Whenever You See Me Somewhere Succeeding In One Area of My Life, That Almost Certainly Means I Am Failing In Another

Shonda Rhimes? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The acclaimed long-running television series Grey’s Anatomy was created by writer and producer Shonda Rhimes. Her company Shondaland has successfully produced many lauded shows. Predictably, Rhimes leads a very busy life.

Unpredictably, she was willing to speak with complete candor to graduating Ivy League students. What sobering message did she deliver about the inevitable tradeoffs that an enterprising person must make?

Quote Investigator: Inspirational speakers prefer to present the upbeat message: You can have it all. When Shonda Rhimes delivered the commencement address at her alma mater Dartmouth University in 2014 she offered a different lesson: If you are living fully it is impossible to meet all the demands on your time and energy. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

“Shonda, how do you do it all?” The answer is this, “I don’t.” Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life. If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home . . .

That is the tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother . . .

And yet. I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them.

A video of her speech is available on YouTube here. 2

Continue reading Whenever You See Me Somewhere Succeeding In One Area of My Life, That Almost Certainly Means I Am Failing In Another

Notes:

  1. Website: Dartmouth University, Article title: Shonda Rhimes ’91, Commencement Address, Article author: Shonda Rhimes, Speech delivered: June 8, 2014, Website description: Information about Dartmouth University. (Accessed dartmouth.edu on October 16, 2019) link
  2. YouTube video, Title: Shonda Rhimes ’91 Delivers Dartmouth’s Commencement Speech, Upload date: June 9, 2014, Uploader: Dartmouth, Date of speech: June 8, 2014, (Quotation starts at 17 minute 54 seconds of 24 minutes 01 seconds) Description: This video shows the Commencement Speech delivered by Shonda Rhimes at Dartmouth University on June 8, 2014. (Accessed on youtube.com on Ocotober 16, 2019) link

The Dubious Privilege of a Freelance Writer Is He’s Given the Freedom To Starve Anywhere

S. J. Perelman? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A major shift in the U.S. labor market has been occurring in recent years. The emerging system has been called the gig economy or the freelance economy. Self-employed temporary workers perform tasks for agreed-upon payments.

Freelancing has been common in some fields for many decades. The prominent humorist S. J. Perelman who wrote numerous pieces for “The New Yorker” magazine once linked his freedom from fixed employment with the unfortunate possibility of starvation. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1970 S. J. Perelman was planning to move from the U.S. to England. He looked forward to a new life in a land that maintained a “taste for eccentricity”. A reporter for “The Washington Post” spoke to him before his departure. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Perelman said he had a rush of mail all virtually saying the same thing: “I wish I had the guts to do what you’re doing. It doesn’t take guts. The dubious privilege of a freelance writer is he’s given the freedom to starve anywhere.

Perelman’s stay in England was not lengthy; he returned to the U.S. after a few years and died in 1979.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Dubious Privilege of a Freelance Writer Is He’s Given the Freedom To Starve Anywhere

Notes:

  1. 1970 October 18, The Washington Post, Section: Style, Perelman’s Rasping Wit Becomes an Anglo-File by Myra MacPherson, Start Page E1, Quote Page E4, Column 2, Washington, D.C. (ProQuest)

His Grace Returned From the Wars This Morning and Pleasured Me Twice in His Top-Boots

Sarah Churchill? James Agate? A. L. Rowse? Theodor Reik? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A legend asserts that Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough wrote a passionate remark in her diary. Here are three versions:

  1. Today the Duke returned from the war and pleasured me twice in his top boots.
  2. My Lord on returning pleasured me thrice without removing his boots.
  3. His Lordship returned from the wars this morning, and pleasured me thrice in his top-boots!

Are any of these statements genuine? What evidence is available?

Quote Investigator: Several researchers have attempted to explore this topic, and the available evidence is weak. Sarah Churchill died in 1744, and the first citation known to QI appeared almost two hundred years later in the diaristic autobiography of English theatre critic James Agate. The fourth volume of his autobiography titled “Ego 4” was published in 1940, and it included an entry dated July 28, 1938. Agate discussed his dislike of pageants which included amateur theatrical events. He was unable to suspend his disbelief because he knew the prosaic backgrounds of the performers. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

How can those be Hengist and Horsa when we know them to be young Mr Pepper and young Mr Salt, the obliging assistants from the local grocer’s ? How can yonder stout party hope to be Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough—“His Grace returned from the wars this morning and pleasured me twice in his top-boots”—when we know her to be the vicar’s sister and quite unpleasurable?

Agate included the quotation to illustrate the sensuality of Sarah Churchill which the amateur performer was unable to embody and project. Yet, it was unclear how Agate learned of the quotation. Later citations stated that the line was from a family tradition or an oral tradition.

Perhaps there is a closely held diary or letter containing the statement, but QI has not yet seen supporting evidence for this hypothesis, and the phrasing has been highly variable.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading His Grace Returned From the Wars This Morning and Pleasured Me Twice in His Top-Boots

Notes:

  1. 1940, Ego 4: Yet More of the Autobiography of James Agate by James Agate, Diary Date: July 28, 1938, Quote Page 13, George G. Harrap & Company, London. (Verified with scans)

This Is Only a Foretaste of What Is To Come, and Only the Shadow of What Is Going To Be

Alan Turing? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Code breaker Alan Turing was a major figure in computer science and a pioneer in artificial intelligence. In 2021 Turing’s portrait will appear on newly issued £50 notes from the Bank of England. Would you please explore the quotation that reportedly will be printed on the notes?

Quote Investigator: In June 1949 “The Times” of London published an article about a Manchester University project which built an electronic calculator referred to hyperbolically as a “mechanical mind”. This early computing device was able to perform a calculation that had heretofore been impossible because of its length and intricacy. Turing’s commentary was both exciting and ominous. Boldface is used to highlight the quotation that will appear on the upcoming bank note: 1

Mr. Turing said yesterday: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be. We have to have some experience with the machine before we really know its capabilities. It may take years before we settle down to the new possibilities, but I do not see why it should not enter any one of the fields normally covered by the human intellect, and eventually compete on equal terms.”

Turing also outlined an important future objective of the project:

Their research would be directed to finding the degree of intellectual activity of which a machine was capable, and to what extent it could think for itself.

This short article ends with a citation, conclusion, image note, and acknowledgement.

Continue reading This Is Only a Foretaste of What Is To Come, and Only the Shadow of What Is Going To Be

Notes:

  1. 1949 June 11, The Times, The Mechanical Brain: Answer Found To 300 Year-Old Sum (From Our Special Correspondent), Quote Page 4, Column 5, London, England. (Gale Digital Archive of The Times of London)

One Starts To Get Young at the Age of 60 and Then It’s Too Late

Pablo Picasso? Jean Cocteau? Derek Prouse?

Dear Quote Investigator: The proficiency, creativity, and potency of an artist can grow for decades. Yet, painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso apparently said the following about his change in mentality as he became older. Here are two versions:

  • One starts to get young at 60 and then it is too late.
  • One starts to get young at the age of sixty, and then it’s too late.

Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: Derek Prouse interviewed the prominent French literary figure and film maker Jean Cocteau shortly before the artist died, and the conversation appeared in “The Sunday Times” of London in October 1963. Cocteau repeated a remark he had heard recently from Pablo Picasso. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

“Of course, the artist’s life has always been a struggle. Picasso said to me the other day: ‘One starts to get young at the age of 60—and then it’s too late.’ Only then does one start to feel free; only then has one learned to strip oneself down to one’s essential creative simplicity.”

Thus, the evidence for this quotation is indirect. Cocteau reported the words he ascribed to Picasso during an interview published in “The Sunday Times”.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading One Starts To Get Young at the Age of 60 and Then It’s Too Late

Notes:

  1. 1963 October 27, The Boston Sunday Globe, Cocteau’s Last Observations: One Is Getting Young At 60 … It’s Too Late by Derek Prouse, Quote Page 6A, Column 1 and 2, Boston, Massachusetts. (The interview originally appeared in “The Sunday Times” of London on October 20, 1963) (Newspapers_com)

If We Have Our Own ‘Why’ of Life, We Shall Get Along With Almost Any ‘How’

Friedrich Nietzsche? Viktor E. Frankl? Thomas Common? Anthony M. Ludovici? Walter Kaufmann? R. J. Hollingdale? Ilse Lasch?

Dear Quote Investigator: Life can be aggravating and even agonizing. Yet, a steady internal purpose helps to make difficulties endurable together with the thought that happiness and pleasure will someday return. Here is an apposite adage:

One who has a ‘why’ to live for can endure almost any ‘how’.

This notion has been attributed to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: In 1889 Friedrich Nietzsche published “Götzen-Dämmerung; oder, Wie man mit dem Hammer philosophirt” (“Twilight of the Idols, or, How to philosophize with a hammer”) which included a section called “Sprüche und Pfeile” (“Maxims and Arrows”). The following statement was included. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Mit einem Ziele. — Hat man sein warum? des Lebens, so verträgt man sich fast mit jedem wie? — Der Mensch strebt nicht nach Glück; nur der Engländer thut das.

This statement has been translated into English in several different ways during the ensuing decades. Here is a rendering by Thomas Common which appeared in an 1896 edition of Nietzsche’s work: 2

When one has one’s wherefore of life, one gets along with almost every how.—Man does not strive after happiness; the Englishman only does so.

Viktor E. Frankl did employ a version of the adage, but he credited Nietzsche. Below are additional selected citations.

Continue reading If We Have Our Own ‘Why’ of Life, We Shall Get Along With Almost Any ‘How’

Notes:

  1. 1889 (catalog date), Title: Götzen-Dämmerung; oder, Wie man mit dem Hammer philosophirt, Author: Friedrich Nietzsche, Edition: Zweite Auflage (Second Edition), Chapter: Sprüche und Pfeile (Proverbs and Arrows), Quote Page 2, Publisher: C.G. Naumann, Leipzig. (HathiTrust Full View) link
  2. 1896, The Case of Wagner: Nietzsche Contra Wagner, The Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist by Friedrich Nietzsche, Translated by Thomas Common, Section: The Twilight of the Idols, Chapter: Apophthegms and Darts, Quote Page 100, H. Henry and Company, London. (HathiTrust Full View) link

I Really Don’t Mind What People Do, So Long As They Don’t Do It In the Street and Frighten the Horses

Mrs. Patrick Campbell? Beatrice Stella Tanner? Helen Maud Tree? Oscar Wilde? Linkum Fidelius? Washington Irving? Alice Roosevelt Longworth? Eric Erskine Wood? Mrs. Claude Beddington? Frances Ethel Beddington? John Moore? King Edward VII? Ronald Reagan? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Enforcing societal norms and taboos is an important activity for some people. Others hesitate to proscribe conduct. They are broad-minded about unconventional behaviors. Here are two versions of a humorous remark reflecting the latter perspective:

(1) I don’t care what anybody does, so long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.

(2) There is no harm provided they don’t do it in the street and scare the horses.

This saying has been credited to Beatrice Stella Tanner, Helen Maud Tree, Oscar Wilde and others, Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: QI believes that the saying evolved over time. A partial instance appeared in “The Lancaster Daily Intelligencer” of Pennsylvania in 1879. An article mentioned that families with servants sometimes required them to wear special clothing whenever the leading member of the family died. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

The fashion prevails in New York of putting the servants into mourning on the death of the head of the family, as in Europe, so it happens then many of the coachmen strikingly resemble, with their white cravats and long single-breasted black coats of the M. B. pattern, a ritualistic clergyman. “Taste is taste,” as Linkum Fidelius sagely remarks. So long as they don’t frighten the horses it matters little.

Linkum Fidelius was a comically erudite character appearing in the works of the prominent U.S. writer Washington Irving. This version of the expression did not include a reference to the street.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Really Don’t Mind What People Do, So Long As They Don’t Do It In the Street and Frighten the Horses

Notes:

  1. 1879 October 2, The Lancaster Daily Intelligencer (Intelligencer Journal), Wit and Wisdom: Fresh Gleanings From the Fruitful Harvest of American Humor, Quote Page 4, Column 1, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com)

The Worst Sin Towards Our Fellow Creatures Is Not To Hate Them, But To Be Indifferent To Them

George Bernard Shaw? Anthony Anderson? Wilhelm Stekel? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The playwright George Bernard Shaw apparently contended that indifference to another person was a greater transgression than hatred. He called this indifference a sin. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: George Bernard Shaw’s play “The Devil’s Disciple” was first performed in London in 1897. During the second act the character Anthony Anderson who is a minister hears his wife expressing hatred toward another character. He responds to her as follows. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Come, dear, you’re not so wicked as you think. The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity. After all, my dear, if you watch people carefully, you’ll be surprised to find how like hate is to love.

The condemnation of indifference is expressed by one of Shaw’s characters and not directly by Shaw himself.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Worst Sin Towards Our Fellow Creatures Is Not To Hate Them, But To Be Indifferent To Them

Notes:

  1. 1906 (1900 Copyright), The Devil’s Disciple: A Melodrama by Bernard Shaw (George Bernard Shaw), (Play produced in London in 1897), Act II, (Line spoken by Anthony Anderson), Quote Page 82, Brentano’s, New York. (HathiTrust Full View) link

We Should Utilize Natural Forces and Thus Get All of Our Power. Sunshine Is a Form of Energy, and the Winds and the Tides Are Manifestations of Energy

Thomas Edison? Elbert Hubbard? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous inventor Thomas Edison supposedly foresaw the potential of solar energy more than one hundred years ago. He wanted to replace the burning of fuels with the collection of natural energy from the sun, wind, and tides.

Did Edison really express this viewpoint? Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: In 1910 influential publisher Elbert Hubbard printed an interview with Thomas Edison in his journal “The Fra”. Edison believed that burning wood and coal was shortsighted, and he was excited by a vision of collecting and storing what is now called renewable energy. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

This scheme of combustion in order to get power makes me sick to think of—it is so wasteful. It is just the old, foolish Prometheus idea, and the father of Prometheus was a baboon.

“When we learn how to store electricity, we will cease being apes ourselves; until then we are tailless orang-outangs. You see, we should utilize natural forces and thus get all of our power. Sunshine is a form of energy, and the winds and the tides are manifestations of energy. Do we use them?

“Oh, no; we burn up wood and coal, as renters burn up the front fence for fuel. We live like squatters, not as if we owned the property.

“There must surely come a time when heat and power will be stored in unlimited quantities in every community, all gathered by natural forces. Electricity ought to be as cheap as oxygen, for it can not be destroyed.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading We Should Utilize Natural Forces and Thus Get All of Our Power. Sunshine Is a Form of Energy, and the Winds and the Tides Are Manifestations of Energy

Notes:

  1. 1910 April, The Fra: A Journal of Affirmation, Volume 5, Number 1, The Open Road: Afoot With The Fra, Thomas A. Edison, Start Page 1, Quote Page 6 and 7, Published by Elbert Hubbard, East Aurora, Erie County, New York. (HathiTrust Full View) link

“Is Your New Baby a Boy Or a Girl?” “Yes”

Bertrand Russell? Leo Rosten? Apocryphal? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The prominent British philosopher and essayist Bertrand Russell co-wrote an important book of classical logic titled “Principia Mathematica”. An anecdote about Russell is based on a humorously rigorous logical interpretation of a question. A colleague spoke to Russell shortly after his wife had a baby:

“Congratulations. Is it a girl or a boy?”
“Certainly.”

Do you think this story is genuine or apocryphal?

Quote Investigator: QI believes that this anecdote is apocryphal; however, it was probably derived from a passage that appeared in Bertrand Russell’s 1940 book “An Inquiry Into Meaning And Truth” which discussed the interpretation of logical disjunction. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

The following conversation might occur between a medical logician and his wife. “Has Mrs. So-and-So had her child?” “Yes.” “Is it a boy or a girl?” “Yes.” The last answer, though logically impeccable, would be infuriating.

The answerer would normally understand that the questioner wished to know the sex of the child. Instead, the answerer unhelpfully indicated that the sex of the child fell within the set {male, female}. Nowadays, there is greater awareness of intersex children, so the interpretation of this scenario would be more complex.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading “Is Your New Baby a Boy Or a Girl?” “Yes”

Notes:

  1. 1940 (1956 Fifth Impression), An Inquiry Into Meaning And Truth by Bertrand Russell, The William James Lectures for 1940 Delivered at Harvard University, Chapter 5: Logical Words, Quote Page 85 and 86, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London. (Verified with scans)