11 Famous Misquotations and What Was Really Said

“11 Famous Misquotations and What Was Really Said”—from mental_floss:

1. “Billions and billions.” Carl Sagan never said this, and he even explained that he never said it in the first chapter of his book, which, incidentally, was titled Billions & Billions:

“Oh, I said there are maybe 100 billion galaxies and 10 billion trillion stars. It’s hard to talk about the Cosmos without using big numbers…But I never said ‘billions and billions.’ For one thing, it’s too imprecise.”

The quote actually originated from Johnny Carson’s impression of Sagan.

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The Wizard of Oz in One Sentence

From Pacific Standard:

It may or may not be “the best film synopsis ever,” as many have dubbed it, but Rick Polito’s one-sentence summation of The Wizard of Oz, which he wrote in 1998, has become an unlikely internet sensation in recent days. It reads, in its entirety:

“Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets, and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.”

Nothing inaccurate there, but it rather misses the spirit of the film–intentionally, of course, and with considerable wit.

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Blog alert: “All Aphorisms, All The Time”

I found this site—All Aphorisms, All The Time—via the always attentive Frank Wilson at Books, Inc—The Epilogue. I particularly liked Polish dissident Stanislaw Lec’s

Politics: a Trojan Horse race

“Fair Use”

From Tom Conoboy’s writing blog: Faulkner’s estate sues Woody Allen.

Heavy handed indeed.

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The Richard Burton Diaries

From The New York Times—”For the Love of Lit and Liz”

The Richard Burton Diaries, Edited by Chris Williams

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Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Long Suicide of Montgomery Clift

From  Anne Helen Petersen at the hairpin—the introductory paragraph:

Montgomery Clift had the most earnest of faces: big, pleading eyes, a set jaw, and a side part that reminds you of old pictures of your granddad. Onscreen and off, he was what the kids these days would call “an emo” and the least generous of your friends would call a “sad sack.” If he lived in the ‘90s, he would have been king of the heartfelt mixtape. Clift played the desperate, the drunken, and the deceived, and along with Brando and Dean, heralded a new direction in cinematic masculinity. But a car crash in the prime of his career left him in constant pain, and he drank himself to an early death. The trajectory of his life was as tragic as any of his films. But for 12 years, he set Hollywood aflame.

 

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Exquisite Garbo

From the hairpin—the intro:

Greta Garbo did not inhabit this earth. She flitted about in the celluloid heavens, showing her face and, later, offering her voice at sporadic intervals. Her skin was flawless, the arch of her eyebrow was perfection. She was never a child, she never aged. She didn’t cry, and laughed so rarely that when it happened onscreen, the studio focused entire publicity campaigns around it.

 

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Public Health versus Private Freedom?

From Project Syndicate.  Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, Peter Singer, has an argument contrary to the Supreme Court: It’s entirely based on the idea that individuals are too stupid to be the “guardians” of their own interests due to the influence of manipulative corporations, so government must have the ability to manage our lives in order for us to make proper choices—presumably because our caring government isn’t manipulative.

Oh yes, free speech is such an old quaint notion…

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