The authorship of some of these phrases had been forgotten for years or decades before being unearthed by a researcher. In other cases, the authors were never “lost”—their names have long been known to specialists and can be easily found with a little research—yet they are mostly unknown to the general public. Moreover, the real authors are often obscured by inaccurate attributions that have gained wide currency.
Finally, a few of these lines were crafted by women who are anonymous partly because they worked in professions that tend to be anonymous, such as screenwriting or speechwriting. I’ve included them nevertheless, because they show the range and depth of well-known quotations by women. The hallmark of almost all these cases, in fact, is that people are surprised to learn that such famous lines were written by such obscure women.
Laugh and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
Proverb? No, this too was written by a woman, an American named Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850–1919). Her 1883 poem “Solitude” begins with these words.
Does it really matter what these affectionate people do—so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses!
Online, one can find this remark credited to King Edward VII and an eighteenth-century general, as well as to the person with the best claim: Mrs. Patrick Campbell (Beatrice Stella Tanner Campbell, 1865–1940), the preeminent actress of her time on the London stage. She used this memorable line in rebuking an actress who had complained that an actor they knew was enamored of a young leading man.
Tag Archive: history
Oh Edison, you intellectual property whore…
It was a dark and stormy night on December 18, 1908. Okay—maybe it wasn’t so dark and stormy. But it should have been, because that was the night Thomas Edison tried to hijack the motion picture industry.
“With his beetle brows, long wispy hair, and beatific look, Edison might have seemed the addled inventor,” writes the historian Neil Gabler, “but he was a shrewd businessman and a fearsome adversary who was never loath to take credit for any invention, whether he was responsible or not.”
But the old man wanted it all, so he assembled his rivals and proposed that they join his Motion Picture Patents Company. It would function as a holding operation for the participants’ collective patents—sixteen all told, covering projectors, cameras, and film stock. MPPC would issue licenses and collect royalties from movie producers, distributors, and exhibitors.
Time traveler or proto-beatnik? What, you think a whole counter culture just sprang up in the 50s cuz Jack Kerouac released ‘on the road’? Yeeesh.
The above photo was taken in 1940. Some people say the hipster-looking fellow with the sunglasses on the right side of the photo is a time traveler because his hair, shades, clothing, and camera didn’t exist at the time. But Forgetomori does a fine job of busting this rumor, complete with photos. Curses!
The outfit could also be found 70 years ago. Being used as we are to our contemporary fashion, we look at the man and assume he’s wearing a stamped T-shirt, something that would be indeed out of place (or time). But if you look carefully, you can see that he’s actually wearing (or could as well be wearing) a sweatshirt. And sweatshirts with bordered emblems were not uncommon in the 1940s – in fact you can find those in other photos from the same exhibit.
Historians at Stanford have uncovered the earliest known survey of sexual behavior. Similar in style to the more-famous Kinsey Reports, the survey began in 1892 and focused exclusively on women. While more than half of the subjects said they’d known nothing about sex before marriage—about what you’d expect thanks to Victorian stereotypes—almost all of them seemed to be making up for lost time, both actively desiring and enjoying sex, even those who thought they probably oughtn’t.
tasty snippets from the article in question:
Thanks to a steady supply of young female research subjects, Mosher’s scholarly aim soon became clear: to prove that women were not inferior to men, and that frailties chalked up to sex were really the effects of binding garments, insufficient exercise and mental conditioning. Her master’s thesis, for example, showed that women breathe from the diaphragm, as men do, rather than from the chest, as was believed at the time. She concluded that this so-called biological difference was really due to tight corsetry.
Slightly more than half of these educated women claimed to have known nothing of sex prior to marriage; the better informed said they’d gotten their information from books, talks with older women and natural observations like “watching farm animals.” Yet no matter how sheltered they’d initially been, these women had—and enjoyed—sex. Of the 45 women, 35 said they desired sex; 34 said they had experienced orgasms; 24 felt that pleasure for both sexes was a reason for intercourse; and about three-quarters of them engaged in it at least once a week.
Unlike Mosher’s other work, the survey is more qualitative than quantitative, featuring open-ended questions probing feelings and experiences. “She’s actually asking these questions not about physiology or mechanics—she’s really asking about sexual subjectivity and the meaning of sex to women,” Freedman says. Their responses were often mixed. Some enjoyed sex but worried that they shouldn’t. One slept apart from her husband “to avoid temptation of too frequent intercourse.” Some didn’t enjoy sex but faulted their partner. Mosher writes: [She] “Thinks men have not been properly trained.”
Their responses reflected the cultural shifts of the late 19th century, as marriage became viewed as a romantic union, not just an economic one, and as people began to dissociate sex from procreation, says Freedman. One woman, born in 1867, wrote that before marriage she believed sex to be only for reproduction, but later changed her mind: “In my experience the habitual bodily expression of love has a deep psychological effect in making possible complete mental sympathy & perfecting the spiritual union that must be the lasting ‘marriage’ after the passion of love has passed away with the years.” Wrote another, born in 1863, “It seems to me to be a natural and physical sign of a spiritual union, a renewal of the marriage vows.”
This makes me think of Foucault
The short version? The American Empire is going down, baby, and a lack of perspective on things means that there ain’t no turning back.
Everything you learned, everything you believe and everything driving our political leaders is based on a misleading, outdated theory of history. The American Empire is at the edge of a dangerous precipice, at risk of a sudden, rapid collapse.
Why? Throughout history imperial leaders inevitably emerge and drive their nations into wars for greater glory and “economic progress,” while inevitably leading their nation into collapse. And that happens suddenly and swiftly, within “a decade or two.”
“Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant and wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out.” We sense the “consummation” of the American Empire occurred with the leadership handoff from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush.
Unfortunately that peak is behind us: Clinton, Bush, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and all future American leaders are merely playing their parts in the greatest of all historical dramas, repeating but never fully grasping the lessons of history in their insatiable drive for “economic progress,” to recapture former glory … while unwittingly pushing our empire to the edge, into collapse.
The first two volumes of Wizzywig, Ed Piskor’s wonderful graphic memoir of the early days of the BBS/hacking/phreaking scene, have been posted online.
Growing up I was absolutely obsessed with hacking and phreaking – i read every exploitative and trashy book on hackers i could get my mitts on, as well as more quality titles. All I ever wanted was a modem and to learn how to program. Turns out though I was a lazy little shit with no follow through! I did start learning C but the most advanced thing I ever wrote was a lottery number generator.
Even in slavery days, “white” and “black” children might have personal contact, but in the South of my childhood we were kept as separate as humanly possible. We literally didn’t know each other. I lived until I was nine in an approximately half-black town without ever having any social contact with a black kid. I don’t mean I didn’t have any as close friends. I mean I never had a single conversation with an African American child. As people say when they talk about those days, that was just the way it was. I can remember having it explained to me that no, their color didn’t rub off when they touched things.