December 22, 2016

“Let It Snow!” – the Christmas song that isn’t…

 

Every year at Christmas time, when I hear someone sing or say “Let It Snow!” I am reminded of what I learned when I looked into the song that popularized that phrase.

It was launched into our holiday lexicon in December 1945, when singer and big band leader Vaughn Monroe released the first recording of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

On December 22, 1945 his 78 RPM recording of that song entered the Billboard “Best Sellers in Stores” chart (a precursor of Billboard’s Top 40 and Hot 100 charts).
 
The words were written by lyricist Sammy Cahn. The music was by Cahn’s songwriting partner at the time, Jule Styne.

Monroe’s version of the song quickly became a huge hit, making it to Billboard’s number one spot on January 26, 1946.

In the decades since then, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” has been recorded by countless other singers and bands.

Nowadays, many people think it’s a traditional Christmas song. “Let It Snow” is common on Christmas cards and in Christmas-related internet posts.

But, in fact, there’s no reference to Christmas or the holiday season in the lyrics and it wasn’t intended to be Christmas song.

It’s actually a romantic, somewhat corny love song about a guy who is visiting his girlfriend during the winter in some unnamed location.

Since it was the era of PG lyrics, the guy is not expecting to stay for the night. However, when it’s time for him to leave, “the weather is frightful.”

Gosh darnit! It’s snowing too hard for him to travel safely.

The lyrics are written from the guy’s point of view. He seems to see the weather as a stroke of luck and is happy to “let it snow.” 

He suggests to the girl that he’d hate to go out into the storm right at that moment, but if she’d just hold him tight for a while he’d be warm all the way home.

He also mentions he’d brought some popcorn they didn’t get around to eating yet, and the fire is so delightful, and the lights are turned down low, and…

And, the girl buys his snow job. Perhaps not reluctantly.

Then, like in the movies, there’s sort of a fade to a later time in the lyrics. The fire is dying and the couple is still, er, “good-bye-ing.”

Yeah, baby! “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”

Although you may not be old enough to have heard Vaughn Monroe’s original version when it first entered the Billboard chart on December 22, 1945, you’ve heard it if you’re a fan of Bruce Willis action movies.

Monroe’s recording of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” is the first song that plays during the end credits of Willis’ popular action movie Die Hard. It was also used in the soundtrack of Die Hard II.
 
So, yippee-kay-yay, fellow Bruce fans! Click on the video link at right and sing along! Here are the lyrics...

       “Oh, the weather outside is frightful
       But the fire is so delightful
       And since we’ve no place to go
       Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

       It doesn’t show signs of stopping
       And I brought some corn for popping
       The lights are turned way down low
       Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

       When we finally kiss good night
       How I hate going out in the storm
       But if you really you hold me tight
       All the way home I’ll be warm.

       The fire is slowly dying
       And, my dear, we’re still good-bye-ing
       But as long as you love me so
       Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”

Ironically, as noted in the excellent book Stories Behind the Greatest Hits of Christmas, Cahn and Styne wrote the song while sitting in a stifling hot office in Hollywood during the summer of 1945.

Author Ace Collins says Styne worked out a melody he thought sounded “cool” on the piano. Then Cahn turned his thoughts to winter and: “Looking out the window at the California sun baking the landscape, he whispered, ‘Let it snow.’”

It was perfect! In a short time, Cahn and Styne finished what is now considered one of the top 25 Christmas songs of all time — even though it’s not really about Christmas.

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Related reading, listening and viewing…

December 12, 2016

“Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.”


In the 1920s, Sinclair Lewis became one of the most successful writers in America.

During that decade he penned a series of five hugely-popular novels: Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry and Dodsworth.

In 1930, he became the first American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. (Only ten other Americans have won the prize since then.)

When Lewis gave his official acceptance address to the Swedish Academy in Stockholm on December 12, 1930, he made a remark that would become a famous, widely-cited quotation:

       “Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.”

The story behind that quote involves some now little-known facts about America’s literary and academic history.

In the culture war of recent decades, the most common criticism of college professors as a group has been the claim that they are mostly left-leaning, “effete intellectual,” anti-American liberals.

But in the early decades of the Twentieth Century, America’s academic establishment seemed stuffily conservative to boundary-pushing writers like Lewis.

The members of the nation’s top official organization dedicated to fostering “excellence” in American literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, was largely composed of hidebound academics and celebrities who were almost all elderly, White and male.

And, through most of the 1920s, the guidelines for awarding America’s annual Pulitzer Prize for fiction stated that the prize was intended to be “for the American novel published during the year which shall best present the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood.”

Lewis’ first widely-read novel, Main Street (1920), satirized the typical close-minded society of small towns in America. His second, Babbitt (1922), skewered middle-class American businessmen and families. Both titles became symbolic terms for social conformity.

Main Street and Babbitt were huge bestsellers, praised by many critics and suggested as nominees for the Pulitzer Prize. But they clearly bumped up against the outdated guidelines for that award and neither won.

In 1926, the Pulitzer Prize Committee finally did decide to give Lewis a Pulitzer for his third bestseller, Arrowsmith, a novel that focused on an idealistic doctor. However, at that point Lewis decided to thumb his nose at them and refused to accept it.

The letter he wrote to the Committee foreshadows his later Nobel Prize address.

Lewis said the “wholesome” guideline language for the Pulitzer meant that “the appraisal of the novels shall be made not according to their actual literary merit but in obedience to whatever code of Good Form may chance to be popular at the moment.”

“Between the Pulitzer Prizes, the American Academy of Arts and Letters...amateur boards of censorship, and the inquisition of earnest literary ladies,” he added, “every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile. In protest...I must decline the Pulitzer Prize.”

Four years later, when Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Literature, one tight-assed member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters attacked the decision publicly. By awarding the prize to a writer who had scoffed at American institutions, he sniffed, the Nobel Committee and the Swedish Academy had insulted America.

Lewis reflected on all this in the acceptance address he gave in Sweden on December 12, 1930.

He titled it “The American Fear of Literature.” And, in it, he aimed some pointed barbs at America’s academic and literary establishment.

He criticized the American Academy of Arts and Letters saying, among other things: “It does not represent the literary America of today, it represents only Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.”

He also took another poke at the Pulitzer Committee and others who tried to make literature conform to rah-rah, politically-correct standards.

In America, he said:

“…even writers are still afraid of any literature which is not a glorification of everything American...To be not only a best seller in America but to be really beloved, a novelist must assert that all American men are tall, handsome, rich, honest, and powerful at golf; that all country towns are filled with neighbors who do nothing from day to day save go about being kind to one another; that although American girls may be wild, they change always into perfect wives and mothers.”

Then, Lewis took some shots at the typical professors of literature at America’s universities, in a section of the speech that ends with his famous quotation:

“To a true-blue professor of literature in an American university, literature is not something that a plain human being, living today, painfully sits down to produce. No; it is something dead; it is something magically produced by superhuman beings who must, if they are to be regarded as artists at all, have died at least one hundred years before the diabolical invention of the typewriter. To any authentic don, there is something slightly repulsive in the thought that literature could be created by any ordinary human being, still to be seen walking the streets, wearing quite commonplace trousers and coat and looking not so unlike a chauffeur or a farmer. Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.

Lewis’ Nobel Prize address caused a huge uproar when it was reprinted in newspapers in the United States.

But as Liberace once put it, Lewis laughed all the way to the bank.

Recipients of the Nobel Prize receive a large monetary award; hundreds of thousands in Lewis’ time, now nearly $1 million.

When reporters asked what was he going to do with all that money, Lewis quipped that he would use it to support a young American author — himself.

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Related reading and viewing…

December 03, 2016

“Out Where the West Begins”


On an early December night in 1911, journalist Arthur Chapman was trying to come up with a topic for his regular column in the Denver Republican newspaper, called “Center Shots.”

As he was thinking, he saw an Associated Press dispatch about an ongoing disagreement between the Governors of several Western states.

They were arguing over which state should be considered the state where “the West” begins.

The AP story gave Chapman a flash of inspiration. He sometimes wrote cowboy-style poems for his column and, in a matter of minutes, he wrote one on the topic the Governors were debating.

He titled it “Out Where the West Begins.”

On December 3, 1911 the poem was published for the first time in Chapman’s column in the Denver Republican. It was soon reprinted in other newspapers across the country.

Over the next five years, “Out Where the West Begins” became one of best known bits of verse in America.

In 1917, musician Estelle Philleo wrote music for the poem and turned it into a popular song.

That same year, it was published in a book collecting Chapman’s poetry, Out Where the West Begins and Other Western Verses.

“Out Where the West Begins” made Chapman famous and is still renowned as one of the greatest examples of cowboy poetry.

Here’s how he answered the question of where “the West” begins in his poem:

       “Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
       Out where the smile dwells a little longer,
             That’s where the West begins;
       Out where the sun is a little brighter,
       Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter;
       Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter;
             That’s where the West begins.
       Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
       Out where the friendship’s a little truer,
             That’s where the West begins
       Out where a fresher breeze is blowing, 
       Where there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing,
       Where there’s more of reaping and less of sowing,
             That’s where the West begins.
       Out where the world is in the making,
       Where fewer hearts with despair are aching;
             That’s where the West begins;
       Where there’s more of singing and less of sighing,
       Where there’s more of giving and less of buying,
       And where a man makes friends without half trying,
             That’s where the West begins.”

If you’d like to know other answers to question of where the West begins – and where the East peters out – see the post on my QuoteCounterquote.com site at this link.

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Further reading and listening about Cowboy (and Cowgirl) poetry

November 22, 2016

“You say you want a revolution?”


“You say you want a revolution” is a line every Beatles fan knows.

It’s from the song “Revolution” on the Beatles’ famed double album known as The White Album.

John Lennon was inspired to write the song after watching news about the student riots in Paris in May of 1968.

Like many people around the world, he was shocked to see crowds of young people throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails at the police, breaking shop windows and setting cars on fire.

There wasn’t one specific cause for the riots.

Various demonstrators said they were angry about various things, ranging from university policies and tuition costs to the treatment of low wage French workers and the war in Vietnam.

In the lyrics he wrote for “Revolution,” Lennon indicated that he supported efforts to seek social and political changes, but opposed using violence as means to those ends:

       “You say you want a revolution
        Well, you know
        We all want to change the world…
        But when you talk about destruction
        Don't you know that you can count me out.”

The first version of “Revolution,” with the “count me out” lyrics, was released on a 45rpm single record on August 11, 1968. It was the B-side. “Hey Jude” was the A-side.

The video at the top of this post is a live performance of the single release. (In it, Lennon sings “We’d all love to change the world,” instead of “…want to change...”)

On November 22, 1968, the Beatles released their famed double album known as The White Album.

The first song on the second side of the second LP disc was a version of “Revolution,” titled “Revolution 1.”

It was a slower musical take of the song that had been recorded before the version used on the single.

In the final audio mix of “Revolution 1” for The White Album, Lennon overdubbed a snippet of himself saying the word “in” after “Don't you know that you can count me out.”

So, on “Revolution 1” version we hear:

       “But when you talk about destruction
        Don't you know that you can count me out … IN!”

Why the change?

Because after the original single version of the song was released in August, Lennon was criticized by many leftist leaders and groups who felt that “Revolution” insulted them and their positions on social issues.

That bothered Lennon.

John Lennon - Power to the People recordHe actually agreed with many of the positions espoused by Left wing activists; especially their opposition to racism and the Vietnam War and their support for better wages and benefits for common working people. 

One reflection of his inner conflict was the “out … IN!” in “Revolution 1.”

As journalist Jon Weiner noted in his retrospective on Lennon’s music in The Nation, Lennon once explained: “I put both in because I wasn’t sure.”

After 1968, Lennon became even more frustrated by the lack of progress toward the social changes he supported and by the continuation of the war in Vietnam.

In 1971, after the Beatles had broken up, he wrote the song “Power to the People,” a phrase borrowed from the Black Panthers and other radical groups that actually did sometimes espouse violent revolution.

It was recorded by Lennon, Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band and released a single that year.

In the lyrics, Lennon revisited the topic of revolution, writing:

         “Say you want a revolution
        We better get on right away...
        A million workers working for nothing
        You better give ‘em what they really own
        We got to put you down
        When we come into town
        Singing power to the people
        Power to the people.”

The record jacket for the “Power to the People” single shows a photo of Lennon with his clenched fist raised in a revolutionary-style power salute.

I’m a huge fan of the Beatles and like a lot of the solo music John Lennon recorded before his tragic assassination by John Hinckley in 1980.

As I was writing this post, I listened to “Power to the People” again on YouTube.

The music still sounds pretty good. And, as a Baby Boomer who leaned fairly far left in the Seventies, I recall why I related to the song’s message back then.

But nowadays, as I near my own Seventies agewise, I prefer “Give Peace a Chance.”

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Related reading, listening and viewing…

November 18, 2016

“We will bury you!” (Or something like that.)


On November 18, 1956, Communist leader Nikita Khrushchev, the head of the Soviet Union, attended a party at the Polish Embassy in Moscow.

At that event, he made some boasting comments about the competition between Communism and “capitalist states” like the US.

One of those comments included what would become Khrushchev’s most famous (and infamous) quotation.

The words he spoke in Russian were “My vas pokhoronim,” an idiomatic expression that was traditionally used as a humor-tinged taunt in Russia.

Some translations say it means “We will outlast you.” But since the word pokhoronim does refer to burial, it has also been interpreted as “We will be present at your funeral.” 

It bears a similarity to the American English idiom “It’s your funeral,” which is often used jokingly.

US news reports translated Khrushchev’s remark as “We will bury you.”

In an era when nuclear war between US and USSR was a constant concern, Americans didn’t see it as funny.

The context of the quote involved comments Khrushchev made about two recent world events.

One was the brief revolution in Soviet-dominated Hungary, which had just been brutally squashed by Russian troops.

The other was the recent bombing and invasion of Egypt by France, Britain and Israel, precipitating the Suez Crisis.

At the Embassy party on November 18th, Khrushchev blamed Western-backed “Fascist gangs” for fomenting the rebellion in Hungary. He also denounced the “imperialists and their puppets” who had attacked Egypt, a recent Soviet ally.

Then, according to an Associated Press report, Khrushchev added:

“Socialist states...base ourselves on the idea that we must peacefully co-exist. About the capitalist states, it doesn’t depend on you whether or not we exist...If you don’t like us, don’t accept our invitations and don’t invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.”

The story caused a huge stir in the US.

Headlines blared “‘We Will Bury You,’ Russian Boss Rants” and “Raging Soviet Boss Shouts At The West ‘We Will Bury You.’” 
 
Many Americans believed Khrushchev was saying that the Soviet Union could — and some day would — violently destroy the US and its allies, implicitly in a nuclear war.

Nowadays, most books and Internet posts that cite the quote say “We will bury you” is a mistranslation of the Russian idiom and that Khrushchev was being more flippant than fearsomely threatening.

A post on the always-interesting site Cracked.com, titled “6 Mistranslations That Changed The World,” offered this explanation:

“As it turns out, a better literal translation of his words would have been, ‘We will be present when you are buried.’ This was actually a pretty common saying in Soviet Russia. What Khrushchev really meant was, ‘We will outlast you.’ It was just the usual ‘communism is better than capitalism’ posturing that went on all the time in the Cold War, but thanks to misinterpretations...Americans thought Khrushchev was threatening to literally bury us in the rubble of a nuclear attack.”

I grew up in the 1950s, when we practiced “duck and cover” drills at school and families were building fallout shelters in their back yards in the hopes of surviving the expected nuclear showdown with Russia.

I tend to think the modern take on Khrushchev’s most (in)famous quote overlooks something.

In 1956, the nuclear arms race and the threat of nuclear war were real and taken very seriously.

“We shall be present at your funeral” or “We shall outlive you” or any of the other “better” translations that are now suggested would probably have sounded just as hostile and threatening to most Americans.

So the fact that “We will bury you” may have been a mistranslation, misquote or misunderstanding, while interesting, may also be moot.

The concern caused by Khrushchev’s use of the words “My vas pokhoronim” would likely have been the same in the US regardless of the translation.

Of course, six years later, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, we found out Khrushchev didn’t actually have the sharries to start a nuclear war with the U.S.

He backed down after President John F. Kennedy threatened to push the button first if the Soviets refused to remove the nuclear missiles they had secretly shipped to Cuba.

I don’t know what Kennedy said to Khrushchev behind the scenes during that high stakes game of Cold War brinksmanship.

But I suspect it might have been something along the lines of “We will bury you.”

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Related reading, listening and viewing…

November 04, 2016

As Maine goes, so goes: (a) the nation (b) Vermont . . .


In the November 1936 presidential election, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected for a second term in a landslide victory over his Republican opponent, Kansas Governor Alf Landon.

Roosevelt received more than 60% of the vote and won in all but two states – Maine and Vermont.

On November 4, 1936, the day after the election, Roosevelt’s campaign manager James A. Farley gave reporters what would now be called a good sound bite.

“As Maine goes, so goes Vermont,” he quipped.

Farley’s witty remark soon became a famous humorous political quotation.

It was especially funny to political observers because it’s a take-off on the older saying: “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

What’s the origin of that venerable political proverb?

It is sometimes claimed to be based on the fact that Maine was the first state to enact a law prohibiting alcohol in 1851.

For example, an article published in the Boston Globe in 2000 said it “was coined at the peak of the state’s 19th-century temperance movement, in an era when New England shaped national opinion on fundamental issues from slavery to child labor to women's suffrage.”

But that temperance theory is wrong.

Nor is the saying based on Mainers’ record on votes for president.

In fact, historically, Mainers have voted for a higher percentage of losing presidential candidates than many other states.

The saying “As Maine goes, so goes the nation” primarily stems from the fact that Maine once held its state elections for Governor, U.S. Senators and Congressmen and other non-presidential offices in September – two months before other states.

The outcome of this unique early election was seen as an indication of how the political winds were blowing in general for the Democrat and Republican parties.

Maine’s September election, on the second Monday of the month, was created in its constitution in 1820, when it split from Massachusetts to became a separate state.

In presidential election years, Mainers also went back to the polls in November to vote on the presidential race.

In 1957, Maine changed its election law and, in 1960, started holding all general elections on the same November election dates as other states.

But even though Maine’s old September election tradition is gone, the saying “As Maine goes, so goes the nation” has lived on – as has James Farley’s update, “As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.”

In 1972, some observers thought Maine gave a different sign of things to come in politics when it passed a law making it the first state to allow its electoral vote to be split. Under that law, the winner of each congressional district gets one electoral vote, and the winner of the statewide vote gets the state's remaining two electoral votes.

Supporters of that law touted it as a more democratic alternative to the traditional system of having all of a state’s electoral votes go to the presidential candidate who gets the most votes statewide.

As it turned out, the nation didn’t go that way. In 1996, Nebraska became the only other state to pass a similar law, though I don’t think it led anyone to start saying: “As Maine goes so goes Nebraska.”

AN UPDATE WRITTEN ON NOVEMBER 4, 2016:
Since Maine has only four electoral votes, it’s not usually a key swing state in presidential elections. However, as I write this paragraph, some political pundits were speculating that the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may be so close that even one of Maine's electoral votes could determine the winner. I may update this post after the November 8th election. In the meantime, we'll all continue to be, er, kept in suspense about that.

AN UPDATE WRITTEN ON NOVEMBER 8, 2016:
As it turned out, Donald Trump did get one electoral vote from Maine. It was the first time since the 1972 law was passed that the state’s electoral votes actually were split between two candidates. However, it wasn’t a deciding factor in the election. Trump would have
won handily without it. Hillary Clinton won Maine’s other three electoral votes, since the majority of Mainers voted for her. So did the majority of voters in Vermont, suggesting that James Farley’s quip “As Maine goes, so goes Vermont” remains truer than the earlier saying “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

NOTE: If you’d like to read more about the 1936 election, FDR and James Farley, I recommend the book Mr. Democrat: Jim Farley, the New Deal and the Making of Modern American Politics.

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Related reading…

October 21, 2016

The 1984 presidential debate that launched the term “Spin Doctors” – and a famous quip...


Nowadays, most people are familiar with the term “spin doctors.” I think they’ve been more omnipresent than ever during the 2016 presidential campaign, though few people know how they got that name.

The term is used to refer to the professional political consultants, PR gurus and media commentators who create or utter statements designed to influence public perceptions of politicians, events, corporations and organizations.

The connection between the word spin and things that are tricky or misleading is fairly old.

The use of the expression “spin a yarn,” in the sense of telling a tall tale, goes back at least to the early 1800s.

And, for more than a century, pitchers have been putting “spin” on baseballs to trick batters.

But “spin doctor” is a more recent phrase.

As documented by language maven William Safire in his New York Times column and noted in a fascinating story on NPR radio, that term was first used in a New York Times editorial published on October 21, 1984.

The topic was the televised debate scheduled that night between President Ronald Reagan, who was running for reelection, and the Democratic Presidential candidate, former Vice President Walter Mondale.

It was the second of two presidential debates between Reagan and Mondale.

During the first debate, on October 7, 1984, many observers thought Reagan seemed somewhat tired and confused. Mondale gave the stronger performance.

Reagan remained ahead on the polls after that debate. But some pundits speculated that if Reagan “lost” a second debate — or seemed lost during the debate — it could spell trouble for him when voters cast their ballots on November 6th.

An editorial published in the New York Times on the day of the second debate predicted that the candidates’ surrogates would work fast and hard to make it seem like their candidate won, no matter what happened.

The first paragraph of the editorial said:

“Tonight at about 9:30, seconds after the Reagan-Mondale debate ends, a bazaar will suddenly materialize in the press room of the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium. A dozen men in good suits and women in silk dresses will circulate smoothly among the reporters, spouting confident opinions. They won’t be just press agents trying to impart a favorable spin to a routine release. They’ll be the Spin Doctors, senior advisors to the candidates, and they’ll be playing for very high stakes. How well they do their work could be as important as how well the candidates do theirs.”

Reagan and Mondale’s PR people did indeed try to put their spin on the outcome after the debate. But the real outcome was that Mondale failed to gain any significant ground in the polls and Reagan uttered the most memorable line of the night.

One of the debate moderators, Baltimore Sun reporter Henry Trewhitt, asked Reagan about an issue he said had been “lurking” during the campaign — Reagan’s age. (President Reagan was 73 at the time.)

“You already are the oldest President in history,” Trewhitt said. “And some of your staff say you were tired after your most recent encounter with Mr. Mondale…President Kennedy had to go for days on end with very little sleep during the Cuban missile crisis. Is there any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function in such circumstances?”

Reagan responded with what became one of his most famous quotations, saying:

“Not at all, Mr. Trewhitt, and I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.”

The audience laughed and applauded loudly at Reagan’s quip.

Then Reagan added:

“If I still have time, I might add, Mr. Trewhitt, I might add that it was Seneca or it was Cicero, I don’t know which, that said, ‘If it was not for the elders correcting the mistakes of the young, there would be no state.’”

There is no record of Seneca, Cicero or any other ancient Roman celebrity saying anything exactly like that.

However, as Latin scholar Chris Jones has noted on the excellent LatinLanguage.us site, there is a quote recorded by Cicero that comes close to what Reagan said.

In Cato Maior De Senectute, Cicero quotes Cato as saying: “The greatest states are made unsteady by the young, sustained and restored by the old.” (Also translated as: “The mightiest States have been brought into peril by young men…supported and restored by old.”)

At any rate, Reagan’s advanced age and somewhat fuzzy memory were not viewed as problems by the majority of American voters.

On November 6, 1984, Reagan was reelected by an overwhelming margin. He carried 49 of the 50 states, 59% of the popular vote and 525 electoral votes out of 538 — the highest number of electoral votes ever received up by any American president.

Looking at the current political landscape, I think it’s a win record that is unlikely to be broken in the foreseeable future.

NOTE TO HISTORY BUFFS: To watch the entire October 21, 1964 Reagan-Mondale debate, click this link to the C-SPAN Video Library.

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