A Depressing [Real Sad] Churchill Quotation—Contest

As I this morning scanned Facebook, I ran across the image below. Read it through and pause for a moment before continuing.

Churchill quote

Notice anything strange? I was so intrigued by the editor’s use of brackets that I responded with the following:

Love the quotation [words cited from source]! An insightful [cap full o’ thinkin’] analysis [figurin’ out] of a morally stunted [short people] heretical [believing bad stuff about God] sect [I forget this one].

Naturally, it’s time for another no-prize contest. Who can come up with the most helpful edited quotation? Your audience are degree holding—this is not synonymous with educated—United States citizens. Extra points awarded if edits are in the voice of a sorority or fraternity member.

Here is my entry.

Four score and seven [many] years ago our fathers [not our real fathers; other peoples’ fathers] brought forth [after thirdth] on this continent [happy land mass] a new nation, conceived [thought of] in liberty [forget this word: vote Obama], and dedicated [given] to the proposition [business deal] that all men [and women] are created equal [must pay their fair share].

Now we are engaged [living together] in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure [make it]. We are met on a great battle-field [area outside club] of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion [bit] of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting [right size] and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate [have sex with], we can not hallow [full of air] this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled [worked hard] here, have consecrated [good grief!] it, far above our poor power to add or detract [insult]. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished [not done] work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly [lot of knowledge] advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task [minimum wage job] remaining before us—that from these honored [Facebook friended] dead we take increased devotion [follow on Twitter] to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve [see better] that these dead shall not have died in vain [self-centered]—that this nation, under God [or “god”], shall have a new birth of freedom–and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish [Church place] from the earth.


  1. David Charlton

    Thou [you] shalt not [really, really] commit [do] adultery [your BFF’s main squeeze.]

    Am I aiming too low?

    David C.

  2. Big Mike

    I think it’s fun to do the same [loosely speaking, more correctly “similar”] thing with footnotes; R.M. Koster’s “The Dissertation” being an excellent example of the genre. Read without reference to the footnotes, which comprise over half the book, IIRC, it’s a slightly dry (albeit witty in some places) PhD thesis. The real story is in the footnotes. A fun read for a Sunday afternoon, if you can maintain your patience with the page-flipping.

  3. Carmen D'oxide

    Our [grand collection of humanity] life [earthly existence] is frittered away [incrementally wasted] by detail [specificity]. Simplify [uncomplicate], simplify [reduce].

    – Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

  4. Hoi Polloi

    How about this Churchill quote
    “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.”

  5. Briggs

    Hoi Polloi,

    No good. I doubt the intended audience would understand, e.g. “squeamishness.”

  6. Hoi Polloi

    Yer right Briggsy, especially the Kurds…

  7. I loved this post, mostly because I’d never heard this Churchill quote. The bracketed stuff [thingeries] was laughacious [funny], as well, which is always [in perpetuity] a plus [not a size 6].

    These wacked-out religions [which is most of them] make me il [sic].

  8. “When in the course of human [stupidly inept] events…..”etc.

  9. John Gorter

    [After a weekend of over-indulgence, I was] Sic (sic} transit (across the face of] gloria [let me tell you ’bout my Baby] mundi [Monday].

    Ciao [Chinese Obama-style]

    John [rube]

  10. IF

    If (a conjunction, a situational condition) you (pronoun 2nd person singular people in general) can (verb, have the ability) keep your head ( colloquial term for being cool) when ( adverb, at a given time) all about you ( a condition of being surrounded by frenzied people)
    are ( verb, second person singular of be) losing (participle of lose, failure to retain custody) theirs (pronoun, possessive case of they, something that belongs to them that had a loss) and( conjunction that connects grammatically coordinate words, phrases or causes) blaming ( participle of blame, to place responsibility for a fault or error) it ( normative pronoun referring to the cause of pain or suffering) on (preposition for in connection with a person) you
    I apologize for being boring. But words mean something and that seems to be lost in media these days. A similar exercise to this was once given to me in an English Literature class to help me comprehend James Joyce’s Ulysses. It didn’t work then. I choose Kipling because I never was able to complete the assignment on Ulysses and it is a poem that I think applies today to the frenzy and hype over the national election.

    Keep cool when under personal attack by mindless masses!
    The rest poem is great but I spare you the inserts

  11. Geez, the editor left the second incomprehensible paragraph completely untouched…

    A degraded [made bad] sensualism [putting too much value on physical pleasures] deprives [takes away] this life of its grace [vibrancy] and refinement [vibrancy]; [,] the next of its dignity [values] and sanctity [holiness [values]] . The fact that in Mohammedan [Islamic] law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property–either as a child, a wife [spouse], or a concubine [sex worker]–must delay the final extinction [destruction] of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men [humankind].

    Perhaps its content was too mysterious.

  12. This one seemed particularly apposite [good]:

    The reserve [niceness] of modern [recent] assertions [statements] is sometimes pushed to extremes [not being nice], in which the fear of being contradicted [treated not nicely] leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning [being thought not nice].

  13. dearieme

    Years ago I set an examinatioon question that included a quotation from Kipling: “… we poor sons of Adam …”. In his answer one candidate chided me: “few atudents in this university are poor”.

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