Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mussolini and Vanderbilt

Time magazine, Feb. 23, 1931:
Cornelius ("Neely") Vanderbilt Jr. … stated that it was he who had supplied the rambunctious General with the anecdote of Il Duce's alleged hit & run motor drive, for relating which the General was reprimanded by the Navy Department (TIME, Feb. 9; 16). But the imaginative young publicist was very wroth because General Butler "took a story of mine, twisted it around to score a point for himself, and made me the goat." Mr. Vanderbilt then gave newsmen the "real truth": "I was riding with Mussolini, who drove. A small child ran in front of the machine … and was hit. I looked back to see if the child was hurt. Mussolini placed his hand on my knee and said: 'Never look back, Vanderbilt, always look ahead in life.' "

As "twisted" by the General, the child was killed, and Il Duce's comment was: "What is one life in the affairs of a state?"

Monday, December 07, 2009

It (the press) has scoffed at religion till it has made scoffing popular. It has defended official criminals, on party pretexts, until it has created a United States Senate whose members are incapable of determining what crime against law and the dignity of their own body is—they are so morally blind—and it has made light of dishonesty till we have as a result a Congress which contracts to work for a certain sum and then deliberately steals additional wages out of the public pocket and is pained and surprised that anybody should worry about a little thing like that...
Mark Twain, License of the Press, an address before the Monday Evening Club, Hartford (1873)