HAPPINESS IS LARGELY AN ILLUSION

Please find below 14 quotes collected over the last 2 weeks on a range of topics, such as: Trump, happiness, Brexit, Christmas, and Jesus. To be honest, most are about Trump. Again. So no surprise there then. Some are funny, some are serious, but I hope all are interesting. Enjoy!

Tom Tomorrow Stranger

Well, this last week was a pretty bad year for Donald Trump. Think about what’s currently under investigation for him: Trump’s campaign, his transition, his inauguration, his business, and his presidency. So everyone check your cards because you might have impeachment bingo. In fact, Trump has reportedly told people close to him that he’s worried he will get impeached. And by people close to him I, of course, mean Sean Hannity and Colonel Sanders. This is a lot of legal trouble for any president. I mean, I’m no lawyer but neither is Trump’s lawyer. This week Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and he claimed he only committed his crimes out of a blind loyalty to Trump. But Cohen was clearly a crook before he met Donald Trump. You know how I know? He was hired by Donald Trump! The only questions on a Trump application are “Do you do crimes?” and “Wanna do more?” – from the TV show Saturday Night Live, 15 Dec 2018

President Trump responded to Michael Cohen’s sentencing by tweeting “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law.” Fair, but you know who else is supposed to know the law? The frigging president of the United States! I can’t get past that. I mean, the Pope should know the Bible. Santa should know the meaning of Christmas. The president should know the law. Dude, we’re paying you money for this. Am I bugging? Am I crazy? I mean, he’s the president. He’s got to know the law. Doctors know medicine. Arby’s knows meat. If I told you I’m an astronaut and you ask me about the moon, and I say “The moon?” – from the TV show Saturday Night Live, 15 Dec 2018

Happiness, in any case, is largely an illusion. We tend to think of other people as being or at least looking happy. And definitely happier than ourselves. The fact is they aren’t, we just think they are. All those blissfully smiling beautiful people – they’re just as screwed up as everyone else. Social media only serves to spread the delusion. I once asked my son, who was supposed to be studying at university at the time, if his life was constant partying. “Why would you think that?” He asked. “Because all I see of you on Facebook is pictures of you dancing or getting drunk at parties.” He scoffed at my naivety. “That’s only because no one ever posts pictures of themselves sitting at the library and reading a book or writing an essay.” Happiness is a myth that only serves the interests of the happiness-conjurors and the manufacturers of birthday cards. I think happiness has now entered its twilight zone. I can’t see feeling good being of any intrinsic value unless it is also coupled to doing good. Aristotle had something like this in mind when he defined happiness (or eudaimonia) as leading a virtuous life. – Andy Martin

What makes me happy? I don’t even think happiness is really what it’s about. I think meaning is what’s important to people. Meaning trumps happiness at any point, and the way you find meaning in life is to find something that’s bigger than you and then you just throw yourself into that thing. It gets you out of yourself, it gets you out of just this [you’re own mind] and into something that means more. – Derren Brown, Dec 2018, from an interview on the TV show The Russell Howard Hour

I love it here in the UK, it’s nice. When are you guys having another referendum? Ooooh! Can’t wait for the referendum! For me the referendum was silly because you guys were trying to leave Europe. It’s physically impossible for you guys to leave Europe. You are IN Europe. Where are you going to go? Because you are not welcome in Africa. You are not welcome. You are not welcome AT ALL! Fool me once! The last referendum South Africa had was in 1992. The question was: should apartheid end or should apartheid continue? But only white people were allowed to vote. – Loyiso Gola, South African comedian

This is America and in America rich people pay Fox News people to make middle class people blame poor people. So you have a guy who is born at the top of the economic ladder telling terrified white people they are going to lose their spot at the middle of that ladder, and that their problems come from the low income brown people who are in fact propping up the entire f***ing ladder. – John Fugelsang, Nov 2018

Trump is impossible to write about in an interesting way. The worst thing about Trump is how profoundly boring he is. This man has no working intellect as far as we can tell, he’s a series of noise effects. Rage and appetite and terror and bullying, that’s all he is, that’s all he’s ever been and that’s all he’ll ever be. It’s soul-killing to wake up every day and he’s the president of the United States. It’s this big, open sinkhole instead of a soul. This creature, it’s like an id fragment. Besides, the worst thing you can do to Trump is to not talk about him. – Tony Kushner, American playwright, Dec 2018

Dangerous time when our country is led by those who will lie about anything, backed by those who will believe anything, based on information from media sources that will say anything. Americans must break out of that bubble and seek truth. – tweet from James Comey, former FBI Director, 23 May 2018

Why must everything, in America, be a contest? It’s our capitalist imperialist ethos. Our desire to judge, to gossip and to degrade. Donald Trump unleashes these forces on the most vulnerable. But for those of us opposed to him we often find ourselves replicating his language and tactics, even if it is on more worthy subjects.  – Nick Pemberton

We see the culture of degrading and humiliating others—almost for bloodsport—go viral under Trump. The goal is to ruin your foe and make them your victim. Once you conquer them you leave their corpse hanging on the public square. The internet acts as a public forum to embarrass and judge each other while never being honest about ourselves. It’s the celebrity and sport and war and porn culture taking over the mainstream imagination. – Nick Pemberton

I find that I am most happy when I find a place for radical compassion in these days. Not as an excuse for hate, but as a panacea to it. We have become so blinded by our consumed hatred for Trump that we have no space left to confront the hatred by Trump. – Nick Pemberton

Trump’s going to get away with it. This guy is touched by an angel. Boo all you want. He’s not going to get impeached. Listen to me. He figured out a way to cheat on his pregnant wife with a porn star and a playmate, then cover it up with hush money in the middle of a presidential election, which he lost by three million votes and still won. He’s not getting impeached. The only way he’s leaving office is if Democrats beat him in 2020, which brings me to my next stinger. Democrats aren’t going to beat him in 2020…In your heart you know that Democrats will trip all over themselves and blow it somehow…Republicans buy into their candidate. Show the Republicans any old white man, and they’re good to go. Democrats are so picky when it comes to presidential candidates. Democrats are like your fussy friend at a restaurant. They got too many questions, too many substitutions. They’re like “Can I have the fried chicken but instead of fried can it be grilled? And instead of chicken can it be fish? No? Then I’m ordering the Jill Stein as a protest order.” – Neal Brennan, 12 Dec 2018, from the TV program The Daily Show

The truth is always better. Kids, let Uncle Neal chat to you for a minute. Santa didn’t bring you those gifts. Your parents paid for them. How? By working their fingers to the bone at a job they hate that doesn’t pay them enough. So they go into debt to put a smile on your little face. A debt which has compounding interest that they will never truly get out from under. It just grows and grows and grows, weighing them down for their entire life until they are finally freed from their obligations by the sweet release of death. And that, children…is the true meaning of Christmas. – Neal Brennan, 12 Dec 2018, from the TV program The Daily Show

I don’t see any of the teachings of my youth in the contemporary American celebration of the birth of Christ. I see a handful of nativity scenes lit up on lawns here and there. I hear Silent Night blaring at maximum volume over speakers installed on down town light poles near the shopping area. I read the occasional op-ed written by the local United Church of Christ Pastor making her best effort to remind people of the term “Prince of Peace”. But I don’t see a whole lot of that at Christmas. I see people throwing punches at Walmart. I read about the statistics of how the suicidal ideation rates spike over the holidays. I don’t see many peacemakers out there either. I see arms manufacturers, weapons of death makers, and the politicians who campaign with pledges to keep those death machine making jobs in their state. I don’t see much in the way of mercy anywhere either, I see the absence of mercy. And I sure as hell don’t see anybody whipping bankers. I see bankers whipping us. – Steve Carlson, Dec 2018

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