August 11, 2021

"Who Said It: Cuomo or Your Ex?"

Headline for an amusing quiz format — in New York Magazine — presenting 15 of Cuomo's most absurd quotes, mostly defenses for his bad behavior, e.g., "In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn." 

On the list of 15: "I love you" — from his planning-to-resign speech. After you click the right answer, Cuomo, you see: "Yes, this is from Cuomo's resignation. But if your ex did say it, I’m sure he, like Cuomo, tried to excuse shitty behavior by then saying, 'And everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love.'"

The 15th entry is unlikely to be something your ex could have said: "EXCELSIOR!" When you vote "Cuomo," it says: "Yes, Cuomo said this toward the end of his resignation speech. I don't know what to tell you." 

Are people thinking that was nutty? I know why he said it. It's the same reason Wisconsin's Russ Feingold once ended a concession speech with "Forward!" It's the state motto.

By the way, here's my blog post about Feingold's speech, in 2010, after he lost a Senate race to Ron Johnson. Feingold also raised his hand in the air in a manner that, as I said at the time, he must have intended to represent the "Forward" statute that appeared on a plinth at the State Street pathway to the state capitol. I say "appeared," because that statue was torn down during the riots last summer and there's still an empty plinth where that venerated statue once stood:

The New York State motto "Excelsior!" means "ever upward." For those who know what "Excelsior!" means, in the context of Cuomo's predicament, it sounds like a dirty joke.

Here's a list of the state mottoes. The best and most famous one is New Hampshire's, though don't try just tweeting it. I might get you banned. The most mystical is North Carolina's — "Esse quam videri" ("To be rather than to seem"). 

Other uses of Latin to elevate state mottoes: "Cedant arma togae" ("Let weapons yield to the toga," Wyoming), "Montani semper liberi" ("Mountaineers are always free," West Virginia), and "Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice" ("If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you," Michigan).


Kay said...

This quiz is like a Buzzfeed article.

Temujin said...

Interesting that the 'progressives' saw to it that the 'Forward' statue was deemed unacceptable and torn down. I guess that says it all.

Live Free or Die is still the best state motto, though, being from Michigan, I always loved that one. I'm surprised Florida's motto is so basic, so non-creative. This is the land of gators, Florida man, Miami, Cuban sandwiches, Florida woman, Mickey Mouse, manatees, New Yorkers, and beaches. On second thought, I guess I do understand why God's name was invoked.

Cuomo? Not much to say about that except that one of my old listens on early talk radio was a guy in Detroit who used to end his show every day with a brief shout of "Excelsior!" In his use, it worked.

Gotagonow said...

The Wadsworth poem came to mind:

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell like a falling star,

Gotagonow said...


Curious George said...

You have the Michigan motto wrong. It's "Nos mos nunquam re publica Ohio beat" (We will never beat Ohio State). They copied Wisconsin's.

Roger Sweeny said...

Excelsior is also a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, spoofed by Rocky and Bullwinkle. Who remembers excelsior as wood shavings used as packing and insulation?

Big Mike said...

Who remembers excelsior as wood shavings used as packing and insulation?

I do, but then again, I’m a septuagenarian.

I like my own state’s motto: “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” but we also have a slogan, which says that we’re for lovers.

Michael said...

Minnesota's is in French, referencing Voyageur days: L'Etoile du Nord (Star of the North). Any other languages than English and Latin?

Big Mike said...

"In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn."

Was there ever a place where groping a woman’s breast in public was not over the line? Even in private, unless she’s your girlfriend and the two of you are making out, it’s over an obvious line.

Jokah Macpherson said...

“Ease quam videri” - “To be, rather than to seem.”

Seems like a good state motto. But IS it?

Joe Smith said...

I only heard bits of his speech, but what I heard sounded like he was doing a reverse George Costanza. "It's not me, it's you."

By the way, since when is being a serial sexual predator a two-weeks-notice situation? Would that fly with your employer?

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Obviously Cuomo should have stayed with "Illegitimi non carborundum," "don't let the bastards grind you down," except it's not real Latin. There don't seem to be any actual bastards in Cuomo's life, so everyone would have assumed he was referring to his enemies. One website offers "don't get your knickers in a twist," "Non torsii subligarium."

Rosalyn C. said...

Excelsior reminded me of a line from a movie I just watched called silver linings playbook with Bradley Cooper. I think there’s a future in show business for the governor and he should be looking for his silver lining act two.

weh said...

Principal SC Mottoes: "Dum Spiro Spero" - While I Breathe I Hope and "Animis Opibusque Paratis" - Prepared in Mind and Resources

The seal was adopted in 1776. On the left side is a representation of the first 12 colonies with the motto "Quis Separabit" - Who Will Separate". There were two different answers between 1861 and 1865.

cubanbob said...

Why doesn't he have the decency to shut up and go away?

Clyde said...

In answer to Michael's question @ 8:45 AM:
The non-English, non-French, non-Latin state mottos:
California - Eureka (Greek, "I have found it")
Hawaii - Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono (Hawaiian, "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness")
Maryland - Fatti maschi, parole femmine (Italian, "strong deeds, gentle words")
Montana - Oro y plata (Spanish, "gold and silver")
Washington - Al-ki (Chinook jargon, "By and by")

Skippy Tisdale said...

"In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn."

As a retiree with a sister ten years younger who's undergrad was in Women's Studies (I have read the Lesbian Body over 30 years ago -- both in terms of the body of Lesbian writing and the Monique Wittig book of poetry, which I highly recommend*) I found this to be his most disgusting excuse.


Bilwick said...

Reminds me of my own semi-serious online quiz: "Who said it--Mussolini or Hillary?" (Alternate version: "Who said it--Mussolini or Obama?")

James in Belgrade said...

“Esse quam vidērī” is a phrase that dates back to Cicero, with the implication of being good or virtuous rather than merely seeming so.