“With Notably Rare Exceptions”

by Henry on March 30, 2011

Alan Greenspan is back as free market evangelist, and it’s rather wonderful.

Today’s competitive markets, whether we seek to recognise it or not, are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque. With notably rare exceptions (2008, for example), the global “invisible hand” has created relatively stable exchange rates, interest rates, prices, and wage rates.

It’s best not to interpret this as an empirical claim, but a carefully-thought-out bid for Internet immortality. It has the sublime combination of supreme self-confidence and utter cluelessness of previously successful memes such as “I am aware of all Internet traditions” and the “argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care,” but with added Greenspanny goodness. I tried to think of useful variations on the way in to work this morning – “With notably rare exceptions, Russian Roulette is a fun, safe game for all the family to play,” and “With notably rare exceptions, (the Third Punic War for example), the Carthaginian war machine was extremely successful,” but none do proper justice to the magnificence of the original. But then, that’s why we have commenters. Have at it.

{ 387 comments }

1

Stu 03.30.11 at 1:39 pm

“With notably rare exceptions, Newt Gingrich is a loyal and faithful husband.”

2

Andrew Edwards 03.30.11 at 1:44 pm

“With notably rare exceptions, Japanese nuclear reactors have been secure from earthquakes”

“With notably rare exceptions, Charles Manson has lived a peaceful life”

3

Henri Vieuxtemps 03.30.11 at 1:48 pm

Unredeemably opaque invisible hand, huh.

4

Tim Wilkinson 03.30.11 at 1:53 pm

Also – relatively.

(and, flippantly: “invisible hand” that is [irredeemably] opaque)

5

chris y 03.30.11 at 1:54 pm

With rare exceptions, you can’t get pregnant if you do it standing up.

6

Sufferin' Succotash 03.30.11 at 1:54 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Adolf Hitler was extremely tolerant of diverse religions and cultures.

7

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.30.11 at 1:55 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Vanderleun IS aware of all Internet traditions.

8

Tim Wilkinson 03.30.11 at 1:58 pm

With notably rare exceptions, people of the same trade can meet together, if only for merriment and diversion, with relatively little in the way of a conspiracy against the public or of any contrivance to raise prices.

9

otto 03.30.11 at 1:59 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the United States follows its treaty obligations.

10

Sev 03.30.11 at 2:03 pm

Though unredeemably(sic) opaque, Mr. Madoff’s operations delivered excellent returns, with notably rare exceptions.

11

Jeff 03.30.11 at 2:08 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Germany remained largely at peace with its neighbors during the 20th century.

12

ed 03.30.11 at 2:11 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Mrs. Lincoln enjoyed the play.

13

Anderson 03.30.11 at 2:20 pm

What on earth does “unredeemably” mean in Greenspan’s sentence?

14

MPAVictoria 03.30.11 at 2:23 pm

With notable rare exceptions Glenn Beck is a rational and conscientious media personality.

15

ed 03.30.11 at 2:24 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the levees protecting New Orleans have held fast in the face of major hurricanes.

16

ed 03.30.11 at 2:27 pm

With notably rare exceptions, warnings in Presidential Daily Briefings have been heeded with the utmost caution.

17

ed 03.30.11 at 2:30 pm

With notably rare exceptions, simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction after August of 2002.

18

ed 03.30.11 at 2:33 pm

With notably rare exceptions, George Bush, Jr. kept us safe.

19

Ciarán 03.30.11 at 2:34 pm

With noticeable rare exceptions, smoking doesn’t kill you immediately.

Also, isn’t it Greenspannery?

20

Lemuel Pitkin 03.30.11 at 2:34 pm

I’m giving the prize to 11. (Ed, stop while you’re ahead.)

21

jfxgillis 03.30.11 at 2:36 pm

“With notably rare exceptions, ‘Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?’ is an ineffective rejoinder.”

22

Platypus 03.30.11 at 2:38 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Alan Greenspan has been a rational human being.

23

chris 03.30.11 at 2:43 pm

With notably rare exceptions, drunk drivers generally arrive home safely.

With notably rare exceptions, locking all exits to the workplace is a harmless way to improve your employees’ productivity.

With notably rare exceptions, petroleum extraction has minimal environmental impact.

24

Steve LaBonne 03.30.11 at 2:45 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Alan Greenspan has been right about everything.

25

chris 03.30.11 at 2:46 pm

And for greater generality:

With notably rare exceptions, safety measures are unnecessary.

With notably rare exceptions, government regulation is unnecessary.

26

Wes 03.30.11 at 2:47 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Bush era tax rates have reduced deficits, produced jobs and raised the standard of living among the vast majority of Americans.

27

MPAVictoria 03.30.11 at 2:49 pm

With notable rare exceptions, working as a coal miner in China is a perfectly safe career choice.

28

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.30.11 at 2:51 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Rhett Butler did give a damn.

With notably rare exceptions, the US Constitution allows a ban on owning firearms.

With notably rare exceptions, all hyperlinks are Rickrolls.

29

Jay 03.30.11 at 2:54 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Chuck Norris is a pussy.

30

Delicious Pundit 03.30.11 at 2:58 pm

Today’s Greenspan prose, whether we seek to comprehend it or not, is driven by an ignorant idolatry of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque.

31

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.30.11 at 2:59 pm

With notably rare exceptions, none of us is Spartacus.

32

Glen Tomkins 03.30.11 at 3:02 pm

Pompeii has always been a safe place to raise a family, except on those rare occasions when Vesuvius erupts.

33

bh 03.30.11 at 3:04 pm

With some exceptions (cf films 1-3), Jurassic Park has been remarkably safe.

34

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.30.11 at 3:07 pm

With notably rare exceptions, these are not the droids you’re looking for. [waves unredeemably opaque invisible hand]

35

dilbert dogbert 03.30.11 at 3:09 pm

With notably rare exceptions the republican party’s economic policies destroy the economy.

36

ads 03.30.11 at 3:10 pm

@Jay. Nope, Chuck Norris has *never* been a pussy.

Chuck Norris thumb wrestled the invisible hand and won.

37

MPAVictoria 03.30.11 at 3:15 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup every year.

38

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.30.11 at 3:18 pm

@33,

Those exceptions are neither notable nor rare.

39

D Hewitt 03.30.11 at 3:25 pm

With notably rare exceptions, insurance is a complete waste of money.

40

william u. 03.30.11 at 3:37 pm

With notably rare exceptions, noise is Gaussian distributed.

41

Daragh McDowell 03.30.11 at 3:40 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Charlie Sheen is coherent, lucid and ‘winning.’

42

Hidari 03.30.11 at 3:42 pm

Human beings are immortal. With notably rare exceptions* when you wake up in the morning, you know for a fact that you will still be alive by the end of the day.

*Indeed, only one.

43

Ming 03.30.11 at 3:43 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black make legendary music.

44

Bill Who 03.30.11 at 3:47 pm

With notable exceptions, nitroglycerine is relatively innocuous.

45

Daragh McDowell 03.30.11 at 3:49 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Soylent Green is NOT people.

46

Enda H 03.30.11 at 3:49 pm

With notably rare exceptions, cognitive dissonance is unredeemably opaque.

47

Bill Who 03.30.11 at 3:53 pm

By the way, I’d go with #10 for the win, but @Sev left one word out.
“Though unredeemably(sic) opaque, Mr. Madoff’s invisible operations delivered excellent returns, with notably rare exceptions.”

48

Bob Irving 03.30.11 at 3:55 pm

While I hate to spoil the game, don’t you have to name the exceptions? Or am I being too picky? eg. With notably rare exceptions (cf. 1649), Charles I never lost his head.

49

ed 03.30.11 at 3:57 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Dick Cheney’s drinking while hunting has not caused any problems for members of his shooting party.

50

Henry 03.30.11 at 4:00 pm

I have to concur that ed at #12 is the winner so far – but the competition is tough.

51

Daragh McDowell 03.30.11 at 4:01 pm

How about – with notably rare exceptions, there were no terrorist attacks on US soil under George W. Bush.

Wait, what do you mean its been done?

52

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.30.11 at 4:03 pm

Oops, I meant @37. Or was it @35?

53

someguy 03.30.11 at 4:06 pm

With notable rare exceptions as member and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank’s oversight of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and the financial sector in general was so exceptional as to be almost prescient.

54

Sev 03.30.11 at 4:06 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Gaddaffi’s imaginative style of governance has been applauded by his countrymen.

55

Rob 03.30.11 at 4:08 pm

With notable rare exceptions, the Corvair is perfectly safe to drive.

With notable rare exceptions, the Supreme Court stays out of elections.

With notable rare exceptions, the U.S. doesn’t involve its military in foreign adventures.

With notable rare exceptions, sea platforms are a safe and effective means for drilling for oil.

With notable rare exceptions, Union Carbide operated its plants in a clean and safe manner.

56

Dan Hamlin 03.30.11 at 4:08 pm

With notably rare exceptions, reliance upon a quarter millennium year old analogy is a perfectly sound guiding principal in the management of a modern economic system.

57

Herman 03.30.11 at 4:09 pm

Nobody’s got the Titanic in yet?

With notably rare exceptions the voyage of the Titanic was uneventful.
Excepting contact with the unredeemably opaque invisible iceberg, of course.

58

Doug 03.30.11 at 4:09 pm

With notable exceptions, Greenspan managed to fool others into thinking he was a thoughtful intellectual. He used this ability to increase SS taxes on the poor and cut taxes on his rich friends. Once the taxes on the rich were lowered he declared SS bankrupt. He also used it to argue for deregulation of finical institutes, then when bailing those institutes out caused the federal deficit to rise he argued that we needed to cut more programs for the poor.

59

Ebenezer Scrooge 03.30.11 at 4:10 pm

Fwiw, I’d give the palm to @39.

60

dsquared 03.30.11 at 4:13 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the novelist Ayn Rand made a point of not sleeping with saxophonists. Allegedly.

61

Chris Bertram 03.30.11 at 4:14 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Charlie Sheen is a man of moderate appetites.

With notably rare exceptions Mel Gibson is tolerant and polite.

62

Dave 03.30.11 at 4:22 pm

What is brilliant about “notably rare exceptions” it can be used to justify any ridiculous argument.

And my submission:

With notably rare exceptions, Toyota’s vehicles accelerate and brake normally.

63

Marc 03.30.11 at 4:27 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Chinese toothpaste is safe to use.

With notably rare exceptions, Monsanto’s products improve our lives.

64

david 03.30.11 at 4:27 pm

with notably rare exceptions, my heart has delivered consistently good results for the last sixty years.

65

Salient 03.30.11 at 4:28 pm

Premodern air travel, whether we seek to recognize it or not, was driven by a propeller-assisted version of Mongolfier compounded lift that is irredeemably opaque. With notably rare exceptions (the Hindenburg, for example), the hydrogen blimp industry provided passengers with relatively unparalleled speed, comfort, cost and safety.

The hydrogen blimp industry has found itself, of late, under the thumb of odious inhibitory regulation that stifles its growth. Government bureaucrats exploit the fears of misinformed consumers, employing scare tactics to quash the free development of legitimate industry on the facile grounds that notable exceptions cannot prove the rule. This explains the hydrogen blimp’s failure to retain market share, and offers us insight into the collapse of the economy as a whole.

66

JGabriel 03.30.11 at 4:30 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the Roman Empire’s crucifixion policy was successful in containing subversive religious movements among the hoi polloi.

.

67

christian_h 03.30.11 at 4:34 pm

With notably rare exceptions (eg the Big Bang), the wave function is continuous.

68

Substance McGravitas 03.30.11 at 4:35 pm

With notably rare exceptions (1945, for example), atomic bombs have never been used in war.

69

dave 03.30.11 at 4:39 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Walter Benjamin had an easy time crossing borders.

70

AG 03.30.11 at 4:40 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Obama has always been a president for peace.

71

Ben M 03.30.11 at 4:41 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the New England Patriots were undefeated in the 2007-2008 season.

72

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.30.11 at 4:43 pm

With notably rare steaks, you want a full-bodied, unredeemably opaque red.

73

JEC 03.30.11 at 4:43 pm

With notably rare exceptions, fiscal austerity has always been relatively expansionary.

74

Daniel Butt 03.30.11 at 4:44 pm

Surely the greatest representation of this meme comes from Steve Coogan on The Day Today:

75

Dan 03.30.11 at 4:45 pm

With very rear exceptions (the invisible hand, for example) Adam Smith warned of the collusive nature of business interests.

76

Trey 03.30.11 at 4:45 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the books written by an infinite amount of monkeys at an infinite amount of typewriters lack effective character development.

77

Juha T 03.30.11 at 4:45 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the fire department is useless.

With notably rare exceptions, Richard Fuld made great decisions as the head of Lehman Brothers.

With notably rare exceptions, the shadow banking system has made the US economy more stable.

With notably rare exceptions, Lehman Brothers was a sound bank.

With notably rare exceptions, the Irish banking system has been solvent.

With notably rare exceptions, the Greek government has not needed bail-out packages.

78

Jeff 03.30.11 at 4:48 pm

With notably rare exceptions, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

79

Malaclypse 03.30.11 at 4:50 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Scott Walker has always negotiated in good faith with unions.

80

Malaclypse 03.30.11 at 4:52 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the bacterium Yersinia pestis does not cause significant human suffering.

81

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.30.11 at 4:52 pm

With notably rare exceptions, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

82

dave 03.30.11 at 4:53 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Ted Kennedy’s driving was superb.

83

Dave 03.30.11 at 4:53 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Greenspasms are not humorous.

84

Debbie R. 03.30.11 at 4:56 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Achilles was invincible.

85

Castorp 03.30.11 at 4:58 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the gold standard prevented depressions.

86

Tim 03.30.11 at 5:00 pm

With notably rare exceptions, children may be left alone with priests.

87

njnnja 03.30.11 at 5:04 pm

With notably rare exceptions, prefacing a sweeping generalization with a caveat that the opposite sometimes holds true will make any statement empirically correct.

“With notably rare exceptions, all Cretans are liars,” said Epimenides the Cretan.

88

Malaclypse 03.30.11 at 5:05 pm

With notably rare exceptions, land wars in Asia are a good idea.

89

Jenice 03.30.11 at 5:08 pm

With notably rare exceptions, McDonald’s can be part of healthful diet.
With notably rare exceptions, former Sen. Larry Craig is a practicing heterosexual.

90

Red 03.30.11 at 5:08 pm

With rarely notable exceptions, Greenspan tells the truth.

91

JCE 03.30.11 at 5:12 pm

#66 is the winner!!! hahahahah superb!!

“With notably rare exceptions, the Roman Empire’s crucifixion policy was successful in containing subversive religious movements among the hoi polloi.”

92

chris y 03.30.11 at 5:17 pm

With no exceptions whatsoever, Scott Walker should have stuck to singing.

93

Tim Silverman 03.30.11 at 5:17 pm

With notably rare exceptions, there are no occasions during the day when I need to eat or go to the toilet.

With notably rare exceptions, I don’t get ill.

With notably rare exceptions, persistent wind speeds in excess of 150 mph do not occur.

With notably rare exceptions, once I fall asleep I don’t wake up.

94

Red 03.30.11 at 5:18 pm

I meant “isn’t telling the truth,” of course. Lost my way in the surreal there.

95

roac 03.30.11 at 5:18 pm

With notably rare exceptions, CT commenters refrain from blaming the 2008 crash on Barney Frank.

96

Cosma Shalizi 03.30.11 at 5:19 pm

With notably rare exceptions, economics is scientific discipline.

97

dbk 03.30.11 at 5:20 pm

With notably rare exceptions, atomic energy has been used to the benefit of mankind.

98

Tim 03.30.11 at 5:22 pm

With notable rare exceptions, bullets lie in rest.

99

James 03.30.11 at 5:28 pm

Play at home and make as much sense:

Today’s [noun], whether we seek to recognise it or not, are driven by an [adjective] version of [someone in the room]’s “invisible [body part]” that is [made up adverb][adjective]. With notably rare exceptions ([Year], for example), the [geographic area] “invisible [body part]” has created relatively [adjective] [noun], [noun], [noun], and [noun].

100

Austin 03.30.11 at 5:30 pm

With notably rare exceptions, there is a spoon.

101

Ted the Slacker 03.30.11 at 5:35 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Nassim Taleb is humble and understated.

102

Ted the Slacker 03.30.11 at 5:36 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Ayn Rand had intelligent disciples.

103

Ted the Slacker 03.30.11 at 5:38 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Bill O’Reilly has inpeccable phone manners.

104

Danius 03.30.11 at 5:40 pm

With notable rare exceptions, it’s sunny in Seattle.

105

liberal 03.30.11 at 5:43 pm

Someone who has even an iota of shame would have committed ritual suicide if they’d committed the massive screwup that Greenspan did. Not only does he not do that, he goes around making these idiot statements. Surely the dictionary definition of chutzpah needs updating.

106

Hidari 03.30.11 at 5:44 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Alan Greenspan is a fucking idiot.

107

Cosma Shalizi 03.30.11 at 5:47 pm

With notably rare exceptions (1940, for example), the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is impressively stable.

108

Ted the Slacker 03.30.11 at 5:48 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Alan Greenspan takes responsibility for his decisions.

109

Herman 03.30.11 at 6:02 pm

Is the unredeemably opaque invisible hand seen through a glass darkly?

110

bexley 03.30.11 at 6:06 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the invisible Hand of God has not hindered the England football team.

111

joe koss 03.30.11 at 6:08 pm

With notably rare exceptions (type II diabetes, for example), our food system is safe, efficient and healthy.

112

Fred Brack 03.30.11 at 6:17 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Pompei was a lovely place to raise a family.

113

Rich 03.30.11 at 6:19 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the Titanic was the world’s first unsinkable ship.

114

Main Street Muse 03.30.11 at 6:21 pm

With notable exceptions, Alan Greenspan offers lucid analysis on current economic issues.

[An exception being his vision of that "unredeemably opague" invisible hand guiding the globe to "relatively stable exchange rates, interest rates, prices, and wage rates." Sounds like Greenspan's using that hand to pat himself on the back. Many thanks to that nice old 18th century hand for giving us wages that have been so "stable" as to be considered stagnant. ]

Kudos to all who’ve played this game!

115

AnonGuest84 03.30.11 at 6:26 pm

With notably rare exceptions (1948 – present, for example), Israelis and Palestinians have coexisted peacefully.

116

Colin Danby 03.30.11 at 6:28 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Oedipus and Iocasta had a happy marriage.

117

Malaclypse 03.30.11 at 6:29 pm

With notably rare exceptions, allowing Ayn Rand’s acolytes to serve as Federal Reserve chairmen has worked out well, both for the nation and the world.

118

"Fair and Balanced" Dave 03.30.11 at 6:31 pm

With notable rare exceptions, the Pittsburgh Pirates play winning baseball.

With notable rare exceptions, Alaska has had intelligent governors.

119

Sev 03.30.11 at 6:35 pm

Revised: Unredeemably opaque as are the workings of its invisible hand, with notably rare exceptions, Gaddaffi’s imaginative style of governance has been applauded by his countrymen.

120

Epinnoia 03.30.11 at 6:40 pm

“Throughout history, Adam Smith observed, we find the workings of “the vile maxim of the masters of mankind”: “All for ourselves, and nothing for other People.” He had few illusions about the consequences. The invisible hand, he wrote, will destroy the possibility of a decent human existence “unless government takes pains to prevent” this outcome, as must be assured in “every improved and civilized society.” It will destroy community, the environment and human values generally — and even the masters themselves, which is why the business classes have regularly called for state intervention to protect them from market forces. “

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199303–.htm

121

chris 03.30.11 at 6:48 pm

With notably rare exceptions (e.g. 2004, 2011), living on the shores of the Pacific Ocean is perfectly safe.

122

dave 03.30.11 at 6:55 pm

With notably rare exceptions, global harmony has reigned since the Peace of Westphalia.

123

Jay 03.30.11 at 6:58 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Michael Jackson behaved perfectly normally.

124

Scott Lemieux 03.30.11 at 7:09 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Grady Little’s unredeemably opaque postseason tactical decisions were brilliant.

125

Steve LaBonne 03.30.11 at 7:22 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the Wisconsin Republicans respect the rule of law.

126

koozy14 03.30.11 at 7:33 pm

If not for the unredeemably opaque “invisible hand,” the life of man–solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

127

Alagator 03.30.11 at 7:35 pm

“with notably rare exceptions, it’s not the fall that kills one; it’s the sudden deceleration at the end!”

128

Malaclypse 03.30.11 at 7:36 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Ptolemaic astronomy makes remarkably good predictions.

129

keekerdc 03.30.11 at 7:42 pm

With notably rare exceptions, you’re not Chevy Chase.

130

Stelios Theoharidis 03.30.11 at 7:51 pm

I will correct it for him….. “Today’s competitive markets, whether we seek to recognise it or not, are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque. With notably rare exceptions (Tulip Mania, South Sea Company, Great Depression, Japanese Real Estate Crisis, Latin American Default Crisis, East Asian Crisis, Telecommunications Bubble, LTCM, Enron, DotCom, Oil/Commodity Speculation, Subprime/Global Real Estate Bubble) the global “invisible hand” has created relatively stable exchange rates, interest rates, prices, and wage rates.

…….With notably rare exceptions (see above) the invisible hand will not pick your pocket….

131

Mandos 03.30.11 at 7:54 pm

With notably rare exceptions, threads about memes involving “with notably rare exceptions” are notably rare.

132

Hidari 03.30.11 at 8:01 pm

With notably rare exceptions, JFK was one of our most unassassinated Presidents.

133

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.30.11 at 8:07 pm

A noticeably rare exception has occurred and Windows needs to shut down.

134

calling all toasters 03.30.11 at 8:12 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Alan Greenspan keeps his mouth shut and so is only thought a fool.

135

cursorial 03.30.11 at 8:23 pm

Whether we seek to recognize it or not, all human activities involve hazards, some of them irredeemably opaque. Alarmists notwithstanding, with notably rare exceptions, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory has been safe, employee-friendly work environment.

136

James E. Smith 03.30.11 at 8:28 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the public sector had nothing to do with Dick Cheney’s amassing a fortune.

With notably rare exceptions, the citizens of Iraq greeted US and coalition troops with flowers.

137

Martin bento 03.30.11 at 8:29 pm

Without exceptions, notably rare or otherwise, an invisible hand cannot be opaque.

As Orwell said, muddled metaphors indicate that someone is not actually thinking.

138

bittersweetdb 03.30.11 at 8:31 pm

With notably rare exceptions, author Jacqueline Howlett appreciates constructive criticism and feedback on her work.

139

Majorajam 03.30.11 at 8:33 pm

Worthy: chris y @5, Tim W @8, ed @15, D Hewitt @39, Herman @57, JGabriel @66, roac @93
Brilliant: Sev @10, ed @12, 16, 49, Rob @55, Dan @75, njnnja @86, Austin @98
Winner of Internets: Jeff @78

My own humble contribution:

With notably rare exceptions, Alan Greenspan was fanatical about the integrity of the banking system and the stability of asset prices, consequences for his political benefactors be damned.

140

bdbd 03.30.11 at 8:33 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the riffraff are kept out of the NCAA Final Four.

141

DFC 03.30.11 at 8:35 pm

With notably rare exceptions invading Russia is a very easy task

With notably rare exceptions the emperor Caligula was an emotionally stable men

With notably rare exceptions Stalin like freedom of expression and accept criticism with joy

142

Russ Abbott 03.30.11 at 8:40 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the Republican party has been a model of responsible opposition.

143

Russ Abbott 03.30.11 at 8:42 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Republican politicians tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — just like Fox TV.

144

Kieran 03.30.11 at 8:43 pm

With notably rare exceptions, there are no exceptions.

145

Russ Abbott 03.30.11 at 8:44 pm

With notably rare exceptions, members of Congress can be counted on to do what’s in the public interest rather than what’s in the interest of contributors to their campaign funds when the two diverge.

146

Jesus Amin 03.30.11 at 8:45 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Jeffrey Dahmer preferred pie.

147

Castorp 03.30.11 at 8:46 pm

With notably rare exceptions, predictions of the Second Coming have prescient guides for action.

148

Russ Abbott 03.30.11 at 8:46 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the American public values intelligence and clear thinking.

149

mrearl 03.30.11 at 8:49 pm

With notably rare exceptions, life is too short.

150

Brian 03.30.11 at 8:50 pm

try {} catch(NotablyRareException e) {}

151

4th Time Around 03.30.11 at 8:50 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Adam Sandler’s comedy has remained cerebral.

152

someguy 03.30.11 at 8:52 pm

roac,

With notable rare expections CT commentators are very creative readers.

153

jeanius 03.30.11 at 8:55 pm

With notably rare exceptions, no one was convicted & imprisoned for driving the U.S. economy off a cliff.

154

David W. 03.30.11 at 8:55 pm

With notably rare exceptions (truckload of Fizzies into the varsity swim meet), Delta House has been a relatively stable model of fraternity life on campus.

155

andrew 03.30.11 at 8:56 pm

With notably rare exceptions, hydrogen-filled airships have been a remarkably safe mode of transportation.

With notably rare exceptions, George McGovern’s political career was one of unalloyed success.

156

Scott Lemieux 03.30.11 at 9:02 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the United States Supreme Court would not determine the results of an election with a transparently unprincipled and self-refuting opinion that resulted in their preferred candidate taking office.

157

simplynonna 03.30.11 at 9:03 pm

with “noticeably” rare deceptions GMO’s are “good” for you-it is Mother Nature after all!

158

chris 03.30.11 at 9:07 pm

With notably rare exceptions, there’s no difference between theory and practice.

With notably rare exceptions, the Space Shuttles had a flawless safety record.

With notably rare exceptions, all species are extinct.

159

Tim Silverman 03.30.11 at 9:15 pm

With notably rare exceptions, all notable events are common.

160

Andrew 03.30.11 at 9:19 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Hannibal’s manners at the dinner table were beyond reproach.

161

tom 03.30.11 at 9:21 pm

With notably rare exceptions, gravity is the force that propels earthy objects into space.

162

joel hanes 03.30.11 at 9:25 pm

With notably rare exceptions, one can safely play poker with men named “Doc”, eat at places named “Mom’s”, sleep with people whose problems are worse than your own, get involved in land wars in Asia, and go up against Sicilians when death is on the line.

163

Peri Winkle 03.30.11 at 9:29 pm

With notably rare exceptions, those who met Jeffrey Dahmer lived to tell about it.

164

Peri Winkle 03.30.11 at 9:29 pm

With notably rare exceptions, wealth concentrates in the hands of those whose labor produces it.

165

Peri Winkle 03.30.11 at 9:30 pm

With notably rare exceptions, suicide missions save lives.

166

Peri Winkle 03.30.11 at 9:31 pm

With notably rare exceptions, markets consistently and accurately reflect the intrinsic value of all commodities.

167

Peri Winkle 03.30.11 at 9:31 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the Fox News Network is fair and balanced.

168

Peri Winkle 03.30.11 at 9:31 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the stability of interest rates, prices and wages is far more important than how high or low they are.

169

broangelico 03.30.11 at 9:32 pm

@64. Too too goddam funny!!–hoping you’re well, meanwhile.

With notably rare exceptions, I’ve always found a toilet in time.

170

Majorajam 03.30.11 at 9:36 pm

Ok, I think we have a winner (as cribbed from ‘some guy from Austin’ on Krugman’s thread on this)…

The invisible hand is invisible to the middle class, with the notable exception of the middle finger.

Priceless.

171

broangelico 03.30.11 at 9:38 pm

p.s. thanks everyone! this has been the funniest stuff I’ve read for a long while.

172

Blake Stacey 03.30.11 at 9:47 pm

With notably rare exceptions, all possible statements are false.

173

Alfabc 03.30.11 at 9:52 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Mohammed Atta was a good passenger.

174

Jonathan Hopkin 03.30.11 at 9:54 pm

With notably rare exceptions, central bankers lack a sense of humour.

175

Tim Wilkinson 03.30.11 at 9:56 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the CT readership is full of bright ideas.

The vexing question confronting regulators is whether this rising share of finance has been a necessary condition of growth in the past half century, or coincidence. With notably rare exceptions (for example institutionalised voracious parasitism), no other possibility bears examination.

With notably rare exceptions, There Is No Alternative.

176

DFC 03.30.11 at 9:58 pm

With notably rare exceptions to be drunk is a safe way of driving oil tankers in Alaska in the 80’s

177

owlbear1 03.30.11 at 10:03 pm

[an] “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque.

“Let’s pretend the system doesn’t require deception and ignorance to work.”

178

owlbear1 03.30.11 at 10:05 pm

With notably rare exceptions, wealth trickles down.

179

opaquelyinvisible 03.30.11 at 10:05 pm

The invisible hand is so opaque that it is, well, invisible.

180

Steve 03.30.11 at 10:05 pm

With notably rare exceptions, OJ was a good husband.

181

jason k 03.30.11 at 10:06 pm

With notably rare exceptions (Civ4, for example), Montezuma was a relatively stable neighboring Civ.

With notably rare exceptions (his entire coaching career, for example), Mike D’Antoni has created feisty defense first basketball teams.

With notably rare exceptions (1e D&D, for example), TSR created a perfect out of the box game that required no additional house rules.

182

Larry 03.30.11 at 10:12 pm

I would edit Ed’s excellent suggestion (12) a wee bit to read thusly:

“With notably rare exceptions, Mrs. Lincoln enjoyed attending plays at Ford’s Theater.”

My favorite, however, is Stu’s contribution at 1. I can close my eyes and see and hear Newt saying these exact words to Sean Hannity on Fox TV.

183

Michael Bérubé 03.30.11 at 10:16 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Lee Siegel has been one of the most self-effacing writers of our time.

184

Jeff R. 03.30.11 at 10:20 pm

We taught (Germany) a lesson in 1918, and with notably rare exceptions, they haven’t bothered us since then.

185

bdbd 03.30.11 at 10:23 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the moving hand writes, and having written, moves on.

186

Colin Danby 03.30.11 at 10:32 pm

That’s it Michael, we’re FOIAing your email, keyword “sprezzatura.”

187

Tom M 03.30.11 at 10:35 pm

With unredeemably opaque exceptions, Greenspan is handily invisible.

Would that he remained so.

188

Darren from Canada 03.30.11 at 10:37 pm

With notably rare exceptions, I have all comments and they are all nice.

189

andrew 03.30.11 at 10:39 pm

With notably rare exceptions, a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

With notably rare exceptions, happy families are all alike.

190

Scout 03.30.11 at 10:39 pm

With notably rare exceptions, there are known knowns and known unknowns. There are even unredeemably opaque unknown unknowns.

191

Darren from Canada 03.30.11 at 10:40 pm

With notably rare exceptions, I never make mistakes typing. (Or Spllenig errors)

“With notably rare exceptions, I have (read) all comments and they are all nice.

192

Michael Bérubé 03.30.11 at 10:48 pm

OK, Colin. By the way, have I told you that with notably rare exceptions, Scott Walker has been the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life? Please email me at my psu.edu account if you’d like to hear the details, or if there’s anything more I can say on the subjects of sprezzatura, recall, collective bargaining, AFSCME, WEAC, rally, union, Alberta Darling, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, Rob Cowles, Scott Fitzgerald, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich, Jeff Fitzgerald, Marty Beil, or Mary Bell. Also Rachel Maddow, too.

193

Patrick S. O'Donnell 03.30.11 at 10:54 pm

With notably rare exceptions, aerial bombing is a discriminate and proportionate means of warfare well-suited to achieving sundry military objectives and thus is in keeping with jus in bello principles that result in minimal–and unavoidable–collateral damage.

194

Paul Boudreau 03.30.11 at 10:54 pm

With notably rare exceptions the banking industry has been incredibly fastidious and cautious in investing their depositors money and refrained from engaging in potentially risky speculative investments.

195

piddlesworth 03.30.11 at 11:26 pm

With notably rare exceptions, observation of the physical world provides no evidence of quantum mechanics.

Repeat for anything supported by empirical evidence.

196

Patrick (not the same one as above) 03.30.11 at 11:43 pm

With notably rare exceptions (my immediate family), conservatives will enjoy this commenting thread when they access it though my Facebook page.

With notably rare occasions (Michael Berube) Penn State football fans regard defeat in Ann Arbor with equanimity.

197

Bloix 03.31.11 at 12:01 am

The notion of an invisible something being opaque has got to be one of the greatest metaphors in the history of the entire world.

But, I’m sorry to say, most people here are missing the point. The concept is not that there are many exceptions, but that there is one big exception that utterly demolishes the thing under discussion.

With notably rare exceptions, civilian travel by hydrogen-filled airship was convenient and comfortable.
With notably rare exceptions, the potato was a dependable staple crop that provided ample nourishment for the Irish rural peasantry.
With notably rare exceptions, Bill Clinton’s many infidelities had little effect on his public life.

Like that.

198

Chris 03.31.11 at 12:09 am

With notably rare exceptions, evangelical preachers live up to the family values they espouse.

199

Bloix 03.31.11 at 12:10 am

So that the statement is literally true, because the exceptions truly are rare, but when you hear it you go, AGH! AGH! AGH! and bang your head on your desk.

With notably rare exceptions, the space shuttle had a virtually spotless safety record.

200

piddlesworth 03.31.11 at 12:14 am

With notably rare exceptions, I would do anything for love.

201

Will Clarke 03.31.11 at 12:17 am

With notably rare exceptions, imperialism has been an particularly positive force for human development in the non-European world.
–Niall Ferguson circa 1998-2035

202

Jeff R. 03.31.11 at 12:20 am

With notably rare exceptions, I am never, ever sick at sea.

203

piddlesworth 03.31.11 at 12:36 am

With notably rare exceptions, Sisyphus was successful in rolling the boulder up the hill every step of the way.

204

JasonSL 03.31.11 at 12:54 am

Bloix @ 195 is right. Also, naming the exception(s) can sometimes be especially effective. Here are my efforts:

With notably rare exceptions (e.g., cancer), aflatoxin causes few problems for human health.

With a notably rare exception (2001), the U.S. enjoyed eight years free of terrorist attacks under George W. Bush.

With notably rare exceptions (collisions, for example), automotive transport is perfectly safe.

205

Cosma Shalizi 03.31.11 at 1:00 am

With notably rare exceptions, all animals are equal.

206

thomas 03.31.11 at 1:09 am

With notably rare exceptions, the movement of tectonic plates is imperceptibly slow.

207

Liz Lemon 03.31.11 at 1:49 am

With notably rare exceptions, Andrea Mitchell has remained celibate since 1997.

208

David Bloom 03.31.11 at 1:56 am

“How’s that egg?” shouted the bishop across the table.
“It is,” said the curate, “with notably rare exceptions, quite delicious.”

209

Dogsbody 03.31.11 at 2:20 am

With notably rare exceptions, Jonah Goldberg’s books have been non-partisan documents written with detail and care.

210

Bryan 03.31.11 at 2:51 am

With notably rare exceptions, John F. Kennedy enjoyed many a leisurely car ride throughout his life.

211

Peri Winkle 03.31.11 at 3:01 am

With notably rare exceptions, investing in stocks is a reliable way to save for retirement.

212

Peri Winkle 03.31.11 at 3:04 am

With notably rare exceptions, it’s a safe bet that housing prices will always appreciate.

213

Peri Winkle 03.31.11 at 3:16 am

With notably rare exceptions, “the self-interests of organisations, specifically banks and others, are such that they are best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.”

214

Peri Winkle 03.31.11 at 3:20 am

With notably rare exceptions, Mr. Greenspan is right about the role of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” intToday’s competitive markets.

215

Peri Winkle 03.31.11 at 3:22 am

With notably rare exceptions, novels are reliable sources for effective economic models.

216

kdog 03.31.11 at 3:34 am

This stuff is Hi-Larious. Too many to mention.

With notably rare exceptions (matter), the universe is invisible.

With notably rare exceptions (fertilization), sperm die in the uterus.

With notably rare exceptions (the Grand Canyon), Thelma and Louise had a nice drive.

With notably rare exceptions (the ball going through his legs), Bill Buckner had an uneventful Game 6.

217

Yardboy 03.31.11 at 3:40 am

With notably rare exceptions, commenters on this post correctly quote the original article using the word “notably” instead of “notable”.

218

herr doktor bimler 03.31.11 at 3:59 am

With notably rare exceptions, this is a pipe.

219

OneJap 03.31.11 at 4:11 am

with notably rare exceptions, zsa zsa gabor was a married woman

220

Mcunnin777 03.31.11 at 4:24 am

With notably rare exceptions GE pays it’s federal income tax.

221

Daedlus 03.31.11 at 4:24 am

With notably rare exceptions (e.g. any financial crisis), Robert Lucas’ DSGE model has demonstrated that “today’s competitive markets…are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque.”

222

Daedlus 03.31.11 at 4:27 am

With notably rare exceptions (e.g. any financial crisis) Hyman Minsky has demonstrated that “today’s competitive markets…are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque.”

223

Daedlus 03.31.11 at 4:28 am

With notably rare exceptions (e.g. in the mind of a sensible person) invisible objects must by definition be simultaneously opaque.

224

Daedlus 03.31.11 at 4:29 am

With notably rare exceptions Homer Simpson never drinks, eats donuts, or strangles his son.

225

Daedlus 03.31.11 at 4:30 am

With notably rare exceptions (e.g. China) Ayn Rand has demonstrated that “today’s competitive markets…are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque.”

226

Daedlus 03.31.11 at 4:34 am

With notably rare exceptions (e.g. every time he has spoken) Ron Paul has always correctly predicted hyper-inflation.

227

The Frito Pundito 03.31.11 at 4:38 am

With notable exceptions, everyone’s a winner baby.

228

virag 03.31.11 at 5:12 am

with notably rare exceptions, tilikum would never hurt anyone for fun.

229

samsa 03.31.11 at 5:25 am

With notably rare exceptions, Republican Presidents do not lie to get us into wars that bankrupt our economy.

230

p mac 03.31.11 at 5:25 am

With notably rare exceptions, the first step is not a doozy.

231

Trey 03.31.11 at 5:36 am

With notably rare exceptions, some of your base are still belong to you.

232

piddlesworth 03.31.11 at 5:58 am

“With notably rare exceptions, they are not in Baghdad. They are not in control of any airport. I tell you this. It is all a lie. They lie. It is a hollywood movie. You do not believe them.”

“With notably rare exceptions, today we slaughtered them in the airport. They are out of Saddam International Airport. The force that was in the airport, this force was destroyed.”

“With notably rare exceptions, there are only two American tanks in the city.”

“With notably rare exceptions, we are winning!”

233

P O'Neill 03.31.11 at 6:05 am

The notably rare exceptions are the exceptions that prove the rule.

234

Horst Engels 03.31.11 at 6:13 am

“With notably rare exceptions, melamine is not found in infant’s milk formula.”

235

Juha T 03.31.11 at 6:19 am

In 1946, somebody could have said:

“Today’s Europe, whether we seek to recognise it or not, is driven by an international version of Neville Chamberlain’s “peace for our time”. With notable rare exceptions (1939-1945, for example), “peace for our time” has created relatively lasting peace.”

236

piddlesworth 03.31.11 at 6:50 am

Exceptions can only disprove rules, regardless of their rarity, or its notability.

With notably rare exceptions (those who don’t base their thinking on “common wisdom” idioms, for example), people fail to grasp disproof by counterexample.

237

Homer Simpson 03.31.11 at 6:56 am

With notably rare exceptions (the dictionary, for example), anything which is invisible must by definition be simultaneously opaque.

238

Homer Simpson 03.31.11 at 6:57 am

With notably rare exceptions, Homer Simpson has never imbibed alcohol, consumed donuts, or strangled his son.

239

Homer Simpson 03.31.11 at 6:59 am

With notably rare exceptions (financial crises, for example) Robert Lucas’ DSGE model demonstrates that “today’s competitive markets…are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque.”

240

Homer Simpson 03.31.11 at 7:00 am

With notably rare exceptions (China, for example) Alan Greenspan demonstrates that “today’s competitive markets…are driven by an international version of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that is unredeemably opaque.”

241

Homer Simpson 03.31.11 at 7:03 am

With notably rare exceptions (anytime he has spoken, for example) Ron Paul has always correctly predicted hyper-inflation.

242

Homer Simpson 03.31.11 at 7:06 am

With notably rare exceptions (reality, for example) the John Birch Society has correctly assessed the fluoridation of water supplies as a subversive communist plot.

243

Toby 03.31.11 at 7:42 am

With notable rare exceptions, that’s too big to be a space station.

244

bad Jim 03.31.11 at 8:08 am

With notably rare exceptions, these steaks are well done.

With notably rare exceptions, postage stamps have trivial value.

With a notably rare exception I could win a lottery.

245

Hidari 03.31.11 at 8:52 am

With notably rare exceptions, I am aware of all internet traditions.

With notably rare exceptions, all your base are belong to us.

246

Hidari 03.31.11 at 9:04 am

With notably rare exceptions, every student had positive things to say about ‘Learn to swim with Barrymore!’

247

idlemind 03.31.11 at 9:22 am

With notably rare exceptions, Alan Greenspan and Ayn Rand are indistinguishable.

Fertile ground here. Aside from the incompatibility between invisibility and opaqueness, how can the latter quality be either redeemable or irredeemable? Greenspan’s locution accurately reflects that of his mentor.

248

herr doktor bimler 03.31.11 at 9:25 am

With notably rare exceptions, you still need exception-handling routines.

249

Martin bento 03.31.11 at 9:39 am

With notably rare exceptions, all organisms are dead.

250

Martin bento 03.31.11 at 9:40 am

With notably rare exceptions, the Manson family wee harmless kooks.

251

Hidari 03.31.11 at 10:04 am

With notably rare exceptions no one ever went wrong by building a nuclear power plant near a seismic fault line. In Japan.

252

chris y 03.31.11 at 10:19 am

Aside from the incompatibility between invisibility and opaqueness, how can the latter quality be either redeemable or irredeemable?

Imagine that you have a given quantity of opacity. Finding yourself short of a few bob towards the end of the week, you take it down to your local pop shop and pawn it. On Friday, of course, you receive your million dollar bonus, so the first thing you do is to go and redeem your opacity. If the pawnbroker still has it at the back of his shop, this is easily achieved; however, if in the meantime he has sold it to the Chinese – an insatiable market for all things opaque – your opacity is irredeemable.

The paragraph above is completely meaningless. However, I submit that it will bear comparison with certain kinds of currently fashionable economic discourse.

253

David S. 03.31.11 at 10:23 am

With notably rare exceptions, the Catholic Church protects children worldwide.

With notably rare exceptions, the War on Drugs has been a success.

254

Tina 03.31.11 at 11:07 am

With notably rare exceptions, Liz Lemon up there stole my line. ;)

255

Paul Davey 03.31.11 at 11:33 am

with notably rare exceptions, the american government will always accept responsibility for causing thousands of its own people to die on 9/11, unless there’s some other group they can accuse and get away with !!?

256

M31 03.31.11 at 12:07 pm

With notable rare exceptions, the war situation has developed necessarily to Japan’s advantage.

257

Robert Waldmann 03.31.11 at 12:25 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the comments upthread are not at all funny

258

Chris Golden 03.31.11 at 12:37 pm

With notably rare exception irredeemably opaque hands are not invisible

259

Alex 03.31.11 at 12:51 pm

With notably rare exceptions (e.g., Dred Scott) the Supreme Court has always recognized the equal rights of black Americans.

With notably rare exceptions, Jeffrey MacDonald was a perfect husband and father.

260

Neil B 03.31.11 at 1:05 pm

No surprise here. Greenspan is not “stupid” as simply imagined, but as an Aynal-retentive, crank Randian ideologue he might as well be an idiot. People like that are “religious” about some kick, they can’t *learn* from reality. Theirs is the “ideality-based community” (did I coin that?) and not the reality-based community. All you’re going to get from the addled obfuscater is ever more greenspin. Also, interesting (as others noted) that if the “invisible hand” is so opaque, how do you know it’s doing its job (and as if what “job” is best, wasn’t debatable either!)
BTW, there’s a great and clever thread, including a top “exception” zinger, at http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028712.php

261

Darren Magady 03.31.11 at 1:11 pm

With notably rare exceptions, rare exceptions are not exceptionally rare.

262

Mark 03.31.11 at 1:12 pm

‎”With notable rare exceptions, Mr. Greenspan was a great Chairman of the Federal Reserve”.

263

Mark 03.31.11 at 1:12 pm

‎”With notably rare exceptions, Mr. Greenspan was a great Chairman of the Federal Reserve”.

264

Marc Stucki 03.31.11 at 1:13 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Mr. Obama renders his speeches without a teleprompter

265

m.tatarski 03.31.11 at 1:24 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Miss teen south carolina from 2007 is a very intelligent person.

With notably rare exceptions, I’m working hard today.

With notably rare exceptions, I always know what women want.

With notably rare exceptions, I’m the only one commenting in this blog.

266

sg 03.31.11 at 1:31 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the All Blacks are the best rugby team in the world, and win all their most important matches.

Or, I suppose, even better…

With notably rare exceptions (1966, for example), the England football team are a pack of losers.

With notably rare exceptions, killer whales are a peaceful and friendly addition to the seaworld performance space.

267

Neil B 03.31.11 at 1:42 pm

With notably rare exceptions, classical physics is perfectly applicable.

WNRE (might as well), we can measure anything in the universe to unlimited precision.

With notably rare exceptions, all numbers can be expressed as fractions.

With notably rare exceptions, all sets are finite and all of logic is consistently accessible to our axioms.

(I wanted something for other science/math buffs here.)

(Note that greenspin muddied the difference between whether the exceptions themselves were notable, versus whether their rareness was notable?)

268

Luke 03.31.11 at 1:45 pm

With notably rare exceptions (Obama, for example), there is no President of the United States.

269

chris 03.31.11 at 1:55 pm

So that the statement is literally true, because the exceptions truly are rare, but when you hear it you go, AGH! AGH! AGH! and bang your head on your desk.

Yeah, I agree. The exceptions should be of a magnitude and/or quality that makes focusing on their rarity missing the point, if not downright deceptive.

With notably rare exceptions, Roman Catholic clergy adhere to high ethical standards in their interactions with parishioners.

270

Trevor 03.31.11 at 2:11 pm

With notably rare excptions, Mrs. Lincoln enjoyed attending the theatre.

271

Neil B 03.31.11 at 2:12 pm

I put a link in the comment before my previous, which is likely holding it up so I’ll just repeat it here w/o that reference and say to mods, just ignore that submission:
No surprise here. Greenspan is not “stupid” as simply imagined, but as an Aynal-retentive, crank Randian ideologue he might as well be an idiot. People like that are “religious” about some kick, they can’t learn from reality. Theirs is the “ideality-based community” (according to Google I coined that today) and not the reality-based community. All you’re going to get from the addled obfuscater is ever more greenspin. Also, interesting (as others noted) that if the “invisible hand” is so opaque, how do you know it’s doing its job (and as if what “job” is best, wasn’t debatable either!)

272

Phil 03.31.11 at 2:15 pm

With notably rare exceptions (1966, for example), the England football team are a pack of losers.

Unfortunately that’s true.

273

kdog 03.31.11 at 2:22 pm

The essence of it for me is that the “exception” is insane to dismiss; it is a fatal flaw.

With notably rare exceptions (Luke Skywalker, for example), no one can penetrate the Death Star.

In farcical cases, the “exception” is the defining characteristic of the scenario.

With notable rare exceptions (my wife, for example), I am not in love with any women.

BTW, anyone know where I can get a T-shirt depicting the unredeemably opaque, invisible hand?

274

Bill 03.31.11 at 2:23 pm

With notably rare exceptions, President Obama has fulfilled the promise of his election campaign.

275

tom 03.31.11 at 2:33 pm

With notably rare exceptions, gravity is the force that propels earthy objects into space.
(I know that this violates one of the assertions that the event be rare–but in this I am also challenging the greenspan dogma that “free markets” a) existed b) accomplished what he said

276

AnthonyJ 03.31.11 at 2:40 pm

With notably rare exception, Arthur Andersen LLP was an objective, professionally independent auditor.

277

Dragon-King Wangchuck 03.31.11 at 2:46 pm

With notably rare exceptions, I don’t know why people are hung up about the unredeemable opaque invisible hand.

Today’s competitive markets are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and opaque at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the International Free Markets is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are unredeemable opaque; we logically know that they are invisible because we can’t see them.

With notably rare exceptions, it all makes perfect sense.

278

Simon 03.31.11 at 2:48 pm

Today’s nuclear power, whether we seek to recognize it or not, is driven by an industry of “sub-atomic nuclear fission” that is unredeemably super-atomic.
With notably rare exceptions (2011, for example), the industry of “sub-atomic nuclear fission” has created relatively cheap, non-polluting and safe nuclear power.

279

AnthonyJ 03.31.11 at 2:51 pm

With notably rare exception, Jeffrey Dahmer was the quintessential formal dinner host.

280

aa 03.31.11 at 2:57 pm

With notably rare exceptions (2011 for example), there’s no time like the present.

Who will be on the memeshirt? Andre the Giant? Soylent Greenspan?

281

chris 03.31.11 at 3:06 pm

With notably rare exceptions, you can’t teach on old dog new tricks.

282

bartkid 03.31.11 at 3:07 pm

“It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” — John Andrew Holmes

“There are no exceptions to the rule that everybody likes to be an exception to the rule.” — Charles Osgood

283

CKazan 03.31.11 at 3:11 pm

With notably rare exceptions, all submissions here are from US-Citizens (greetings from a Turkish Man working in Switzerland;-)

284

Tony 03.31.11 at 3:13 pm

With notably rare exceptions, al Qaeda’s attempts to influence U.S. policy have been for naught.

285

Darren Magady 03.31.11 at 3:15 pm

With notably rare exceptions (Harry Potter), the Avada Kedavra curse kills instantly.

286

chris 03.31.11 at 3:17 pm

With notably rare exceptions, selling options is an extremely profitable strategy.

287

Nick Gray 03.31.11 at 3:27 pm

With notably rare exceptions (small cell lung cancer, for example), decades of smoking did little damage to my fathers health.

288

Oliver 03.31.11 at 3:39 pm

I think, “the black swan” (by Taleb, not the ballet movie) would be recommended reading for Mr. G.

289

comment spammer 03.31.11 at 3:42 pm

With notably rare exceptions, India is going to win the cricket world cup.

[EDITORS: When comment spammers go to the trouble of crafting an original and relevant comment, perhaps because the human being involved actually likes the idea of the post, they arguably deserve to see their comment get out of moderation. But no URL linkthroughs I am afraid]

290

Fearghal 03.31.11 at 3:52 pm

@ Neil B

The -ly ending means that the “notably” refers to the adjective “rare”, rather than the noun “exceptions”. Otherwise it would be “notable rare exceptions”.

Can I add to the love for Ed @12 and JGabriel @66. I am also very much enjoying the work of the Dragon-King, with notably etc. & so forth.

291

Zdenek 03.31.11 at 3:55 pm

With notably rare exceptions (married from 1974) I have lived a bachelor’s life.

292

Hank Roberts 03.31.11 at 4:25 pm

> if the “invisible hand” is so opaque, how do you know it’s doing its job

“The Invisible Hand of the Market is an ideology that is treated with the same mystical awe as is God. Like God, the Invisible Hand knows when a sparrow falls. Unlike God, the Invisible Hand builds a fire, cooks it and sells the burn flesh to the starving for a neat profit.” http://belacquajones.blogspot.com/2009/05/making-invisible-hand-of-market-visible.html

293

fred 03.31.11 at 5:05 pm

With notably rare exceptions, crocodiles are lethargic creatures.

294

chris 03.31.11 at 5:53 pm

@Oliver: With notably rare exceptions, all swans are white.

295

Red Tee 03.31.11 at 5:56 pm

With one notable rare exception, the Federal Reserve Bank is a Government entity.

296

praisegod barebones 03.31.11 at 6:19 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Richard Nixon was not a crook.

297

Salient 03.31.11 at 6:33 pm

With notably rare exceptions, war is not the answer.

All of us are lying in the gutter. With notably rare exceptions, none of us are looking at the stars.

298

Lemuel Pitkin 03.31.11 at 7:30 pm

anyone know where I can get a T-shirt depicting the unredeemably opaque, invisible hand?

Dunno, but in the meantime there’s this.

299

dave bowman 03.31.11 at 7:31 pm

With notably rare exceptions the HAL 9000 performed wonderfully

300

Myles 03.31.11 at 7:52 pm

anyone know where I can get a T-shirt depicting the unredeemably opaque, invisible hand?

…….

Dunno, but in the meantime there’s this.

You could take the comic and print it on here.

301

Sam 03.31.11 at 8:13 pm

With rare exceptions, most mistakes are errors, and even most errors are mistakes–with rare exceptions. Errare humanum est, but not conversely, I hasten to add.

302

Salient 03.31.11 at 8:14 pm

With notably rare exceptions, particles are not radioactive.

303

Sam 03.31.11 at 8:14 pm

With rare exceptions, most commas are placed incorrectly.

304

piglet 03.31.11 at 8:34 pm

With notably rare exception, mainstream academic economists never take kickbacks from the financial industry.

http://blogs.ft.com/economistsforum/2010/10/the-economists-reply-to-the-inside-job/

305

piglet 03.31.11 at 8:34 pm

With notably rare exceptions, mainstream academic economists never take kickbacks from the financial (or any other) industry.

http://blogs.ft.com/economistsforum/2010/10/the-economists-reply-to-the-inside-job/

306

Uncle Ebeneezer 03.31.11 at 8:48 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Republicans prove morally superior.

With notably rare exceptions, the US does not torture!!

With notably rare exceptions, Ann Althouse avoids the spotlight.

307

Chris 03.31.11 at 8:56 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the zeppelin was a pleasant and safe way of air travel.

308

Uncle Ebeneezer 03.31.11 at 9:09 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Catholic priests are a great option when you can’t find a ‘sitter.

309

receding brainline 03.31.11 at 9:22 pm

With notably absent exceptions, Mr. Greenspan has proven himself utterly unredeemable.

310

bexley 03.31.11 at 9:46 pm

with notably rare exceptions the lib dems have honoured their manifesto pledges

311

calling all toasters 03.31.11 at 9:48 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Big Bangs don’t create anything.

312

Wim 03.31.11 at 10:31 pm

With notably rare exception, meteorites have been harmless for dinosaurs.

313

Alphonse 03.31.11 at 10:48 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the invisible hand avoids leaning on the barbecue grill.

314

Salient 03.31.11 at 10:50 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Molly Bloom was faithful.

With notably rare exceptions (#297), the comments on this thread intentionally abuse the phrase “with notably rare exceptions” as badly as Greenspan did, for comic effect.

With notably rare exceptions, contributions to a CT thread share no four-word phrase in common.

By the way, Greenspan wasn’t being an idiot quite so much as he was channeling Breyten Breytenbach, specifically his Letter to America

In reality the workings of your governing system are opaque and covert, while hiding in the chattering spotlight of an ostensible transparency, even though the ultimate objective is clear.

315

Salient 03.31.11 at 10:50 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Molly Bloom was faithful.

With notably rare exceptions (#297), the comments on this thread intentionally abuse the phrase “with notably rare exceptions” as badly as Greenspan did, for comic effect.

With notably rare exceptions, contributions to a CT thread share no four-word phrase in common.

By the way, Greenspan wasn’t being an idiot quite so much as he was channeling Breyten Breytenbach, specifically his Letter to America

In reality the workings of your governing system are opaque and covert, while hiding in the chattering spotlight of an ostensible transparency, even though the ultimate objective is clear.

316

Shay Begorrah 03.31.11 at 11:39 pm

As Bloix said at 195 this is a hard quote to satirize accurately. It is so wrong headed that farcical, delusional, callous and absurd do not have the power to fully describe it. It needs a new adjective.

It is so good that I predict that “Greenspan’s Notably Rare Exception” will be the title of the essential economic history of western capitalism in the early twenty first century.

317

Sanchit Kumar 04.01.11 at 12:06 am

With notably rare exceptions, female teen pop stars grow into normal, stable adulthoods.

318

Bender Rodríguez 04.01.11 at 12:43 am

With notably rare exceptions (“Lost”), watching six seasons of a television show is worth the time and emotional investment.

319

David Bloom 04.01.11 at 12:55 am

With notably rare exceptions, no thread has ever given so much to so many!

I think the key to the hilarity of the Greenspan original is partly the way one exception is all it takes (@273) to show that the theory is utterly false, but the most important is the bland satisfaction of the speaker–e.g. Greenspan, feeling that after decades of effort he had got his unredeemably opaque invisibility firmly in place around, say, 2002. Thus the closest is to imagine sometime in 1992–

Thanks to the collapse of Marxist ideas, history–with notably rare exceptions (the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait)–has come to an end.

But I love the grandeur of the physics example @273.

320

Salient 04.01.11 at 1:29 am

With notably rare exceptions, Internet catchphrases originate from a memorable expression caught on video, instantly timeless, immortal in the sense that it captures some transcendentally mundane quirk of mortal life.

(I can confirm this to be true, as I am aware of all internet traditions.)

321

Bubba 04.01.11 at 1:36 am

With notably rare exceptions, hunting with the Vice-President of the United States is a splendid way to spend a long weekend.

322

MichaelC 04.01.11 at 1:37 am

With notable rare exceptions, markets are efficient.

With notable rare exceptions the FED is Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

323

MichaelC 04.01.11 at 1:52 am

With notably rare exception, my view of the world, my ideology, was not right, it was not working.

324

Daniel C 04.01.11 at 5:15 am

With notably rare exceptions, the invisible hand of Hosni Mubarak was a factor of peace, progress and stability in the Middle East.

With notably rare exceptions, Othello was a trusting husband.

With notably rare exceptions (1912, for example), the Titanic was a safe way to travel around the world.

325

bad Jim 04.01.11 at 5:26 am

With notably rare exceptions, there are no notably rare exceptions.

326

bad Jim 04.01.11 at 7:08 am

“There is no cannibalism in the British navy, absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount.”

“As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error.”

“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”

327

Hidari 04.01.11 at 8:39 am

‘BTW, anyone know where I can get a T-shirt depicting the unredeemably opaque, invisible hand?’

Or better still, is anyone thinking of starting a religion based around this mysterious object, similar to the church of the Invisible Pink Unicorn?

328

David 04.01.11 at 8:40 am

With notably rare exceptions, Cesar and Brutus were BFF.

329

StevenWRichards 04.01.11 at 9:46 am

With notably rare exceptions, it’s best to just drink the Kool-Aid.

330

Salient 04.01.11 at 11:25 am

Most people get dressed before going outside, with notably bare exceptions.

331

Matt 04.01.11 at 11:26 am

With notably rare exceptions, these comments made me spray coffee all over my keyboard.

332

JP Stormcrow 04.01.11 at 11:57 am

With notably rare exceptions, the doomsday device worked.

333

JP Stormcrow 04.01.11 at 11:58 am

With notably rare exceptions, Adam and Eve followed instructions.

334

JP Stormcrow 04.01.11 at 12:01 pm

With notably rare exceptions, it’s a *good* life.

335

Dr. D 04.01.11 at 1:02 pm

With notably rare exceptions Tonya Harding used to play fair

With notably rare exceptions US presidential candidates that receive a majority of the vote do become US presidents

336

Simon 04.01.11 at 2:29 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the French like their steaks well done.

337

Uncle Ebeneezer 04.01.11 at 4:25 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Bill Buckner was the kind of player you always wanted out there when the game was on the line.

338

Ciarán 04.01.11 at 4:29 pm

With notable rare exceptions this is the sublime and funky comments thread that I crave.

339

Salient 04.01.11 at 4:55 pm

Games of chance are rigged in favor of the house, with notably fair exceptions.

340

Substance McGravitas 04.01.11 at 5:01 pm

Bill Buckner

Ooh, I am gonna torture someone with that.

341

Steveo 04.01.11 at 5:08 pm

With notable rare exceptions, a Libyan Air Force pilot is a safe job.

342

Steveo 04.01.11 at 5:09 pm

With notable rare exceptions, working in the reptile house at The Bronx Zoo is a fun job.

343

Crinky 04.01.11 at 6:06 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the 20th Century was a great one for Germany.

344

Paul 04.01.11 at 7:06 pm

With notably rare exceptions, “Mission Accomplished.”

345

ForsettiF 04.01.11 at 8:24 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Monica Lewinsky always got her dresses dry cleaned.

346

Invictus 04.01.11 at 11:58 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Dewey defeated Truman.

347

blah 04.02.11 at 2:05 am

With notably rare exceptions, there is no pornography on the Internet.

348

ForsettiF 04.02.11 at 11:17 am

With notably rare exceptions, Thomas Jefferson maintained a platonic relationship with his slaves.

349

Fr. 04.02.11 at 11:27 am

With notably rare exceptions, the residents of Arab-speaking countries prefer to live under the yoke of autocrats rather than enjoy fundamental freedoms.

350

Hidari 04.02.11 at 12:36 pm

With notably rare exceptions, when we bomb Libya, our bombs only hit the bad guys.

351

Skitty McTungsten 04.02.11 at 1:59 pm

With notably rare exceptions, I can’t believe this isn’t butter or floor wax.

352

Tim Wilkinson 04.02.11 at 2:20 pm

#332: I don’t think it’s fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up.

353

Tim Wilkinson 04.02.11 at 2:24 pm

#350; I am shocked – shocked – to hear that coalition airstrikes may have killed as many as 10 rebels. At least there have been no reports of civilian casualties, e.g. during bombing of ‘suburbs’, etc.

354

actio 04.02.11 at 4:36 pm

With notably rare exceptions, industrial scale rearing, transporting and killing of animals make meat eating a relatively ethical ordeal.

355

JP Stormcrow 04.02.11 at 5:03 pm

Tim@352: Which is a good “shorter” to Greenspan in the OP.

356

E. 04.02.11 at 5:47 pm

With notably rare exceptions, in the long run are all dead.

357

Alex Scott 04.02.11 at 10:05 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Jesus Christ’s disciples were loyal to the end.

358

ImpactAv 04.02.11 at 10:35 pm

With a notable lack of exceptions, the irredeemably opaque hand of the cutting edge honed Sarah Palin as not quite the sharpest knife in the drawer.

359

homunq 04.03.11 at 5:29 am

When he scored, Alan Greenspan would dare
to respond to his date “Have no care.
Since most sperm never nab it
My wee monk needs no habit.
Exceptions are notably rare.”

360

The_L 04.03.11 at 10:19 am

@#236: The word “prove” in the phrase “the exception proves the rule” does NOT refer to logical proof; it is an example of the archaic definition of “to prove” meaning “to test.”

With notably rare exceptions, all commenters on the message board 4chan are the pinnacle of politeness and decency.

With notably rare exceptions, all cars are white.

With notably rare exceptions, Shakespeare did not write any sonnets.

361

Bixby 04.03.11 at 5:27 pm

With notably rare exceptions, condoms do not burst when used properly.

362

katz 04.03.11 at 8:45 pm

With notably rare exceptions, no one in Iran is gay.

With notably rare exceptions, everyone in Romeo and Juliet survives.

With notably rare exceptions, no one was linked to this thread by Slacktivist.

363

David 04.03.11 at 10:47 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Bill Clinton preferred to smoke his cigars

364

Jim 04.04.11 at 12:36 am

With notably rare exceptions Playboy Playmates are fully clothed.

365

aa 04.04.11 at 3:17 am

Transoceanic has just entered the competition, officially:

Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate, …

They haven’t digested the “standard form” yet but they have grasped the concept.

366

Sev 04.04.11 at 4:21 am

#360 And stories in the major media should not be confused with those in The Onion, WNRE.

367

jimvach 04.04.11 at 10:59 am

i think the meme is wrong… what is more noteworthy is Greenspans’ use of parentheses to delineate his ‘rare exceptions’. (2008, for example), should really read (The largest purely financial destruction of equity in history, for example). Its like he is trying to engineer mediocrity into his ()… 2008? Oh, that…? Right…. yeah
So I think the meme should be (*, for example), where * is a massive occurrence of an event which totally disproves your hypothesis or model, and you have tried to add as a side-note, thus attempting to paper over its significance.
e.g. Hitler: (The Holocaust, for example)
Jim Jones (The Kool-Aid, for example)
etc

368

Andrew 04.04.11 at 12:06 pm

An example from the Wall St. Journal this weekend:

Transocean Ltd. had its “best year in safety performance” despite the explosion of its Deepwater Horizon rig that left 11 dead and oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the world’s largest offshore-rig company said in a securities filing Friday.

The Wall St. Journal

369

KevinC 04.04.11 at 1:26 pm

“With notably rare exceptions, Alderaan has been a wonderful place to live, work, and raise children.”

“With notably rare exceptions, personal jewelry has been a beautiful aspect of culture in Middle Earth.”

“With notably rare exceptions, the large armies of the Persian Empire were able to reliably defeat smaller enemy forces numbering in the hundreds.”

“With notably rare exceptions, Enron represented a solid investment.”

370

Lorenzo 04.04.11 at 1:36 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Berlusconi spends his free time as a pious catholic and devoted husband would.

371

hardy 04.04.11 at 5:51 pm

Reality once again trumps what any of us could make up:

With a notably rare exceptions, it was the best year for safety in Transocean corporate history.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/04/usa-salazar-transocean-idUSWNA530020110404

372

e.harkins 04.04.11 at 7:24 pm

Alan Greenspan has extended his comeback activities to Europe. Barney Frank was moved to write a riposte in the Financil Times. I posted in support:

Reply to: Greenspan is wrong: we can reform finance

We know just how facetious the notion of the Great Stability was. It is, consequently, almost offensive to hear the utterances of those like Alan Greenspan now that they feel sufficiently emboldened to come back out of the shadows of shame.

Having emerged from the near-catastrophic consequences of the supposed Great Stability, many of us would appreciate a far more extended period of Great Humility from those, such as Alan Greenspan, who were so culpable – and who of course have carried on mostly unworried and untrammeled by their responsibilities.

Barney Frank was very correct when he stated about Alan Greenspan that;

“His rosy view overlooks a monumental crisis that threatened the foundations of the American economy, led to soaring unemployment, a continuing foreclosure crisis and weakened economies in the US and Europe.”

373

tieffen 04.04.11 at 8:02 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Mrs Kennedy enjoyed the ride.

374

Bloix 04.04.11 at 8:50 pm

Hardy, you beat me to it.

375

Andrew 04.04.11 at 10:55 pm

aa @365 beat all three of us.

376

rino baldini 04.05.11 at 7:32 am

With notably rare exceptions, life is not interrupted by death

377

Hindu Love God 04.05.11 at 12:45 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Clint Eastwood always plays the part of a pussy.

378

Sean 04.05.11 at 4:41 pm

With notably rare exceptions, Canadian federal elections result in majority governments.

379

zox 04.05.11 at 5:04 pm

with notably rare exceptions 36 thumb wrestles its way to the top

and by the way in muddy water even opaque hand may become invisible

and with notably rare exceptions women did not cause trouble in my life

380

Chris Winter 04.05.11 at 7:26 pm

The way I read this, Greenspan’s words are unintentionally self-satirizing, and most of the commenters pick up on this by making their statements intentionally satirical. Thus:

With notably rare exceptions, space travel is perfectly safe.

With notably rare exceptions, “Space travel is utter bilge.”

With notably rare exceptions, marriages last until death parts the spouses.

With notably rare exceptions, Hollywood blockbuster films are dramatically excellent.

With notably rare exceptions, detainees at Guantánamo have received justice.

With notably rare exceptions, matter and antimatter cancelled each other out in the early universe.

With notably rare exceptions, democratic countries do not start wars.

With notably rare exceptions (cf. 1215) egalitarian policies never took root in the course of history.

With notably rare exceptions, liquid oxygen can usefully help in igniting the charcoal in your barbecue grill.

With notably rare exceptions, Massey Energy has a superior safety record in its mining operations.

381

AntiAlias 04.05.11 at 7:46 pm

With notably rare exceptions, ceci n’est pas un post.

382

diego 04.06.11 at 9:17 am

With notably rare exceptions, Diego Maradona used to play soccer with his feet.

383

Mark Silcox 04.06.11 at 6:13 pm

With notably rare exceptions, the god of the Old Testament is loving and supportive.

384

Hidari 04.06.11 at 6:37 pm

With notably rare exceptions, no one is commenting on this thread any more.

385

Max Redalia 04.07.11 at 12:52 am

With notably rare exceptions, the design of the Titanic was a triumph for Harland and Wolff’s maritime engineering, and the investment savvy of financier J.P. Morgan.

With notably rare exceptions, Pope Benedict was not a member of the Nazi Party.

With notably rare exceptions, the design of the Hindenburg (a giant bag full of flammable gas, covered with rocket fuel) was a typical example of the genius of Hitler’s scientists.

With notably rare exceptions, the solid rocket boosters on the Challenger Shuttle were a safe and cost-effective propellant for delivering spy satellites.

With notably rare exceptions, the Space Shuttle Challenger design was a safe and reliable means of returning astronauts safely to their families and loved ones.

With notably rare exceptions, the General Electric nuclear power plants at Fukushima have performed flawlessly and will continue to do so in a safe and cost-effective manner.

386

Main Street Muse 04.07.11 at 3:01 am

Greenspan must have not read “Maestro” by Bob Woodward, a book which shows those “notably rare exceptions” to the placid growth of our economy were not so rare.

387

Peter Ellis 04.07.11 at 7:24 pm

With notably rare exceptions, life on Earth consists of bacteria.

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