Finley Peter Dunne Dunne s historical significance was apparent at the time of his death. Elmer Ellis, historian at (and later president of) the University of Missouri, wrote a biography of Dunne published in 1941.
He coined numerous political quips over the years; one of the best-known aphorisms he originated is "politics ain t beanbag", referring to the rough side of political campaigns.
As a journalist in the age of "muckraking journalism", Dunne was aware of the power of institutions, including his own. Writing as Dooley, Dunne once wrote the following passage mocking hypocrisy and self-importance in the newspapers themselves:
"Th newspaper does ivrything f r us. It runs th polis foorce an th banks, commands th milishy, controls th ligislachure, baptizes th young, marries th foolish, comforts th afflicted, afflicts th comfortable, buries th dead an roasts thim aftherward".
The expression has been borrowed and altered in many ways over the years:
Clare Boothe Luce employed a variation of it in a tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt, "Mrs. Roosevelt has done more good deeds on a bigger scale for a longer time than any woman who ever appeared on the public scene. No woman has ever so comforted the distressed — or so distressed the comfortable."
A version showed up in a line delivered by Gene Kelly in the 1960 film, Inherit the Wind. Kelly (E.K. Hornbeck) says, "Mr. Brady, it is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable".
Appalachian political activist and attorney Larry Harless, known best for his numerous attempts to derail funding for Pullman Square often stated that he tried "to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable".
The American poet Lucille Clifton is often quoted as saying that she aimed in her poetry to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."