Saturday, October 9, 2010

Examples of Negative Quiddity 37

Examples of Negative Quiddity

Madame Nhu with Lyndon Johnson, May 1961
Lyndon Johnson
Jerry Falwell
Pat Robertson
Christopher Dodd
Barney Frank
Maxine Walters
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Leona Helmsley
Al Capone
Adolf Hitler
Benito Mussolini
Ferdinand Marcos
Antonio d'Oliveira Salazar
“Papa Doc” Duvalier
Augusto Pinochet
Juan Peron
Nicolae Ceausecu
Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu
Dave Beck
Sean Hannity
Bill O'Reilly
John McCain
George Steinbrenner
Jerry Jones
George Allen, Jr. (former governor and senator)
John Kerry
Joseph Biden
Alphonse D'Amato
Jesse Unruh
Jimmy Hoffa
Dale Carnegie
Rev. Robert A. Schuller
Rosylnn Carter
Joseph Alioto (former mayor of San Francisco)
Pope Paul VI
George H.W. Bush
Barbara Bush
Jesse Helms
Charles Rangel
Marilyn Tucker Quayle (wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle)
Pol Pot

Fictional examples of Negative Quiddity

Angela Lansbury's character in "The Manchurian Candidate"
George Sanders as the critic in “All About Eve”
Joe Flynn as Captain Binghampton on “McCale's Navy”
the supporting cast of “The Maltese Falcon”
Clarence Kolb, who played the city mayor in “His Girl Friday”
Larry Tate (Darren's boss, played by David White*) on “Bewitched”
Milburn Drysdale (the banker, played by Raymond Bailey) on “The Beverly Hillbillies”
Osgood Conklin (the principal, played by Gale Gordon) on “Our Miss Brooks”
Adenoid Hinkel (played by Charlie Chaplin in “The Great Dictator”)
Dr. No (played by Joseph Wiseman) in “Dr. No”
Noah Cross (played by John Huston) in “Chinatown”
Russ Yelburton (played by John Hillerman) in “Chinatown”
C. Montgomery Burns from "The Simpsons"
Mother Skinner (principal Seymour Skinner's mother) from "The Simpsons"

        * David White appeared, in person, to have been a profoundly decent human being

Warning: Other than cartoon characters of "The Simpsons," the most recent fictional examples in the list are from 1974. Note how the funny, fictional examples from motion pictures and television seem to be getting rarer and rarer. This means that, culturally, pomposity is probably winning and that the puncturer of pomposity, Hermes, is probably losing.

NOTE:  The top right home page of this blog contains a link to a companion blog, "Daily Quiddity."  Go to this link for many examples of positive quiddity.


  1. Excellent. I'll include him from "The Simpsons." I will also add Mother Seymour. Mayor Quimby, Chief Wiggums and Marge's two spinster sisters (who work at the department of motor vehicles) aren't quite relentlessly cruel enough to make the list.

  2. I wonder if you could put George Castanza from Seinfeld on this list. It would be an interesting addition if you can because he is such a loser...

    Incidentally, if you recall the Leno article i sent you, Jerry Seinfeld is Leno's best showbiz friend.

  3. I just saw Wall Street 2, and they kind of did this with the Brenton James character who takes a big fall in the end. The problem there is no real positive quiddity opposing him, just more ingenious negative quiddity, or greatly diluted positive.

    I think it works for Sy Benson and Karl Rojeck in My Favorite Year also, which i just rewatched, which is from 1982. This movie almost gave me a catharsis. If you haven't seen it, you, Ed Binns, would thoroughly enjoy it.

  4. I'm mulling Georger Castanza. I didn't watch much Seinfeld! I usually don't include ccomedians as examples of negative quiddity unless there's irony and pomposity there (see Gale Gordon and Joe Flynn). Comedians are usually "good guys" with "Hermes energy" even if ridiculous.

    I LOVED "My Favorite Year." A similar and haunting O'Toole movie, "The Stuntman," has a lot of parallels with "The Great and Secret Show."

  5. Castanza wasn't the actor, Castanza was the character, so that might help.

  6. More examples: any Mary Woronov character from the 80s. Movies you probably haven't seen...Paul Bartel was usually her stooge.

  7. Eric Cartman and Mr. Garrison on South Park.