Monday 22 November 2021

Received Ideas in Quotes 21

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:4)

Derelict steam engines at Tyler Hill depot in Canterbury were probably the remains of a secret armoured train. It was kept in the tunnel during World War Two and never used, and that’s why Canterbury people were forbidden to shelter there (though some did.)

The widespread notion that romantic love is a recent [Western] invention strikes me as a tellingly male reading of limited cultural texts produced by mostly other men. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but I suspect people have been falling in love (regardless of norms) for millennia... Love's a powerful thing, I guess I'm trying to say. Don't believe "experts" who want to tell you "interiority is a new-fangled cultural fad". People are people. Have been for at least a 100,000 years. Culture doesn't change the essentials of innate human psychology. (@DavidOBowles)

We millennials are, remember, entitled, narcissistic and fame-obsessed, owing to the deadly combination of doting parents, reality TV and social media... we’re constantly whining, because our early adult years – dented by the 2008 financial crisis – have not lived up to the expectations we formed as we grew up bingeing Sex and the City. (Hannah Marriott, Guardian, July)

The best midge-repellent is Avon’s Skin So Soft’s Woodland Essence. (@mikerflinn Plus lavender-scented lotion keeps off ticks.)

Late medieval scholarly traditions argued that hot climates produced inhabitants of more feeble mental capacities than temperate ones; this theory implicitly justified the enslavement and dominion of such peoples. (Surekha Davis, Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human)

"Ringing the changes" comes from London cabbies giving short change, or false money. (It’s from bell-ringing).

It still amuses me in Australia there are people that actually think that Aboriginal people get some sort of compensation for being Aboriginal, and that everyone's getting some sort of payment or getting to go to uni for free. I've even heard free wedding dresses, free dogs, free Toyotas — it's ludicrous. ( I’ve been told homeless people in London acquire dogs because they get extra benefits for the animals’ food.)

What do you think Christians mean when they say that the USA needs to get back to "God"? (@HeathenSassy)

As a former Christian, I can say honestly that most of the time when Christians say these catch phrases they don't mean anything specific and have no clue what it would look like. Christianese is encouraged but never fully defined. Everyone just mimics each other. (@Conruthhoward)

A friend in Lisburn was told a story recently by a fella, who went to the shops for a neighbour, & was sent straight back cos he’d bought a loaf of Brennan’s & “that’s Catholic bread”. (@artimusfoul)

This house was built 130 years ago, and people were smaller then. HutH

Baa Baa green sheep - it was a tiresome right-wing urban myth a lot of people fell for. I remember kids I taught saying, "My mum knows this woman, and she knows a teacher who said they weren't allowed to teach the children Baa Baa Black Sheep any more." (It was presumably the same school where they weren't allowed to have black bin liners.) (JL)

Blackboards were replaced with whiteboards in most schools for various reasons (technical and health), which was another wonderful opportunity for racist conspiracy theories.

Everyone knows the difference between male and female brains. One is chatty and a little nervous, but never forgets and takes good care of others. The other is calmer, albeit more impulsive, but can tune out gossip to get the job done. (

Agatha Christie hated Hercule Poirot. She said (in the Daily Mail in 1938): “There has been at times a coolness between us. There are moments when I have felt: “Why – why – why did I ever invent this detestable, bombastic, tiresome little creature?” eternally straightening things, eternally boasting, eternally twirling his moustache... Yes, there have been moments when I’ve disliked M. Hercule Poirot very much indeed, when I have rebelled bitterly against being yoked to him for life... But now, I must confess it, Hercule Poirot has won. A reluctant affection has sprung up for him. He has become more human, less irritating. I admire certain things about him - his passion for the truth, his understanding of human frailty, and his kindliness... In spite of his vanity he often chooses deliberately to stand aside and let the main drama develop. (In the same article she talks about his “intense interest in the psychology of every case”. And don’t forget a) she had a sense of humour and b) the article is a teaser for Appointment with Death, which was about to be serialised in the Daily Mail. She also takes the opportunity to refer to some of her other titles.)

More here, and links to the rest. And many more in my book What You Know that Ain't So.

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