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Letter Of The Week Winner

What makes a quote quotable? Arvind Mani, Nadi The Fiji Sun has been publishing ‘Quotable Quotes’ in Parliament for a while.  There were several in last Saturday’s (April 29) paper. 
01 May 2017 09:31
Letter Of The Week Winner
Winner

What makes a quote quotable?

Arvind Mani, Nadi

The Fiji Sun has been publishing ‘Quotable Quotes’ in Parliament for a while.  There were several in last Saturday’s (April 29) paper.  This is reminiscent of Quotable Quotes in the Reader’s Digest. While I really enjoy the quotes in the Reader’s Digest, the ones in the Fiji Sun are mostly mediocre and sometimes not quotable at all.

Which begs the question – what makes a quote quotable? There are several criteria for determining whether material should be included. There are two levels of quotability to consider:

Is a particular quote “quotable” enough to merit inclusion? Is the quote itself particularly witty, pithy, wise, eloquent, or poignant?

Take for example the following quote: “Everybody thinks of changing humanity but nobody thinks of changing himself.”

Now that’s a quote to make you think. It is profound and oh, so true.

Or what Leo Tolstoy said: “Often we change our jobs, our friends and our spouses instead of ourselves.” Which is almost identical to the previous quote.

How about the following quote?  “A mind is like a parachute. It does not work if it is not open.” Many politicians in our Parliament can use the wisdom in this quote.

Lucille Ball said something quite quotable which men need to remember – “A man who correctly guesses a woman’s age maybe smart but he is not very bright.” Isn’t that so memorable?

Au contraire, if you look at the quotes in yesterday’s Sun, they are not witty or pithy and alas, very forgettable.

“Even my wife warned me to keep my mouth shut in Parliament” by SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula. What is so quotable about that except maybe to show that his wife knows him quite well? Which reminds me a real quotable quote by Mark Twain: “It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

The other supposedly “quotable” quote in the Sun: “You are not listening and that is the problem” was said by FijiFirst MP, Ashneel Sudhakar. While that is good advice, it is hardly quotable. Thought I must say, it is great advice for most of the parliamentarians and one I hope they will certainly heed.

The only person who ever says anything clever, witty or quotable is the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. I enjoy his repartees but most times, the Opposition members are so noisy and boisterous that they do not hear it. Which actually may be a saving grace.  I suspect that if they listened, the sarcasm and wit may go over their heads.

I deliberately abstain from listening to the proceedings in our Parliament as it reminds me of a quotable quote by Shakespeare: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

If nothing “quote worthy” has been said, which is most of the time, the Sun would do well not to publish anything which would make the reader shake his head and wonder what was so quotable about that?

 

Arvind Mani will receive a Parker pen as our letter of the week winner.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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