So many to choose from! I could fill the page with quotes from Oscar Wilde. Some among my collection may be your favourites too, feel free to comment!
I have nothing to declare but my genius – Oscar Wilde on arriving at the New York Customs House.
On observing the walls of his room as he lay on his deathbed.
Either that wallpaper goes or I do!
A couple from my dear maternal grandmother. If a so-called TV comedy show failed to impress she would say. It was too daft to laugh at.
On observing a lady of a certain age trying to act like a lady of a younger age, Mutton dressed as lamb!
Oscar Wilde declared that America and Britain were two countries divided by a common language. Certain Americans do seem to mangle the syntax and grammar of the English language but they do come out with one or two good sayings. My favourite:
What Goes Around Comes Around.
I also like, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Dorothy Parker is one of my favourite ladies from history. She was born well before her time! She it was who declared, Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. On arriving at a doorway at the same time as a younger female. Young female waved Dorothy through with the words, Age before beauty. To which Miss Parker replied, And pearls before swine! My favourite Parker saying is this: Dorothy had arrived for a party in a New York apartment. As the host took her coat she noticed that in a room at the end of the corridor people seemed to be bobbing up and down over a table. She enquired of her host what the people in the room were doing. Ducking for apples, came the reply. To which Dorothy Parker replied, There but for a change of consonant goes the story of my life!
And of course most Bob Dylan songs will find you a saying but I like this comment, Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be. And this one of course from back when the world was young, You better start swimming or sink like a stone, ‘cos the times they are a-changing
Often accused of complicated lyrics Dylan kept it simple with this line from Subterranean Homesick Blues:
You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
Now here is an American who would have made a good speech writer if any President had bothered to ask. Mark Twain and his most famous quote:
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
Not to mention:
Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
I do like that one!
We are not overburdened with famous political sayings. Many Americans like to quote JFK when he said at his inauguration:
Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country
And even more Americans will tell you that Kennedy’s speeches were written by Ted Sorenson give or take a few words. On the other hand the keepers of the flame will tell you that Kennedy wrote all his speeches. Take your pick. Sorenson himself was always evasive on the subject not wishing to dim the aura of his hero.
Winston Churchill of course features on any list of quotes. Many of his most famous speeches came during World War Two. My favourite is this wonderfully politically incorrect comment from the 1920s. A female Labour MP accosted Churchill in the chamber:
Mr Churchill, you are drunk!
And you madam are ugly. But I will be sober in the morning!
Imagine that being said today? The London liberal elite would be on social media quicker than you could say, ‘Crucify!’
Then of course there is Abraham Lincoln whose Gettysburg Address counts as one of the all time great speeches. One that ranks alongside ‘The Funeral Oration of Pericles’ to the people of Athens. His most famous single quote is probably this one:
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time
Martin Luther King would not have known it at the time but JFK nearly cancelled the Freedom March in Washington. He saw Dr King as a troublemaker. In public of course he liked to be seen as a staunch defender of Civil Rights. Not that he did much about it. It would be the Southern redneck President LBJ who enacted more Civil Rights then Kennedy ever considered. Back to MLK. His ‘I Have a Dream’ speech runs to many a paragraph, each one worthy of note. But it is this one that I think defines the speech and was the main aim of Dr King in his long march to freedom:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Seems a simple idea? Why do so many Neanderthals have a problem with it?
Much as I like Dr King’s speech it runs my favourite quote a close second. This quote comes from a work of fiction. My favourite book, Catch-22, features Captain John Yossarian who states:
I am going to live forever or die in the attempt!
And if you have not read Catch-22 then you really should!
Well I am coming to the end of my third page so time to wrap it all up and post! If you have any sayings you like please reply to this post. It is free and fun to do! And if you like the pages you have just read why not let me know? – Rod