She wrote, in part, "I heard that Oprah once did a show asking audience members questions about various general knowledge topics, such as whether the earth revolved around the sun or vice versa. One woman (who answered the question incorrectly) stated that 'she never felt anything moving.' "
My initial thought, of course, was probably the same as most people's: it's a trick question - everyone knows the world revolves around Oprah. Beyond that, though, it reminded me of one of the finest mini-soliloquies I've ever heard in a movie. If you saw Men In Black, there's a good chance you'll remember the scene in which Wil Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are sitting on a park bench. Tommy Lee has just shown Wil that there are aliens on earth everywhere. Wil asks, "Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it." And Tommy Lee, bless his manly-man heart, had this response:
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicy, dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everbody knew the earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago everybody knew the earth was flat. And fifteen minutes ago you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."
I love that. It makes me think. And it got me thinking about other movie lines I keep as favorites because they make me think.
From Superman (the first one) comes the only quote that beats the Men In Black one as my all-time favorite. This is Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, after explaining his plot to do evil things:
"Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it's a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe."
For me that's just a great description of what an eloquent friend once called our "sacred search."
And this from Clint Eastwood's great western, The Unforgiven. Eastwood is Will Munny, a retired gunfighter whose career included killing men, women, children and animals and, as one of his lines says, "deserve" had nothing to do with it. The Schofield Kid, a young, inexperienced gunfighter wannabe, has just helped Munny kill a man, his first. Shaken and looking for reassurance, the Kid turns to Munny and nervously says, "Yeah, well, I guess he had it coming." To really get this, as you read, squint, snear a little, and imitate Eastwood's trademark disengaged cynicism. Ok, ready?
"We all got it coming, kid."
Now that's something to think about.
I could go on - I love quotes, including movie quotes - but I'll keep it at these for now. Besides, I have to start working on the true meaning of gum base, corn syrup, glycerin and extract of peppermint.
In another unrelated item (there seem to be a lot of those in this space lately) I just saw a news item reporting that Dick Cheney made an unannounced visit to Iraq. How unspeakably cool would it be if, as he was preparing to leave in a day or so, he got told his stay was being extended an additional three months? Just asking...