The English Teacher / The Social Network

Fools Rush In

“It’s a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.” — Ulysses Everett McGill in “O Brother, Where Out Thou?”

Recently, I watched (again) a favorite movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”  and a delightful phrasing fell on my ears.  Since the movie is based on The Odyssey, it’s reasonable to acknowledge some cracker jack word smithing from Homer – Greek, translation, whatever.   But Homer is not credited with the line above – the Coen brothers get that acknowledgement.  “It’s a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.”  Indeed.  Chambers – a word often associated with judicial office.  “I’ll see you in chambers” – some private but official domain in which an argument can be made, and heard.  Argument predisposes logic.  Logic – argument – a judge’s chambers.  But ‘chambers’ takes an immediate left turn after logic, and lands in the center of emotions – the heart.  And no one denies that the ventricles (so clinical) have long also been known as chambers – the inner private domain of the heart, where emotions rule. Logic and reason belong to the mind.  The volatile world of emotion is assigned to the heart.  While each have their ruling seat and function, only a fool would look into the heart for logic.  The wise know better.

This simply constructed sentence lets me practice my diction analysis addiction.  Some people like Sudoku.  Some, word jumbles.  Some, mind bender puzzles.  But I’ll take a thoughtful, clever, poignant, satiric, ambiguous, analogous (how long could I keep that up!?) expression to ponder and examine any old time.  Words.  Let’s all play.

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4 thoughts on “Fools Rush In

  1. The Coen brothers are indeed master writers. According to IMDB, the only direct exposure they had to “The Odyssey” was the Classics Illustrated comic book version. But, you know, if you start with a good story, it’s natural you come up with good words.

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