Miley Cyrus has a new tattoo, and it's deep.
You know how you learn a new word, and then you hear it twice the next week? (Or not. I've been waiting since 1985 for the next two times I hear "verdigris.") Last month, some of Jerry Sandusky's sniveling letters to one of his victims came out, and they featured the exact same quote that appears in the new paperback edition of Bristol Palin's inspirational ghostwritten autobiography, Not Afraid of Life:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
Now the Daily Mail reports that singer/actress Miley Cyrus has "debuted" a new tattoo on her left forearm, and it reads:
"So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
What does it all mean? Is it a coincidence? A trend? A club?
The words are from Teddy Roosevelt, by way of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, and they appeared in every 20th century graduation speech given by a gym teacher in North America -- there may have been a law -- before being replaced by Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go!
Nice people stopped using the quote -- I pointed this out last month -- because Richard Nixon used it in his resignation speech in 1974, and it brought out its unpleasant undertaste of grandiosity and self-pity.
Does Miley Cyrus have an assistant? Does the assistant have Google?
I guess I'd feel sort of silly if I got a tattoo about how great I was, and it turned out it also described how Jerry Sandusky felt about how great he was. But then, I've never been in the arena.
In Rhetoric, Aristotle says, if you're young, you should avoid using maxims. It makes people think you're from the country.