Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Monday, September 2, 2013

CATCHPHRASES


During my walk this morning, which was very quiet inasmuch as it is Labor Day, I got to musing about catchphrases that make their way into popular consciousness.  For those of us who have reached a certain age, Humphrey Bogart's classic line, "We'll always have Paris" captures perfectly a nostalgic feeling of loss and remembrance [though few of us are fortunate enough to find Ingrid Bergman in our memories.]  What are some of the others? I asked myself.

One line that I seized on the moment I heard it comes from the movie Jerry McGuire, starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding, and Renée Zellweger.  I have been using it whenever I can, thinking that I was the only person who had noticed it, but now it is popping up on TV enough so that I realize I am not alone.  Cruise has lost Zellweger by his bad behavior, and she is seeking consolation from her feminist support group when Cruise barges in and launches into a long apology and plea for forgiveness.  When he pauses for breath, she says, "You had me with hello."

Another favorite that lingers in the mind is the conclusion of the first stanza of Dryden's great poem, Alexander's Feast:  "None but the brave deserve the fair."  A  while back, I got that confused with "the good die young," which turns out to be the title of a song by someone named Billy Joel [there, I have revealed my total cluelessness.]

And then there is "You shall not crucify us on a cross of gold,"  the oratorical flourish of William Jennings Bryan, immortalized in The Wizard of Oz ["oz" being the customary contraction for an ounce of gold.]

I invite other nominations from my indefatigable readers.

14 comments:

Chris said...

You mentioned labor day and so I am briefly hi-jacking your post for a quick gripe. I'm a graduate teaching assistant as I've told you before. My fiance is a hair stylist and a manager at a massive corporation. Today I am off from work. And all my students are off from school (it's only the second week!). My fiance must go into work for 8-9 hours, and work. The funny thing about hair styling for a major corporation is that Marx's theory of exploitation is not abstraction, it's not some process that requires seeing the essence amongst the appearance - no. Everyday, that she comes home, we can literally crunch the numbers and see exactly how much she was exploited. She gets 52.5% of all haircuts, and pays for much of the constant capital (sheers, various hair products, etc).

So my catchphrase (if it can be called that) as I lament this most ironical of days, is of course: From each according to her capability, to each according to her need.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Bravo, Chris. Since that is the tagline of my CREDO, I should have included it!

David Auerbach said...

My favorite catchphrase, endlessly useful comes from a Marx Bros. movie, the great A Night at the Opera. It doesn't work as a standalone line, but since every educated person has seen the movie several times...
"...and that's how we fly to America."

C Rossi said...

Two from Samuel Beckett I especially like:

Ah, the old questions, the old answers, there's nothing like them!

You're on earth. There's no cure for that.

Carl said...

It's "You had me at hello," not "You had me with hello," and Jerry Maguire, not Jerry McGuire.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Whoops, sorry Carl.

Magpie said...

@Prof. Wolff,

A source of good quotes is David Fincher's 1999 film "Fight Club":

"It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything."

"Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need."

Magpie said...

@Chris,

I wish you could tell that exactly to all those stupid middle-class people I know in Australia and the UK: there is no way in hell they want to understand it.

And that's not to say in Australian we need to look too hard to see that:

Foreign students exploited as slaves
Nick O'Malley, Heath Gilmore and Erik Jensen
July 15, 2009

http://www.smh.com.au/national/foreign-students-exploited-as-slaves-20090714-dk52.html

Unknown said...

Since David mentioned A Night at the Opera, let me also recall:

"You can't fool me. There is no sanity clause."

NoWhere Man said...

I don't know if it qualifies as a catch phrase but it stuck out to me as soon as I heard it. It is from the movie Enemy at the Gates. One of the main characters just before the final battle of the two snipers laments that "man will always be man, there is no new man."

Jerry Fresia said...

"Follow the money."

ren said...

This is from Wordsworth, and related to that Billy Joel title:

"Oh, Sir! the good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust
Burn to the socket."

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Nice, ren. Thank you. Where in Wordsworth? [this just shows how little I know about Romantic poetry!]

ren said...

Those lines are from "The Excursion" (not a poem in very high regard among critics since Hazlitt).