The Experts Speak

NOTES

I AM APT TO suspect ... all the other species of men ... to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation.

—David Hume, Scottish empiricist, historian, and economist, 1766

Races north of the Pyrenees . . . never reach maturity; they are of great stature and of a white color. But they lack all sharpness of wit and penetration of intellect.

—Said of Toledo, Moorish savant, c. 1100 A.D.

When a woman becomes a scholar there is usually something wrong with her sexual organs.

—Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, German philosopher and poet, 1888

If [a woman] is normally developed mentally, and well-bred, her sexual desire is small. If this were not so, the whole world would become a brothel and marriage and a family impossible.

—Joseph G. Richardson‚ M.D., Professor of Hygiene at the University of Pennsylvania, Health and Longevity, 1909

Direct thought is not an attribute of femininity. In this woman is now centuries . . . behind man.

Thomas Alva Edison, “The Woman of the Future, ” Good Housekeeping, October, 1912

Brain work will cause her [the “new woman”] to become bald, while increasing masculinity and contempt for beauty will induce the growth of hair on the face. In the future, therefore, women will be bald and will wear long mustaches and patriarchal beards.

—Hans Friedenthal, Professor at Berlin University, Berliner Tageblatt, July 12, 1914

The Army is the Indian’s best friend.

—General George Armstrong Custer, American military officer engaged in western patrol duty, 1870

To kill a man will be considered as disgusting [in the twentieth century] as we in this day consider it disgusting to eat one.

—Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist and humanitarian, 1900

[T]he jig is nearly up [for Roosevelt]. . . . There was a time when the Republicans were scouring the country for a behemoth to pit against him. Now they begin to grasp the fact that . . . they can beat him with a Chinaman, or even a Republican.

H. L. Mencken, American editor, author, and critic, American Mercury, March, 1936

The day when they [the Nazis] were a vital threat is gone. . . . [I]t is not unlikely that Hitler will end his career as an old man in some Bavarian village who, in the biergarten in the evening, tells his intimates how he nearly overturned the German Reich.

—Harold Laski, London Daily Herald, November 21, 1932

[T]he physiognomic analysis of . . .

[Hitler’s] face reveals . . . his immense kindness. Yes, Hitler is kind. Look at him in the midst of children, bending over the grave of those he loved; he is immensely kind, I repeat it.

—Alphonse de Chateaubriant, French writer who won the Goncourt Prize and the French Academy Grand Prize, Gerbe de force, 1939

A Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is a strategic impossibility.

—Major George Fielding Eliot, “The Impossible War With Japan, ” American Mercury, September, 1938

There will be no cars, radios, washing machines or refrigerators after the war. . . . [T]he post-war world will be so poor that women will have to return to their grand-mother’s spinning wheel and men will have to build their own cottages.

—Dr. Hans Elias, faculty member at Middlesex University, Waltham, Massachusetts, quoted in The New York Herald Tribune, October 4, 1942

[W]e can confidently say of American fiction that, while it may not be national, and may not be great, it will have at least the negative virtue of being clean.

—Bliss Perry, editor of The Atlantic Monthly, A Study of Prose fiction, 1902

Forget it. Louis, no Civil War picture ever made a nickel.

—Irving Thalberg, MGM production executive, telling Louis B. Mayer not to bid for the film rights to Margaret Mitchell’s novel. Gone With the Wind, 1936

[I]t will be gone by June.

—Variety,referring to rock-and-roll, 1955

Video won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.

—Darryl F. Zanuck, head of Twentieth Century-Fox Studios, c. 1946

[Man will never reach the moon] regardless of all future scientific advances.

—Dr. Lee De Forest, inventor of the Audion tube, quoted in The New York Times, February 25, 1957

[T]he Bolshevist Government won’t last six months more.

—Walter Duranty, New York Times foreign correspondent‚ Max 27, 1920

Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union.

—Joseph Stalin, 1935

Few predictions seem more certain than this: Russia is going to surpass us in mathematics and the social sciences. . . . In short, unless we depart utterly from our present behavior, it is reasonable to expect that by no later than 1975 the United States will be a member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

—George R. Price, former Manhattan Project physicist, Life. November 18, 1957

We must never forget that if the war in Vietnam is lost . . . the right of free speech will be extinguished throughout the world.

—Richard M, Nixon, New York City, October 27, 1965

—Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky