimov's first story also appeared in the same month but nobody — as Asimov himself admits — noticed it. People noticed "Black Destroyer," though, and they continued to notice the many other stories that van Vogt wrote over the following decade. … What as much as anything set van Vogt off from other SF writers (of his day and later) was the ability to suggest vastness beyond comprehension. He worked with not only in space and time, but with the mind. Van Vogt knew that to describe the indescribable would have been to make it ludicrous, and that at best description turns the inconceivable into the pedestrian. More than any other SF writer, van Vogt succeeded in creating a sense of wonder in his readers by hinting at the shadowed immensities beyond the walls of human perception.
So now, Athenian men, more than on my own behalf must I defend myself, as some may think, but on your behalf, so that you may not make a mistake concerning the gift of god by condemning me. For if you kill me, you will not easily find another such person at all, even if to say in a ludicrous way, attached on the city by the god, like on a large and well-bred horse, by its size and laziness both needing arousing by some gadfly; in this way the god seems to have fastened me on the city, some such one who arousing and persuading and reproaching each one of you I do not stop the whole day settling down all over. Thus such another will not easily come to you, men, but if you believe me, you will spare me; but perhaps you might possibly be offended, like the sleeping who are awakened, striking me, believing Anytus, you might easily kill, then the rest of your lives you might continue sleeping, unless the god caring for you should send you another.
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 do not think that word “compromise” means what Mr. Ryan thinks it means. Above all, he failed to offer the one thing the White House won’t, can’t bend on: an end to extortion over the debt ceiling. Yet even this ludicrously unbalanced offer was too much for conservative activists, who lambasted Mr. Ryan for basically leaving health reform intact.Does this mean that we’re going to hit the debt ceiling? Quite possibly; nobody really knows, but careful observers are giving no better than even odds that any kind of deal will be reached before the money runs out. Beyond that, however, our current state of dysfunction looks like a chronic condition, not a one-time event. Even if the debt ceiling is raised enough to avoid immediate default, even if the government shutdown is somehow brought to an end, it will only be a temporary reprieve. Conservative activists are simply not willing to give up on the idea of ruling through extortion, and the Obama administration has decided, wisely, that it will not give in to extortion.So how does this end? How does America become governable again?
Liberals, unless they are professional politicians seeking votes in the hinterland, are not subject to strong feelings of national patriotism and are likely to feel uneasy at patriotic ceremonies. These, like the organizations in whose conduct they are still manifest, are dismissed by liberals rather scornfully as ‘flag-waving’ and ‘100 percent Americanism.’ The national anthem is not customarily sung or the flag shown, unless prescribed by law, at meetings of liberal associations. When a liberal journalist uses the phrase ‘patriotic organization,’ the adjective is equivalent in meaning to ‘stupid, reactionary and rather ludicrous.’ The rise of liberalism to predominance in the controlling sectors of American opinion is in almost exact correlation with the decline in the ceremonial celebration of the Fourth of July, traditionally regarded as the nation’s major holiday. To the liberal mind, the patriotic oratory is not only banal but subversive of rational ideals; and judged by liberalism’s humanitarian morality, the enthusiasm and pleasures that simple souls might have got from the fireworks could not compensate the occasional damage to the eye or finger of an unwary youngster. The purer liberals of the Norman Cousins strain, in the tradition of Eleanor Roosevelt, are more likely to celebrate UN day than the Fourth of July.
It's simple. Both the U.S. and England advance today with a victory. Win, and you're in. Our quarrel is not with them, for now. Though they did come here looking well beyond us, and we played them dead even. Now, ask yourself? Whose boots would you rather be in? Our goalkeeper got kicked in the ribs; theirs gave up something they call 'a howler'. Next, we buried ourselves. I know. But then, we made three shots heard around the world. Though the last one was drowned out by a lone, ludicrous whistle. So, who would you rather have leading by example? Who would you rather have, as your last line of defense? Who would you rather have, calling the shots? For us, it's been about a common goal. Not an automatic pass for a pack of superstars, and while our team is the U.S.? Today, you can call them 'us'. Because they've truly taken America along for the ride. While it appears England has turned on their team and vice-versa, we're winning our game. May their country forgive them if they don't win theirs. Ah, what the heck? Good luck today, we might just see you in the final. The South African journey continues. This is the World Cup.
To be sure, the human individual can, even must, feel and know himself to be limited—and this is what distinguishes him from the animal—but he can become conscious of his limits, his finite-ness, only because he can make the perfection and infinity of his species the object either of his feeling, conscience, or thought. But if his limitations appear to him as emanating from the species, this can only be due to his delusion that he is identical with the species, a delusion intimately linked with the individual’s love of ease, lethargy, vanity, and selfishness; for a limit which I know to be mine alone, humiliates, shames, and disquiets me. Hence, in order to free myself of this feeling of shame, this uneasiness, I make the limits of my individuality the limits of man’s being itself. What is incomprehensible to me is incomprehensible to others; why should this worry me at all? It is not due to any fault of mine or of my understanding: the cause lies in the understanding of the species itself. But it is a folly, a ludicrous and frivolous folly to designate that which constitutes the nature of man and the absolute nature of the individual, the essence of the species, as finite and limited.
Intelligent design is not an argument of the same character as these controversies [within evolution science]. It is not a scientific argument at all, but a religious one. It might be worth discussing in a class on the history of ideas, in a philosophy class on popular logical fallacies, or in a comparative religion class on origin myths from around the world. But it no more belongs in a biology class than alchemy belongs in a chemistry class, phlogiston in a physics class or the stork theory in a sex education class. In those cases, the demand for equal time for "both theories" would be ludicrous. Similarly, in a class on 20th-century European history, who would demand equal time for the theory that the Holocaust never happened? ...If complex organisms demand an explanation, so does a complex designer. And it's no solution to raise the theologian's plea that God (or the Intelligent Designer) is simply immune to the normal demands of scientific explanation. To do so would be to shoot yourself in the foot. You cannot have it both ways. Either ID belongs in the science classroom, in which case it must submit to the discipline required of a scientific hypothesis. Or it does not, in which case get it out of the science classroom and send it back into the church, where it belongs.
Your narrative of the dying moments and last advice of poor Cumyng is really so ludicrous and so lamentable, that one does not know whether to laugh or cry. I hope you will take care that a piece of eloquence so interesting and important to society does not perish with its author. Suppose you were to draw it up as a communication for the next volume of "Transactions of the Antiquaries of Scotland," under the title of "Cumyngs Legacy, or a Dissertation upon." If you should happen to be at a loss from want of an acquaintance with the subject, Master Smellie will doubtless be ready to lend you any assistance in order to do honour to the memory of his departed friend. Or, perhaps, as you have it in contemplation to favour the public with some biographical anecdotes of the author, which I dare say will be much more entertaining, and just as important, as Boswells Life of Johnson, you might with great propriety enhance the value of the work by so curious an appendix. I am, however, really sorry to lose so worthy and respectable an acquaintance, whom I hoped to render a valuable correspondent. Apropos. Are my ancient spurs, &c. deposited in the archives of the Society? I have no great expectation from his library; though, I suppose, the heraldical books may make it an object.
Malcolm, what does worry me about you is that you are a born defector. I won’t say that you mess on your own doorstep, at least not until you have moved. And then when you have moved you go back round and set fire to the basement. You worked for the Manchester Guardian and have never ceased to abuse it. You went to the Soviet Union expecting a socialist paradise but never found it, but you have no sympathy for anyone else who was similarly misled. One of your best friends was Kingsley Martin and you wrote some of the best things you’ve done in his magazine the New Statesman, and yet in some of your most brutal anecdotes he is the butt of them, you never stop saying how gullible the New Statesmen are on the left, you were an outstanding editor of Punch and you have hated it ever since. You made an outstanding international reputation on television and now you tell us it is an idiot’s lantern. You have had as I understand it a very active and varied sex life but now you tell us that the very act itself is appalling and degrading and ludicrous. What I would like to see at the age of 71 you should join the Roman Catholic church, they could hardly make you less than a Cardinal. And in not more than ten years say at the age of 80 I prophesy that you would leave it in a spectacular blaze of publicity denouncing it as a laughable, and farcical, and a dangerous institution.
Why can't she say extremist Muslims rather than just Muslims? "If that'll make you happy. They slaughtered 3,000 people and I'm making unfair generalisations. I think we're even." Well, no, I don't think we're even, I begin to reply — and at this point I see a side of Ann Coulter that goes beyond the ludicrous opinions. I see someone who is not afraid to twist, distort, bully and lie in order to "win" her argument.
Before I can elaborate or finish my sentence, she's off again. "Oh no, you're right, a generalisation is so much worse than slaughtering 3,000 people." I'm not saying that, I say. "I can't go beyond that, an ethnic generalisation is worse than slaughter. That is the essence of liberalism, you really do believe that. You get a glass of wine in you and you spit it out. You heard it. Making an un-PC generalisation is worse than the attack of 9/11." I'm not saying that, I repeat. "Yes, you are, you just said it." Of course I don't think that, I start, before I'm cut off again. "Liar!"
The irony is that she claims to be above this kind of steamrolling. "The country is trapped in a political discourse that resembles professional wrestling," she has written. "Liberals are calling names while conservatives are trying to make arguments." But her view of what constitutes an argument seems to be a distinctly one-sided affair. I try again: "Do you think I have any point at all about..." I begin, but she interrupts again. "No!" She doesn't even know what my point was.
Undoubtedly, looking back, we nearly all allowed ourselves, for decades, to be frozen into rates of personal taxation which were ludicrously high...That frozen framework has been decisively cracked, not only by the prescripts of Chancellors but in the expectations of the people. It is one of the things for which the Government deserve credit...However, even beneficial revolutions have a strong tendency to breed their own excesses. There is now a real danger of the conventional wisdom about taxation, public expenditure and the duty of the state in relation to the distribution of rewards, swinging much too far in the opposite direction...I put in a strong reservation against the view, gaining ground a little dangerously I think, that the supreme duty of statesmanship is to reduce taxation. There is certainly no virtue in taxation for its own sake...We have been building up, not dissipating, overseas assets. The question is whether, while so doing, we have been neglecting our investment at home and particularly that in the public services. There is no doubt, in my mind at any rate, about the ability of a low taxation market-oriented economy to produce consumer goods, even if an awful lot of them are imported, far better than any planned economy that ever was or probably ever can be invented. However, I am not convinced that such a society and economy, particularly if it is not infused with the civic optimism which was in many ways the true epitome of Victorian values, is equally good at protecting the environment or safeguarding health, schools, universities or Britain's scientific future. And if we are asked which is under greater threat in Britain today—the supply of consumer goods or the nexus of civilised public services—it would be difficult not to answer that it was the latter.
Goodness comes in many forms, not just medicine and science. Thank goodness for the music of, say, Randy Newman, which could not exist without all those wonderful pianos and recording studios, to say nothing of the musical contributions of every great composer from Bach through Wagner to Scott Joplin and the Beatles. Thank goodness for fresh drinking water in the tap, and food on our table. Thank goodness for fair elections and truthful journalism. If you want to express your gratitude to goodness, you can plant a tree, feed an orphan, buy books for schoolgirls in the Islamic world, or contribute in thousands of other ways to the manifest improvement of life on this planet now and in the near future. Or you can thank God — but the very idea of repaying God is ludicrous. What could an omniscient, omnipotent Being (the Man Who has Everything?) do with any paltry repayments from you? (And besides, according to the Christian tradition God has already redeemed the debt for all time, by sacrificing his own son. Try to repay that loan!) Yes, I know, those themes are not to be understood literally; they are symbolic. I grant it, but then the idea that by thanking God you are actually doing some good has got to be understood to be just symbolic, too. I prefer real good to symbolic good. Still, I excuse those who pray for me. I see them as like tenacious scientists who resist the evidence for theories they don't like long after a graceful concession would have been the appropriate response. I applaud you for your loyalty to your own position — but remember: loyalty to tradition is not enough. You've got to keep asking yourself: What if I'm wrong? In the long run, I think religious people can be asked to live up to the same moral standards as secular people in science and medicine.
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.
That sovereign of insufferables, Oscar Wilde has ensued with his opulence of twaddle and his penury of sense. He has mounted his hind legs and blown crass vapidities through the bowel of his neck, to the capital edification of circumjacent fools and foolesses, fooling with their foolers. He has tossed off the top of his head and uttered himself in copious overflows of ghastly bosh. The ineffable dunce has nothing to say and says it—says it with a liberal embellishment of bad delivery, embroidering it with reasonless vulgarities of attitude, gesture and attire. There never was an impostor so hateful, a blockhead so stupid, a crank so variously and offensively daft. Therefore is the she fool enamored of the feel of his tongue in her ear to tickle her understanding. The limpid and spiritless vacuity of this intellectual jellyfish is in ludicrous contrast with the rude but robust mental activities that he came to quicken and inspire. Not only has he no thoughts, but no thinker. His lecture is mere verbal ditch-water—meaningless, trite and without coherence. It lacks even the nastiness that exalts and refines his verse. Moreover, it is obviously his own; he had not even the energy and independence to steal it. And so, with a knowledge that would equip and idiot to dispute with a cast-iron dog, and eloquence to qualify him for the duties of a caller on a hog-ranch, and an imagination adequate to the conception of a tom-cat, when fired by contemplation of a fiddle-string, this consummate and star-like youth, missing everywhere his heaven-appointed functions and offices, wanders about, posing as a statue of himself, and, like the sun-smitten image of Memnon, emitting meaningless murmurs in the blaze of women’s eyes. He makes me tired. And this gawky gowk has the divine effrontery to link his name with those of Swinburne, Rossetti and Morris—this dunghill he-hen would fly with eagles. He dares to set his tongue to the honored name of Keats. He is the leader, quoth’a, of a renaissance in art, this man who cannot draw—of a revival of letters, this man who cannot write! This little and looniest of a brotherhood of simpletons, whom the wicked wits of London, haling him dazed from his obscurity, have crowned and crucified as King of the Cranks, has accepted the distinction in stupid good faith and our foolish people take him at his word. Mr. Wilde is pinnacled upon a dazzling eminence but the earth still trembles to the dull thunder of the kicks that set him up.
These men saw no evil, spoke none, and none was uttered in their presence. This claim might sound very plausible if made by one defendant. But when we put all their stories together, the impression which emerges of the Third Reich, which was to last a thousand years, is ludicrous. If we combine only the stories of the front bench, this is the ridiculous composite picture of Hitler's Government that emerges. It was composed of:
A No. 2 man who knew nothing of the excesses of the Gestapo which he created, and never suspected the Jewish extermination programme although he was the signer of over a score of decrees which instituted the persecution of that race;
A No. 3 man who was merely an innocent middleman transmitting Hitler's orders without even reading them, like a postman or delivery boy;
A Foreign Minister who knew little of foreign affairs and nothing of foreign policy;
A Field-Marshal who issued orders to the armed forces but had no idea of the results they would have in practice …
… This may seem like a fantastic exaggeration, but this is what you would actually be obliged to conclude if you were to acquit these defendants.
They do protest too much. They deny knowing what was common knowledge. They deny knowing plans and programmes that were as public as Mein Kampf and the Party programme. They deny even knowing the contents of documents which they received and acted upon. … The defendants have been unanimous, when pressed, in shifting the blame on other men, sometimes on one and sometimes on another. But the names they have repeatedly picked are Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, Goebbels, and Bormann. All of these are dead or missing. No matter how hard we have pressed the defendants on the stand, they have never pointed the finger at a living man as guilty. It is a temptation to ponder the wondrous workings of a fate which has left only the guilty dead and only the innocent alive. It is almost too remarkable.
The chief villain on whom blame is placed — some of the defendants vie with each other in producing appropriate epithets — is Hitler. He is the man at whom nearly every defendant has pointed an accusing finger.
I shall not dissent from this consensus, nor do I deny that all these dead and missing men shared the guilt. In crimes so reprehensible that degrees of guilt have lost their significance they may have played the most evil parts. But their guilt cannot exculpate the defendants. Hitler did not carry all responsibility to the grave with him. All the guilt is not wrapped in Himmler's shroud. It was these dead men whom these living chose to be their partners in this great conspiratorial brotherhood, and the crimes that they did together they must pay for one by one.