December 8, 2012

Jefferson, Lincoln, Churchill, and Yogi Berra

Filed under: Books, History, Media, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:27

What do these four men have in common? They’re “flypaper figures“: people who frequently are quoted as saying things they never said:

“People will see a quote and it appeals to an opinion that they have and if it has Jefferson’s name attached to it that gives it more weight,” she says. “He’s constantly being invoked by people when they are making arguments about politics and actually all sorts of topics.”

A spokeswoman for the Guide‘s publisher said it was looking into the quote. Mr. Norris’s publicist didn’t respond to requests for comment.

To counter what she calls rampant misattribution, Ms. Berkes is fighting the Internet with the Internet. She has set up a “Spurious Quotations” page on the Monticello website listing bogus quotes attributed to the founding father, a prolific writer and rhetorician who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

[. . .]

Jefferson is a “flypaper figure,” like Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and baseball player and manager Yogi Berra — larger-than-life figures who have fake or misattributed quotes stick to them all the time, says Ralph Keyes, an author of books about quotes wrongly credited to famous or historical figures.

Granatstein: What Canada needs first is a defence policy

Filed under: Cancon, Military — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 00:03

Writing in the National Post, historian J.L. Granatstein discusses the rise and fall of the government’s “Canada First” defence policy:

No one who has followed the history of Canadian defence has any doubt that for their first four years in power the Harper Conservatives were the best government for the Canadian Forces since the 1950s St Laurent government. Coming into power at the beginning of 2006, the Tories supported the troops in Afghanistan with the equipment–Leopards, C17s, new C130J Hercules transports, Chinook helicopters, anti-mine vehicles– and personnel they needed, they extended the mission twice, they increased defence spending massively, and they even produced their Canada First Defence Strategy in 2008.

[. . .]

If Afghanistan was one blow to the government’s defence plans, the Canada First Defence Strategy was another. The CFDS, despite its name, was not a strategy so much as a list of promised equipment purchases. It did not try to lay down much of a rationale for the nation’s defence or indicate how the government envisioned the ways in which the Canadian Forces might be employed in the future. Instead it promised guaranteed growth in defence spending, proposed a modest increase in personnel strength, and promised a long list of equipment to be acquired–15 combat vessels, support ships, the F35 fighter, and a fleet of land combat vessels. In all, the government pledged to spend almost a half trillion dollars over the next twenty or so years.

And maybe it might have done so, the voters permitting. But the sharp recession of 2008 tossed all plans into the garbage bin, and deficit fighting, not defence spending, soon became the Tories driving force. Instead of the promised increases, there are cuts that are already north of ten percent of the DND budget. The Army has already reduced its training, and there will be more cutbacks everywhere.

The new equipment was necessary — and welcome — but Canadians don’t have the almost instinctive deference Americans sometimes demonstrate to the demands of the generals and admirals for ships, planes, and tanks. Canadians are proud of their armed forces, but will not support endless demands for military toys and don’t welcome the idea of sending in the troops when things go wrong overseas. A well-thought-out, well-articulated defence policy is needed sooner rather than later to outline exactly what the government intends the army, navy, and air force to do in pursuit of our national goals and in protection of Canada and Canadians.

The predator who hid in full view of the cameras

Filed under: Britain, Law, Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 00:02

Mark Steyn on the Jimmy Savile investigations:

It’s tempting at this point to offer some musings on the price of fame, the burdens of celebrity. But Savile was cheerfully unburdened. Rather than a celebrity who happens to be a pedophile, he seems to have been a pedophile who became a celebrity in order to facilitate being a pedophile. Robbers rob banks because that’s where the money is. In the Sixties, Savile became a star disc jockey in Britain’s nascent pop biz because that’s where the 14-year-old nymphettes are. In the Seventies, he became a kiddie-TV host because that’s where the nine-year-old moppets are. He became a celebrity volunteer with his own living quarters at children’s hospitals and homes because that’s where the nine-year-olds too infirm to wiggle free or too mentally ill to protest are. He persuaded various institutions to give him keys to the mortuary because that’s where the nine-year-olds unable even to cry out are. (Stoke Mandeville Hospital is now investigating whether he “interacted inappropriately” with corpses.)

His persona was tailored to his appetites: The child-man shtick meant no one would ever ask him to host grown-up telly shows or move to the easy-listening channel. He motored around the country in a famous silver Rolls with a caravan on hand should he espy a comely schoolgirl at the edge of the road. When opportunity for a quickie struck ten minutes before a recording of Savile’s Travels, it was easier to drop the gold lamé sweatpants than unbuckle a belt and unzip a pair of trousers. And he more or less hid in plain sight. When Fleet Street reporters seeking a quote on something or other called him up and said “Is that Jimmy Savile?” he’d shoot back: “I never touched her!” On the one occasion we met, I remember being struck by the physical strength he projected, even at his then-advanced age. A few years ago, an interviewer asked, “You used to be a wrestler, didn’t you?”

“I still am.”
“Are you?”
“I’m feared in every girls’ school in the country.”

A Holiday Album ad

Filed under: Business, Economics, Humour — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 00:01

H/t to Daniel J. Mitchell for the link.

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