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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 12/29/20

Good morning! Some day in the future, we will be sitting in armchairs recalling the crazy year of 2020. We all will recall the concern with shopping indoors, Instacart, masks, holidays missed, restrictions on our behaviors, and canceled plans related to the pandemic. Some sadly will recall losing a loved one to COVID, or losing a job, or suffering mightily with the disease. Many, if not all of us, will suffer through the economic ramifications of this pandemic, which will be with us for years.


One day this era will be a page (or chapter!) in history. When we look back on a prior era, the “day-to-day”of living in that time recedes and the art and work from those periods endure. The Soviet Era is marked by brutalist architecture and angular poster art. Weimar Germany is reflected in cabaret society and the art of Max Ernst. Belle Epoque France is captured by Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, the Eiffel Tower and Zola. One can’t think of the American West without invoking Mark Twain, John Muir and Ansel Adams. Art, music and literature survive long after the inhabitants of an era are gone.

But words don’t just survive in literature. They survive in “catch phrases” and great quotes that capture the era. An incomplete list of favorites (I have to go back to reading my book), in no particular order, great and cultural:

  • “Kilroy was here.” He was everywhere during WWII…

  • “We have only begun to fight,”

  • “We hold these truths to be self evident”

  • “When you’re going through hell, keep going”

  • “Tear down this wall”

  • “Peace and love”

  • “Sock it to me”

  • “Missed it by that much”

  • “The Dude abides”

  • “…judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character”

  • “If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves”

  • “Praise the lord and pass the ammunition”

  • “Today we are all Americans”

  • “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”

  • “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”


David Lash pointed me to Yale’s list of great quotes from the past year, an annual ritual. Here are the memorable quotes from 2020—some statements of fact, some statements of emotion, some ill-conceived, others memorable for their irony or falsehood:

  1. "Wear a mask." — Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, repeatedly urging Americans to slow the spread of Covid-19.

  2. "I can't breathe." — George Floyd in his final words to Minneapolis police before he died May 25.

  3. "One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear." — President Donald Trump about the coronavirus February 27.

  4. "I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning?" — Trump during a White House Coronavirus Task Force news briefing on April 23.

  5. "I will never lie to you. You have my word on that." — White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany at her first press briefing May 1.

  6. "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a statement dictated to her granddaughter Clara Spera.

  7. "If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't Black." — Joe Biden on "The Breakfast Club" radio program on May 22.

  8. "The science should not stand in the way of this." — McEnany about the reopening of schools on July 16.

  9. "You're a lying dog-faced pony soldier." — Biden February 9 to a student who asked how he can win a national election after his troubling results in Iowa.

  10. "We are all Lakers today." — Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers after the death of Kobe Bryant on January 26.

Pretty much sums it up. I’d add:

  • “Black lives matter.”

  • “Stand down and stand by.”

  • “You’re fake news.”

  • “Defund the police.”

  • “I have done more for Blacks than any president, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.”

  • “I took a cognitive test…I aced it.”

Do you have a favorite quote that explains the year just ended? Or a quote that inspires you? Or a quote that’s just silly? Send it by and let’s share a few. Have a great day, Glenn

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