May 6

Home / Something Wise / May 6

If a man is not interested in having children, but is keen on winning victory crowns at the games or is engaged in some other such pursuit to which he recognizes that sexual intercourse is detrimental, then nothing would be of greater benefit to him than castration. It is time therefore for us to cut off the testicles of Olympic athletes. – Galen, (129-c. 210), On Semen

May 4

Home / Something Wise / May 4

At a meeting of the college faculty, an angel suddenly appears and tells the head of the philosophy department, “I will grant you whichever of three blessings you choose: Wisdom, Beauty—or ten million dollars.” Immediately, the professor chooses Wisdom. There is a flash of lightning, and the professor appears transformed, but he just sits there, staring down at the table. One of his colleagues whispers, “Say something.” The professor says, “I should have taken the money.” – Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, 2007

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this. – Emo Phillips, HBO comedy special, 1987

May 2

Home / Something Wise / May 2

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t. Deconstruction deconstructs itself, and disappears up its own behind, leaving only a disembodied smile and a faint smell of sulphur.  – Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey, 1994

Bart: We want the truth.

Sideshow Bob: You can’t handle the truth! No truth-handler, you. BAH! I deride your truth-handling abilities. 

– “Sideshow Bob Roberts”, The Simpsons, 1995

April 30

Home / Something Wise / April 30

The adjective “modern”’, when applied to any branch of art, means “designed to evoke incomprehension, anger, boredom or laughter”. – Philip Larkin, All That Jazz, 1985

I don’t know what art is, but I do know what it isn’t. And it isn’t someone walking around with a salmon over his shoulder, or embroidering the name of everyone they have slept with on the inside of a tent. – Brian Sewell, Independent, 26 April, 1999

A cow and calf are cut in half/ And placed in separate cases/ To call it art, however smart/ Casts doubt on art’s whole basis. – Anonymous, in Spectator, 5 July 2003

April 26

Home / Something Wise / April 26

The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true: Cor ne edito – Eat not the heart. Certainly if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that lack friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their own hearts. But one thing is most admirable (wherewith I will conclude this first fruit of friendship), which is, that this communicating of a man’s self to his friend, works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halves. For there is no man, that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less. – Francis Bacon, “Friendship”, Essays, 1625

Family, religion, friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business. – Mr. Burns, “The Old Man and the Lisa”, The Simpsons, 1997

April 25

Home / Something Wise / April 25

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever. – George Orwell, 1984

Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy. – John Derbyshire, National Review, 2000