What do Fatty Arbuckle, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Irving Berlin, Joan Crawford, Mario Cuomo, Judy Garland, John Lennon, Jackie Kennedy Onasis, Igor Stravinsky, Mae West, The Notorious B.I.G, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ayn Rand all have in common? A funeral service at the Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel on the corner of Madison and 81st Street – just two blocks from Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum. As far as funerals go, this appears to be the last place to be seen.
Philosophers, like sports radio hosts, can really go on about nothing for a long time. Ipso facto…5. Voltaire, a good listener and solid thinker: “The ancient Romans built their greatest masterpieces of architecture for wild beasts to fight in.”
4. Galileo Galilei, not one to steer clear of controversy: “The sun,with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.”
3. Hannah Arendt, clear and direct, puts men in their place: “Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.”
1. Socrates, the grand-master of the dialectic: “Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”
*For the record, the Bottom Five read likes this: Arthur Schopenhauer (gloomy!), Ayn Rand (repeats herself), Niccolo Machiavelli (one-trick pony), Rene Descartes (drones on and on) and Friedrich Nietzsche (way too intense).