Parting Words For WATC

For the last year and a half, the host of the weekend version of All Things Considered (WATC, pronounced WAHT-see) has ended the show with a little segment called "Parting Words" — a quote that sums up the feeling of the day's news, or connects and relates to the final story.

Perhaps I shouldn't reveal that the quote doesn't spring full-blown from the mind of the show's host, spontaneously on the air. They let the Librarian help.

So, if I'm not otherwise busy searching for phone numbers or fact-checking under a tight deadline, I spend a bit of time looking for that perfect quotation. I have a beat-up old copy of The Home Book of Quotations Classical & Modern, by Burton Stevenson (2000 pages of quotes, first published in 1934!). Other classic print resources (Bartlett's, Columbia) are available online through Bartleby, and there are lots of interesting quote sites on the web.

Sometimes we start with a thought, an idea we want to convey. Sometimes we start with a name — a writer or philosopher or politician — who must have said something appropriate. We've quoted a wide range of people — from Harriet Tubman and Nikola Tesla to a "teen angst poet," Sandra Day O'Connor, and both Cole Porter and Michael Jackson.

One of my recent favorites was on Valentine's Day:

Love is the magician, the enchanter that changes worthless things to joy. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods. (Robert G. Ingersoll, 19th century orator)



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