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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
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Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by Loretto on 14 February 2012 8:08pm
I am doing two courses this semester. The one "for fun" is my Digital Juornalism course, and the second is my final course to qualify as a Language Arts Teacher at Secondary level. I already am certified at Elementary level, but I taught Middle School for a few years and liked it a lot.

One of the first papers I have to do for this final English at secondary level course is comparing two deaths in two books, Henry James' 'Daisy Miller' and Herman Melville's 'Bartleby The Scrivener.'

I started to think how each character were in their own way, simply unable to conform to society. So I looked up my Quotationary to see if anyone had any interesting quotes about it.

Of all people, Malcolm Muggeridge is quoted on page 138 "Conformity" as saying,

"There's nothing in this world more instinctively abhorrent to me than finding myself in agreement with my fellow humans."

Is this the same guy who went at Cleese and Palin about The Life of Brian in 1979? He's a Christian????


Re: Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by johnnyBgood! on 15 February 2012 1:49am
What a wonderful clip ! The bishop's old fashioned English voice was something I'd almost forgotton about. Muggeridge was a strange man but certainly an intellect and I think he made Cleese appear to be juvenile and uneducated in comparison to himself. Cleese has brought me much laughter, as is the purpose of a comedian but I've never had much regard for the man.

I'm not trying to be cheeky Loretto but does the exercise you described serve any real purpose other than for so called intellectual discussion ? I prefer to see kids being fed bread rather than words.
Re: Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by mrsthing on 15 February 2012 2:04am
Muggeridge wasn't always a Christian. He admitted he was quite a womanizer before his conversion. And *many* Christians hated MP for "Life of Brian".

I disagree with Johnny. I thought both John and Michael came off way better than Muggeridge and that sanctimonious bishop flipping his cross and lobbing insults. I would not have been able to hold my tongue or my temper as well.
Re: Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by johnnyBgood! on 15 February 2012 2:12am
Do people come more sanctimonious than John Cleese ?
Re: Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by Loretto on 15 February 2012 2:57am
Read the stories and decide for yourself whether the protagonists deserved to die because they wouldn't conform to societal norms or whether the were left to die because they were intrinsically different.....I think it is an important question. Take poor Whitney Houston, should someone have stepped in a week ago and helped her because she certain was struggling to fit in or did people stand back and let her have her way because she refused to conform. To me it is all relevant. They are two thought provoking stories and I certainly needed more knowledge about American literature.

With regard to Muggerage, did I spell that right?, who cares! I think that having someone sit there and tell you that your art is s......t is very maddening. Remember the bishop of Southwark started off by saying that religion inspired works if great art and beauty...... So TLOB was "something completely different" lol

I thought Cleese was great at staying cool, I'd have blown a gasket, but what fantastic publicity though? Doing this on iPhone so if there are typing errors, apoligies. Nitey nite all :-)
Re: Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by johnnyBgood! on 15 February 2012 4:08am
You (Loretto) have a love and intense interest in literature, whereas I see little point in it.
I was extremely saddened to hear about Whitney Houston but I'm struggling to beat alcoholism and my inevitible death from it will go unreported. We don't have the financial resources that that sad woman had and my wife was on the phone for about an hour or more 3 weeks ago to get me the help that I was crying out for. She managed to get me into hospital that evening and the medical and nursing staff were wonderful and assured me that I'd did the right thing because if I'd tried unsupervised withdrawal from alcohol, it could've proved fatal. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that within 24 hours of leaving the hospital, I was back to a bottle of vodka a day.
Will reading Herman Melville help Margaret to deal with this pathetic person ?

My analysis of that clip could be wrong because of my constantly topped up condition. My vanity prevails though ! Meg tells me that my brain is addled with booze, then I baffle her by 'beating' a few contestants on Mastermind or completing a crossword that she wouldn't have a clue about. ;)

Excuse any of my spelling mistakes, as I'm now on my second bottle and umpteenth beer. I've tried every method to stop except the simplest. That is to accept my condition and realise that alcohol is more powerful than me and that my stupid mentality of saying that nothing will beat me just doesn't convince Mr Smirnoff.
Re: Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by Spursfan2 on 15 February 2012 10:00am
I agree Loretto, I would have been ranting (not swearing though which I think shows you have little vocab!!)!

I am always ready to argue with people who think they have power over you. Zak is always nudging me when he thinks I am about to kick off; he prefers a quiet life (though he will always stick up for justice) and thinks it isn't worth it. I once argued in Koc Tas (pronounced Koch Tash, the Turkish version of B & Q) for ages in the heat because the cashier said our discount card from a local supermarket wasn't valid there (it WAS (they're part of the same comapany)and we had used it many times before). The point being we would have saved perhaps only pence that day, but it was the PRINCIPLE. The next time we visited we had no probs, it was just a rookie cashier.

Another sprIngs to mind (Johnny stop yawning!!) was when we were flying to the west coast of Mexico, and had a refuelling stop in Florida. We were taken off the plane and herded (only word for it) into a little room where this officious, Rosa Kleb type immigration/customs woman spoke to us as if we were something to scrape off her shoe!! I wasn't having that, I started to say 'Erm...' but Zak nudged me and said 'it's not worth it'. I WAS going to say who did she think she was dealing with, etc etc.

I think my point is that people in 'authority' DO get it wrong and it doesn't hurt to point this out in a controlled, polite and non-swearing way. Which is totally off subject but still, that's me for you!!


Re: Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by Loretto on 15 February 2012 12:25pm
Sorry to hear that John. The first book is about a man who we the reader suspect has depression because he starts off doing wonderful work in a law office and then stops working altogether because he "prefers not to," and he eventually dies in jail. Maybe it is Melville's commentary on the lack of awareness in society toward mental illness. In the book, at first you are angry because you think Bartleby is making a choice "not to work," then toward the end you have sympathy for his condition because he simply "could not" work.

With Daisy Miller she contracts Roman fever in Italy because she is a naive, innocent woman who refuses to be indoors after dark and instead goes to sit in an historical building with a male acquaintance to just watch the night sky. This desire to do whatever she wants when she wants, and nothing too outrageous too mind you, is something that sets her apart from females of the time period. She makes a deliberate choice to "not conform" and refuses to become what society demands of her.

So did either if them deserve to die? No. But in the case of one it was not choice, he couldn't help it. In the case of the other she refused to be constrained by society. You could argue that she couldn't help it or it was ignorance.

The thing that the reader is left with though is why didn't the people around them help? And again, that is relative to the Houston tragedy, and many other stories like it. But only when we are in a situation like that do we realize that there's only so much we (the observers) can do. Did society fail the protagansists or real people with similar stories? I don't know. Maybe a kid who is experiencing a similar story in their own lives will read these stories and it will help them.

Yes I do have a love for literature, and I also think that it really can help us make sense of things that we struggle to understand. It doesn't help solve, but it can help us accept.

Anne, or should I say Hyacinth, remind me never to fuss with you!!! :-)
Re: Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by Lounge Trekker on 15 February 2012 5:27pm
Interesting to hear your synopsis of these stories, Loretto. I'm not sure I would catch the sociological inferences made by the authors. Based on your descriptions of the stories, I can give what I understand to have happened in terms of people around them helping them through a problem seen from a few steps back.

In the case of Daisy she is portrayed as acting contrary to the behaviours of her contemporaries. People around her may have kindly and gently suggested she 'conform' but she heard another kindly suggestion to be outside to watch the stars. This could be a suggestion that although we hear all sides of an issue, the decision remains ours.

In Melville's case, it sounds like he was appreciated as much as his productivity; when it declined, he was ignored by his peers, eventually resorting to an undesireable type of life ending in prison. A lesson to observers, and those who may have given Melville some kindly assistance (friendship, guidance etc.) that perhaps there is more than meets the eye when a person acts outside the parameters of performance and behaviour we consider 'normal'.

In the case of the fully functioning alcoholic, his loving and committed wife sees the problem and tries to, gently, bring this to his attention. When success (convincing him to reduce his consumption) eludes her, she tries to shock him by telling him he is losing friends because of his excessive drinking. She is succeeding, however, and he now sees that he must take part in the winning battle of drying out. His role in this battle is critical and needs more openness and confidence in the other general.

That he has an army to fight beside him in the war against his alcoholism is obvious to him. He need only keep the lines of communication open with the other general at the front, his wife in this case, and if not victory, a truce can be achieved.
Re: Unusual Quotes from Unusual People by Loretto on 15 February 2012 6:15pm
Addictions of any type, alcohol or drugs, whatever, are so tragic because talented people have been consumed and sometimes destroyed.

Jamie Lee Curtis wrote a nice piece for the Huff Post Called The Fame Blame Game or something like that, I read it yesterday, and she rightly pointed out that addiction is truly an equal opportunity destroyer (those are my words and I quite like them) Addiction isn't racist, rich, poor, religious bent or aetheist.....for those whom we know, either in person or in cyber space, who struggle with addictions I do hope that you conquer the demons. Life is complicated, sure enough, but losing yourself inside a bottle of alcohol or pills won't make it simpler.

Here's a quote from the Melville book, it is a sad quote, but a beautiful one though;

“happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay; but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery is none.”
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