The internet loves a good quote. Trouble is, the internet rarely cares if the quote was said by the person whose name follows it. It also rarely cares if the person being quoted would have ever, under any circumstances, said anything like what they are being quoted as saying.
What troubles me about this is that the result is often that important people, who said meaningful things, are turned into completely different entities on Facebook walls and in hashtags and in the kinds of stories that get forwarded on. One good example is that college classroom story in which Einstein proves God exists. Or a lot of the content in the subreddit /r/thathappened. This is also a practice that has been thoroughly mocked by Clickhole, as evidenced by the photo below:
But worst of all, in my opinion, but also very hilarious, are the stories, quotes, and misquotes attributed to none other than the alcoholic, suicidal, and apparently benevolently-inspiring Ernest Hemingway.
A few years ago, I wrote a blog post called The Maramduke Fart Paradox, in which I discussed the strange search engine terms that lead people to this website. Among them was “keanu reeves girlfriend 2011,” “mob bosses with sunglasses,” and a wide variety of questions about the ’90s film Blank Check.
Well, the search terms have never stopped being strange. Here are some of the more interesting ones that have lead people to this site. Presumably some of them left satisfied, some left immediately, and others left far more confused than they were before they visited.
I’ve also decided to do this in the form of a top ten list, because everyone likes top ten lists. But with 14 because I couldn’t narrow it down to 10.
14. skyfall proof that james bond isnt a codename
Whoever ended up here was certainly disappointed, as I consider Skyfall to be proof that James is definitely a codename. Other 007-specific search terms include james bond is a codename, james bond fight, james bond theory, and is james bonds codename 007? (The answer to the last one is undebatebly yes.)
13. matthew mcconaughey as jake in the sun also rises
Wow. That’s a really cool idea. Not sure if it would work, but yeah, cool idea.
Note: This is a follow-up to The Snow Also Rises, the previous post on this blog. Read that before you read this.
During a recent Q&A, one of the two producers of HBO’s Game of Thrones stated that they set out to make the television show with “no prophecies, dreams, or flashbacks.” It’s hard to believe they ever thought the first possible, considering that the books are ripe with prophecies. Most amount to be false leads, red herrings, etc., but there are flashbacks throughout, most involving Daenarys and those she loves.
Most, if not all, of the prophecies in A Song of Ice and Fire are opaque, dishonest, or lead to dead ends. But most readers still hold hope for things such as Jon Snow being either The Prince Who Was Promised or the reborn Azor Ahai. Brian, a friend and reader of this blog, pointed out that, in addition to A Song of Ice and Fire losing literary merit if Jon Snow’s parentage is revealed, Jon’s own path to being a hero loses merit as well. He should not have his lineage exposed, but, as Brian says, there should be “no known external source… that gave him his power.”
Jon’s path, his journey, his own path along the flat circle that is a monomyth, these things are only weakened if the story falls back into the classic (and cheap) narrative of what can only be properly called “magic hero king blood.” Jon’s story is that of a bastard boy who rose to the top of the Night’s Watch, so far, and will achieve greater things in the future. Only we as readers should know that he is achieving the fate he could have been born into.
Note: The following contains “spoilers” for the novel A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Some of these spoilers are based on details that did not make it into the HBO television show (possible not yet, possibly not ever). However, there are no spoilers for Martin’s subsequent novels in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. There is also a lot of information about The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, but that book came out a long time ago.
If you are not familiar with The Sun Also Rises, the narrator is Jake Barnes, an impotent American expatriate living in Paris in the 1920s. Jake Barnes is, for our purposes, both the Ned Stark and Jon Snow of his story. Like Ned Stark, he holds unfortunate secrets, and like Jon Snow, he is held back by forces beyond his power.
What Hemingway does in TSAR is something that Martin does in A Game of Thrones: he gives us unclear inner monologues, in which a truth is hinted but not revealed. In TSAR, we get it was a rotten way to be wounded and a flashback scene in which a commanding officer assures Jake that he gave more than his life, but without ever specifying what exactly it was that he gave. As the novel goes on, and if you read the Wikipedia page or discuss it in class (or, sometimes, if you just read the back cover), you realize that Jake suffered a wound that resulted in impotence. The details are unclear. Is he a eunuch? Is he simply impotent? What exactly happened? This stuff is never explained, but there is one thing everyone can agree on: there is no other explanation for the novel, and a bunch of those scenes, other than Jake not being at 100% as far as his genitalia is concerned. But that Hemingway decided to just allude to this as heavily as possible without every actually saying it.
There is a new meme out there (well, perhaps it’s not new, but it is all over Facebook.) It encourages people to use the Oxford Comma. And while I don’t have particularly strong feelings about the Oxford Comma, the argument being made is that you must use it. I disagree with this, which is why I have decided to start my own rebuttal meme: Hemingway Against the Oxford Comma.
My response is quite simple:
That’s it. A Hemingway quote, the work from which it came and the accompanying statement “Why I don’t use the Oxford Comma.”
There are a few other good ones I am about to generate as well, at the convenient website memegenerator.net. I encourage you to join me if you have been annoyed by this recent insistence that people are fools unless they use The Oxford Comma. Of course, this is nothing new. People like getting indignant about this, as evidenced by NPR and The Stranger and this website and Salon. I believe it is about time that a legitimate argument was staged against the Oxford Comma. Continue reading “Hemingway Against The Oxford Comma”→
While the last post on here was entirely positive and flattering of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, I have to address what some regard as that film’s major shortcoming, which is that it is for a very specific audience. By catering the entire thing for English majors – and taking a few cheap shots at Tea Party politics – it’s no surprise that some of the reviews have been less than flattering (including several descriptions of it being “Night at the Museum for the liberal arts crowd.”)
Naturally, it is inevitable that the Tea Party will have their rebuttal. They always do – whether it’s responding to Obama entertaining Common, Jon Stewart making a joke at their expense, or Jon Stewart making another joke at their expense – there is always a response.