Weekend Words: Risk

by Weekend Editors on December 8, 2013


Caravaggio, “The Cardsharps” (c. 1596). Oil on canvas, 92 x 129 cm. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. (Image via Web Gallery of Art)

With the rollout of Obamacare rolling out once more, the chatter is again all about risk: risk pools, risk corridors, pricing risks, risk adjustments — calling to mind the words of former Vice President Dan Quayle, “If we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure.”

” … it is in the nature of original contemporary art to present itself as a bad risk. And we the public … should be proud of being in this predicament, because nothing else would seem to us quite true to life; and art, after all, is supposed to be a mirror of life.”

—Leo Steinberg, “Contemporary Art and the Plight of its Public” (1962)

“It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings life forth but to that which kills.”

—Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

“Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one.”

—Sigmund Freud

“We Americans know, although others appear to forget, the risks of spreading conflict. We still seek no wider war.”

—Lyndon Baines Johnson, from a televised speech (1964)

“In America any boy may become President and I suppose that it’s just one of the risks he takes!”

—Adlai Stevenson, from a presidential campaign speech (1952)

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

—T. S. Eliot

“It’s too dangerous a journey to risk the cat’s life.”

—Charles A. Lindbergh, on why he didn’t take his kitten, Patsy, on his transatlantic flight.

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