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Joy

Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin's friendship began with a hilarious exchange of mutual admiration

Chaplin teased the world's most famous physicist with his quick wit.

Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin
Public Domain

Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin at the premiere of "City Lights" in 1931

Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin are two of the most famous figures of the 20th century for completely different reasons, and an exchange early in their friendship sums up those differences perfectly—and hilariously.

According to the Nobel Prize committee, Einstein had only been keenly interested in meeting one person in Hollywood: Charlie Chaplin. He got the chance while visiting the U.S. when the scientist and silent film star were introduced during a tour of Universal Studios. The two hit it off, and in 1931, Einstein attended the premiere of Chaplin's 1931 film, "City Lights."

Reportedly, the men exchanged an expression of mutual admiration that demonstrated the actor's quick wit.


"What I most admire about your art, is your universality," Einstein said to Chaplin. "You don’t say a word, yet the world understands you!"

Chaplin replied with perfect comedic timing.

"True. But your glory is even greater!" he told the physicist. "The whole world admires you, even though they don’t understand a word of what you say."

The anecdote was shared by the Nobel Prize organization, but there is some question as to the accuracy of the quotes—though not the sentiment of the joke.

According to Quote Investigator, there are a few published accounts of similar quotes referring to Chaplin being beloved because everyone understands him and Einstein being admired because no one does. For instance, in October 1933, an article written by Charlie Chaplin for “Woman’s Home Companion” included the following anecdote attributing a similar quote to Einstein's son:

“We sat down to delicious home-baked tarts made by Mrs. Einstein. During the course of conversation, his son remarked on the psychology of the popularity of Einstein and myself.

"'You are popular,' he said, 'because you are understood by the masses. On the other hand, the professor’s popularity with the masses is because he is not understood.'"

In another instance, the joke was attributed to Chaplin. Einstein's physician and friend János Plesch shared in a memoir published in 1947:

"Once when Einstein was in Hollywood on a visit Chaplin drove him through the town. As the people on the sidewalks recognized two of their greatest, if very different, contemporaries, they gave them a tremendous reception which greatly astonished Einstein. 'They’re cheering us both,” said Chaplin: “you because nobody understands you, and me because everybody understands me.' There was a good-humoured pride in his remark, and at the same time a certain humility as at a recognition of the difference between ready popularity and lasting greatness."

​Different biographies of Chaplin and Einstein include different versions of the story, including the one shared by the Nobel Prize organization on Instagram. Though we don't know for sure exactly what was said or by whom, it's clear that the two men shared a joke about their unique paths to fame and popularity.

How delightful that the mutual admiration of these two legends not only led to them meeting but forging a genuine, if unlikely, friendship.

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New study shows spanking hurts kids' mental health and is less effective at teaching lessons

Why is it wrong to hit an adult or an animal but OK to spank a child?

Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Yet another study shows that spanking isn't good for kids.

Whether to spank your child or not is one of the oldest debates among parents. Many live by the age-old wisdom that to “spare the rod” is to “spoil the child,” while others believe it’s wrong to resort to violence to punish a child when so many alternatives exist.

It also begs the question: If it's wrong to hit your spouse or pet, why is it acceptable to hit a defenseless child?

The 2021 American Family Study found that support for spanking has declined in the U.S. over the past few years. In 2015, 54% either somewhat or strongly agreed with the practice, but that number dropped to 47% in 2021. Thirty-five percent of respondents disagree with the practice and 18% neither agree nor disagree.

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The study was published to urge lawmakers to make corporal punishment in Australia illegal. Sixty-five states across the world have made corporal punishment illegal, protecting 14% of the world’s children.

The study defined corporal punishment of children as using physical force to cause pain, but not injury, to correct or control a child’s behavior.

The most startling meta-analysis published in the study found that "only 1 out of 111 statistically significant effect sizes was associated with a link between 'spanking' and a positive child outcome," while 110 were found to be associated with adverse outcomes.

The one positive outcome was in a 1972 study of children of the U.S. military living in West Germany that found those spanked showed less amphetamine and opiate use as adults.

However, the remaining 110 significant results found that spanking had adverse effects, including: “reducing trust and connection with those they are closest to, lower self-esteem, more internalizing and externalizing behavior problems including aggression, mental health difficulties, and increased risk for later substance abuse, antisocial behavior, and violence.”

A meta-analysis found that when children are spanked, they are less likely to internalize the moral implications of the behaviors that led them to be disciplined. It also found that non-physical discipline was more effective at teaching “alternative behaviors,” “developing a child’s conscience,” and advancing their “emotional development.”

Another meta-analysis cited in the story found that corporal punishment in childhood was associated with mental health problems, low self-esteem and antisocial behavior.

In the end, the studies show that corporal punishment is counter-productive when it comes to raising healthy, happy children. But it will take much more than a study to get people to reconsider their views of corporal punishment because they are deeply rooted in many cultural traditions.

Looking for some non-physical alternatives to discipline your child? Here’s a great place to start from WebMD.

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