Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You: Chiasmus and the World of Quotations...

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Recognize this Famous Line? Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.. "Quotations like these have been used for centuries by the world's greatest thinkers, leaders, and entertainers - from Aristotle to Shakespeare, John F. Kennedy to Mae West.. "But is there a name for this kind of expression? You may not have heard it before, but the word is chiasmus, and it is as old as recorded civilization. From ancient Sanskrit texts to Oscar Wilde, chiasmus has been used to inspire, ...
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Overview

Recognize this Famous Line? Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.. "Quotations like these have been used for centuries by the world's greatest thinkers, leaders, and entertainers - from Aristotle to Shakespeare, John F. Kennedy to Mae West.. "But is there a name for this kind of expression? You may not have heard it before, but the word is chiasmus, and it is as old as recorded civilization. From ancient Sanskrit texts to Oscar Wilde, chiasmus has been used to inspire, insult, seduce, and provoke.. "Chiasmus is as vital today as it was thousands of years ago. Quotation maven Mardy Grothe has been collecting chiastic quotations for ten years, and with this collection he brings chiasmus out of obscurity and into the public imagination.. "Never Let a Fool Kiss You ... will inspire you to create your own chiastic expressions and is a handy reference when you're looking for the perfect literary comeback.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670878277
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • Publication date: 7/1/1999
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Read an Excerpt




Chapter One


Chiastic Wordplay


Chiasmus has enjoyed a special place in the hearts of those who have a fascination with words at play. It seems fitting that language maven William Safire should compose a chiastic motto to guide his column-writing efforts:


"Better a jerk that knees
than a knee that jerks."


This is chiastic wordplay at its best. Safire couldn't have crafted a better way of saying he'd rather be seen as a dirty fighter than as an ideological automaton.

    Arguably the best toast ever created, combining punning with chiasmus, goes all the way back to Edwardian England in the 1890s:


"Here's champagne for our real friends,
and real pain for our sham friends."


Nobody appreciated the playful use of language more than famed lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson. One of his peers, John Gay, had shopped his play The Beggar's Opera around to London theaters, only to have it rejected again and again. Finally he took it to producer John Rich, who saw the play's potential and helped make it a huge success. The legendary wordsmith's comment was soon being repeated all over London:


"It made Rich gay
and Gay rich."


More chiastic wordplay follows.


* * *


"The two greatest highway menaces
are drivers under twenty-five
going over sixty-five
and drivers over sixty-five
going under twenty-five."
—Anonymous


"Beauty sounds as ugly
as ugliness sounds beautiful."
—Max Beerbohm


"A scout troop consists of twelve little kids dressed like schmucks
following a big schmuck dressed like a kid."
—Jack Benny


"Architect, n. One who drafts a plan of your house,
and plans a draft of your money."
—Ambrose Bierce


"The gambling known as business
looks with austere disfavor upon
the business known as gambling."
—Ambrose Bierce


"You have to know how
to accept rejection
and reject acceptance."
—Ray Bradbury, advice to writers


"In the Halls of Justice
the only justice is in the halls."
—Lenny Bruce


"They have to be extra careful with those two-way words.
I mean, they can prick their finger,
but they can't finger their prick."
—George Carlin, on the effect of censors on performers


"Have you noticed that your shit is stuff
and their stuff is shit?" —George Carlin


"Errol Flynn died on a 70-foot boat with a 17-year-old girl.
Walter has always wanted to go that way,
but he's going to settle for a 17-footer with a 70-year-old."
—Betsy Maxwell Cronkite, on husband, Walter


"As a young man I used to have
four supple members and a stiff one.
Now I have four stiff and one supple."
—Henri-Eugène duc d'Aumale


"Whether a man's lust for big-breasted women
is a hunger for mountains
or his hunger for mountains is
a lust for big-breasted women is a moot question."
—Brendan Francis


"I'd Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me
(Than a Frontal Lobotomy)."
—Randy Hanzlick, song title


"Man can be destroyed but not defeated.
Man can be defeated but not destroyed."
—Ernest Hemingway


"Punctuation is made for man,
not man for punctuation."
—Philip Howard


"I don't suffer fools,
and I like to see fools suffer."
—Florence King


"Recreational wordplayers wonder why
we drive on a parkway
and park on a driveway."
—Richard Lederer


"In what other language do people
play at a recital
and recite at a play?"
—Richard Lederer, on "Crazy English"


"In some parts of Ireland,
the sleep which knows no waking
is always followed by
a wake which knows no sleeping."
—Mary Wilson Little


"The telephone is
the greatest nuisance
among conveniences,
the greatest convenience
among nuisances."
—Robert Lynd


"In the blue grass region,
A paradox was born:
The corn was full of kernels
And the colonels full of corn."
—John Marshall, describing Kentucky
"I despise the pleasure
of pleasing people that I despise."
—Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
"The story of the whale swallowing Jonah ...
borders greatly on the marvelous;
but it would have approached nearer to the idea of miracle
if Jonah had swallowed the whale."
—Thomas Paine


"There are painters
who transform the sun into a yellow spot,
but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence,
transform a yellow spot into the sun."
—Pablo Picasso


"Better a witty fool
than a foolish wit."
—William Shakespeare
in Twelfth Night


"Don't sweat the petty things
and don't pet the sweaty things."
—Jacquelyn Small


"If you talk to God, you are praying;
if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia."
—Thomas Szasz


"We usually call our blunders mistakes,
and our friends style our mistakes blunders."
—Henry Wheatley


"A monk asks a superior if it is permissible
to smoke while praying.
The superior says certainly not.
Next day, the monk asks the superior if it is permissible
to pray while smoking.
That, says the superior, is not merely permissible, it is admirable."
—George F. Will
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Table of Contents

Introduction: "Pardon Me, Do You Know What Chiasmus Means?"
Ch. 1 Chiastic Wordplay 1
Ch. 2 Chiastic Maxims to Guide Your Life 9
Ch. 3 Chiastic Comparisons 16
Ch. 4 The Battle of the Sexes, Chiasmus Style 23
Ch. 5 Chiastic Compliments and Insults 29
Ch. 6 Chiasmus on Stage and Screen 37
Ch. 7 Political Chiasmus 45
Ch. 8 Chiasmus in the World of Sports 54
Ch. 9 Chiasmus in Advertising 60
Ch. 10 Chiasmus for CEOs 66
Ch. 11 Chiasmus for Book Lovers 74
Ch. 12 Chiasmus for Lovers 82
Ch. 13 Chiasmus in Marriage and Family Life 91
Ch. 14 Chiastic Insights from Great Philosophers 98
Ch. 15 Chiastic Repartee 104
Ch. 16 Implied Chiasmus 113
Index 121
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2000

    The Most Memorable Read in My Reading Memory

    There are books that you can really get into, and then there are books that really get into you. One of the second kind is a book written by Dr. Mardy Grothe, 'Never Let a Fool Kiss Fool You, Or A Kiss Fool You.' Mardy Grothe is a man with a mission: to make the word 'chiasmus' a household word by publishing innumerable delightful examples of the literary device that goes by that name. What is a chiasmus? It's a saying that reverses words in otherwise parallel phrases. An example is the title of the book. A chiasmus is often a clever saying that helps you see things that you never saw before. Mardy Grothe has amassed the most memorable collection of these quotations found anywhere. The result is a book to be savored like a hearty soup. There are books one reads for information and others one reads for pleasure. This book certainly is informative. As for pleasure, that word is too bland to describe the delights in store for the reader. I heartily recommend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2001

    A SPECTACULAR BOOK!!!

    I was just browsing through Yahoo looking for something on 'Fools' when I came across this great book with so many laughs... It is very late, but I couldn't sleep with- out sharing my view of this. Also, I doubt I'd have slept without adding a word of thanks to the author and editor. Great stuff!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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