|Publication Date||September 22, 2012|
Perhaps you can only call yourself a cynic if you have first learnt to curb your enthusiasm. Read on:
"Just as dumb animals are caught with food, so men can only be snared when they are nibbling hopefully at something." Before his suicide in 66, Petronius, the author of The Satyricon, also wrote out a detailed list of Nero’s perversions.
The arts of Florence included a foretaste of reality TV. A performance of Hell took place in a theatre built on boats in the Arno. Overloaded with spectators, a nearby bridge collapsed into the river. It was said that those who had gone to see hell had got just what they were looking for.
The first US president, George Washington, offered to work for expenses. This time Congress insisted on a salary. In the Revolution he had refused $500 per month but his expenses cost $400,000 more than what his pay would have been. As the forty-third president said, "Fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – won’t get fooled again!"
PT Barnum made millions from freak shows and allegedly said, “There’s a sucker born every minute” but he often proved it with stupid investments. In 1855 he sank half a million into a clock company, only to be swindled and bankrupted.
During W. C. Fields’ career, Hollywood standards demanded that good be rewarded and evil punished but, in The Bank Dick (1940), Fields’ character – a bank employee – lies, cheats and steals and yet at the end is rewarded with wealth and fame.