Tuesday, May 08, 2007

That's Not What I Said

People misunderstand things all of the time.

John Lennon of The Beatles: "We're more popular than Jesus now."
Well, John Lennon did say this, but I am not sure that was the point of the statement. Actually, later, John Lennon did say, with regards to his statement, "I should have said television was more popular than Jesus, then I might have got away with it...." His statement had as much to do with Christianity not being as popular as it once was than anything else. The whole line was, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me"

Casablanca line: "Play it again, Sam."
"Play it again, Sam" was a line never spoken by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca to Dooley Wilson (playing Sam, the nightclub pianist). Oh, and the song to be played again: As Time Goes By. What Bogart actually said: "You played it for her, you can play it for me...If she can stand it, I can. Play it!" Ingrid Bergman said, "Play it once, Sam."

Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong."
Edward Murphy gave his name to Murphy's Law. Murphy's Law is really a design principle: if something can be done in more than one way, somebody will eventually do it. It is about designing things defensively, knowing that people will use these inventions in unanticipated ways. That's sort of the trick with beta testing a product – users hit keys they should not hit, they add peripherals they should not add, they should do lots of things they should not do.

Personally, I think Murphy's Law was named to take credit for the much older Sod's Law: "Toast will always land butter side down." Americans (myself included) cannot afford to give the British credit for anything.

Sometimes when I talk, I am exact. But even being exact, I am misunderstood. Some people would call this a "you problem", but, personal communication is two-way. Both parties are in partnership in order to ensure the message is received and understood as it is intended.

John Lennon wanted to talk about religion, and his bold statement affected what was heard (shock jocks, beware). With the Casablanca quote, I think the line was cleaned up (and the Marx Brothers' parody A Night in Casablanca did not help matters). And for Murphy's Law, we just apply one phrase, and change it to meet our needs. Sort of like Christians and the Bible.


~Deb said...

I wonder if Imus was misunderstood…??? (ha) Bad joke. More so, I’ve noticed that communication through email and text messaging can get misconstrued big time.

Does toast really land butter side down?

Lindsay said...

It is awesome to see you are still blogging.

(the lilac thief)

Prata said...

Yes, toast does tend to land butter side down. It's an aerodynamics issue. *blinks* I'm teasing, I'm teasing.

It's really simple physics. I promise! You can test the theory if you like, but you will end up with a greasy floor. I'm just sayin'.

Leesa said...

~deb: Imas was an ass.

lilac thief: wow, I have not heard from you in so long. Are you still blogging?

prata: the same physics that keeps cats feet side down (unless they land from 1-2 stories).

Kat said...

I'm frequently misunderstood. Considering the fact that I'm perfect in every way, I'm sure its the listeners getting it wrong. What possible other reason could there be for people thinking I'm stuck up? Tone has so much to do with what people are really saying, I think that's why people are misunderstood in writing so often. Easy to hear tone, harder to write it.

Prata said...

No, actually not the same physics. Biology, or more correctly physiology is what puts cats on their feet more than external physics. 5 stories is terminal velocity for a cat who has jumped. They will possibly be injured but still land on their feet. Higher than 5 stories decreases injury risk. A 2 story fall will still see a cat landing on its feet. Even a one story fall; however at one story or less a fall for a cat is not likely to be terminal, though they may be injured in the process and they are less likely to land on their feet (by a very small amount). A fall from only a few feet is more likely to find the cat not landing on its feet but likely suffering less risk of injury.

RWA said...

That is way too much information on cats falling. I'm not even going to ask how you know all of that.

As far as the Lennon quote, that is an interesting theory on the meaning. I think you are right that people will pick parts of quotes and statements and twist them all around.

Leesa said...

kat: when I am misunderstood, I just take it as "I'm complicated." Makes me feel better.

prata: so have you been throwing cats?

rwa: yeah, when I learned of the Lennin quote, I was fascinating.