Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chesterton in the Newspapers

Thursday's Crossword Puzzle in the Philadelphia Inquirer (page D-7, written by Alan P. Olschwang) has a 5 part clue for a "Chesterton Quip."

The "quip" (mis)-quoted reads "If a thing is not worth doing, it's worth doing badly." That is, unless I did the puzzle completely wrong.

Fitting that he would be misquoted, I suppose. Just wanted to give you a heads-up. Perhaps the reference will pique some interest at any rate.
H/T: Joey G.


  1. I was THRILLED to see that GKC was the theme of Thursday's crossword. Alas, I must have done the puzzle wrong, too, as I didn't quite recognize the quip. ;-)

  2. Perhaps it would be instructive to give the accurate version of that famous phrase, and what's more, I will give the context, which I expect will be a surprise to many:

    There was a time when you and I and all of us were all very close to God; so that even now the color of a pebble (or a paint), the smell of a flower (or a firework), comes to our hearts with a kind of authority and certainty; as if they were fragments of a muddled message, or features of a forgotten face. To pour that fiery simplicity upon the whole of life is the only real aim of education; and closest to the child comes the woman - she understands. To say what she understands is beyond me; save only this, that it is not a solemnity. Rather it is a towering levity, an uproarious amateurishness of the universe, such as we felt when we were little, and would as soon sing as garden, as soon paint as run. To smatter the tongues of men and angels, to dabble in the dreadful sciences, to juggle with pillars and pyramids and toss up the planets like balls, this is that inner audacity and indifference which the human soul, like a conjurer catching oranges, must keep up forever. This is that insanely frivolous thing we call sanity. And the elegant female, drooping her ringlets over her water-colors, knew it and acted on it. She was juggling with frantic and flaming suns. She was maintaining the bold equilibrium of inferiorities which is the most mysterious of superiorities and perhaps the most unattainable. She was maintaining the prime truth of woman, the universal mother: that if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

    [GKC What's Wrong With the World CW4:199, emphasis added]


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