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If you haven't yet seen chiasmus in your everyday life ... put more life into you, everyday with chiasmus!

Chiasmus in everyday life....

The more I look around, the more I see examples of chiasmus in magazines, newspapers, movies, all sorts of literary articles, even in everyday conversation.

Do you see and hear examples also, in your travels?

I've been collecting these chiastic quotes for a while now, and I thought you might be interested in browsing though them. I keep adding more as I find them, so you may want to bookmark this page and drop in periodically....

Recently, I looked again at Catch-22, the movie. It's what ... 30 years since I saw it? There's Art Garfunkel talking to an old Italian, both discussing the state of WW2 and the ruins of Italy.
Art's character says: "It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
The old wise man says: "No ... It's better to live on your feet than die on your knees."
I missed it, when I saw the movie many years ago and also after, when I read the book.

Saw this in a column by Amy Harmon, in NY Times, in the run up to the Iraq conflict:
"But as video war games gain popularity throughout the armed forces, some military trainers worry that the more the games seem like war, the more war may start to seem like a game."
An interesting article also, and obviously topical, at that time.

And, from the NY Times again, in one of the many articles about the Road Map to peace:
"We have to get an agreement with Israel in order to get an agreement with Hamas. And we have to get an agreement with Hamas in order to get an agreement with Israel."
From Michael Tarazi, legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization. Sort of epitomizes what goes around, comes around - ad infinitum.

"The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavour upon the business known as gambling."
Attributed to Ambrose (Gwinnett) Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

"Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing."
From Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought."
By Henri Louis Bergson

"Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability."
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), Roman statesman, orator, philosopher

"Most idealistic people are skint. I have discovered that people with money have no imagination, and people with imagination have no money."
Simone Weil (1909-43), French philosopher, mystic

"We must stop talking about the American dream and start listening to the dreams of Americans."
By Reubin Askew

In a recent movie I saw — entitled "Love and Death on Long Island"— the main character (John Hurt) commented wryly on the differences between England and America, saying (as he paid for a meal in a diner):
"In England, we ask for the bill and pay with a check, while here in America I ask for the check and pay with a bill."

Some say that work is just another four letter word. I disagree with that position and that's why I like this one:
"What I still ask for daily - for life as long as I have work to do, and work as long as I have life."
From Reynolds Price

How could I not include a great turn of phrase from one of the masters of wit?
"It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them."
Mark Twain (1835-1910)

As you have noted, I like the way chiasmus pops up in movies. Just recently, I saw again the classic "The Caine Mutiny" with a great cast, including Humphrey Bogart, Fred MacMurray, Van Johnson and many others (even Lee Marvin in a very small role).

Fred MacMurray played the Communications Officer, Keefer, and uses chiasmus with great wit. In this scene, we're on board the Caine, a broken down and worn out ship that had seen too much service; it looked like the proverbial dog's breakfast.
The first captain (played by Tom Tully) asks the new ensign (played by Robert Francis):
Captain:"Well, Ensign, do you think this ship is a mess, eh?"
But, motor-mouth Keefer butts in:
Keefer:"No, the question is: Is this mess a ship?"

If you've read any of Bill Bryson's books, then you know he's a keen observer of the English language ... including the American version. In one of his books — Mother Tongue — I came across a neat quote that exemplifies the difference:
"Consider that in Britain the Royal Mail delivers the post, not the mail, while in America the Postal Service delivers the mail, not the post."

Not long ago, I was able to watch a 1934 classic film, directed by John Ford, called "The Lost Patrol". It was a gripping story about soldiers trapped at an oasis by enemy snipers. One by one the soldiers were being picked off....
During an exchange of viewpoints about Life, Death and The Whole Damn Thing, one of the group, when asked about what he believed in, quipped:
"Being drunk enough to be brave and brave enough to be drunk."

I was trolling around the net, as we all do, when I came upon another quotes site. I'd been doing some research on Ralph Nader and queried the site for any interesting quotes.

The man has said a lot of good things in his life, but I particularly liked this:
"Turn on to politics, or politics will turn on you."
How true that is still today....

I was watching a contemporary movie - V for Vendetta - and caught this great quote:
"The people should not be afraid of the government; the governemnt should be afraid of the people...."
Quite relevant in today's fear of terror ... and the resulting terror of fear, no?

I was researching a quote book recently and came upon this from Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895; biologist, Darwinist and agnostic):
"Try to learn something about everything and everything about something."
I've seen it many times, quoted by others, but Huxley appears to be the source. I think it's an excellent credo for inquiring minds....

Suffering is part of the human condition, that we know. The following from Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592; French essayist and moralist) puts it all into perspective....
"A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears."
Try as we might, we can't escape it. Bummer!

Watching one of those film-noir again, I caught this nifty construction from Joseph Cotton talking with the ravishing Valli, in Walk Softly Stranger, a forgotten little gem from 1950. Asking about his past experience, the lady asks ... not knowing that he's a con man and gambler on the run:
Valli: "So, what have you done?"
Cotton: "Gamblers call me a sucker - suckers call me a gambler!"
Some of you may know that Cotton and Valli appeared together a year earlier in one of the greatest film-noir, The Third Man.

I was reading one of Jim Thompson's hard boiled pieces of fiction - The Getaway - when I came upon this snippet. Doc McCoy - the protagonist bank robber - is ruminating about knowing when to tread carefully in some of life's situations....
"Leave well enough be, and you'll be well enough."
It epitomized McCoy's reflective character - even as he and his wife, Carol, continued on their path of self-destruction. Ironically, in the long run, Doc should have taken his own advice.

I remember reading a number of books on management, by the great Peter Drucker, back in my corporate days. Recently, I was reading a biography and saw a chiastic gem that I'd like to share....
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."
Peter Drucker 1909-2005
More of our political mandarins should read more of Drucker, I reckon.

Remember also, homonyms and homophones form the backbone of chiasmus.

So, to get you going with words that sound the same as each other ... well, you can get those right here, with Roger’s Reference.
Roger signing off.

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Another Fool's Paradise

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February 1st, 2015
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