Thursday, February 15, 2007

Philosopher Death Match: Aristotle vs Mae West

Mae West's philosophy reflects a working-class sensibility, wittily attuned to prevalent male attitudes and realities toward women, work, sexuality and life. West sees wisdom residing in regular folks who must live through the harshness of everyday life. West trashes the notion that it is the elite who know what is real, hence ethical and hence good, in life. West recognizes that emotion is more powerful and satisfying than reason, and reason, on its own, is ridiculously lacking in answers. In all realms, emotion has a claim to parity with, and authority over, reason.

Surviving fragments of the West Philosophy:

I am all woman.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

It's not what I do, but the way I do it. It's not what I say, but the way I say it.

It's not what you get that counts, but what you give.

When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before.

Whenever I'm caught between two evils, I take the one I've never tried.

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.

I never loved another person the way I loved myself.

Sex is emotion in motion.

Virtue has its own reward, but no sale at the box office.

Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.

It ain't no sin if you crack a few laws now and then, just so long as you don't break any.

I expect it'll
(going to prison) be the making of me.

The time I spent in jail was about the most profitable days of my life.

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

When I'm good, I'm very good. But when I'm bad I'm better.

I wrote the story myself. It's about a girl who lost her reputation and never missed it.

If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning.

It is better to be looked over than overlooked.

A hard man is good to find.

A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him.

A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars, that's subtraction.

A man's kiss is his signature.

An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.

Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.

Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you.

Good sex is like good bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.

He who hesitates is a damned fool.

He who hesitates is last.

He's the kind of man a woman would have to marry to get rid of.

Right now I think censorship is necessary; the things they're doing and saying in films right now just shouldn't be allowed. There's no dignity anymore and I think that's very important.

I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.

I like restraint, if it doesn't go too far.

I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.

I only have 'yes' men around me. Who needs 'no' men?

I only like two kinds of men, domestic and imported.

I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.

It's hard to be funny when you have to be clean.

It's not the men in my life that count, it's the life in my men.

Keep a diary, and someday it'll keep you.

Marriage is a great institution. No family should be without it.

Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution.

We don't think about marriage as something going on and on, with children from generation to generation. It's often just a passing whim.

I'm single because I was born that way.

A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up.

One and one is two, and two and two is four, and five will get you ten if you know how to work it.

Save a boyfriend for a rainy day - and another, in case it doesn't rain.

Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.

She's the kind of girl who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong.

Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I'm tired.

To err is human, but it feels divine.

Too much of a good thing can be taxing.

I feel like a million tonight, but one at a time.

When women go wrong, men go right after them.

It's (sexual relationships) just this physical thing.

I like the kinda comedy that imitates me.

Anytime you take religion for a joke, the laugh's on you.

I"m going to drown, down in those troubled waters (religion), they're creeping around my soul.

It takes two to get one in trouble.

These girls (prostitutes) are willing to work, but how can they when the law is always ready to pounce on them and send them back to the Workhouse?

Find'em, fool'em and forget'em.

I'm no angel, but I've spread my wings a bit.

A man in the house is worth two in the street.

I'm a woman of very few words, but lots of action.

Too many girls follow the line of least resistance--but a good line is hard to resist.

Some men are all right in their place--if they only knew the right places!

Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can't figure out what from.

Any time you got nothing to do--and lots of time to do it--come on up.

Men are all alike--except the one you've met who's different.

Don't marry a man to reform him - that's what reform schools are for.

All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.

The score never interested me, only the game.

Men are my hobby, if I ever got married I'd have to give it up.

Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

I'm no model lady. A model's just an imitation of the real thing.

Women with "pasts" interest men because men hope that history will repeat itself.

Opportunity knocks for every man, but you have to give a woman a ring.

There are no withholding taxes on the wages of sin.

The best way to learn to be a lady is to see how other ladies do it.

Let men see what's coming to them, and women will get what's coming to them.

The curve is more powerful than the sword.

I didn't discover curves; I only uncovered them.

I like a man who's good, but not too good--for the good die young, and I hate a dead one.

Some women pick men to marry--and others pick them to pieces.

A woman in love can't be reasonable--or she probably wouldn't be in love.

You can do what you want, but saving love doesn't bring any interest.

Love isn't an emotion or an instinct--it's an art.

Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache.

Love is the only industry which can't operate on a five-day week.

Women want certain things in marriage--the right to a title and a front seat in the lap of luxury.

Men are easy to get but hard to keep.

It's easy to get married, but hard to stay that way.

Kiss and make up--but too much makeup has ruined many a kiss.

A girl in the convertible is worth five in the phone book.

Life's just a merry-go-round. Come on up. You might get a brass ring.

You may admire a girl's curves on the first introduction, but the second meeting shows up new angles.

I take it out in the open and laugh at it.

The best way to hold a man is in your arms.

Brains are an asset to the woman in love who's smart enough to hide 'em.

Look your best--who said love is blind?

Girls, give all your gentlemen friends an even break, even if you have to break them in the attempt.

Cultivate your curves--they may be dangerous but they won't be avoided.

Love thy neighbor--and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.

If you put your foot in it, be sure it's your best foot.

It's all right for a perfect stranger to kiss your hand as long as he's perfect.

The best way to behave is to misbehave.

Don't ever make the same mistake twice, unless it pays.

A man has more character in his face at forty than at twenty--he has suffered longer.

Don't come crawlin' to a man for love--he likes to get a run for his money.

Don't cry for a man who's left you--the next one may fall for your smile.

Don't keep a man guessing too long--he's sure to find the answer somewhere else.

Never ask a man where's he's been. If he's out on legitimate business, he doesn't need an alibi. And, girls, if he has been out on illegitimate business, it's your own fault.

Some of the wildest men make the best pets.

Let the crooks look out for themselves.

I've got to do it (speak out) as a citizen. i've got to do it for society. They (gangsters) threaten us under penalty of having acid thrown in our faces, and they don't stop at threats either.

I'm the first personality since Chaplin that's got the masses. I've got all classes and all ages.

I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better.

Did they expect a sermon? Why weren't they in church if they were so religious?

Goodness had nothing to do with it.

Yeah, honey, but you can't prove a thing.

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