So-called Western Civilization,
as practised in half of Europe, some of Asia and a few parts of North America,
is better than anything else available. Western civilization not only provides
a bit of life, a pinch of liberty and the occasional pursuance of happiness,
it's also the only thing that's ever tried to. Our civilization is the
first in history to show even the slightest concern for average, undistinguished,
none-too-commendable people like us.
- PJ O'Rourke
"Now for good or ill,
California is the place where trends tend to be set in Western civilization
— if civilization indeed it is. California, for several generations now,
has been the newest, biggest, most experimental place in the newest, biggest,
most experimental part of liberal Western capitalism — which is itself
a new experiment for mankind."
- PJ O'Rourke, "The Man in the Mansion"
The biggest difference
between ancient Rome and the USA is that in Rome the common man was treated
like a dog. In America he sets the tone. This is the first country where
the common man could stand erect.
- Isidor Stone, quoted in "Flying Visits" by Clive James
America is a vast conspiracy
to make you happy.
- John Updike
Look at the world we
have left to the hapless adolescents of the early 21st century. A world
of food fads and neuroses, of exploitation through mass media. The affectless
uniformity of the web. Danger lurking: perverts round every corner, terrorists
in the shadows. A world where the sea kills fish, rain dissolves trees
and sex means death. Of crumbling infrastructures, gridlock, collapsing
health services. A world where only a few will be able to afford a house.
A world of McJobs or no jobs or insane jobs which eat the whole of life.
Where illusions are buried, childhood torn short, innocence drowned. A
world of gendering and relativism, of spyware and databases, of political
correctness. Hell of a world. As if adolescence weren't a hell of a world
- Michael Bywater, "Lost Worlds"
America, the Idea of:
We yearned for its beer and jazz, its smoke-filled nightclubs, its Edward
Hopper bars, the melancholy of rainy Manhattan Gershwin nights... the America
we yearned for has gone. Did it ever exist?
- Michael Bywater, "Lost Worlds"
In the short walk between
his aeroplane and reaching the outside world at Heathrow, Michael Bywater
encountered no fewer than 93 separate notices telling him off for things
he hadn't done or which hadn't even occurred to him to do. Being bossed
and patronised are two sensations that most sophisticated adults would
sooner do without and yet we are bossed and patronised, by the media, by
politicians, by business, by advertising agencies and the public services,
more now than at any other time in our history. Why should this be?
- Alexander Waugh, reviewing Bywater's "Big Babies", "The Telegraph"
Do I grow cleverer
with age, or does the world grow more stupid?
- Theodore Dalrymple
The advent of the mobile
phone was a disaster. We are forced to listen, open-mouthed, to other people's
intimate conversations. Increasingly, we are all in our virtual bubbles
when we are out in public, whether we are texting, listening to iPods,
reading or just staring dangerously at other people.
- Lynne Truss, "Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life"
We couldn't live without
Mobile phones: Before text messaging, how did society function?
- from "The Irish Independent"
"I don't know why you
have a mobile phone; you never phone".
- Spectator cartoon, father giving out to a lazy son
The BBC is very much
in thrall to all this techno cross-fertilisation, in much the same way
that print journalists are now encouraged to blog. To the point where there
is an emerging breed of sub-editors who take perfectly well-written and
punctuated original copy and rewrite it so that it resembles a text message
written by a 14-year-old under the influence of Bacardi Breezers.
- Kathryn Flett, "The Observer"
Anything that is in
the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural
part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when
you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and
you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're thirty-five
is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams
The suburbs dream of
- JG Ballard, "Kingdom Come"
~ Made in the UK
~ Modern Living
# NOWHERE MORE MODERN THAN AMERICA
The problem with evolution is that humans with undesirable traits reproduce before said traits catch up with them. That's why we still have people who ride motorcycles without helmets, smokers and Bill Clinton
When I was in college, there were certain words you couldn't say in front of a girl. Now you can say them, but you can't say 'girl.'
- Tom Lehrer, quoted in "The New York Times"
It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.
- U2's Bono, on tv evangelist's pleas for money
There is a policeman inside our heads, and he must be destroyed.
- Motto of the 1960s Yippie self liberation movement
We must conform to the new non-conformism.
- Advertising operating group, 1970s, in reaction to such movements.
So this judge in Virginia
rules that a lesbian wasn't fit to raise her own daughter because she might
grow up to be a lesbian, and gives custody to the lesbian's mother. And
I'm thinking, "She's already raised one lesbian."
- Chris Cannon
My wife is not a lesbian
and neither is my son. I've never had sex with a man and neither has my
wife. I hope that your campaigning for homosexuals is due to your being
unknoweable rather than you thinking the things they do are just 'sexual
preferance'. Keep your sexual perversions to yourself and I'll keep my
sexual perversions to myself.
- Excerpts from homophobic mail to a gay organization
I also challenge the
word "homophobic" as fear of homosexuals. I'm not homophobic -- I have
no fear of your type, only contempt. And now you have homophobia to wave
around just like the jews have anti-semetic. So lets get rid of the word
homophobia: How about "Homo-Blyiccch" (gag, choke, vomit)? ... When all
you perverts are in hell it will be a much better place.
- Excerpts from homophobic mail to a gay organization
There are similar problems
with the term 'faggot.' In his early days, Eminem said he had nothing against
gay people, just faggots. Just as not all gay men were faggots, not all
black guys are niggers. The question is whether this is one step toward
enlightenment or one step back toward bigotry. I'm inclined to think that,
in the younger generation, the use of such terms need not be prima facie
case of prejudice. It's quite common, for example, for high school kids
to use the word 'gay' to describe anything they don't particularly like.
It has no tangible reference to homosexuals - although it hardly bespeaks
acceptance. But in general, the use of the term now is far less ominous
than it would have been ten years ago. So let the linguistic waves roll
and the racial, post-racial epithets mount. And let old Klansmen like Byrd
look before they mumble.
- Andrew Sullivan (2001)
Finally, some religious
unity in the Middle East. Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders have joined
forces to condemn a gay pride festival scheduled to be held in Jerusalem
One Muslim cleric even fears that the events of Sodom could be repeated: "God destroyed Sodom and we don't want this to happen to us." Well, as long as they're keeping the debate sensible...
- Ian O'Doherty, "The Irish Independent"
In America, where there's
someone on every street corner trying to convince you to eat yourself into
oblivion, there is also another kindly soul ready to sell you the most
effective diet in the history of the world.
- Mark Little
You can find your way
across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars.
- Charles Kuralt
"There are more fat
people in America than there are people."
- The Narrator, on "Little Britain USA"
"Are you fat because
you’re a lesbian, or are you a lesbian because you’re fat?"
- Marjorie to Rosie O'Donnell, on "Little Britain USA"
"The deficit is like
some crazy aunt living down in the basement: everyone knows she’s there,
but no one wants to talk about her. Now, if you don’t deal with her, she’s
just going to get ornerier and stinkier. I say take the bitch upstairs,
slap her around, and hose her down."
- Dana Carvey as Ross Perot on "Saturday Night Live"
I would say I am a racist. I have run the 100m, 200, 400, 800m, 1200m 1500m and 3000m (which almost killed me) *finds out what a racist is* No my mind doesn't work like that. I categorise people into two groups. Those that are trying to kill me and arent trying to kill me.
- Keeper of Life on Dark Forum
The day it happened was like any other, I suppose. I was on my way to work when it hit me: the President of the United States is a lying vicious bastard. And he had to die.
It seems to be a law
of American life that whatever enriches us anywhere except in the wallet
inevitably becomes uneconomic.
- Russell Baker
More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.
"The French fried potato
has become an inescapable horror in almost every public eating place in
the country. 'French fries', say the menus, but they are not French fries
any longer. They are a furry-textured substance with the taste of plastic
- Russell Baker
"Some critics will
say Coca-Cola made a marketing mistake. Some cynics will say that we planned
the whole thing. The truth is we are not that dumb, and we are not that
- Donald Keough, President of Coca Cola during the New Coke debacle of the 1980s
We Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it.
We tend to idealize tolerance, then wonder why we find ourselves infested with losers and nut cases.
Reporters thrive on
the world's misfortune. For this reason they often take an indecent pleasure
in events that dismay the rest of humanity.
- Russell Baker
It has been disappointing
to find some of one’s fellow journalists here upset by the great crash.
They go around with long faces, worrying about how their own finances will
be affected. This is unprofessional. Bad news is good news for the media,
and we should always be pleased by it, in the same sense that doctors are
pleased by the outbreak of an exciting new plague, or soldiers by a good
- Charles Moore, "The Spectator"
If we are forced, at
every hour, to watch or listen to horrible events, this constant stream
of ghastly impressions will deprive even the most delicate among us of
all respect for humanity.
People killing each
other in the Middle East is not news. People not killing each other in
the Middle East is news.
- Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun
You cannot hope to
bribe or twist, thank God! The British journalist.
But seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to!
- Humbert Wolfe
The biases the media
has are much bigger than conservative or liberal. They're about getting
ratings, about making money, about doing stories that are easy to cover.
- Al Franken
rebuttal to dogma, every scrap of intelligent logic, every absurdist reduction
of some bullying stance is the antidote.
- George Sanders, on how to deal with news media, "The Brain-Dead Megaphone"
"I don’t care what
the New York Times says about me, and no one I care about cares what the
New York Times says about me."
- Senator Jesse Helms, after an aide urges him to complain about a NY Times article
News is an inadequate
way of following what is going on in the world. We are more likely to hear
of one-off sporting achievements — like England winning a silver medal
— than of more important things happening over a long period of time.
- James Bartholomew, "The Telegraph"
- Bob Franklin, Jounalism Professor on free newspapers
"If I had my choice
I would kill every reporter in the world but I am sure we would be getting
reports from hell before breakfast."
- William T Sherman
An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger.
- Dan Rather
America : the only country where a poor black boy has the chance to grow up to be a rich white woman.
"The best time to have a baby is when you're a black teenager."
- Sarah Silverman
"I want a world where Frank junior and all the Frank juniors can sit under a shady tree, breathe the air, swim in the ocean, and go into a 7-11 without an interpreter."
- George Bush Snr, asked for a sound check before an interview
Your DVD collection
is organized, and so is your walk-in closet. Your car is clean and vacuumed,
your frequently dialed numbers are programmed into your cordless phone,
your telephone plan is suited to your needs, and your various gizmos interact
without conflict. Your spouse is athletic, your kids are bright, your job
is rewarding, your promotions are inevitable, everywhere you need to be
comes with its own accessible parking. You look great in casual slacks.
- David Brooks, on life in America's suburbs, "On Paradise Drive"
"Here we are at the
edge of the world, the very edge of Western civilization, and all of us
are so desperate to feel something, anything, that we keep falling into
each other and f*****g our way toward the end of days."
- Mia, on "Californication"
I think my favorite sport in the Olympics is the one in which you make your way through the snow, you stop, you shoot a gun, and then you continue on. In most of the world, it is known as the biathlon, except in New York City, where it is known as winter.
- Michael Ventre
People say New Yorkers can't get along. Not true. I saw two New Yorkers, complete strangers, sharing a cab. One guy took the tires and the radio; the other guy took the engine.
A cousin of mine who
was a casualty surgeon in Manhattan tells me that he and his colleagues
have a one word nickname for bikers : Donors. Rather chilling.
- Stephen Fry, "Paperweight"
"How many of y’all
wondered, like I did, during the LA riots when those people were being
pulled out of their trucks and beaten half to death — step on the f***ing
gas, man! They’re on foot, you’re in a truck — I think I see a way out
- Bill Hicks
The LAPD: a police
force so incompetent they can't even frame a guilty man
- Comment during the OJ Simpson trial
"San Francisco is the
only city in America where marijuana is legal but plastic bags are not."
- Conan O'Brien
At a recent meeting in Snowmass, Colorado, a participant from Los Angeles fainted from hyperoxygenation, and we had to hold his head under the exhaust of a bus until he revived.
In the realm of pop
celebrity, the bar has been lowered so far that there is no bar. People
can be famous for being famous, famous for being infamous, famous for having
once been famous and, thanks largely to the Internet, famous for not being
famous at all.
- Tom Shales, reviewing "The Two Coreys", "Washington Post"
"Welcome to Exposo!
The show that looks at celebrities lives — and rips them apart... Join
me again soon for more made up showbiz lies!"
- Dublin's Strawbery Alarm Clock, with their Exposo satirical slot
"'Civilians' is a term
I love. It's what Elizabeth Hurley used to describe people who weren't
- Alan Carr
A modest critique of
an age in which an actor is the President, in which fashion models are
asked for their opinions, in which getting into a nightclub is seen as
a significant human achievement.
- Jay McInerney, on his quintessential 80s novel, "Bright Lights, Big City"
Q: What don't you like
A: My appetite and my waistline. I can't do as much exercise as I used to and I still like to eat so I have to go through periodic days of not eating too much. It's a huge bore.
Q: What do you think of today's celebrity obsession?
A: There used to be a mystique in theatre, long before the days of TV. Actors were remote and didn't come into contact with the audience. The same could be said of cinema and the major stars of old Hollywood. It all went wrong when people started to wear aprons and do home layouts in glossy magazines. It started a big intrusion into people's lives. I never do them. I like shutting my door and enjoying my private life. Those ones in Hello! are terrible.
- Roger Moore, interviewed in The Metro
There can be few sights
more entertaining than a deranged celebrity lecturing the rest of us on
how to live our lives. Whether it's Tibet, Darfur, Aids or the environment,
there is no shortage of ill-informed, smug egomaniacs who believe that
because people go to see their movies or buy their records that they have
an obligation to tell us what to do. The latest in a long line of didactic
clowns is Sheryl Crow who reckons that the best way to tackle environmental
waste is to... limit the sheets of toilet paper we use... In fairness to
Crow, she's not alone in the double-standards stakes. Even more confused
is Larry David's wife, Laurie, one of the premier environmentalists in
America. She often boasts of the fact that she attacks people who drive
SUVs, and claims that she is one of the busiest activists in her field.
So busy, in fact, that she owns her own private Gulfstream jet, to get
her from A to B. Ah, isn't it great to be lectured by such luminaries?
- Ian O'Doherty, "The Irish Independent"
"The papers lap it
up. They follow us 'round and that makes people think we're important,
and that makes us think we're important. If they stopped following us around
town taking pictures of us, people wouldn't take to the streets going 'Oh
quick! I need a picture of Cameron Diaz with a pimple!' They wouldn't care,
they'd get on with something else. They'd get on with their lives. You
open the paper, and you see a picture of Lindsay Lohan getting out of a
car, and the headline is 'Cover up, Lindsay, we can see your knickers'.
Of course you can see her knickers, your photographer, is lying in the
road, pointing his camera up her dress to see her knickers. You're literally
the gutter press."
- Andy Millman, on celebrity culture, "Extras"
A life without fame can be a good life, but fame without a life is no life at all.
- Clive James
Celebrity is a national drama whose characters’ parts and plots are written by the tabloids, gossip columnists, websites and interactive buttons. The famous don’t actually have to turn up to their own lives at all.
- AA Gill
You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.
- Sideshow Bob, "The Return of Sideshow Bob''
"Kids, what's it called
when people are treated equally when they clearly aren't equal?"
- The Simpsons
Marge: I really think
this is a bad idea.
Homer: Marge, I agree with you, in theory. In theory, communism works. In theory.
- The pros and cons of keeping the elephant, "Bart Gets an Elephant"
Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
"America?" said Mrs
"Won't we get scalped?"
"Good grief, no!" said William Stickers, who was a bit more up to date about the world.
"*Probably* not," said Mr Fletcher, who had been watching the news lately and was even more up to date than William Stickers.
- Johnny and the Dead, by Terry Pratchett
That seems to point
up a significant difference between Europeans and Americans. A European
says: "I can't understand this, what's wrong with me?" An American says:
"I can't understand this, what's wrong with him?"
- Terry Pratchett
"You can't say Americans
are not more violent than other people."
"All those people killed in shootings in America?"
"Oh, shootings, yes. But that doesn't mean Americans are more violent than other people. We're just better shots."
- Fred, "Barcelona"
"It's the sense of
touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people
bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal
and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each
other, just so we can feel something."
- Graham, "Crash"
"Look around! You couldn't
find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman
sees two black guys, who look like UCLA students, strolling down the sidewalk
and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like
gangbangers? Do we look threatening? No. Fact, if anybody should be scared,
it's us: the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated
white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So, why aren't we scared?"
"Because we have guns?"
"You could be right."
- Anthony and Peter, "Crash"
"Every night there
is a show with somebody shining a blue light and finding tiny specks of
blood splattered on carpets and walls and ceiling fans, bathroom fixtures
and special-edition plastic Burger King tray cups. The next thing they
show is some stupid redneck in handcuffs who looks absolutely stunned that
this is happening to him. Sometimes the redneck is actually WATCHING the
Discovery Channel when they break in to arrest him. And he still can't
figure out how on earth they could've caught him! ... Do I look like I
wanna be on the Discovery Channel?"
- Lucien, receiver of suspiciously-obtained vehciles, "Crash"
If you travel to the States ... they have a lot of different words than like what we use. For instance: they say 'elevator', we say 'lift'; they say 'drapes', we say 'curtains'; they say 'president', we say 'seriously deranged git'.
If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.
I moved to New York City for my health. I'm paranoid and New York was the only place where my fears were justified.
Christmas is an awfulness
that compares favorably with the great London plague and fire of 1665-66.
No one escapes the feelings of mortal dejection, inadequacy, frustration,
loneliness, guilt and pity. No one escapes feeling used by society, by
religion, by friends and relatives, by the utterly artifical responsiblities
of extending false greetings, sending banal cards, reciprocating unsolicated
gifts, going to dull parties, putting up with acquaintances and family
one avoids all the rest of the year...in short, of being brutalized by
a 'holiday' that has lost virtually all of its original meanings and has
become a merchandising ploy for color tv set manufacturers and ravagers
of the woodlands.
- Harlan Ellison, in "The Harlan Ellison Hornbook"
In the 1980s the Coca-Cola
Corporation became concerned about Pepsi. Its previously unassailable lead
over this rival was melting away and the reason seemed obvious — taste.
Malcolm Gladwell provides an account, in his recent book Blink, of how
Pepsi spooked its rivals with a series of television commercials in which
Coke drinkers were invited to take the Pepsi Challenge. They were given
a sip from two different, unidentified, glasses of cola and asked to say
which they preferred. Time and again, they chose Pepsi. Worse still, the
people at Coke discovered that these commercials were not a con. When they
administered the same test themselves, they got the same dismal result.
So what was Coke to do? It changed the taste of its traditional product,
gave it a “Nuovo Gusto”, just as the customers seemed to want. The focus
groups were clear: New Coke would be a winner. And it was a complete disaster.
Pepsi did indeed win the Pepsi Challenge, but the design of the test was
crucial to its victory. Drinkers were being provided with a couple of sips
of the drink, then asked for their view. They preferred the sweeter, lighter
taste of Pepsi. Coke had too much “bite”. Yet these preferences did not
persist when consumers had an entire can of the drink. After a while the
sweet taste became cloying, and the soft drink was too soft.
- Daniel Finkelstein, "The Times"
Dress matters. As Robert
Cialdini states as in his book 'Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion':
“We are more likely to help those who dress like us.” He cites, for instance,
an experiment conducted in the early 1970s when experimenters, dressed
either as “straights” or as “hippies” approached students and asked them
for some change for the telephone. The students were far more likely to
help if the experimenter was dressed as they were. Similarly marchers in
an anti-war demonstration were much more likely to sign a petition proffered
by a person dressed like them. Indeed many of them signed without bothering
to read it first.
- Daniel Finkelstein, "The Times"
At its heart, this
book touches on a mystery of economics: what exactly is happening in our
world, and why does it often work so well? As the authors show, apparently
messy systems — such as untidy desks — actually exhibit a high degree of
order: the piles of paper are close to hand, and the most important documents
tend to make their way to the top while un-needed ones sink to the bottom.
If the mess works, why mess with it?
- Nicholas Blincoe reviews "A Perfect Mess: the Hidden Benefits of Disorder", "Telegraph"
An article on Nov.
10 about animal rights referred erroneously to an island in the Indian
Ocean and to events there involving goats and endangered giant sea sparrows
that could possibly lead to the killing of goats by environmental groups.
Wrightson Island does not exist; both the island and the events are hypothetical
figments from a book (also mentioned in the article), "Beginning Again",
by David Ehrenfeld. No giant sea sparrow is known to be endangered by the
eating habits of goats.
- A rather bizarre correction that appared in "The New York Times"
MADE IN THE UK
"No motto please, we're
"Try writing history without us."
"We appologise for any inconvenience."
"Look, we're really sorry for all that Empire stuff."
"Keeping the FUN in dysfunctional!"
- Mottos for Britain suggested on BBC website
The English are famously
bilingual. Every child leaves school able to speak English (after a fashion,
at least) and, in addition, with the capacity to speak English slowly and
loudly and contemptuously to foreigners seeking directions from Baker Street
station to Madame Tussaud’s. Nowadays it seems that not much more is needed.
- The Times of London reflects on the worldwide spread of English
Scanning the newspapers
and absorbing with a mixture of incredulity and indignation the enormities
they report, I conclude that what England lacks today is, quite simply,
- Paul Johnson in "The Spectator", 2004.
There is always a need
for a few simple guidelines which, if followed, make people’s lives happier.
Here are a few. Never go into a European restaurant which displays photographs
of its dishes. Never marry a war correspondent. Never read the Financial
Times. Avoid anywhere described as ‘vibrant’. Don’t bother to read an article
about someone who is ‘battling his demons’. Beware also of organisations
with logos using the present participle.
- Charles Moore, "The Spectator"
Here is the full list
of the banned words I used: active homosexual; career women; Third World;
blacks; Asians; Australasia; Bangalore; primitive African tribes; crippled;
in a wheelchair; hare lip; ethnic minorities; handicapped; spinster; committed
suicide; gypsies; Bombay; illegitimate daughter; air hostess; Siamese twins;
Calcutta; deaf ears; illegal asylum seeker; province of Northern Ireland;
- Rod Liddle, breaking the BBC\Guardian style guide rules, "The Spectator"
You have probably heard
that there is a new British social tribe called Chavs. Chavs are, essentially,
oiks: they love fake and vulgar jewellery - "bling" - despise education,
wear trainers, track-suits. baseball caps and have embraced the Burberry
Scotch-kilt pattern in bags and accessories. Football alas, is full of
chavs. Perhaps all footballers' wives and girlfriends are chavvie. The
chavling will be sent to school, but only for a short time. You can spot
a chav by their tattooes, by their aggressive dogs, by scrunched-back hair
and large loop ear-rings among females. They are, in short, what the genteel
classes call "common".
- Mary Kenny, "The Common (or Garden) Chav", "The Irish Independent"
I know that Peaches
Geldof does Islam sounds like the winning entry in the Worst TV Titles
of All Time competition, which just goes to show, you shouldn’t judge programmes
by their synopses... Peaches made no confessions or apologies for the way
she lived. She was funny and polite and direct. It was a blessed relief,
after all the other mea culpas of the week, to remember that you don’t
have to say sorry for being young, having fun, liking a drink, wearing
a short skirt, kissing boys, saying the first thing that comes into your
head or being an atheist. The subtext of this week has been that we are
victims, and we should say sorry. We are not, and we have nothing to apologise
- AA Gill, from his review of "The Beginner’s Guide to Islam", "The Times"
Let us be deep and
crisp and even crystal clear: we approve of Christmas. We applaud wise
men. We follow stars. We admire lateral thinking in the use of agricultural
outbuildings. We can withstand moderate seasonal exposure to Johnny Mathis.
We like Christmas carols, tinsel, turkey, stuffing and bad puns printed
in China for insertion into explosive crackers. We are relaxed about the
niceties of virgin birth and have no philosophical objection to the environmentally
responsible uprooting of millions of young conifers. But the basic principles
of party planning, not to mention the oft-neglected interests of decorum,
do force us to ask: isn’t it still November?
- Leader from "The Times" (30 Nov'05)
"Foxes are rats in
expensive coats. What are foxes associated with? Evil, wily, conniving,
duplicitous, Fox News – worst news service on the planet and the evilest."
- Rich Hall, giving his own spin on the hunting debate
"Look at Abi Titmuss.
This year she's been tied to more bed posts than David Blunkett's guide
- Jonathon Ross, coming up with two insults for the price of one
"What have John Prescott
and an MPI flatpack got in common? A few screws in the wrong place and
the whole cabinet falls apart."
- Anonymous joke
"US special forces
are closing in on Saddam Hussain but they're afraid to go in. He's hiding
out in Tony Martin's farmhouse."
– Patrick Kielty
"I personally guarantee
that now that bear wouldn't get past Dover without being shot."
- David Blunkett, unhappy at how "Paddington Bear" shows UK immigration, "Dead Ringers"
"He was a hateful terrorist
who will be missed by all."
- Jack Straw, commenting on Yasser Arafat, done by "Dead Ringers"
"I haven't got the
time to sit here arguing with someone whose idea of a coherent foreign
policy is what comes up in Google when you type in peace!"
- Tony Blair, dealing with questions from the public, "Dead Ringers"
"Our force is especially
concerned about suicide Telletubbies... we're going to have to face up
to the fact that we're going to have to shoot somebody."
- "Bremner, Bird & Fortune" discuss Palace security after the 'Batman' incident
"So do you think one
day man will walk on the sun?"
- Ali G, to Buzz Aldrin, "Da Ali G Show"
I notice that the number
of cosmetic-surgery operations has risen by 34 per cent in the past year.
Once we subtract Jordan, Jodie Marsh and Michael Jackson from those figures,
we can see that demand overall may have stabilised.
- Michael Gove, "The Times"
"I'm glad there's been
so much laughter in the audience tonight."
"But they're not laughing with you. They're laughing at you."
- Terry Wogan, interviewing David "Son of God" Icke
"John Bond used to
be a security guard for Tescos in Preston. He was the closest thing to
an army I could find."
- Danny, plotting an invasion, "How To Start Your Own Country"
By the harbour, the
witchcraft museum stood firm while a Christian gift shop lay in ruins.
The devil looks after its own, joked one villager.
- surveying Bocastle in Cornwall, after the village is deluged by floods, "The "Guardian"
"This is the only design
for a paedophile treatment centre that was acceptable to local residents."
<spoken by politician standing in front of a gallows>
- from a "Private Eye" cartoon
Britain! It's been called heaven on earth and it's easy to see why. Ribena
is plentiful, shoe laces are available in different lengths and there's
a new Fred Bassett cartoon strip in the Daily Mail every day! But let's
not forget the people of Britian for it is they what make it good and nice
and it is that lot we look at today."
- An Opening Narration from "Little Britain"
"The Libyan leader
Colonel Gadaffi has plunged southern Europe into crisis by kidnapping Crete
and towing it to a secret location off the Libyan coast."
- Chris, "The Day Today"
"We're pushed for time,
can you sum it up in a word? "
- Chris and Spartacus Mills, "The Day Today"
Jim Hacker: "Don't
tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily
Mirror is read by people who think they run the country, The Guardian is
read by people who think they ought to run the country, The Times is read
by people who actually do run the country, The Daily Mail is read by the
wives of the people who run the country, The Financial Times is read by
people who own the country, The Morning Star is read by people who think
the country ought to be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph
is read by people who think it is."
Sir Humphrey: "Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?"
Bernard Woolley: "Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits."
- Yes Minister explains it all
"Ministers should never
more than they need to know, then they can't tell anyone. Like secret agents,
they could be captured and tortured."
"You mean be terrorists?"
"By the BBC, Bernard."
- Sir Humphrey and Bernard, "Yes, Minister"
"It's such an awful
country, they cut peoples' hands off. And women get stoned when they commit
"Unlike Britain where women commit adultery when they get stoned."
- from "Yes, Prime Minister"
- Neil Hamilton, former Conservative MP, describing his current occupation
The maker of Monopoly
is being accused of monopolising the board games market through price-fixing.
Hasbro is accused by the Office of Fair Trading of fixing the price of
games with high street shops.
The legislative framework
to protect the monster is available, provided she (or he) is identified
by scientists whose reputation will carry weight with the British Museum.
- From a 1981 British Government report on the Loch Ness monster
We are hearing reports
that the Wombles have broken through the police line and are heading for
- Sky News coverage of the 2001 May Day protests
Yob attacks dinosaur.
- Headline in the Scarborough Evening News after drunk attacks dinosaur display
I have not a clue why
they sent it to me. As far as I know I have not got a reputation as a receiver
of stolen goods.
- Jeremy Paxman on being sent a stolen Enigma WW2 Coding Machine
I voted against Gerald
Nabarro in my first general election, but my defiance made no difference.
If you had put a Conservative rosette on a mustachioed hamster, it would
have been elected.
- Jeremy Paxman, recalling his youth
"Jeremy, are we going
to play your games?"
- Alastair Campbell, after repeatedly declining to answer a question from Jeremy Paxman
There are some things
I don't like, about which I think, well, that's me. But coriander is a
giant hoax perpetrated by a perverted society.
- Stephen Fry
The Welsh... I mean,
what are they for?
- Anne Robinson
More action packed
than a Cardiff pub with Anne Robinson.
- Jonathon Ross describes Comic Relief
If I wasn't me, I'd
want to be me.
- Eddie Irvine, F1 racing car driver
Well, most of our electric companies are owned by the Americans. The prime minister is owned by the Ulster Unionists. Hong Kong is going back to China. The only thing we actually own is Northern Ireland, and we fucking nicked that!
"Our cheeky sidekick.
We're like a motorcycle and sidecar."
- Al Murray aka the Pub Landlord, on Ireland's relationship to Britain
"What do you think
about Tony Blair? 'Cause you're English."
"I know, but Wales IS in England."
"Well, over here it is."
- Joan Rivers, interviewing actor Michael Sheen
Prince Charles is the
only member of the Royal Family who ever left Cinderella for the Ugly Duckling.
- Des Hanafin
An elderly nun who was once photographed shaking hands with the late Princess of Wales has died.
Are you mad? Do you mean make myself unemployed?! Have you any idea what the government do to unemployed people darling!
Report accuses Royal
Opera House of "Arrogance and Elitism". Report further alleges that Pope
is Catholic. Report further claims that bears may well indeed defecate
in the woods.
- Private Eye 
Enter the Great Jaffa
Cakes Debate. If these jam-filled concoctions were cakes they would escape
VAT. Because they are soft and not hard, they were deemed to be cakes and
therefore VAT free. In 1974 Master of the Universe asked the VAT tribunal
to exempt him from VAT because he is the Supreme Authority in the Universe
and therefore should not pay it. He lost his case.
- BBC News Website 
William Hague, the
world's favourite hairline.
- Rory Bremner 
They're called Virgin
Trains because they don't go all the way.
- Simon Hoggart, "The Guardian" 
"Never go to a public
lavatory in London. I always pee in the street. You may be fined a few
pounds for committing a nuisance, but in a public lavatory you risk two
years in prison because a policeman in plain clothes says you smiled at
- Derek Jackson, with some advice to Mark Steyn
"I was out there for
12 days. There are more beggars in Soho than there are in Kabul."
- Neil Morrissey, on raising money for the No Strings aid charity, which works in Afghanistan
"Can we move offices?
To get here I have to pass eight Big Issue sellers, twelve illegal immigrants
with babies and the Salvation Army asking for clothes."
- Seen in the Metro's "This Life" cartoon
A high-pitched alarm
which cannot be heard by adults has been hijacked by schoolchildren to
create ringtones so they can get away with using phones in class. Techno-savvy
pupils have adapted the Mosquito alarm, used to drive teenage gangs out
of shopping centres. The alarm, which has been praised by police, is highly
effective because its ultra-high sound can be heard only by youths but
not by most people over 20. Schoolchildren have recorded the sound, which
they named Teen Buzz, and spread it from phone to phone via text messages
and Bluetooth technology. Now they can receive calls and texts during lessons
without teachers having the faintest idea what is going on.
- The Metro
A drunk feel asleep
and got trapped inside a church in the UK. Unable to get out, he rang SOS
in Morse code on the church bells and was promptly rescued.
- Dublin's Evening Herald picks its hero of the week
You have city centre
pubs where men go to meet girls, not realising that all girls in city centre
pubs have thighs like tug boats and morals that would surprise a zoo animal.
- Jeremy Clarkson, raging against the decline of the traditional English pub, "The Times"
The fact is that Britain
is the most warlike nation on earth. In the history of armed combat, we
are the only democracy to have declared war on another democracy - England
versus Finland in the second world war, in case you’re interested - and
we’re always at the front of the queue when Johnny Foreigner gets a bit
uppity. Who stood up to the Kaiser? Who stood up to Adolf? And let’s not
forget the Argies. What other country would have sent its fleet halfway
round the world and lost 250 men to protect a flock of sheep and some oil
that might or might not be there? We’re still at it.
- Jeremy Clarkson, "The London Times"
"In Burton's day they
[soldiers] were itching to get into the fray. Now it is the opposite. They
are always whining about the dangers of being killed. Oh my God, they are
such wimps now! The whole point of being in the Army is wanting to get
killed, wanting to test yourself to the limits. Now you have to fly 15,000ft
above the war zone to avoid getting hit. I don't think there is any point
in having wars if that's how you're going to behave. It's pathetic. All
- Rupert Everett, presenting a documentary on Victorian explorer Richard Burton
It has long been established
that the Eurovision Song Contest is the most distressing and wilfully masochistic
activity that Europe can inflict upon itself.
- Editorial from "The London Times"
"Who knows what hellish
future lies ahead? ...Actually I do. I've seen the rehearsals."
- Terry Wogan, opening the 2007 Eurovision for the BBC
"Don't start drinking
before the fifth song."
- Terry Wogan's advice to Graham Norton on presenting the Eurovision song contest
While some regard it
as an essential celebration of continental talent, others see it as an
equally unmissable parade of the reasons some countries do not normally
produce international stars.
- BBCi diplomatically describes the Eurovision Song Contest
Not only do we mock
the Eurovision Song Contest itself, but we lampoon other European countries
for taking it so seriously, and they all retaliate by voting for each other
every year and ignoring our (sometimes) palpably superior songs. Accordingly,
Britain has become the Millwall FC of Eurovision: we are hated, we know
we are hated, and we pretend we are happy to be hated. It's actually quite
a sad state of affairs.
- Marcus Berkmann, from his Telegraph review of "Nul Points"
The Eurovision Song
Contest has been very helpful in identifying the East European countries
that didn't exist the last time it was on.
- Sinead Ryan, on the educational value of the contest, in Dublin's "Evening Herald"
Ann Widdecombe: an
apology. In an item yesterday, we referred disapprovingly to a remark made
by Ms Widdecombe to my so-called rival on the Telegraph, concerning a male
acquaintance going to "pussy heaven." We now accept that Ms Widdecombe
was in fact referring to her cat, Carruthers, who recently passed away.
We are greatly distressed by this misunderstanding.
- The Guardian
Knight in tarnished
armour, married to dragon, seeks maiden for escapes and jousting sessions."
- Advertisement in "Private Eye"
Everyone wants to be
young, beautiful and rich. I don't say that scornfully: there are worse
things to want to be. But that's why, for example, people don't begrudge
Kate Moss how much she earns for a day's work but will fulminate over the
take-home pay of some fat, old Water Board exec.
- Nigella Lawson, "The Observer"
The Royal Society of
Chemistry has announced the winner of a competition to solve the conundrum
at the end of the iconic UK film The Italian Job. In the film, the robbers'
coach almost drives off a cliff, ending up balanced precariously on the
edge, with the gang at one end and their gold at the other. The RSC asked
for ideas to get the gold off the coach before it tips over. John Godwin
from Surrey came up with the winning idea which involves draining fuel
from the vehicle.
- seen on The BBC Website
Why do Britons keep
stabbing each other in August? Why do seaside hotels burn down in August?
Why do children disappear in August, examinations get easier and Heathrow
become the world's worst airport? The answer lies not in reality but in
appearance. News editors abhor a vacuum. Half an hour of airtime and 10
pages of news must be filled each day, whatever the weather.
- Simon Jenkins, "The Guardian"
Nowhere in politics
is there such a mismatch between public and private realm as in transport.
Everyone on the M6 last weekend would have agreed with Transport Minister
Alasdair Darling’s reported hatred of cars. They too wanted drivers off
the roads and on to public transport. Go to it, Mr Darling, they cried
in unison, get rid of all those cars. Except, of course, their own. Other
people’s cars are traffic. My car is the outward essence of my being. It
is my hat, stick and cane. It embodies my freedom as a citizen and my right
as a democrat. My car is my soul in flight.
- Simon Jenkins, "A Transport Policy That Leaves Me At The Wheel", The Times.
An Englishman's car
is his castle on wheels.
- Simon Jenkins
The real wonder of
air rage is that so many passengers behave so well. The wonder is that
human beings, treated like cattle by the chain of suppliers who fight any
attempt to improve consumer rights, still behave mostly like, well, human
- Medb Ruane, "The Irish Independent"
Almost all large companies
have call centres now. They are lean and efficient. They cut costs, boost
profits. They are also, according to the Future Foundation, the leading
cause of frustration in the British Isles, topping rush-hour traffic and
delayed trains as the UK’s most stressful experience... When I opened a
NatWest account, I would routinely ring the branch and talk to someone
who knew me, but that was before the advent of call centres, which enabled
banks to shave backroom costs by up to 30 per cent and boost profits to
their present record levels. The only thing rising faster than bank profits
(up 15 per cent in 2005) is complaints about bank service, up 50 per cent
in the same year, according to the Banking Code Standards Board. One gathers
that many of these complaints involve call centres, and that bank bosses
are concerned. In a better world, banks would simply improve their service,
but some have instead turned to 'queueing theory', a branch of mathematics
that enables you to calculate how much torture a customer can take.
- Rian Malan, "The Spectator"
A judgment handed down
by the Appeal Court last month begins with these heartening words: ‘It
is one of the glories of this country that every now and then one of its
citizens is prepared to take a stand against the big battalions of government
or industry.’ The case in question is that of Lisa Ferguson. Miss Ferguson
switched her gas supplier from British Gas to nPower. She informed British
Gas, but they continued to bombard her with bill after bill, though she
owed them no money. They threatened to cut off her supply, start legal
proceedings against her and report her to the credit rating agencies. She
wrote twice to the Chairman of British Gas, receiving no reply. In desperation,
she sued British Gas for unlawful harassment. As Lord Justice Jacob put
it ‘British Gas says... that it is perfectly all right for it to treat
consumers in this way, at least if it is all just done by computer.’ It
tried to prevent the case going to trial. Miss Ferguson persisted, and
the court found that her claim must be heard. Just as I learnt about this
case, I heard from yet another reader who has been intimidated by TV Licensing
because, not having a television, he does not possess a television licence.
Mr G tells me that TV Licensing have two postcodes, one of them inaccurate,
for his property. The computer ignores his letters of explanation and keeps
demanding money for the postcode which is wrong. When he complains, TV
Licensing tells him that he, not it, must sort it out with the Post Office,
which provides the database, and then puts the phone down on him. The judgment
should strike fear into the BBC and all others who think that they can
blame computers and go on menacing with impunity.
- Charles Moore, "The Spectator"
"I was depressed last
night so I called Lifeline. I got a call center in Pakistan. When I told
them I was feeling suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could
drive a truck."
- The Dry Bones Blog, on Outsourcing
Yesterday, I tried
to call Northwest Airlines’ customer-service line over a couple of hours.
I couldn’t get through. The recording said, "Due to a high volume of calls"
Well, you could put it that way — "Due to a high volume of calls". Or you
could say, "Due to an insufficient number of employees..."
- Jay Nordlinger, "National Review"
"Most big companies
don't like you very much, except hotels, airlines and Microsoft, which
don't like you at all."
- Bill Bryson 
Like most parents,
I’ve been stumped by homework, the big questions, such as: 'What is the
point of geography - the pilot always knows where we are going?'. Answer:
'If you didn’t know any geography, people would think you were an American,
and you wouldn’t be able to put them right because you wouldn’t know where
- AA Gill, "The Times"
What is the English
for 'Refreshing towelette'?
- Mary Wakefield, "The Spectator"
Only in England is
the perversion of language regarded as a victory for democracy.
- Anthony Burgess
"I'm not from around
these parts. I'm from a little place called England: we used to run the
world before you."
- Ricky Gervais, Golden Globe acceptance speech for "The Office"
"We may not be the
creme de la creme, but we are the creme de la scum."
- John Mortimer describing the British press, quoted in "The Spectator"
"An undercover reporter
for a Sunday tabloid set out recently to do an expose on a British neo-Nazi
group. He managed to befriend some of them well enough to be invited out
to the pub. Unfortunately, they rumbled that he was a journalist rather
quickly when he offered to buy the drinks... then asked the barman if he
could have a receipt."
- Seen on PopB*tch.com
The streets, at least
in this part of town, seemed impossibly clean in comparison to London.
The public telephones were unvandalised. For a London telephone booth to
look like that it would have to be guarded around the clock by the SAS.
- Clive James, "Postcard from Washington" in "The Observer"
In between the Queen
and the First Lady, Nancy Reagan, sat Tony Richardson, looking very calm.
Later on it emerged that this was because, having not been apprised of
the placement until he was about to sit down, he had died of fright. To
have expired was to be fortunate.
- Clive James, commenting on the Queen's visit to America in 1983, "The Observer"
an amazing collection of apprentice impersonators. From all over Britain,
schoolchildren materialised via local studios to give us their imitations
of the mighty. There were at least three uncannily accurate Margaret Thatchers,
their eyelids fatigued with condescension and their voices swooping and
whining like dive-bombers.
- Clive James, from "Carry On Creating" in "The Crystal Bucket"
We find celebrities
entertaining but rather ludicrous and in the end self-serving and we pay
next to no regard to their political affiliations. This is a healthy perspective
and stops us taking seriously the obsessions of people such as David Icke
(the world is controlled by a cabal of giant alien lizards) and Yoko Ono
(if we all stopped fighting there’d be, like, no war ever). Down the social
scale a little — moving right along to the trailer park — Jordan, that
attractive young woman with the frightening breasts, stood for election
in Manchester in 2001 and polled just 713 votes. You would bonk Jordan
but you certainly wouldn’t vote for her. That’s the British view and it
seems to me an eminently sensible one.
- Rod Liddle, "The Times"
You seldom see a hat,
apart from the vile, proletarian, gum-chewing, shouting-in-the-street,
bum-cleft, baggy-trousered, back-to-front, I-am-an-inarticulate-moron,
baseball cap, which is such a negligible item, worn by such negligible
'people', that it is impossible to have strong feelings about it.
- Michael Bywater, "Lost Worlds"
"I’ve just thumped
"Oh. Do the press know?"
"Why did you thump him?"
"Because he was a prat."
"John, if we all went round thumping people we thought were prats..."
- John Prescott (Deputy PM) informing Alastair Campbell of his 'punch' in the 2001 election
It is time for England
to abolish the empty, miserable New Year holiday and leave it to the Scots.
But why are we forced by law and noise to join in this cold, meaningless
child-unfriendly festival which happens a few days after Christmas but
completely fails to revive its warmth and spirit? If it were not there,
the country would have come back to life days ago, instead of looking like
the backdrop for a zombie movie. And then there are the fireworks. Imagine
if squads of Father Christmases, trained in martial arts, forced their
way into the houses of militant atheists on Christmas Eve and compelled
them to sing carols. People would object. But the "New Year" fanatics make
us all join in with their curious fun... Sleep is now banned. As the year
turns, my neighbourhood sounds as if the Serbian and Iraqi armies are making
a joint revenge attack on Britain. Staccato, high-pitched detonations and
enormous landmine-sized booms erupt at random intervals from all directions.
Missiles trailing sparks bounce off the roof or douse themselves in the
birdbath. This year, the firework maniacs scored a direct hit on an electricity
sub-station and caused a power cut in my suburb.
- Peter Hitchens, "The Mail On Sunday"
# MODERN LIFE
One problem that recurs
more and more frequently these days in books and plays and movies is the
inability of people to communicate with the people they love: husbands
and wives who can't communicate, children who can't communicate with their
parents, and so on. And the characters in these books and plays and so
on -- and in real life, I might add -- spend hours bemoaning the fact that
can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.
- Tom Lehrer
To me, a lawyer is
basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We're all throwing
the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if
there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside
of the top of the box.
- Jerry Seinfeld
Harold Joseph Berman
was born on Feb. 13, 1918, in Hartford. Under a theory he enunciated in
2006 for The Fulton County Daily Report, an Atlanta legal and business
newspaper, he said that he, like all children, had been a law student from
a young age. “A child says, ‘It’s my toy.’ That’s property law,” he said.
“A child says, ‘You promised me.’ That’s contract law. A child says, ‘He
hit me first.’ That’s criminal law. A child says, ‘Daddy said I could.’
That’s constitutional law.”
- From a New York Times obituary
"If you say 'Good Morning'
in America and it's five past twelve you end up with a lawsuit."
- Bernie Ecclestone
He who can, does; he
who cannot, sues.
- George Bernard Shaw
Newspaper : A device unable to distinguish between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilisation.
- Jerry Seinfeld
The latest report says the results of an investigation will be released in three or four weeks. That’s a long time for fruit flies and the press.
- Denis Boyles, "No News is Bad News", "National Review"
I've been trying to remember the last time I wrote a letter with an actual pen. Everyone should write letters, I used to say. Now look at me. Anything longer than 'Happy Birthday' and I get cramp.
- Damien Owens, "The Irish Independent"
A real patriot is the fellow who gets a parking ticket and rejoices that the system works.
Heroin wasn't around then. It was introduced as a "safe" alternative to morphine, just as methadone was then introduced as a "safe" alternative to heroin. As usual, the drug problem had to be continuously invented, or there would not be one.
- One observer's view of haphazard enforcement in the 1970s
The Intelligentsia (scientists apart) are losing all touch with, and all influence over, nearly the whole human race. Our most esteemed poets and critics are read by our most esteemed critics and poets (who don't usually like them much) and nobody else takes any notice. An increasing number of highly literate people simply ignore what the 'Highbrows' are doing. It says nothing to them. The Highbrows in return ignore and insult them.
- Tom Stoppard
I have learned how to drive. I watched you. Green means go, red means stop. Yellow means go very fast.
- Steve and Susan, "Coupling"
"Reporters are faced with the daily choice of painstakingly researching stories or writing whatever people tell them. Both approaches pay the same."
- Scott Adams, "The Dilbert Principle"
A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
- Robert Frost
Jet lag is nature's way of making you look like your passport photo.
- Linda Perret
Courtroom : A place where Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot would be equals, with the betting odds favoring Judas.
- HL Mencken
I've gone into hundreds of fortune-tellers' parlors, and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her.
- N.Y.C. detective
If the media conglomerates could, through only their own labors, turn a particular product into an overnight sensation, they'd do it for everything they produce.
- Wiley Hall, on the limits of advertising, "Baltimore City Paper"
I have been saying for several years now that it is no longer possible to do business by phone. Since the web can be even more dangerous and business ignores snail mail entirely, the only way to deal with your problems is in person. It is very time-consuming, but it is difficult to ignore a human body sitting in your office. So we have come full circle in 100 years of technological advance. The amazing thing to me is how much trouble these same companies will go to in order to get your business in the first place. Rather dumb to then run you off by their terrible business practices.
- from a letter to "National Review"
What are the marks of a sick culture? It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the country and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn't the whole population.
- Le Monde, France.
The new sandwich affirms both the technical superiority America enjoys as a consequence of its traditions of intellectual and economic freedom as well as the enduring willingness of the country to see those liberties preserved, wherever the threat requires countering. Even in the smallest details, the Americans are showing that they mean business.
- The Times, "America shows the way with its indestructible sandwich", 11.04.02
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