Letter I

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The unemployed rich are an evil of a special sort. The world is full of idle people, mostly women, who have little education, much money, and consequently great self-confidence. Owing to their wealth, they are able to cause much labour to be devoted to their comfort. Although they seldom have any genuine culture, they are the chief patrons of art, which is not likely to please them unless it is bad.

Bertrand Russell

In In praise of Idleness and other essays. Is this satire or glorious political incorrectness? Or both?

This intelligence-testing business reminds me of the way they used to weigh hogs in Texas. They would get a long plank, put it over a crossbar, and somehow tie the hog on one end of the plank. They'd search all around till they found a stone that would balance the weight of the hog and they'd put that on the other end of the plank. Then they'd guess the weight of the stone.

John Dewey

That wonderful tomfoolery, IQ testing. (Sorry, Ian!)

A wealthy man is one who earns $100 a year more than his wife's sister's husband.

HL Mencken

How true!

Modern writing at its worst ... consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier — even quicker, once you have the habit — to say "In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that" than to say "I think".

George Orwell

But where?
Clarity of expression; another bugbear of mine.

Postmodernism, in fact, constitutes an explicit rejection of the element of sapientia in homo sapiens, as evidenced by the epistemological nihilism in the literary critic Jane Tompkins's remark that "there really are no facts except as they are embedded in some particular way of seeing the world".

Mark Goldblatt

In a humour piece titled "Can Humanists Talk to Postmodernists?" on Ducts.org, Issue 17, Summer 2006.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, his conclusion was "No!".

The Internet is a shallow and unreliable electronic repository of dirty pictures, inaccurate rumors, bad spelling and worse grammar, inhabited largely by people with no demonstrable social skills.

Chronicle of Higher Education (Nov 4, 1997)

Word has somehow got around that the split infinitive is always wrong. This is of a piece with the outworn notion that it is always wrong to strike a lady.

James Thurber

I refuse to consistently avoid split infinitives! If only to avert ambiguity.

You can stay stupid in a village, but if you take your stupidity to the town the traffic runs you over.

Tom Vernon

In "Fat Man on a Bicycle". One of the annoyances of daytime working in the UK over the years (until the advent of their sublime "Play it again" Radio Player) was missing some of the fine output of BBC radio...

Thank you for your enquiry. These refer to four separate stages in the consummation and thus the validity of a marriage. If any one of erectio, introductio, penetratio or ejaculatio is absent, the marriage is not properly consummated and thus not valid. Nor is it valid if they happen in the wrong order.

Irish Sunday Press (advice column)

And, speaking of (or maybe, from) the depths of ignorance that pervade some segments of our happy planet...

I have always considered that the substitution of the internal combustion engine for the horse marked a very gloomy milestone in the progress of mankind.

Winston S Churchill

But where? My chum Roger helped me find this in an exchange in the House of Commons on 24 June 1952, in the context of "the confusion of the law and the anomalies which exist in regard to the slaughtering of horses".
There are two nice Winston stories here, too. Recorded by Lord Hailsham in his diary.