Tuesday 29 July 2014

Euphemisms about Class (in quotes)


Look at "inner city". Once merely a descriptive term to distinguish a core urban area from the surrounding suburbs, it has become a code word for "the place where unemployed black people on welfare, living amid the drug trade and homicides, send their children to bad schools and the penitentiary."  The inner city is contrasted with the tree-lined streets of leafy suburbs, meaning "the place where affluent white people live and where the writer lives, or would like to." Contrast leafy suburbs with any place described as hardscrabble, which indicates "usually rural area or place in flyover country where working-class or poor white people struggle to get by." (The Baltimore Sun, January 2013)

“Dr Hunter offered the example of a school in a ‘better, leafy area’ that took three children in care…” (The Guardian, October 16 2003) “...enjoyed a dappled upbringing in Hampstead” The Guardian, 20 March 2002 (Presumably the light was dappled after filtering through all those leaves.) "The lovely leafy suburb of Hatch End" (flatmaterooms.co.uk) "Quiet leafy suburb is conveniently placed for all local amenities." (property.yakaz.co.uk) “Just because a school is in a so-called leafy suburb, that does not mean the parents are wealthy. Many will have stretched themselves to the limit to buy houses in the catchment areas of these schools." (The Guardian, 29 September 1999) “The Parlour is situated in the heart of Chorlton, a leafy suburb of Manchester that is awash with organic supermarkets serving wheatgrass smoothies.” (The Week Nov 2012 from Observer Food Monthly) But to really posh people, leafy means “suburban”.

“They live in a detached house obscured from a busy road by six fir trees… ‘Bri-Anne’ reads the name plate fixed between the green garage door and the frosted glass of the porch through which can be glimpsed the twee furnishings of a comfortable family home: a tasselled lamp, an over-stuffed sofa and a slightly garish carpet.” (The Guardian, July 7, 2000) “What we think of as ‘Victorian’ tends to be women in crinolines, living in overstuffed houses riddled with patterns, antimacassars and ferns.” (Evening Standard, March 10 2004) “Houses stuffed with fussy surfaces and horsehair were rejected for modernist apartments...” (Evening Standard May 5 2004) A house stuffed with horsehair would be hard to live in. It’s the furniture that’s stuffed with horsehair. “The earliest dresses from the late 1890s – overstuffed, overfrilled, over-feminine and awkward to wear...” The Guardian, February 4, 2005 Clothes would be padded rather than stuffed, but the writer wants that pejorative sound.

The story was, to use the media academics' term, "framed" within 36 hours of the boy's death. "Gang war invades middle-class haven," was the Telegraph's headline. Rhys lived on a private estate of "hanging baskets", "ornamental water features" and "polished Audis and Mazdas" (The Times), "mock Tudor white-timbered gables" and "solar-powered garden lights" (The Independent). His killers came from "rotting, feral" council estates (The Daily Telegraph) of "high corrugated iron fences" and "tattooed men... with small squat dogs" (The Independent). (The Guardian on the media response to the shooting of Rhys Jones, Sept 2 07) White-timbered? They mean “half-timbered”.

“Thailand wants a better class of tourist, or at least a richer class.” (BBC News, 16 Nov 2013)

Choice is considered a dirty word by many educationalists, but parents – weirdly enough – are actually quite keen to push their children into better schools. This site helps them beat the system.” (The Daily Telegraph, Aug 2010) So "choice" means "better schools".

“Mrs Salmond is carefully coiffured.” (The Times, May 14 07 “Three well-manicured, coiffeured ladies [in Sedgefield]…” Guardian June 27, 2007 “Parents whose little princesses are ear-studded, coiffured and high-heeled by the time they're four.” (Herald, March 2014) You go to the coiffeur to acquire a coiffure, but only if you're common, obviously.

"Dignity" award for Walker family The family of murdered teenager Anthony Walker have been honoured for their "calm dignity in the face of tragedy". (bbc.co.uk Oct. 13 2006) Alan Johnson and his family are praised for their “dignity” all over the broadsheets July 07, meaning that the family hid their feelings and didn’t show emotion – or only in a very controlled way. Dignity also means not talking to the media, and especially not selling your story. “The Value of Dignity: A trial by media will not help to find the truth about Madeleine McCann.” (The Times, Sept 20 07) “X has always maintained a dignified public silence.” (conservativehome.blogs.com)

The writers of That Was the Week that Was were allowed to be an eclectic bunch (i.e. some had not been to Cambridge). (The Guardian, March 25 2008)

“I hate the noise, the dirt, the fumes and the grinding chaos." (Politician Ian Duncan Smith on living in London, March 2013) “A refuge from urban chaos.” (Museum Secrets) My dear, the noise! And the people!

Gritty publishers New English Library” (The Guardian, December 5 2007) “There are plenty of gritty dramas and soaps for working class actors out there.” (Actor, 7 March 2012) “Near streets so gritty they were used as the backdrop for a shootout in the next Fast & Furious movie, million-dollar condos and $38 racks of lamb beckon the urban pioneers of Los Angeles.” (Bloomberg.com, May 8 2014)

“The rooms, though heavy with brocade swagged curtains…” (redonline.co.uk) “The tablecloths are heavy with starch.” (Daily Mail, May 2012) “Heavily decorated chiffonniers inlaid with of mother of pearl.” (frenchprovincialmag.com)

“Fresh pasta is already very tasty, there is no need to combine it with heavy, complicated sauces.” (Web) “It's all very well dressing up food so that you can scarcely recognise what it is… Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy 'complicated' food but it is also nice to savour 'real' tastes… Yes, there are sauces but none that smother the food and you can actually discern that you are eating a piece of fish or chicken breast.” (Shropshire Star)

Middle England: “A metaphor for respectability, the nuclear family, conservatism, whiteness, middle age and the status quo." (New Statesman, 25 Oct 07)

“On gender selection … the feelings of the mob are to be enforced.” (Catherine Bennett, The Guardian, November 13, 2003) A Mori poll showed that people were against gender selection. “The mob is waiting. Men with bovine faces. Grandmas with silver perms and teenage girls clinging together and weeping; for terror or the cameras.” (Mary Riddell in The Observer 2002 on “stranger grief”.)

“Particular prestige was attached to those who inherited landed estates over a number of generations. These are often described as being from ‘old’ families.” (Wikipedia)

“The middle classes are leaving the state sector in droves… partly because they think their children will be mixing with pupils who will not help their child reach full potential.” (Nick Clegg, reported in the Evening Standard, Nov 23 07)

“Why is the rural idyll I call home voting for Marine Le Pen?” (Independent headline April 30, 2012)

"He came from a simple family." (BBC on James Callaghan)

“The Government’s social mobility tsar… will this week warn that social mobility has gone into reverse. For the first time in a century, the middle classes are becoming worse off.” (Daily Telegraph, October 2013) So "social mobility" means "upward social mobility"?

“We don’t want the Olympic Park to be a gilded enclave.” (Nicky Gavron, Jan 15 2014)

But the key detail that confirms his gilded existence is this: "I wore boxer shorts of combed Sea Island cotton at eight bucks a pair." (Guardian)

Lifted the lid on the gilded lives of the super-rich. (Guardian)

A sound system propped in the corner of the gilded dining room. (Guardian)

Like F. Scott Fitzgerald's gilded rich. (Guardian) Surely “filthy rich”?

More here, and links to the rest.

Bristol Glassfest

Bristol Glassfest & Philip Glass Ensemble: Retrospective

UK Tour

6 – 14 November 2014

7-10 November, St George’s, Colston Hall and Watershed in Bristol
will play host to Glassfest, a weekend devoted to Philip Glass including songs, a solo recital, films and the Philip Glass Ensemble: Retrospective. Featuring music from the first decades of Glass’s career, Philip Glass Ensemble then sweep across the country for their first UK tour of Retrospective, taking in The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, The Anvil, Basingstoke and Cambridge Corn Exchange.

Glass’s new chamber-opera, The Trial, will be premiered and toured by Music Theatre Wales while across November The Anvil also celebrates Glass with a performance of string quartet No. 5 by the Brodowski Quartet, as well as The Trial.

St George’s Bristol presents an evening of song with Tara Hugo and Michael Riesman (MD of the PGE since 1976). Hugo will present her programme of ‘Glass Songs’, which she recorded in 2012 and presented last year at Philip Glass's Days & Nights Festival at Big Sur, California. It will include original Glass’s songs with lyrics by Hugo, alongside songs from Glass’s collaborations with Leonard Cohen, Allen Ginsberg, Natalie Merchant and Mick Jagger. The following day, Philip Glass comes to St George’s for an evening of conversation and solo piano performance, joined by conductor Charles Hazelwood.

Over the weekend, independent cinema Watershed will also present Glass, Beats & Buddhism, a short season of films reflecting the composer's roots in New York and interests in Beat Culture and Tibetan Buddhism.

Bringing the weekend to a close, Colston Hall will present the premiere of Philip Glass Ensemble: Retrospective. The Ensemble will perform key works from Glass’s early career: the touring programme will include the Cologne Section from CIVIL warS (1984), originally created for an unrealised Robert Wilson project for the Los Angeles Olympic Games; excerpts from the seminal Music In 12 Parts, which resonate alongside works from the 1980s including the last act of his chamber opera The Photographer, and music written for Godfrey Reggio’s cult film Koyaanisqatsi. Music in Similar Motion meantime, dizzying and determined, takes the story back to 1969. The first UK tour of this new project, the Ensemble travel on to The Bridgewater Hall, The Anvil Basingstoke and Corn Exchange Cambridge.

Glass is touring his new opera based on Kafka’s The Trial with a libretto by Christopher Hampton. Commissioned by Music Theatre Wales, Royal Opera House, Theater Magdeburg, Germany and Scottish Opera, The Trial is directed by Michael McCarthy and features young baritone Johnny Herford. It will tour 10 October-10 November, taking in Manchester, Basingstoke and beyond

For further information about Glassfest and Philip Glass Ensemble: Retrospective, please contact Polly Eldridge 0117 329 0519 polly@sounduk.net For information about Music Theatre Wales’ production of The Trial, please contact Faith Wilson 07941 137453 faith@faithwilsonartspublicity.com.

Programme - Philip Glass Ensemble

CIVIL warS – Cologne section (1984)
Selections from Music 
in 12 Parts (1971-74)
The Grid Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
Glassworks (1983)
Music in Similar Motion (1969)
Act III The Photographer (1983)

Programme of Events

Glassfest & Philip Glass Ensemble: Retrospective

Thurs 6 Nov 8pm        Tara Hugo & Michael Riesman

                                    Glassfest St George’s Bristol,
stgeorgesbristol.co.uk             £16

Fri 7 Nov 7.30pm        Philip Glass solo piano and conversations

Glassfest St George’s Bristol

stgeorgesbristol.co.uk             £24 - £32

Sat 8 Nov 7.30pm       Philip Glass Ensemble: Retrospective

Glassfest Colston Hall, Bristol

colstonhall.org                         £8.50 to £30.00

6 – 8 Nov                    Glassfest Watershed, Bristol film schedule tba

Mon 10 Nov 8pm        Philip Glass Ensemble: Retrospective

The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

bridgewater-hall.co.uk            £23 - £33, £15 students

Wed 12 Nov 7.45pm   Philip Glass Ensemble: Retrospective

The Anvil Basingstoke
anvilarts.org.uk                       £32; under 16s & full-time students £10

Fri 14 Nov 7.30pm      Philip Glass Ensemble: Retrospective

Corn Exchange, Cambridge,

cornex.co.uk                           £37.50 - £47.50, £12.50 students inc booking fee

Co-promoted by Cambridge Music Festival & Corn Exchange, Cambridge,

Visit www.cammusic.co.uk for full details of Cambridge Music Festival

Fri 21 Nov 7.30pm      The Brodowski Quartet

                                    Haydn C Major Quartet, Philip Glass Quartet no.5

                                    The Forge at The Anvil, Basingstoke
anvilarts.org.uk           £16; under 16s & full-time students £10 (inc. booking fee)

Music Theatre Wales: The Trial premiere and tour

Fri 10 – Sat 18 Oct     Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, London (World Premiere)

Wed 22 Oct                 Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

Tues 28 Oct                Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Mon 3 Nov                 Oxford Playhouse

Tues 4 Nov                 The Anvil, Basingstoke

Fri 7 Nov                    Sherman Cymru, Cardiff

Sun 9 Nov                   Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold

Mon 10 Nov                Birmingham Rep

Thursday 24 July 2014

My Five Favourite Agatha Christies

It's hard to slim down to five from a short-list.

From Blue Train, Vicarage and End House I’ll pick The Mystery of the Blue Train – because it gives hope to 33-year-old spinsters who have spent their whole lives in country villages wearing “Balbriggan” stockings. They can read this book and vicariously enjoy Katherine’s legacy and taste of life on the Riviera. Poirot is a universal agony uncle, and reveals a tendresse for a dubious gem-dealer called Zia Papopoulos.

From Death in the Clouds, Murder in Mesopotamia and Cards on the Table I’ll pick Murder in Mesopotamia. All three have young women as central characters but I particularly like Nurse Leatheran, who narrates this story. She is funny (sometimes unintentionally) and down-to-earth, and gets on well with Poirot, though she thinks the archeological dig looks like a lot of old mud. It is also a good one to wave in the faces of those who claim that all Christie’s books are set in English country houses.

From Appointment with Death, Murder is Easy and Sad Cypress I’ll pick Cypress for its suffocating atmosphere of a big, cluttered house whose owner has just died. The heroine finds herself lunching off fishpaste sandwiches and sorting old fur coats on a summer day while her fiancee falls for another girl. (It’s quite autobiographical.)

From Evil Under the Sun, Murder Is Announced and Mrs McGinty’s Dead I’ll pick Mrs McGinty as it is one of Christie’s funniest. Not just the situation – Poirot is a paying guest in the house of the worst housewife in the western hemisphere – but the narration is more ironic than usual. (“An approved school had opened its doors and Lily had disappeared from the everyday scene.”) The death of a charwoman is linked to five historical murder cases involving young people – could one of them be living in the village under a new name? Poirot acquires a sidekick, a rather vulgar girl who works for an estate agent. (As they walk away from the village shop “Mrs Sweetiman, her nose glued to the pane, wondered if that old foreigner had been making suggestions of a certain character...”). And then Mrs Oliver turns up, scattering apples...

From Hickory Dickory Dock, The Pale Horse and Third Girl... It’s a hard choice. I love Hickory Dickory Dock with its hostel full of friendly students. I wrote about it here. In Third Girl Poirot and Mrs Oliver ponder the modern world in which groups of girls share flats on their own and refuse to “make something of themselves”. We even get a snapshot of a provincial high street with its frumpy dress shops.

It has to be The Pale Horse. No Poirot or Marple – the sleuths are Mrs Oliver, Mrs Dane Calthrop and an architectural historian called Mark Easterbrook. It ranges from a Chelsea coffee bar full of rich delinquents to a fashionable Soho restaurant to an upmarket flower shop to a greasy café to a half-timbered cottage with three very sinister inhabitants. They seem to be in the “removals” business, with the help of trances, a “black box” and the blood of a black cockerel. Could they be connected to a list of people who have unexpectedly turned up dead? The plot takes in market research, art restoration and plastic buckets. Read it!

The BBC Radio Drama version is very good, too.

More here, and more Christie links.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Inspirational Quotes 58

Looks don't matter
I wish common sense was more common. (@BarryNSmith79)

 I get more done by being pleasant, respecting others and candour than implementing any of the crap "management" books tell you to do. (Scarlet Wilde)

“Better-looking people really are happier. There is no question about that. As well as all the other direct effects, such as increased income and improving success in the marriage market, it also makes you happier, because you also feel better about yourself.” (Professor Hammermesh, author of Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful)

A young woman I know who works for a media company has just been taken to one side by her boss and told that although her work is entirely satisfactory, there is a problem. She doesn’t chat enough… If you don’t talk, people don’t like you much. My young acquaintance tells me she is now putting aside small amounts of time every day for dedicated chatter. She now treats talk as a type of work, and does it with the same conscientiousness she does everything. (ft.com Feb 2014)

It’s not just that Mormons have developed a “pioneer spirit” or that they believe that they can receive divine revelations, as Triple Package would have us believe. It’s more that the first Mormons started with enough money to buy a great deal of land in Missouri and Illinois. They then migrated to Utah, where Brigham Young and his followers essentially stole land from the Shoshone and Ute tribes, refusing to pay what the tribes demanded, and petitioning for the government to remove them. Beyond thousands of acres of free land, early political control over Utah was helpful. (Slate.com on The Triple Package by Amy Chua and Jed Rosenfeld)

A book like The Triple Package, even if it takes pains to argue in non-racial terms, is an example of this sort of ethnocentric thinking writ large. And it is only the latest in a long line of books – spanning more than a century – arguing for the superiority of this or that American group over others. The roots of alleged superiority have changed over time from race to class to IQ to religion and now to culture. (Suketu Mehta, Time, Jan 2014)

It’s not about being judged on how you look, it’s about presentation, getting a job and finding a partner.
(Presenter of My Tattoo Hell on BBC Breakfast, January 28, 2014 So it’s about being judged on how you look, then? It's a bit it like saying “we don’t have a class system any more, it has completely disappeared, but people are still terribly snobbish about what you eat, where you go on holiday and how you decorate your house.”)

Greenwich Village “became a sleazy theme park of itself.” (Maria Muldaur, Jan 2014)

I am from the 1950s. I like conversation and then I like going to bed early and then I like getting up and sitting with a family around breakfast. And I like singing and I like dancing and I like sitting in a garden and I like reading a book and – I dunno, is that old-fashioned? I think I am a product of my age and my upbringing. (Peter Mandelson July 11 10)

That’s another kind of conversation that many women engage in which baffles many men: talk about details of their daily lives, like the sweater they found on sale — details, you might say, as insignificant as those about last night’s ballgame which can baffle women when they overhear men talking. These seemingly pointless conversations are as comforting to some women as “troubles talk” conversations are to others. So maybe it’s true that talk is the reason having a sister makes you happier, but it needn’t be talk about emotions. (NYTimes)

Words of wisdom from an elder in the office: "People generally need three things in life. A mentor. A scapegoat. And someone to hate." (@CharlesCumming)

His existing dilemma is one that is rarely discussed: when do artists cut their losses and abandon their careers? (Guardian review of “failing folk singer” tale Inside Llewellyn Davies, Jan 2014)

Every age invents its own past. (Guardian Jan 2014)

Robbie Coltrane had been thumped about by his dad until the day he was big enough to thump him back. (Guardian Jan 2014 So much for “violence never solved anything”, “ignore bullies” – even “personality is more important than looks” - and even “size doesn’t matter”!)

More here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Building Euphemisms


“In the 1960s, ‘Victorian’ and ‘monstrosity’ were two words that seemed to be inextricably linked... Victorian was fusty, excessive, old, impractical, self-indulgent, snobbish, aloof architecture, utterly opposed to the age of space travel.” (bbc.co.uk Feb 08)

“'Multi-utility diversionary solutions', say the signs. This appears to mean 'Digging up the road'.” (@hughpearman)

“They're 'upgrading' i.e adding more shops to the station.” (@entschwindet/Douglas Murphy)

“English Heritage once reported that the 200-year-old Dalston Terrace houses were ‘remarkable survivors of Georgian architecture’. Sadly, since the Council acquired them in 1984, their chances of survival diminished year on year. Hackney did nothing to preserve them despite its vacuous platitudes about "championing the historic environment" and wanting a "conservation-led scheme".” (opendalston.blogspot.co.uk)

“Hackney council is poised to knock down 16 houses in Dalston Lane thought to date from 1807 and replace them with new buildings in ‘heritage likeness’.” (Hackney Gazette, January 2014) After loud protests, the terrace is still there, and may be restored. (But of course protest never changed anything.)

“Oh please! Not another ‘business district with a riverside park lined with cafes and restaurants’.” (Twitter)

Gehry Scales Back Canadian Skyscraper to Be “More Realistic” Dezeen headline July 2014

“The epicentre of this scene is a fine deli. Nearby there's a place selling crepes, a great coffee shop, and very recently a high-end restaurant has just opened up. Even with all this, the area retains its character.” yelp.co.uk (Presumably meaning “a few relics of working-class life”.)

What a brilliant euphemism: some parts of Greenwich Park will be "preserved by record" – it means "destroyed"! (ND)

From dorisandbertie.com:
Well-presented: painted magnolia throughout
Truly well-presented: as above but with fake wooden flooring
This apartment also benefits from excellent proximity to the local first-rate amenities: This flat is next door to the Costcutter.
Charming: small.

Controversial Smithfield Market plans approved” BCOnline July 2013 (The Smithfield Market plans were a desecration of a historic building. They have been overturned.)

“This distinctly curvy (for Brutalism) and attractive building has been earmarked for redevelopment (i.e to be demolished).” londonist.com

“London’s skyline must evolve as our city grows.” (Boris Johnson 2014) He means “more skyscrapers”.

unnecessary burdens: “A typical euphemism for pesky safeguards and restrictions.” (Douglas Murphy/@entschwindet)

“Often a fancy term to describe how poor people are cleared from valuable land to make way for the rich.” (Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian May 2014)

improvement, regeneration: “The main shopping street had been pedestrianised and the Market Square had been turned into a kind of piazza with show-off paving and the usual array of cast-iron trimmings. The whole town centre seemed uncomfortably squeezed by busy, wide relief roads.” Bill Bryson returns to Dover after 20 years in Notes from a Small Island (1995). (When and why did this become What To Do With Town Centres?)

“Pushing the existing community out to neo-banlieues.” (New Statesman)

what we need in our streets:
“Gentrification, obviously.” (@owenhatherley, commenting on the Stirling Prize for architecture)

More euphemisms here, and links to more.

Sunday 13 July 2014

Technophobia 3

People spend 28% of work time on email, but when polled said “50%”.

In 1990, a newspaper went over to a new system with a spellcheck but wouldn't let sub editors use it because it was their job to check spelling.

Why do some organisations say “Yes, send us an email, but ring as well”? They haven’t hired anyone to read emails.

We need to rethink our strategy of hoping the internet will just go away. (Cartoon caption)

Texting can lead to poor posture and balance, new research shows. (Daily Telegraph Jan 2014)

"I can’t be bothered to set web filters for my kids” means “I don’t know how”.

When did people stop saying "garbage in, garbage out" and "blogosphere"?

The worst font snobs are people who had never even heard of fonts before we all got computers.

Every web innovation is immediately sold as a money-making scheme.

1969: Oxford University Press delegates' minutes started to be typed rather than handwritten.

Letter to the Times, August 3 2013
Sir, When I was in the Treasury in the 1970s, audio typists got extra pay and so did word processor operators. But you couldn’t have both supplements. Your dictation was typed by an audio typist and the hard copy typescript was then transcribed on to a word processor. The typing pool was in Hove, and a man went up and down on the train with the documents. The computer, of course, was in Norwich. When I first joined there was one single electronic calculator, which thought for about two seconds before responding. The rest of us used hand cranked machines. (Richard Seebohm, Oxford)

Jobseekers must fill in an online form that only works on very old-fashioned browsers. Do Jobcentres have the Internet yet?

National Savings website has a form that you have to print out and mail to them. (2013)

Virginia Woolf’s father asked why he should get hot running water installed – when he had enough servants to carry cans of hot water upstairs.

Tory MP calls out Labour for having salacious ads on its webpage, doesn't know ads are based on his own web history. (
John Aziz ‏@azizonomics)

Felt tip pens were invented in 1962.

Talking pictures “only a fad” say experts (Variety headline)
You mark my words, radio and cellophane are here to stay! (Fred Allen)

There are people who smugly hold out against something that everybody uses now and has for years – like email, or Amazon, for some reason like “Amazon underpays its workers”. (Dawn French doesn't even have a computer. In 2010, department store Selby's of Holloway wasn't using barcodes.)

"Technology throws a spanner into the old hierarchical machinery - just when you'd got the pecking order all worked out!" (The most unlikely person of your acquaintance may turn out to know more about it than you do.)

People know that they can watch catch-up TV on their computer, but “I can’t watch TV on a computer! The chair is uncomfortable!" (So put the seat back. Or bring in a comfy chair.) "My office is the coldest room in the house!" (Bring in a blow heater.) “It’s awkward watching TV on a tablet!” (Get a tablet stand.)

"Backspace means “erase this thing” it does not mean “go back a page in my browser so I lose everything” you goddam monsters." (Wil Wheaton ‏@wilw)

I asked Twitter: “You can write on laptops, but can you edit?”. Got the reply “I print it out, edit on copy and THEN RETYPE”.

When the company got everyone a typing chair, some colleagues didn’t realise you could lock the back at the desired slope. One by one, their chairbacks were fixed – probably by people who borrowed the chair, leaned back and almost fell off.

If these people had a software problem, they got huffy if you said “Can I have your chair?” They didn’t accept the explanation “I can’t remember what to do and tell you – my fingers know, but my conscious mind doesn’t; and besides, I need to be able to see your screen properly, and I can’t touch-type at an angle.” Then when you showed them what to do, they never took notes.

Google is 15 years old, but some humans still don’t know how to use plus, minus and quote marks to search.

And then there are those who use your pens, whether or not you’re at your desk, and never put the top back on, so that the pen dries up and becomes unusable immediately. They also think that “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine”, and constantly borrow your stapler and sellotape – or use them when you’re sitting at your desk, without a by-your-leave. Sometimes they just take them to their own desks and keep them. Probably they don’t know how to order stationery for themselves, or know where the stationery cupboard is, and it’s beneath their dignity to ask. And they’re not bright enough to work out that you can buy what you need at Ryman’s and expense it. (I could have given them each a stapler with their name on. Then they’d have lost the staplers and come and used mine as usual.)

Another thing: if I have my phone to my ear and a pencil in my hand and I am writing in shorthand on a pad – do not talk to me! I am interviewing somebody and if you talk to me I can’t hear what they’re saying. Same goes if you make ME call the other office and ask them something – don’t lean over me and tell me what to say while I am trying to listen to their answer. And if you lend me your smartphone, please don't tell me what to say while I am trying to hear the person at the other end (who is extremely quiet because I have unwittingly pressed that button that reduces the volume). And why are you telling me what to say, again?

Office phones used to be so badly designed that the phone part was too light and the cord would get tangled up and too short. Whenever you lifted the handset, the phone would fall off the desk. So I used to tape my phone to my desk. When people wanted to use my phone (Why were they doing that? It was my phone? on my desk?), they would untape it. (Thank God office phones are hardly used any more. Men would never untangle a phone cord, or clean a keyboard.)

An convention seems to have grown up that you don't look over someone's shoulder at their screen. About time!

Some people wouldn’t learn the terminology, as if it was beneath them. They insisted on calling a disc a tape and just confused themselves further. They complained that computer jargon – all these bits and bytes! - was polluting the language. And techies used data in the singular!

But in the early days most software was bespoke, and there was no standard for such things as keyboard shortcuts. Every package was hard to learn, so people never wanted to learn another one and go through all that again.

A colleague wrote a piece on his home computer, printed it out, brought it into the office and retyped it. Why didn’t he email it to himself? “I can’t do that.” “You just cut and paste it into an email.” “I can’t do that.” (Perhaps he thought cut and paste only worked in Word  - so did I, once!)

People used to wail “But you’ll lose all your formatting!”, as if it was difficult to add formatting. Formatting has got much too complicated, and cut and paste tries to preserve it, no matter how hard you try to lose it.  (I want to match the target, not the source.)

When a certain magazine first got email in the 90s, everybody hit “reply all” instead of “reply” and got into a terrible tangle… as they all “replied all” messages saying “please stop sending me all these messages complaining about all the messages people keep sending!” to everybody in the company.

“At least one mistress wouldn’t let her maid use the electric iron in case she fused it… there were stories of employers who forbade their domestics to [listen to the radio].” (Alison Light, Mrs Woolf and the Servants) That used to happen in offices – technology that you knew was going to save you the grunt work was hoarded. And you were dissuaded from reading the manual as “it would only confuse you”.

A friend worked in a business college that had bought a roomful of computers which nobody knew how to work. They came with software, but the staff didn’t know you had to insert a disk to run it. Presumably the college didn’t think the staff needed any training. My friend read the manual, which told her all about the whizzy things the computers could do, but still when she turned one on, all she got was a picture of a disk. The room lay quiet for months, like the tomb of Tutankhamun. (Eventually somebody worked it out.)

People who work at home still won’t go to a proper second-hand office equipment warehouse and get a real adjustable chair and proper desk. Some are still using a tinny “computer table” with a pull-out shelf for the keyboard (found in no offices – I wonder why?).


"Twitter is evil because it’s all so synthetic."

“Facebook will lose 80% users in a few years” says some mathematical model, Jan 2014

Heaven knows there are reasons enough for anyone to feel miserable about Facebook: the mediation and commodification of ordinary human relationships, the mediation and commodification of every aspect of everyday life, the invasions of privacy, the ‘targeted’ adverts, the crappy photos, the asinine jokes, the pressure to like and be liked, the bullying, the sexism, the racism, the ersatz activism, the ersatz everything."
(Thomas Jones, LRB, July 2014 (Ersatz everything? So the racism and sexism is also ersatz? So why worry?)

"This is the new world order, we have never seen anything like it, and our children are carrying it around with them in their pockets.” The playful, cutesy language of the internet tends to mislead both parents and children. “All that ‘cloud’ and ‘like’ and ‘friend’ and ‘Google’ and ‘Twitter’. The nursery language makes it seem a safe Teletubby land where nothing bad could happen.” In reality, it is making children miserable. It’s not just porn that does the damage. Research shows that the more time adolescents spend on social media sites, the unhappier they become." (documentary director Beeban Kidron)

There are plenty of ‘Facebook is bad for you because X’ posts, but I’m talking about a mindset that goes beyond any single web service. This is the curse of our age. We walk around with the tools to capture extensive data about our surroundings and transmit them in real-time to the bedrooms and pockets of friends, family and every acquaintance we’ve made in the past eight years. We end up with a diminished perception of reality because we’re more concerned about choosing a good Instagram filter for our meal than we are about how it tastes. We become Martian rovers, trundling around our environment, uploading data without the ability or desire to make any sense of it. Ultimately, we end up externalising our entire lives. (jshakespeare.com)

“Apparently all the ‘nice’ people are leaving Twitter.” @katabaticesque Aug 2013

“Twitter is morally depopulated and needs radical action to save it,” according to the Guardian Aug 2013.

25% of Facebook users don't use its privacy settings.

"Who uses Facebook any more?" is what everyone says, while still being on, says The Middle-Class Handbook
Facebook may be ‘passing fad’ as growth in users flattens out (Times)

Facebook is full of "monotonous selfies and sensationalism", says a Facebook meme.

“Meh! Instagram confuses sharing with giving.”

"There's always making a phone call and writing a letter. Life!”
(Charlie Stait, BBC Breakfast)

You need to take quite a lot of control over Twitter and FB (decide whom to follow, block or report, learn FB’s complicated filtering). But I thought people liked being in control? It’s what they say they like. And a lot of technophobia is fear of losing control (and status, oh yes, that).

Twitter refuseniks act as if it was necromantic - but they just have to log on. It's just like youtube, and FB, and Flickr, and email, and...

Smartphone angst here.
More technophobia here.


There are a lot of stock photos like this. I wonder why?

I finally gave in and got a smartphone.

You have to leave it switched on because people expect you to be always available.

But you have to charge it every two days!

And nobody expects your phone to be charging when they ring you.

Do they plug theirs in EVERY NIGHT?

Or do they turn them OFF at night to save the battery?

Are you supposed to look at the thing that tells you how much battery there is left?

And are you supposed to take all your chargers with you on holiday????

And it randomly goes TING, sometimes in the middle of the night. Does it ding when someone picks up a text? (Ah, no, it tings when an email lands. It only took me several hours to work that out, and another several hours to work out how to turn it off.)

And I can’t turn off the alarm, only mute it.

How do you get apps OFF the app screen?

And the alert is so quiet that I can’t hear it if my phone’s in my handbag across the room – or in another room. Do they expect you to keep it in a POCKET? But women’s clothes often don’t have pockets!

And when it rings, and I get to it in time, and I find the right button to press to talk to the caller, and hit it instead of the one next to it, the volume is so low I can’t hear them, and I can’t find the volume control or the speaker button, and there’s a button on the left that I keep pressing by mistake that actually LOWERS THE VOLUME... It’s just underneath my finger as I hold the thing. Well, THAT was well designed, WASN’T it! TECHNOLOGY, DONCHA LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

Oh, you PRESS AND DRAG the green call icon! Well, why didn't you say so?????

Why is this option greyed out? Is it because I've turned on power-saving?

And then I get a message saying “Your delivery number is xxxxxxxx, please go to www.xxxxxxx.co.uk to arrange delivery.” I go to the url, but now I can’t see the number. Am I expected to write it down using olde-fashionede pen and paper? Or, God forbid, MEMORISE IT????????? Technology etc etc

And to mute/unmute I press and hold the ON/OFF button? Oh, of course! It's so intuitive! Why didn't I think of that!

Of course the real problem is that a smartphone doesn't have a keyboard.

More here, and links to the rest.

Friday 11 July 2014

Jobs You Never Knew Existed (Quotes)

Quotes about unusual careers and business plans:

ANIMATEUR “An Animateur helps audiences to appreciate musicians and music in new ways and helps them to enjoy music that they may not be familiar with. They also help the musicians as they develop techniques for reaching out to their communities and encourage as many people as possible to engage with music and music related activities.” (uk.music-jobs.com But what do they actually DO?)

FACE EMPLOYEE In China, according to CNN, “companies hire Caucasians to pose as employees or even business partners, which effectively bolsters the “face” or reputation of the company… one man posed as an Italian jeweler for a Chinese jewelry company producing pieces inspired by Italian design, which in the eyes of the Chinese customers made their products more authentic. However, the man was in actuality an American actor. In another case, a young Caucasian male was hired to sit in an office that faced the street to visibly show passersby the company had people from the West working there.” (weirdasianews.com)

FAKE GIRLFRIEND “Mostly she was hired by businesses who wanted their Facebook pages to look more popular than they really are.” (The Guardian, April 2013)

INVASIVE SPECIES EXTERMINATOR Wildlife Management International are based in the South Island of New Zealand and have wide extermination experience. They also eradicated feral cats on Ascension Island. (Now eliminating rats on St Agnes, Scillies.)

“[Novelist Barbara Comyns] supported herself by working as an artists’ model, by converting old houses into flats, selling vintage cars, and breeding poodles.” (Introduction to Our Spoons Came from Woolworths)

“Ida O’Keeffe, who also painted, used to annoy her illustrious sister by claiming that she, Ida, would have won just as much fame and fortune as Georgia if only she, too, had found herself an Alfred Steiglitz as husband, dealer, arbiter of taste, publicist of genius and, last but not least, photographer, to give protection and promotion.” Angela Carter

ART COPYIST “From Van Gogh’s sunflowers to Lichtenstein’s comic book blow-ups, familiar masterpieces appear quite literally on every street corner, meeting the demands of tourists, interior design suppliers, and hotel mass-market orders from around the world.” (tvglobalist.org describes China's Dafen Art Village)

CROP-CIRCLE MAKER “Nike, Pepsi, BBC1, Greenpeace, Sky, Weetabix, Big Brother, Mitsubishi, Thompson Holidays and O2 have all paid [crop] circle-makers tens of thousands of pounds for a night's work. They have been made for pop videos, corporate parties, TV dramas and ads. The Sun paid for one to publicise its campaign to bring the Olympics to Britain.” (Guardian June 5 2009)

FUNERARY ARCHAEOLOGIST “Jelena Bekvalac has a Master's degree in Osteology, Palaeopathology and Funerary Archaeology from Sheffield and Bradford University.” (museumoflondon.org.uk)

“My position is Facebook Administrator for KitchenAid. Any blog that’s posted with the word KitchenAid in it comes onto our web page. It’s my job and my pleasure to try and assist anyone having an issue with their KitchenAid Portable Appliances.”

GARDEN DETECTIVE “A retired police officer from York has co-founded a company with the sole aim of combating garden crime.” (Guardian May 6, 2008)

JUNKET WHORE “A reviewer or critic who attends lavish all expense-paid press junkets and delivers an unqualified, glowing review in return. Quotes from these universally favorable reviews appear in newspaper movie ads paid for by the same entity that sponsored the junket. Often there is no actual review - just the blurb appearing in the ad.” (Hollywords)

MALE HONEYTRAP “I decided to take up an offer of working as a male honeytrap for a company called Executive Honeytraps run by a private detective.” Daily Mail

FREELANCE POLICEMAN “The truth is, if you can afford it, you can have your own private uniformed force, and your own highly experienced, highly trained and fully resourced private CID. Energy firms, just like many other companies, seek cost-effective solutions to issues that can damage revenue streams, branding and assets. It's a rational business decision for them to use every available legal tool to manage threats to their operations. Deal with it, because we're here to stay.” (The Guardian, Feb 2011)

MYSTERY SHOPPER “We’ve pretended to be betting shops, scientists, installation engineers, bikers, students, foreign doctors, hairdressers, plumbers, dentists, caravanners and every flavour of small business. We even have our own dummy businesses with websites. We’ve set up plumbing blockages and car faults. We’ve cheated in exams (to check the invigilators are alert), parked illegally (to test the council’s parking wardens), shoplifted (to check the security systems) and gone on timeshare holidays. We’ve parked bicycles to see how quickly they get stolen (quickest was 75 minutes – in Croydon). We’ve been pregnant, bankrupt, hard-of-hearing, teenagers looking for contraception, pensioners buying insurance and trainee teachers. We’ve recruited Chinese gamblers, housing tenants, disabled mystery shoppers and males to take the last dance at a lap-dancing club (to ensure nothing is occurring which contravenes the licence).” (mystery-shoppers.co.uk Who ghost-writes their website?)

THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY “J. Edgar Hoover’s Cointelpro (counter-intelligence program) infiltrated agents into radical (and even not radical) groups. These agents brought disinformation and chaos to the groups they stalked. They turned members and allies against each other with astounding effectiveness and instigated much of the criminal activity that the government claimed it was trying to curb.” (A friend writes)

STUNT WRITER Mark Twain employed “a sort of stunt-writer to prospect for diamonds in South Africa and gather material that [he] could use”. (Hilary Mantel, Guardian March 2010)

COMPOSER OF LIBRARY MUSIC “This high-energy collection of royalty free corporate music is a versatile addition to your production music library. Use it as background music, production music, music on hold, documentary music or motivational music and be sure to raise audiences' spirits and interest level.” (royaltyfreemusic.com)

COMPOSER FOR VIDEO GAMES “Jack Wall is an American video game music composer. He has worked on video game music for over thirty games including the Myst franchise, Splinter Cell, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect. He is married to singer Cindy Wall. Currently, Wall is the conductor for Video Games Live, a concert featuring popular video game music performed by live orchestras and choirs.”

EXOTIC VEGETABLE FARMER “FACT:UK farms growing wasabi, NZ yams, cocktail kiwis, cucamelons & now goji berries have all opened in the last 12mnths.” (James Wong/@Botanygeek, 2013-09-29)

More here.
And now read the book Jobs You Never Knew Existed.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Alcoholic Euphemisms (and More)

There's a fine line...

Lots more alcoholic euphemisms in my ebook:
Boo and Hooray: Dysphemisms and Euphemisms

“Sam is the strongest woman I know. She helped me after I went a bit mad for two dark years.” [Former child star] Aaron Taylor-Johnson has described how he went off the rails after his early success – and how his wife helped him through the aftermath of his “self-destructive moment”. He said he was ready to make the commitment to family life after two years of going “a bit f***ing mad” which helped him mature. “Yeah, I had a self-destructive moment… I started drinking really early. I grew up in a remote little village, what else are you going to do… I blew a shitload of money, and had two years that I cannot even remember… I was f***ing up all my work and my life. It was a shitty, dark moment. I was having a bit of trouble, transitioning, understanding why I was so successful.” (Evening Standard, May 8 2014)

“He was a big drinker too but I don’t know if you could call him an alcoholic. There’s a fine line between drinking too much and being alcohol-dependent.” Tommy Cooper’s daughter searches for the “hooray” term for alcoholic (Daily Record April 2014).

“I note the redtops have started describing Bieber as "troubled". When "troubled" appears "demons" is rarely far behind.” (@davidhepworth, March 2013)

Gilbert Harding often appeared slightly drunk, for which occasions the BBC coined the line: “Mr Harding was overcome by the heat from the studio lights.” (Guardian, Aug 2013)

“Ian Nairn was a bit of a loose cannon.” BBC programme on the architectural critic who was in the pub as soon as it opened and only left when it closed.

“I've learned from years of having ideas and opinions that when someone says 'everyone has an opinion' they usually want to stop hearing yours.” (@MarkOneinFour)

"Let's not bring politics into this" always seems to mean "Let's all agree with what I say." (Andy Shaw/@RedAndy54)

“People who say they like to see orthodoxies challenged mean they like to see other peoples' orthodoxies challenged and their own confirmed.” (Frankie Boyle)

“This new thing of calling anyone who opposes you or sticks up for themselves 'aggressive'.” (@ShappiKhorsandi)

"God works in Mysterious ways = I'm making this up as I go along, please stop asking difficult questions." (Donovan/@MrOzAtheist)

Closed-minded skeptics are merely debunkers.” (via Chris French. Means “they disagree with us”.)

More here, and links to the rest.

Educational Euphemisms

Forget spelling "buttercup", learn morality
More quotes. What is the "character" boarding schools give your child?

“Learning good values allows students to "distinguish the good from the bad and the true from the false" and develops their character.” (Richard Walden, chair of the Independent Schools Association)

Character is associated with judgement and honour. Personality favours boldness and entertainment.” (Sarah Sands, Independent on Sunday, Feb 2012)

Character” means integrity and a sense of duty, according to the Wikipedia entry on Cyril Connolly and prep schools. According to Tristram Hunt on BBC Online, February 19 2014, it means the ability to concentrate, self-control and resilience: “Wellington College has taught resilience as a timetabled subject since 2006.”

@LKMco thinks character means “being able to defer gratification”.
Grit, zest, optimism, social intelligence, gratitude, curiosity and self-control.” (Deputy head Emma Orr defines character in 2014.)

“Professor Guy Claxton of the Bristol University Graduate School of Education who said that, ‘If we design an education system from which 40% of young people emerge with little but a sense of failure, there is a fault not in them, but in the system. I think they, and we, know what they need. It is not knowledge, but character; not certificates but courage and confidence to face whatever life throws at them.’” (websofsubstance.wordpress.com Classic bait and switch. And if a school claims to induce an indefinable quality called "character", its claims can't be tested, unlike claims that it will help your children pass exams.)

Confidence is like character and personality, it’s code for having remade yourself to society’s requirements. (Lorraine Pascale on ITV)

“The focus on league tables and attainment levels distracts teachers and effectively disables them from providing children with a more rounded and enriching education – one that will give them the moral compass they need for life.” (Richard Walden, chair of the Independent Schools Association, May 2014)

 “Many people tell me they [visit Eton] and their prejudices are shot to pieces because they see people who are rounded and just incredibly accomplished and bright and hungry.” (dot.com millionaire and public schoolboy Brent Hoberman, The Times 22 March 2014)

“Unless you prioritise well-rounded students, the functionally literate and numerate thing is worthless.” (Hey Miss Smith’s blog)

“[Mayor Boris Johnson] spoke of the need for academic selection, which he renamed as ‘academic competition’.” (The Guardian, November 2013)

Some time in the 80s educationists decided that teachers shouldn't be didactic, i.e. teach. So they have to include exercises that the children can do in couples and groups. (JL)

[Schools] getting better all the time is what happens when my party is in government; ‘grade inflation’ when it’s yours.” (Mike Green, New Scientist 16 March 2014)

More here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday 8 July 2014


The ultimate in shabby chic
I am collecting euphemisms and dysphemisms into an ebook to be called Boo and Hooray! But I have removed quite a few quotes due to copyright concerns. Here's a few for starters:

“As Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee put it: ‘No story is fair if reporters hide their biases and emotions behind such subtly pejorative words as refused, despite, admit and massive’.” (Guardian style guide)

“So what do we think of terms like upcycle, vintique, shabby chic etc? Was it better when we just had antique, second-hand, painted etc?” (antique dealer George Johnson/‏@LadyKentmores)

“Language betrays values.” (Carlo Caponecchia)

"Now the housing crisis. I am not meant to say crisis now I work for the minister but hell's teeth a crisis is a crisis." (Emily Wright on Twitter)

Confidence is like character and personality, it’s code for having remade yourself to society’s requirements. (Lorraine Pascale on ITV)

“They learn to talk in a polite way to someone senior and that gives them confidence.” They learn to bullshit? “Yeah. That’s the art of confidence.” (The Times, March 19 2008)

“Employers put social skills ahead of degrees. Employers are increasingly spurning degrees when hiring staff, a study has found. Instead, they are looking for candidates to be ‘well turned out’, ‘ well-spoken’ and [have] ‘good manners’.” (The Daily Mail, January 17, 2004)

A friend writes:

I couldn't agree with you more: There may be something in what
you say.

There may be something in what you say: There is no way I could agree with that.

How very interesting!: Now you are talking complete bullshit.

“19th century doctor Bernhard von Gudden [realised] that so-called ‘moral treatment’, which often involved inflicting violence on mental health patients, wasn't perhaps the best curative regimen.” (Der Spiegel, January 2014)

Normal minds are as rare as normal eyesight. (Muriel Jaeger, Before Victoria If “normal eyesight” is rare, then it isn’t normal.)

"Attacked viciously by atheists" = Received a lot of tweets (Donovan/‏@MrOzAtheist)

“By ‘moral relativism’ [the Catholic Church means] "not unquestioningly accepting our primacy in moral affairs." (JP)

“Why are Christians being so oppressed?” = “Why aren’t we getting everything our way like the good old days?” Robin Ince, blog, Jan 15 2014

ARGUMENTS“I've learned from years of having ideas & opinions that when someone says 'everyone has an opinion' they usually want to stop hearing yours.” (@MarkOneinFour)

"Let's not bring politics into this" always seems to mean "Let's all agree with what I say." (Andy Shaw/@RedAndy54)

“People who say they like to see orthodoxies challenged mean they like to see other peoples' orthodoxies challenged and their own confirmed.” (Frankie Boyle)

“This new thing of calling anyone who opposes you or sticks up for themselves 'aggressive'.” (@ShappiKhorsandi)

"God works in Mysterious ways
= I'm making this up as I go along, please stop asking difficult questions." (Donovan/@MrOzAtheist)

Closed-minded skeptics are merely debunkers.” (via Chris French. Means “they disagree with us”.)

More here.

Friday 4 July 2014

Meaningless Uplift

Pseudo-profundities - what Daniel Dennett calls "deepities". And I bet Einstein and Lincoln never said any of them.

Create your own from these templates:
X is Y.
True X is Y.
There are no X, only Y.
The X is the Y.
True greatness lies in…
True happiness is…
Genius is...

What is life?
The purpose of life is to fight maturity.
The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.
The purpose of life is to live it.
Catholics believe that the purpose of life is to have life and have it more abundantly.
Life begets life. Energy creates energy.
You have to meet life on life’s terms. (Geri Halliwell)

After a visit to the beach, it's hard to believe that we live in a material world. (Pam Shaw. What does she think sand is made of? Let alone air, water and seaweed.)

And all the losers, can't even win for losing And the beginners don't even know what song they're singing.

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom. (Soren Kierkegaard)

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.

Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.
(Mary Lou Retton)

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. (Thoreau)

Human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves. (Germaine Greer)

Identity is not just about who you are and where you've come from but is also about your possibility of becoming.

If you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings. (C. Archie Danielson)

It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich. (Sarah Bernhardt)

It is by suffering that human beings become angels. (Victor Hugo)

It is love alone that leads to right action. (Jiddu Krishnamurti And research, and planning…)

Leap, and the net will appear. (John Burroughs)

Only a life lived for others is a life worth living. (Albert Einstein)

People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be. (Abraham Lincoln)

Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. (John Maeda)

Simplify your language and thereby find your humanity.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

There is no cause, only effect. (Erich Heller, a philosopher Kenneth Williams liked to quote.)

Things do not change; we change. (Henry David Thoreau)

To be fully alive is to be in the flow of change and transformation. (Deepak Chopra)

Until we extend the circle of compassion to everything, we won't find peace. (Albert Schweitzer)

When you stop chasing the wrong things the right things catch you.

You are as precious as the love you feel for others.

And here are some more duff definitions:

A city without a library is a graveyard. (Malala Yousafzai at the opening of the new Birmingham Library)

A library is an act of faith. (Victor Hugo)

Destroyers are those who hoard resources.

Elections are a form of tyranny. (Colonel Gaddafi)

Fairness means giving people what they deserve, Cameron to tell Tory conference

Fashion is instant language. (Miuccia Prada)

Freedom is slavery. (George Orwell, 1984)

Hope equals resignation. And to live is not to resign oneself. (Albert Camus)

Humility is attentive patience. (Simone Weil)

I was experiencing Hell, which is being imprisoned in the limitations of my ego. (Malcolm Muggeridge And if Hell is other people or being separated from God, what’s with all those paintings of flames and devils and pitchforks?)

It’s those who feed hate into children’s minds who are the real perverts. (Martha Plimpton)

Journalism is an act of faith in the future.

Language is power.

Making others happy through kindness of speech and sincerity of advice is a sign of true greatness. (Paramahansa Yogananda)

Marriage is a two-way street leading to one destination - God.

Moralism is the greatest form of self-worship.

Peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.

Poverty is the worst form of violence. (Gandhi)

Property is theft.

Religion is an insult to human dignity. (Richard Dawkins)

True beauty is found in people and things that are truly genuine from the soul. (And many, many more. But before I had the nose-job nobody was interested in my soul.)

Sadness is but a wall between two gardens. (Kahlil Gibran)

Socialism is slavery. (Lord Acton)

Sustainability is another word for justice, for what is just is sustainable and what is unjust is not. (Matthew Fox)

The good is the beautiful. (Plato)

The ideological reading of ‘gender’ is a true dictatorship. (Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco)

The meeting of preparation with opportunity generates the offspring we call luck. (Tony Robbins)

There is no wealth but life. (John Ruskin)

To banish imperfection is to destroy expression. (John Ruskin)

To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.

Tolerance means, literally, to engage with other people who are different. (Tim Radcliffe in the Guardian, Dec 2012)

True patience is not passive, but active. (James Freeman Clarke)

Work that is done for fear of poverty, is tyranny. (Prudhon)

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. (Kahlil Gibran)

Quietist Proverbs here.
Unhelpful Advice here.