Weekend Words: Dollar

Leonaert Bramer, “Money Combats the World, the Flesh, and the Devil” (1659), brush and gray ink, gray wash, 195 x 150 mm. Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich. (image via Web Gallery of Art)

Forty-seven years ago today, Abbie Hoffman led a dozen members of the Youth International Party into the visitors’ gallery of the New York Stock Exchange and threw fistfuls of dollar bills to the trading floor below.

While legend has it that the demonstration brought the market to a halt as brokers fought each other in a mad scramble for the bills, an account that appeared the following day in The New York Times reported that the traders, clerks and runners mostly “jeered, shouted, pointed fingers and shook their fists” at the Yippies, while a few “smiled and blew kisses.”

“A dollar picked up in the road is more satisfaction to us than the 99 which we had to work for, and the money won at Faro or in the stock market snuggles into our hearts in the same way.”

—Mark Twain

“The cost of living has gone up another dollar a quart.”

—W. C. Fields

“There is just one thing I can promise you about the outer-space program — your tax-dollar will go further.”

—Wernher Von Braun

“Publishers are notoriously slothful about numbers, unless they’re attached to dollar signs — unlike journalists, quarterbacks, and felony criminal defendants who tend to be keenly aware of numbers at all times.”

—Hunter S. Thompson

“No one can earn a million dollars honestly.”

—William Jennings Bryan

“See where Congress passed a two billion dollar bill to relieve bankers’ mistakes. You can always count on us helping those who have lost part of their fortune, but our whole history records nary a case where the loan was for the man who had absolutely nothing. Our theory is to help only those who can get along, even if they don’t get a loan.”

—Will Rogers, 1932

“Welcome to the melting pot, corners where we sellin’ rock
Afrika Bambataa shit, home of the hip-hop
Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back
For foreigners it ain’t pretty act like they forgot how to act
8 million stories, out there in it naked
City is a pity, half of y’all won’t make it”

—Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”

“In taking out an insurance policy one pays for it in dollars and cents, always at liberty to discontinue payments. If, however, woman’s premium is a husband, she pays for it with her name, her privacy, her self-respect, her very life, until death doth part.”

—Emma Goldman

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