November 18, 2010

"Mark Twain had a very tender heart."

"He liked to say nasty things – he's really good at it – but he didn't like the idea of being there when the person heard them, and was hurt by them!"

An interesting definition of a tender heart!


Please use this link if you want to buy Mark Twain's autobiography.


Original Mike said...

"He liked to say nasty things – he's really good at it – but he didn't like the idea of being there when the person heard them, and was hurt by them!"

He'd have loved the internet.

The Crack Emcee said...

Twain was a nice guy. I am, too. I say shit about Glenn Reynolds, which he clearly don't appreciate, but it's not to hurt his feelings. And I do think about his feelings. But neither he, or Pajamas Media, or any one or anything is above critique. He may be a professor, but he still does shit that's stupid - galling even. Does that mean I don't like him? Nah. For me it means he ought to man up, pay attention and even work with me. We're all better for criticism:

I wouldn't have gotten a (better) handle on my PTSD without him forcefully telling me to chill and look at myself one day.

I don't know what the rest of you think we're here for. Oh yea:


Pogo said...

Mark twain was a Unitarian minister?

Who knew!

The Crack Emcee said...

Bang that drum, Pogo, bang it!

Fred4Pres said...

Tender heart or a guilty conscience?

Just tell the truth and accept that you will break a few eggs in the process.

sunsong said...

I'm a fan of Mr. Twain:

Say you were an idiot. Say you were a member of Congress. Ah, but I repeat myself."

Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world - and never will.
- Mark Twain

Quayle said...

Bernie Madoff had a very tender heart. He was very sad to see the faces of his clients.

sunsong said...

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see - Mark Twain

ndspinelli said...

Sounds like Twain was a coward, or like one of the millions of people who gossip around the water cooler and then gush when they see the person. Maybe this is what gave Twain the "common" touch.

jr565 said...

I do like Twain, one of our greatest wits and this won't change my opinion of him.
But saying mean things about people behind their backs but not to their faces doesn't make you tender hearted. He liked to plant bombs but didn't want to be there when the bomb exploded as he might suffer damage.

deborah said...

The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. But he won't sit upon a cold stove lid, either.
-Mark Twain

traditionalguy said...

Twain was 100% American of Scots Irish descent and as smart as any man who ever lived. Like Palin he would be a prime target to be slandered by the elites in today's media as a country boy with no education. The more things change, the more they stay the same. He ended up in Connecticut living alongside the elite Bush Family. He was the irrepressible force of populism in his day.

T J Sawyer said...

Hope you got credit for the Kindle edition!

I was at the Twain house in Hartford last week and the docents passed my drivers license around with considerable interest.

dreams said...

Seems spineless to me.

ricpic said...

Twain was a radical artist but a conventional thinker. Hemingway said that all of American literature descends from one book, Huckleberry Finn, not because of the thoughts in it, which are standard enlightened, because Twain flung open the doors and windows and let the light and air of demotic speech into the hot house of 19th century American "culture."

Drew said...

I had to look up 'demotic'.


BJM said...


Seems spineless to me.

Ah...another irony challenged commenter.

BJM said...

I'm reading it now and can't put the danged thing down.

The familiar intemperate humor is still there, but it's bone dry, unembellished with "Twainisms" and at times biting.

Written, of course, in Clemens voice, not Twain's, makes it more interesting, not less.

The diary format encompasses correspondence, daughter Suzy's biography, manuscripts, dictated notes, conversations, and recollections.

As you would imagine, Clemens had strong opinions, both good and ill, about family, colleagues, the press, people he met, or had to deal with, current events and politicians.

That also means modern readers must rely heavily on the explanatory notes, appendices and references to bring his era to it's interesting from that point of view as well.

Now that I've read a few hundred pages I understand the embargo.

Given that Clemens was the first national media celebrity, I think he understood the power such fame had to affect innocent descendants of his family and those he names.

He also knew a final work would be exploited and misappropriated by contemporaries who would use his name/words for their own cause or benefit.

Anyhoo...its a damn good read.

DADvocate said...

Kind of like a mad bomber who never hangs around to see the death and destruction his bomb creates because he can't stand to look at blood and guts.

BJM said...


Perhaps your example is a tad overblown?

For example Clemens writes about ex-actor John Malone(of the Edwin Boothe company)a ne'er-do-well who moved on the outer edges of Clemenses social circle.

"Midway through the dinner I got a glimpse through the pantry door of that pathetic figure John Malone. There he was, left out, of course. Sixty-five years old; and his history may be summarized --his history for fifty years--in those two words, two eloquent words --"left out"."

Later, after discussing Malone with a friend and then finding that he'd died the next day:

"So there is another surprise, you see. While Twitchell and I were talking about John Malone he was passing from this life. His disappointments are ended. At last he is not "left out". It was a long wait, but the best of all fortunes is his at last."

Such material would have been scandalous in Clemenses day, but wouldn't make the cut for late night standup today.

Methadras said...

So Twain was a two-faced fuck? Figures.

amba said...

I'd been teetering; you just pushed me over the edge into an impulse buy.

Robert Cook said...

"Like Palin he would be a prime target to be slandered by the elites in today's media as a country boy with no education."

Oh for fuck's sake. We get that you like Sarah Palin, but to attempt a comparison of any kind between her and Mark Twain betrays absolute bankruptcy of sense.

Palin is denigrated because she has never said anything smart or interesting or thoughtful, never had an interesting thought, yet her admirers receive her banal anti-thoughts as if they were draughts of cool water in a wasteland of drought, and one can see she thinks she's pretty damn keen herself. Twain/Clemons, were he alive today, would be read and admired just as he was in his lifetime, because he actually had interesting thoughts, was a sharp observer of humanity and human nature, and he wrote with humor and intelligence and freshness of expression.

Robert Cook said...

"So Twain was a two-faced fuck? Figures."

Thus, Americanus Nitwitticus:

Bereft of knowledge or taste or heart or mind, he condescends to those infinitely greater than he in accomplishment, intelligence, talent and humanity.

kwood said...

Twain was a masterful human being. Those who dismiss him with a simple shot from the hip are missing out on a great deal.

Anyone here read his take-downs of Christian Science? What a hoot!

traditionalguy said...

What Robert Cook said...except the part about my moral bankruptcy...I may be morally insolvent on Friday nights, but that is a long way from morally bankrupt. I love Mark Twain. And I love Sarah Palin. See?

Robert Cook said...

Trad Guy:

I didn't say you were morally bankrupt; I said your forced comparison of Palin to Twain as somehow peers of each other was bankrupt of sense.