Thursday, December 9, 2021

Quote of the Day (William Hazlitt, on Why Women Often Have More Good Sense Than Men)

“Women have often more of what is called good sense than men. They have fewer pretensions; are less implicated in theories; and judge of objects more from their immediate and involuntary impression on the mind, and, therefore, more truly and naturally. They cannot reason wrong; for they do not reason at all. They do not think or speak by rule; and they have in general more eloquence and wit, as well as sense, on that account. By their wit, sense and eloquence together, they generally contrive to govern their husbands. Their style, when they write to their friends (not for the booksellers), is better than that of most authors.”—English essayist William Hazlitt (1778-1830), “On the Ignorance of the Learned,” in Table-Talk: or, Original Essays, Vol. 2 (1822)

Naturally, women reading the above would argue with the point that women “do not reason at all.” But, in the context of the true subject of Hazlitt’s piece—theory, classical education and these realms' distance from actual practice (“the most learned man…knows the most of what is farthest removed from common life and actual observation, that is of the least practical utility”)—they are far more likely to nod in agreement with everything else in that paragraph. 

(Well, with one other exception: they might substitute "usually" for "often" in that first sentence.)

What better illustration of what Mr. Hazlitt is talking about concerning men without sense and women with it than the picture next to this post?

Well, maybe there is one—this bit of dialogue from The Honeymooners:

Ralph: “What's the matter? Aren't you up on current events? Don't you read the papers? Don't you read comic books? That's the trouble with you; you don't know the latest developments.”

Alice: “I don't know the latest developments? Who is it that lets your pants out every other day?”

This demonstrates why, on more than one occasion, Ralph shows that he has a "BIG mouth"—big enough to put his foot in it.

No comments: