May 18, 2019

“Greed is all right” — the forerunner of “Greed is good”

Ivan Boesky, Greed is all rightWall Street whiz Ivan Boesky was riding high in 1986.

During the early 1980s, he’d made hundreds of millions of dollars trading stocks, doing real estate deals and masterminding leverage buyouts of distressed businesses.

He was lauded as a financial genius in many magazine and newspaper articles and often invited to speak at business seminars, colleges and universities.

On May 18, 1986, Boesky gave the commencement address at the UC Berkeley’s School of Business Administration. 

One of the things he told the students in that speech became a famous (and infamous) quotation that led to an even more famous movie quote.

“Greed is all right, by the way,” he said blithely. “I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.”

Boesky was feeling less good the following year.

Federal SEC investigators had discovered that many of Boesky’s huge stock profit windfalls were based on illegal insider information.

In November 1986, he was arrested and eventually convicted, after providing evidence that led to the downfall of some of his other ethically-challenged Wall Street friends, including financier Michael Milken.

Based on a plea deal, Boesky was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and required to pay a record-breaking fine of $100 million.

Boesky’s rise and fall and his “Greed is all right” speech were part of filmmaker Oliver Stone’s inspiration for the movie Wall Street.

Stone co-wrote the script and directed the film, which was released on December 11, 1987 in U.S. theaters.  

The movie stars Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, a ruthless Wall Street investor who specializes in hostile takeovers, leveraged buyouts, and junk bond financing.

Michael Douglas Greed is Good Wall Street (1987)Gekko has no pangs about taking over, gutting, and reselling companies regardless of the impacts on employees and local communities.

In fact, he’s proud of his takeover record, as he explains in the memorable speech he gives that includes the line usually misquoted as “Greed is good.” It’s a pithier, shortened version of what Douglas actually says.

In that scene, he’s speaking to a meeting of shareholders of the company Teldar Paper, which he wants to take over.

To encourage them to approve his takeover bid, he tells them he has studied the company and found that the current management is wasting money and shortchanging shareholders.

Then he says:

“I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them. The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you.”

The Teldar shareholders like what Gekko says and give him a standing ovation.

Despite the fact that Gekko is a slimy character who, like Boesky, ultimately goes to prison for insider trading — and despite the financial scandals and meltdowns that happened before and after Wall Street was released — there are still those who essentially agree with what he and Boesky said about greed.

It’s fits the Ayn Randian “enlightened self-interest” creed of the wealthy 1%ers and others who support the ideal of unfettered capitalism and oppose “over-regulation” of businesses — a subset of people who have increasingly dominated American politics.

Indeed, the economic and political trends of the past few decades could be summed up by something else Gordon Gekko says in Wall Street

He explains to his protégé in the film, played by Charlie Sheen:

“The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars...We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you’re not naïve enough to think we’re living in a democracy, are you buddy?”

Flash forward to Ivan Boesky three decades later. 

After being busted in 1987, he spent a mere two years in the Lompoc Federal Prison Camp in California.

And, although he was permanently prohibited from involvement in the realm of stocks and finance and was required to pay out much of his past fortune in fines, he’s still better off than most of us.

In 1991, he divorced his wife Seema, who came from a wealthy family and had her own fortune.

She agreed to pay him $23 million and $180,000 a year for life. She also gave him one of their mansions, in La Jolla, California.

As of 2019, at age 82, Boesky still lives there. According one recent article, he is now “a wild-haired Rasputin-like recluse.”

I imagine him looking at the continuing wealth gap in America and who's in the White House and thinking, with some chagrin, that our country is clearly still run by people who believe in the greed principle he espoused. People who, like him, may have bent or broken a few laws to become rich and powerful.

He’s just one of the few who got caught and punished for it.

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May 13, 2019

Blood, sweat and tears — and toil...

Almost everything most people know about the origin of the phrase “blood, sweat and tears” is wrong.

Some people think Winston Churchill coined it in the famous speech he gave to the British House of Commons on May 13, 1940.

But, in fact, Churchill didn’t coin the phrase. Nor did he say it in that address.

Even though it is often referred to as his “blood, sweat and tears speech,” the phrase he actually used on May 13, 1940 was “blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

That’s probably why some books and online posts claim Churchill “never said ‘blood, sweat and tears.’”

But that’s wrong, too.

In fact, Churchill did use the phrase “blood, sweat and tears” in things he said before 1940.

He also approved its use as the title of a book of his speeches published in 1941, which included his May 13, 1940 speech — thus helping to create the confusion about what he actually said that day.

It takes a lot of Googling and reading to figure all this out.

I will save you some time by summarizing what I found after doing a lot of Googling and reading.

Some of the earliest uses of “blood, sweat and tears” are noted by quotation maven Ralph Keyes his excellent book The Quote Verifier, which says:

“A 1611 John Donne poem included the lines ‘That ‘tis in vaine to dew, or mollifie / It with thy Teares, or Sweat, or Bloud.’ More than two centuries later, Byron wrote, ‘Year after year they voted cent per cent / Blood, sweat, and tear-wrung millions—why?—for rent!’ In his 1888 play Smith, Scottish poet-playwright John Davidson wrote of ‘Blood – sweats and tears, and haggard, homeless lives.’ By 1939, a Lady Tegart reported in a magazine article that Jewish communal colonies in Palestine were ‘built on a foundation of blood, sweat, and tears’.”

Starting in the mid-1800s, the phrase “blood, sweat and tears” came to be used by in descriptions of the trials and tribulations of Jesus Christ.

For example, the lyrics of the 1842 hymn “Christ in the Garden” include the lines:

     “So deep was his sorrow, so fervent his prayers,
     That down o'er his bosom roll’d blood, sweat, and tears!”

In the decades after that, the phrase became — and remains — common in Christian sermons.

Wikipedia’s "Blood, toil, tears, and sweat" entry notes some other early uses, including one by UK poet Lord Alfred Douglas, who wrote in the introduction to a 1919 collection of his poems that poetry “is forged slowly and painfully, link by link, with blood and sweat and tears.”

By 1940, “blood, sweat and tears” and variations of those words had become a common way of describing the concept of extremely hard work needed to overcome challenges or hardships.

The evolution of Winston Churchill’s own uses of those words has been documented in articles by Churchill scholar Richard M. Langworth, posted on the websites of the Churchill Project and the International Churchill Society.

Langworth notes that Churchill used the two-word phrase “blood and tears” in several conversations, books and articles between 1899 and 1940.

Churchill first added sweat to the litany in his World War I memoir, The World Crisis, vol. V, “The Eastern Front,” published in 1931. In the first chapter of that volume, he wrote:

“These pages recount dazzling victories and defeats stoutly made good. They record the toils, perils, sufferings and passions of millions of men. Their sweat, their tears, their blood bedewed the endless plain.”

In 1939, Churchill used the formulation “blood, sweat and tears” in a newspaper opinion piece he wrote about the Spanish Civil War. In that, he said “here are new structures of national life erected upon blood, sweat and tears.”

Finally, on May 13, 1940, Churchill used the version immortalized by his speech to the House of Commons.

A few days before that, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had resigned in disgrace, after an unsuccessful attempt to avoid war with Germany by trying to appease Adolf Hitler with the “Munich Agreement.”

In that agreement, negotiated in September 1930, Chamberlain consented to Hitler’s demand to make the Sudetenland in western Czechoslovakia part of Germany, not long after Austria had been absorbed into the growing Nazi empire.

Chamberlain caved to Hitler in hopes of staving off a second world war. He apparently believed Hitler’s promise that, in return, Germany would refrain from attempts at further expansion.

On September 30, 1938, Chamberlain made the infamous, deluded claim that the Munich Agreement would ensure “peace for our time” (often misquoted as “peace in our time”).

Winston Churchill didn’t buy it.

He publicly lambasted Chamberlain, saying: “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.”

It soon became clear that Hitler had indeed lied and Churchill was right.

In the fall of 1939, the Germans invaded Poland. Early in 1940, the Nazis overwhelmed Denmark, then invaded and overran Norway.

On May 9, 1940, faced with the failure of his appeasement policy, Neville Chamberlain resigned.

The next day, Winston Churchill was appointed as Prime Minister.

On May 13, Churchill met with his Cabinet. According to the International Churchill Society, one of the things he said to the Cabinet members was: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

Later that day, he used the line in his first speech to the House of Commons as Prime Minister.

Some of the lines that came after that line in the speech also became widely quoted, and it’s still stirring to hear the historic recording of Churchill delivering them.

In the closing part of the address, Churchill said, in his inimitable way:

“I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’ We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, ‘come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.’”

Shortly after Churchill’s May 13, 1940 address, some people were already misquoting or paraphrasing its most famous line.

When publishers used BLOOD SWEAT and TEARS as the title of a collection of his speeches that was announced by press releases in the fall of 1940 and published in 1941, it solidified the mistaken belief that those were the words he had used and his May 13 address.

It also helped ensure that the address would be commonly referred to as Churchill’s “blood, sweat and tears speech.”

Of course, Hitler and the Nazis were eventually defeated, thanks in large part to Churchill’s steadfast leadership.

As he urged, victory against the Nazis was achieved by an unprecedented, united effort by the people of Great Britain with the crucial help of the United States.

And, as Churchill said prophetically in his speech, that victory required a great deal of blood, toil, tears and sweat.

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May 05, 2019

“Live fast, die young and have [or leave] a good-looking corpse!”


The saying “Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse!” is often associated with actor James Dean.

Dean didn’t say it as a line in any of his own movies. Nor did he coin it.

But he was a fan of the classic 1949, noir film that made it a famous movie quote, Knock on Any Door.

Biographies of Dean indicate that he embraced the words as his own fatalistic motto and lived his brief life accordingly.

Indeed, two books about Dean use part of the saying in their title: John Gilmore’s 1997 biography Live Fast–Die Young: Remembering the Short Life of James Dean and Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause (2005) by Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel.

Gilmore was an actor and writer who met Dean in 1953, became Dean’s close friend and (according to Gilmore) his lover.

Gilmore noted Dean’s fondness for the “live fast, die young…” line in his own book and in interviews he did for others.

For example, in an interview Gilmore did for the LIFE magazine book James Dean: A Rebel's Life in Pictures (2016), he said Dean once wondered aloud what they’d put on his tombstone, then quipped: “You remember the movie [Humphrey] Bogart made — Knock on Any Door — and the line ‘Live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse?’ I’m going to be so good-looking they’re going to have to cement me in the coffin.”

If you’re a serious movie buff, you may know actor John Derek says the line “Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse!” in Knock on Any Door, which premiered in New York City on February 21, 1949.

It was the first major film role for Derek (who later married and guided the early film career of Bo Derek).

He plays Nick Romano, a young Italian hoodlum from the Chicago slums who is accused of killing a cop.

Humphrey Bogart plays his attorney, Andrew Morton.

In the film, Nick tells his girlfriend that “Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse!” is his motto in life.

The movie gave the saying lasting fame, though it now often given in the variant form “…leave a good-looking corpse” (instead of have).

The movie line comes directly from the novel the film is based on, Knock on Any Door by the African-American novelist Willard Motley (1912-1965).

In Motley’s novel, Nick says it several times and cites it as his personal motto.

The novel was published on May 5, 1947 and became a popular bestseller.

At the time, it was unusual for an African-American author to write a book in which the central characters were white. But most readers didn’t care.

Some bigoted observers did complain about a “Negro” writing about white people.

Motley responded to their jibes by saying “My race is the human race” (a line he cited as his own personal motto).

Indeed, that empathetic concept is a central theme of the book and movie. And, the reason for empathy is memorably summed up by Humphrey Bogart’s character during a courtroom scene.

Bogart says to the jury who will decide if Nick is executed: “Until we do away with the type of neighborhood that produced this boy, ten will spring up to take his place, a hundred, a thousand. Until we wipe out the slums and rebuild them, knock on any door and you may find Nick Romano.”

Quotation expert Ralph Keyes notes in his great book The Quote Verifier that Motley was probably “recycling street talk” when he wrote the line “Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse.”

More recent research by quote guru Garson O’Toole, author of the excellent QuoteInvestigator.com website and the book Hemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations, found precursors of the saying dating back to the 1800s. 

O’Toole found also documented that the version Motley used in his novel was in common use by the 1920s.

So, although Motley’s novel and the movie adapted from it gave the saying wider familiarity, neither one is the origin.

Over the decades, there have been many witty reuses and variations on the line.

One of my favorites is spoken by Ricky Gervais in an episode of original BBC version of the TV series The Office.

In Season 2, Episode 3 of that show, Gervais says: “You know that old thing, live fast, die young? Not my way. Live fast, sure, live too bloody fast sometimes, but die young? Die old! That’s the way. Not orthodox. I don’t live by ‘the rules’ you know.”

I like that motto much better than the one James Dean lived — and ultimately died — by.

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April 26, 2019

“Like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.”


The British stage actor Edmund Kean (1789-1833) was like the James Dean of his time.

He gained celebrity and fame at a young age.

His performances were fiery and highly innovative at the time, especially the new twists he gave to well-known characters in plays by Shakespeare.

For example, instead of playing Shylock in The Merchant of Venice the traditional way, as a comic villain, Kean’s Shylock seemed intelligent, intense and dignified.

Many books and websites cite a famous quote about Kean that was uttered by the British poet, critic and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834).

On April 27, 1823, Coleridge said in a conversation:

       “To see him act, is like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.”

This comment, recorded by Coleridge’s son-in-law Henry Nelson Coleridge, was included in the book Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a collection of spoken remarks by Sam Coleridge that Henry published in 1835, the year after Sam died.

The “flashes of lightning” line is usually the only part of the what Coleridge said about Kean that is quoted and it is generally assumed to be a complimentary remark about Kean’s electrifying acting style.

In fact, if you read the rest of what Coleridge said about Kean, you realize that he wasn’t actually giving Kean a glowing review.

“Kean is original,” Coleridge acknowledged, “but he copies from himself. His rapid descents from the hyper-tragic to the infra-colloquial, though sometimes productive of great effect, are often unreasonable. To see him act, is like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning. I do not think him thorough-bred gentleman enough to play Othello.”

By itself, the phrase “like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning” might seem to suggest something like “illuminating flashes of brilliance.”

However, in context, it seems to mean Coleridge thought Kean’s acting was not consistently illuminating or fathomable.

By the time the quote was published in Table Talk in 1835, Kean was beyond caring about Coleridge’s opinion or anyone else’s.

He died in 1833 at age 46, apparently burnt out by a rock star lifestyle that involved mass quantities of alcohol and wild sex.

According to legend, when Kean was on his deathbed and someone asked him how he felt he responded: “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.”

He may not have actually said that. But it sure is a great exit line.

[Another famous quote by Samuel Taylor Coleridge from Table Talk is “Prose = words in their best order; — poetry = the best words in the best order.” Click this link to read the backstory on that quote.]

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April 05, 2019

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”

James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., often referred to as Boswell’s Life of Johnson, is one of the most famous biographies ever written and the best known source of memorable quotations by Samuel Johnson.

Few people today have read this entire work. And, given that it amounts to more than 1,200 pages of text that records thousands of things Johnson did and said on specific dates in minute detail, that’s not likely to change.

But most people who are familiar with famous quotations and classic English literature know at least some of the famed anecdotes and quotes it contains.

One known to many aspiring writers is: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”

Boswell recorded that bon mot by Johnson on April 5, 1776 and it’s usually quoted with no context.

If you read the page where it appears in the Life of Johnson, you find that it was one of the few things Johnson said that Boswell pointedly disagreed with, at least after the fact, in a comment in the book.

Here’s the famous quotation in the context of Boswell’s April 5 entry:

“When I expressed an earnest wish for his remarks on Italy, he said, ‘I do not see that I could make a book upon Italy; yet I should be glad to get two hundred pounds, or five hundred pounds, by such a work.’ This shewed both that a journal of his Tour upon the Continent was not wholly out of his contemplation, and that he uniformly adhered to that strange opinion, which his indolent disposition made him utter: ‘No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.’ Numerous instances to refute this will occur to all who are versed in the history of literature.”

Boswell’s comment in that last sentence notes, rightly, that many people write stories and books without knowing whether they will make money from what they are writing — though, of course, almost all aspiring writers hope for financial success from their work.

I suspect Johnson’s “blockhead” quote may have stung a bit for Boswell.

He was a lawyer by trade who wrote almost daily in journals and aspired to be a successful book author.

By 1776, Boswell had published four books, though none generated significant acclaim or money.

His legal career was also less than stellar.

It wasn’t until he finally published his Life of Johnson in 1791 — seven years after Johnson died — that Boswell received major recognition as a writer.

In contrast, by 1776, Johnson was one of the most successful literary critics and authors in England.

In addition to his pioneering and popular Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755, Johnson wrote scores of popular essays, poems, pamphlets, periodicals, sermons, literary biographies, and books of literary criticism.

Johnson met Boswell in 1763, when he was 54 and Boswell was 22.

They bonded quickly and dined, traveled and corresponded with each other off and on until Sam died in 1784.

After Johnson passed, it took Boswell six years to compile and publish his detailed account of their meetings, travels and correspondence.

But it was well-received when it was finally published and became viewed as a major, classic piece of English literature.

One of the most entertaining ways to read Boswell’s Life of Johnson I know of is to read the illustrated online edition that uses excerpts chosen by writer Dan Leo, illuminated with quirky, humorous digital artwork by Rhoda Penmarq.

Dan and Rhoda post a new illustrated excerpt each week on their Classix Comix website and Facebook pages.

Taken in these relatively short bites, with Rhoda’s images and Dan’s tongue-in-cheek commentary at the end, reading The Life of Johnson is actually fun. (I also encourage you to check out Dan’s mind-blowing novels on Amazon, Railroad Train to Heaven and This World or Any Other World, and Rhoda’s many unique illustrated books of stories and poetry on Lulu.com.)

James Boswell did earn praise and money from The Life of Johnson in his final years, and it gave him lasting posthumous fame.

But he appears to have been something of a loser through most of his life, plagued by alcoholism, depression and venereal diseases.

He died at age 55, a few years after The Life of Johnson was published.           

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March 17, 2019

“Power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”


In the decades before World War II, Stanley Baldwin was one of the most powerful politicians in the United Kingdom.

He was the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party from 1923 to 1937 and served as Prime Minister three times during those years.

However, in 1931, Baldwin’s control of the Conservative Party was threatened by attacks from the newspapers owned by two wealthy press barons who wanted him ousted, Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Rothermere.

His ability to maintain majority support hinged on whether the March 20th election for the St. George’s Westminster seat in Parliament was won by his supporter, Duff Cooper, or by Beaverbrook and Rothermere’s man, Sir Ernest Petter.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, the Beaverbrook and Rothermere newspapers turned up the heat on Baldwin, hoping to throw the election to Petter.

Among other things, they accused Baldwin of running an “insolent plutocracy” and of being clueless on how to improve the country’s faltering economy.

Three days before the election, on March 17, 1931, Baldwin counterattacked in a public address he gave to voters in St. George’s.

“The newspapers attacking me are not newspapers in the ordinary sense,” Baldwin said. “They are engines of propaganda for the constantly changing policies, desires, personal vices, personal likes and dislikes of the two men. What are their methods? Their methods are direct falsehoods, misrepresentation, half-truths, the alteration of the speaker's meaning by publishing a sentence apart from the context...What the proprietorship of these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.

Baldwin’s speech was widely reported by British newspapers that weren’t owned by Beaverbrook and Rothermere on the following day. That’s apparently why some books of quotations use March 18, 1931 as the date for his “power without responsibility” quote.

The scathing verbal counterattack on the rich press barons resonated with voters and turned the tide in the local election. Cooper won and Baldwin held on to control of the Conservative Party.

His memorable harlot zinger also became a famous quotation. However, Baldwin didn’t coin it himself.

As later noted by many sources, Baldwin actually got it from his cousin, the great British writer Rudyard Kipling.

Ironically, the origin of the quip was a conversation between Kipling and Beaverbrook, who was Kipling’s friend when he was still known by his original name, Max Aitken, and not yet a British Lord.

Baldwin’s son Oliver recounted the story in 1971, in an address to members of the Kipling Society:

“As told me by my father…Kipling was attracted by the charm and enthusiasm of a rich young Canadian imperialist whose name was Max Aitken, later to become Lord Beaverbrook. They became friends. When Aitken acquired the Daily Express his political views seemed to Kipling to become more and more inconsistent, and one day Kipling asked him what he was really up to. Aitken is supposed to have replied: ‘What I want is power. Kiss ‘em one day and kick ‘em the next’ and so on. ‘I see’, said Kipling, ‘Power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.’ So, many years later, when [Stanley] Baldwin deemed it necessary to deal sharply with such lords of the press, he obtained leave of his cousin to borrow that telling phrase.”

Kipling’s famed definition of power without responsibility is still cited and repurposed today. To read some witty modern uses, see this post on the QUOTECOUNTERQUOTE.com blog.

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February 09, 2019

The dual anniversary of Joe McCarthy’s “Red Scare” and Jerry Falwell’s “Purple Scare”…

Two notorious warnings about threats to the American way of life are linked to the date February 9th.

In both cases, the quotes generated national attention when they were reported in the press. But the results were considerably different.

On February 9, 1950, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy made an ominous announcement in a speech to the Ohio Country Women’s Republican Club of Wheeling, West Virginia.

In the speech (online here) McCarthy famously claimed:

“I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist party, and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy in the State Department.”

This quote was essentially the public launch of what evolved into an anti-Communist panic and witch hunt that lasted for years.

It was soon dubbed McCarthyism.”

That term was originally coined in a March 29, 1950 political cartoon by the great political cartoonist Herbert Block, who signed his cartoons as “HERBLOCK.”

Exactly forty-nine years after McCarthy launched the Cold War era “Red Scare,” national news was made by another controversial public figure who was trying to launch what might be called a “purple scare.”

The story was broken on February 9, 1999 in an Associated Press story written by journalist David Reed.

It reported that televangelist Rev. Jerry Falwell had announced that the children’s TV show Teletubbies was secretly trying to turn kids into homosexuals.

The comments by Falwell in the AP story generated a great deal of additional media attention.

However, they created far more eye-rolling, snickers and scorn than alarm. And, no official Telletubby witch hunt followed.

The AP article that broke the story said:

The Rev. Jerry Falwell is trying to out Tinky Winky, suggesting that the purple, purse-toting character on television’s popular “Teletubbies” children’s show is gay.

The February edition of the National Liberty Journal, edited and published by Falwell, contains an article warning parents that the rotund Teletubby with the triangular antenna may be a gay role model.

To support its claim, the publication says Tinky Winky has the voice of a boy but carries a purse.

       “He is purple – the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.”

Falwell contends the “subtle depictions”' are intentional and issued a statement Tuesday that said, “As a Christian I feel that role modeling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children.”

Of course, the fact that these famous/infamous warnings by McCarthy and Falwell are both associated with the date February 9th is just a coincidence OR IS IT!?! 

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