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Why is a brief brief? Kafka quote sought
Posted: 28 September 2008 11:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Heh, I was my usual helpful self in the Shakespeare thread.

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Posted: 30 September 2008 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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I tracked down the quotation I referred to earlier that was being bandied about last year by right-wing posters. It’s supposed to be by Cicero, but none of the various quotation sites give any hint of which of his works it’s supposed to come from, which is always a bad sign. Unlike the Caesar quote, though, Snopes doesn’t seem to have debunked it.

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.

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Posted: 02 October 2008 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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kurwamac - 30 September 2008 08:34 PM

… none of the various quotation sites give any hint of which of his works it’s supposed to come from, which is always a bad sign ...

It’s not necessarily a good sign even when someone does give chapter and verse for a source. There’s a quote supposedly by Caesar about the Britons drinking “a high and mighty liquor ... made from barley and water” which crops up in various beery places - one brewery in Massachusetts has even named itself High and Mighty Brewing Company, and has the quote on its website. Mia Ball in The Worshipful Company of Brewers, A Short History (1977) says it comes from De Bello Gallico, Book 1, Chapter 5. It doesn’t - in fact Book 1 isn’t even about the two invasions of Britain, which are in books 4 and 5 - and nor does it seem to appear anywhere else in De Bello Gallico or any other of Caesar’s writings. However, uncovering Ms Ball’s error did have the excellent effect on me of ensuring I haven’t trusted a secondary source since ...

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