Posts Tagged ‘Oscar Wilde’

A Well-Developed Conscience!

April 8, 2018

Having a conscience, the ability to judge the rightness or the wrongness of your behavior,  is something that develops over the course of time (as we mature).  It is usually taught to us by our parents about the behaviors that must be demonstrated to effectively operate within society.  Okay, that’s all well and good . . . but here are some additional “definitions” courtesy of The Cynic’s Dictionary.  Enjoy!

“What your mother told you before you were six years old.”  (Brock Chisolm)

“An anticipation of the opinions of others.”  (Henry Taylor)

“Ought-to suggestion.”  (H.L. Mencken)

“The thing that hurts when everything else feels good.”  (Hebert Prochnow)

“What makes cowards of us all.”  (William Shakespeare)

“What makes egotists of us all.”  (Oscar Wilde)

“The inner voice that warns us that someone may be looking.”  (H.L. Mencken)

“Something that doesn’t only make cowards of us all, but dyspeptics too.”  (Helen Simpson)

“What makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does.”  (Franklin P. Jones)

Source: The Cynic’s Dictionary by Aubrey Dillon-Malone, p. 59-60.


Journalistic License!

November 8, 2017

Journalists have certainly been taking a beating lately over their style and method of reporting (fake news, biased/slanted, sensationalism, etc.).  So, I thought I would consult my copy of The Cynic’s Dictionary, by Aubrey Dillon-Malone, to see how others have classified this profession.  Enjoy!

“A profession whose business is to explain to others what it personally does not understand.”  (Lord Northcliffe)

“Organized gossip.”  (Edward Eggleston)

“Survival of the vulgarist.”  (Oscar Wilde)

“A walk of life that consists of saying ‘Lord Jones is dead’ to people who didn’t know he was alive.”  (G.K. Chesterton)

“The ability to meet the challenge of filling space.”  (Rebecca West)

“The only thinkable alternative to working.”  (Jeffrey Barnard)

“The last refuge of the literary mediocre.”  (Brendan Behan)

“A man who lies in the sun all day, then goes home to his typewriter to lie some more.”  (Frank Sinatra)


June 10, 2017

Yes, it is the twenty-first century and we certainly have all the trappings of being a civilized society:

  • marked by well-organized laws and rules about how people behave with each other
  • polite, reasonable, and respectful
  • pleasant and comfortable
  • showing concern for what is correct according to social rules

But are we really?  Violence continues to lead the headlines, our prisons are overflowing, and moral corruptness is exemplified on a daily basis.  Despite all of these counter indications, I truly believe that we are still managing to maintain some semblance of civility as a society.

That being said, here are some of my favorite quotations about “civilization.”

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”  (Ariel Durant)

“Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary  necessities.”  (Mark Twain)

“America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.”  (Oscar Wilde)

“Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty and dies with chaos.”  (Will Durant)

Moral Indignation!

September 7, 2016

When I think of the phrase “moral indignation,” I envision an elderly person exclaiming “why I never” in a most disdainful tone.   According to wikipedia, it “is typically a reactive emotion of anger over perceived mistreatment, insult, or malice. It is akin to what is called the sense of injustice.”

Here are some of my favorite quotations regarding this phrase . . .

” . . . jealousy with a halo.”  (H.G. Wells)

“What is in most cases two percent moral, forty-eight percent indignation, and fifty percent envy.”  (Vittorio de Sica)

“Suspecting other people of not being married.”  (George Bernard Shaw)

“Simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.”  (Oscar Wilde)

Critics and Criticism!

July 6, 2016

It would seem that in today’s day and age, critics are generally not popular people — no one wants or likes to receive criticism.   Why is it then that everyone seems to be a critic.  An interesting dilemma indeed.  Here are some quotations that drive this point home rather effectively.

“Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they are unable to do it themselves.”  (Brendan Behan)

“You know who the critics are?  The men who have failed in literature and art.”  (Benjamin Disraeli)

“Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at very small expense.”  (Samuel Johnson)

“The lot of critics is to be remembered by what they failed to understand.”  (George Moore)

“At ev’ry word a reputation dies.”  (Alexander Pope)

“Never pay attention to what critics say . . . A statue has never been set up in honour of a critic!”  (Jean Sibelius)

And this conversation between Oscar Wilde and the critic Beerbohm Tree:

WILDE: I shall always regard you as the best critic of my plays.
TREE: But I have never criticized your plays.
WILDE: That’s why.

Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations.


March 3, 2016

consistencydemotivator_largeI’ve always been told that the key in all endeavors is consistency.  But as this demotivator (courtesy of points out, I’m not sure this is always a good thing.  Here are some additional quotations on the topic that I have found particularly enjoyable or humorous.

“Consistency is the hallmark of the unimaginative.”  (Oscar Wilde)

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.”
(Bernard Berenson)

The Insult of Richard Wagner!

December 23, 2015

Happy Tuesday!  In consulting our copy of Oxymoronica, I discovered that Richard Wagner was the object of three “oxymoronic” insults by some pretty memorable humorists.

“I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to panes of glass with its claws.”  (Charles Baudelaire)

“The late Bill Nye once said, ‘I have been told that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.'”  (Mark Twain)

“I like Wagner’s music better than anybody’s.  It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without other people hearing what one says.”  (Oscar Wilde)

So, just to prove his point, here is my favorite Wagnerian excerpt from the “Ride of the Valkyries.”  Enjoy!

Source: Oxymoronica,by Dr. Mardy Grothe, p. 144-145


October 2, 2015

While perusing my copy of The Cynic’s Dictionary I came across a few definitions for “vulgarity” that I deemed worthy of sharing.

“Simply the conduct of other people.”  (Oscar Wilde)

“The garlic in the salad of taste.”  (Cyril Connolly)

“The rich man’s modest contribution to democracy.”  (Samuel Johnson)

“Vulgarity is, in reality, nothing but a modern, chic, pert descendant of the goddess Dullness.”  (Dame Edith Sitwell)

Source: The Cynic’s Dictionary by Aubrey Dillon-Malone

I Tend To Be Very _______ical!

September 10, 2014

How would you fill in the blank?  I can come up with several (negative ones). . . for starters: critical, cynical, skeptical . . . and following a twenty-five year career in law enforcement, none of these really surprise me.  But what is skepticism really?  It has been defined as “doubt as to the truth of something.”   But according to The Cynic’s Dictionary (by Aubrey Dillon-Malone), skepticism is . . .

“The beginning of faith.” (Oscar Wilde)

“The chastity of the intellect.”  (George Santayana)

“The first step on the road to philosophy.”  (Diderot)

What other words can you come up with to fill in the blank?  Here are some more that came to me.  I really can’t claim all of these traits, and I am sure that there are many more than what I have listed here, but . . .

  • Practical
  • Classical
  • Comical
  • Tragical
  • Magical
  • Hierarchical
  • Optical
  • Musical
  • Radical
  • Whimsical
  • Vertical
  • Cyclical
  • Medical
  • Tactical
  • Nautical
  • Logical
  • Quizzical
  • Identical
  • Typical
  • Topical
  • Biblical
  • Chemical
  • Ethical
  • Clinical
  • Mystical
  • Clerical
  • Farcical
  • Lyrical
  • Mythical
  • Physical
  • Surgical
  • Tropical

Living Versus Working!

April 22, 2012

Here’s a brilliant quotation on “life” and “work.”

“Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That’s what I have to say. The second is only part of the first.” — Anna Quindlen

Since I exhibit workaholic tendencies (from time to time), I must constantly remind myself of this and learn to just enjoy life every now and then.  Well, yesterday I did!  I spent the entire day sharing time, conversation, and memories with some friends from out of town.  We shared meals; we went for a walk; we ran errands; we experienced culture by touring studios and talking with artists about their work, talents, and passions; we even caught a movie before our day was through.  All in all, a most enjoyable day; a day full of life!  Here are some more interesting definitions/quotations on life and work from my copy of The Cynic’s Dictionary (by Aubrey Dillon Malone).  Enjoy!

“Something you do when you can’t get to sleep.”  — Fran Lebowitz
“A bad dream between two awakenings.”  — Eugene O’Neill
“A game at which everybody loses.”  — Leo Sarkadi-Schuller
“The art of drawing sufficient conclusions fron insufficient premises.” — Samuel Butler
“For most men, a search for the proper manilla envelope in which to get themselves filed.”  — Clifton Fadiman
“Not having been told that the man has just waxed the floor.  — Ogden Nash
“A steady walk with a hidden precipice at the end.  — Lambert Jeffries
“Post-natal depression.”  — Nigel Rees
“A funny thing that occurs on the way to the grave.”  — Quentin Crisp
“Sobs, sniffles, and smiles — with sniffles predominating.”  — O. Henry
“A cheap table d’ hote in a rather dirty restaurant, with time changing the plates before you’ve had enough of anything.” — Thomas Kettle
“A tragedy when seen up close, but a comedy in long shot.”  — Charlie Chaplin
“A sexually transmitted disease — and the mortality rate is 100 percent.” — R.D. Laing
“A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  — William Shakespeare
“Much too important a thing to ever talk seriously about it.”  Oscar Wilde
“A maze in which we take the wrong turning before we have learned to walk.”  — Cyril Connolly
“A long rehearsal for a play that’s never produced.”  — Micheal Mac Liammoir

“A very time-consuming activity.”  — Irene Peter

“The refuge of those who have nothing better to do.”  — Oscar Wilde
“The province of cattle.”  — Dorothy Parker
“What expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  — C. Northcote Parkinson
“The only really dirty four-lettered word in the language.”  — Abbie Hoffman
“The curse of the drinking classes.”  — Oscar Wilde