Pinky Pie

Lily Tomlin, random quote & Me

Posted on: February 23, 2011

Edith Ann AKA Lily Tomlin

I’m taking a moment here to randomly comment on a quote in a little book that I found in my daughter’s room, Quotable Women. I opened it and chose the first quote I found:

“Just remember, we’re all in this alone.” – Lily Tomlin

I love Lily Tomlin, who I find to be an incredible comedic actress, but I don’t like this quote. It didn’t seem like her – not that I know her personally – so I began looking for its context.

I’ve seen several versions:

  1. I do think that people sense that I don’t judge the species. I might want to reveal the species, but I don’t separate one group from another. We’re all in this together.
  2. “We are all in this together, by ourselves.”
  3. “I want to do nothing that debases us as a species. I want to create something unifying where we see our weaknesses and how flawed we are, but that we’re all in it together. I learned that in the old apartment house.”

Context is everything. Is she saying she is  just in this world for herself? Or is she being fatalistic that in the end we are alone?

Or, is she just musing – that we are all about flawed or weak in our own ways? Or is she saying that despite our individuality, we are still one?

In the light of her one-woman show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, she might just have been playing with all of us. Time magazine reviewer William A. Henry III, described her play as “A Buoyant search for signs of intelligent life in the theatre. An acerbic sendup of the current national selfishness, coupled with a knowing and ungooey lament for the loss of ’60’s innocence.”

If you don’t know Lily Tomlin, she burst on the scene in Laugh-In in the 1960s with memorable characters like Ernestine the telephone operator who answered the phone with, “One-ringy-dingy.” She has been in many shows, including “The West Wing.”

Here’s a video from a Joan Rivers interview of Tomlin in her character of Ernestine.

According to Tomlin’s website, she did say, “We are all in this alone,” but it was in the character of the incredibly selfish, 5-year-old Edith Ann, always shown in an oversized rocking chair.

Out of the mouths of babes, Edith Ann also said, “Acting childish seems to come naturally, but acting like an adult, no matter how old we are, just doesn’t come easy to us.”

As he character Edith Anne would have said on the old Laugh-In TV show “And that’s the truth.”


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