Tag Archives: You were no Aristotle no Cicero or St. Augustine (writing about just wars) no Gibbon. You should have stuck to fiction.

“I should have stuck to fiction!”

 

My older brother was the starting third baseman for our high school baseball team.

According to a story he told me, our English teacher, Robert W. Tighe, was in the stands watching a game one day in which my brother was playing, with an acquaintance of his (the teacher’s, that is), a New York Yankees scout. Mr. Tighe was, despite growing up in Massachusetts and attending college there, a diehard Yankees fan.

Mr. Tighe, according to my brother’s story — as Mr. Tighe told him afterwards — asked the scout, so what do you think of the third baseman? He is one of my best students. (I am paraphrasing.)

“Tell him to stick to his books,” the scout replied.

 

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The following is a passage from one of many politically oriented articles by Theodore Dreiser in the 1930s and 40s:

“Life is and ever must be an equation between all sorts of contending forces—in a fair and maintainable balance. Neither chemically nor physically nor socially nor financially can it be workably run off into unbalance. In chemistry and physics explosions follow—disastrous and frightful to behold. And of humanity, collectively and socially assembled under forms of government the same thing is true. Where financial or social unbalance sets in and a few, because of their extorted wealth, set themselves apart and above the many and fail to see how necessarily interrelated they are either for good or for ill, you have either (1) revolution and so a restoration of balance or (2) where equity is defeated and inequity prevails you have death of that land or nation. If you do not believe this, consider Rome that declined and fell with the arrival of the Caesars; Italy that plundered up to the days of Mussolini; France, the monarchical France that ended with the French Revolution; Autocratic Russia that ended with the Russian Revolution; completely Autocratic England that ended (for a time) with King John and Magna Charta [sic]; the Roman religious autocracy that ended with Martin Luther; Autocratic China that ended with the Boxer Rebellion. No equity or social balance—no peace and finally no government.’

from “Theodore Dreiser Condemns War,” by Theodore Dreiser, People’s World, April 6, 1940

 

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Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle: “You are no Jack Kennedy.”

Roger W. Smith (posthumously) to Theodore Dreiser: “You were no Aristotle, no Cicero, no Edward Gibbon. You should have stuck to fiction.”

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   August 2021