Friday, January 05, 2007

inappropriately-used quotes

It makes me crazy when the greeting-card-and-calendar industry forces quotes from writers I love into their little treacly molds. For instance, I read the following on a Valentine's Day themed calendar pullout in the February issue of O: The Oprah Magazine (which I was dismantling for parts, not reading, just for the record): "What will survive of us is love." I mean, good job finding the one sort-of optimistic-sounding line Philip Larkin ever wrote, but here's the whole stanza:
Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone finality
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of living, human, heart-shaped-chocolate-eating love, eh.

Here's another example: I was given a calendar from a dental insurance company this year with a squishy quote for each month. Those quoted include T.S. Eliot, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Robin Williams, Sam Walton, Andy Warhol, Henry James, Pete Seeger, and Sophocles. I suppose these are not so much inappropriately-used quotes as inappropriate combinations of quotees. Calendar industry: believe me when I tell you, it is simply unacceptable to place a quote from Henry James alongside a quote from Sam Walton. And hell, I'm also willing to bet that, wherever they got this Henry James quote from ("Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language"), it's severely out of context. Like quoting Iago and attributing it to Shakespeare.

* * *

Three completely unrelated items:

I just uttered the sentence (out loud, at work), "Where's my Arab Strap?" Yes, and I was also going to listen to an Arab Strap album at work (except not anymore, because I can't find it). I'll take your tributes in puppies.

I officially got straight As last semester.

I really love this comic. Snikt!

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