Cloud cuckoo land
Cloud Cuckoo Land refers to an unrealistically idealistic state where everything is perfect. ("You're living in cloud cuckoo land, mate.") It hints that the person referred to is naïve, unaware of reality or deranged in holding such an optimistic belief.
The reference comes from The Birds, a play by Aristophanes in which Tereus helps Pisthetairos (which can be translated as "Mr. Trusting") and Euelpides ("Mr. Hopeful") erect a perfect city in the clouds, to be named Cloud Cuckoo Land (Νεφελοκοκκυγία, Nephelokokkygia).
The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer used the word (German Wolkenkuckucksheim) in his publication On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in 1813, as well as later in his main work The World as Will and Representation and in other places. Here, he gave it its figurative sense by reproaching other philosophers for only talking about Cloud-cuckoo-land. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche refers to the term in his essay "On Truth and Lying in a Nonmoral Sense."
Uses in politics
- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace (later U.S. Vice President in Franklin D. Roosevelt's third term) used the term to describe the unrealistically inflated value of stocks on the New York Stock Exchange just before the crash of 1929 that signaled the onset of the Great Depression. In his 1936 book, Whose Constitution? An Inquiry into the General Welfare, Wallace describes a cartoon in a popular weekly magazine which "pictured an airplane in an endurance flight refueling in mid-air, and made fun of the old fashioned economist down below who was saying it couldn't be done. The economic aeroplane was to keep on gaining elevation indefinitely, with the millennium just around a cloud" (p. 75). Wallace wrote that Wall Street's practice of lending money to Europe after World War I "to pay interest on the [war reparations] debts she owed us and to buy the products we wanted to sell her … was the international refueling device that for 12 years kept our economic aeroplane above the towering peaks of our credit structure and the massive wall of our tariff, in Cloud-Cuckoo Land" (p. 77).
- Margaret Thatcher's spokesman, Bernard Ingham, who, when asked if the ANC might overthrow the white government in South Africa by force, replied: "It is cloud-cuckoo land for anyone to believe that could be done"
- British MP Ann Widdecombe used the phrase in a debate on drug prohibition with a representative of Transform Drug Policy Foundation: "...it is cloud cuckoo land to suggest that [people who don't currently use heroin would not start using it if it became legal]".
- Newt Gingrich referred to Barack Obama's claim that algae could be used as a fuel source as cloud cuckoo land.
- Paul Krugman used the phrase referring to inadequate German economic politics toward failing members of the European Union: "Basically, it seems that even as the euro approaches a critical juncture, senior German officials are living in Wolkenkuckucksheim — cloud-cuckoo land." (June 9, 2012)
- A British festival named Cloud Cuckoo Land (formerly named Godsplash) occurs annually in summer. The festival was first held under the new name in 2011.
- Cloud Cuckooland is a level in the Nintendo 64 game Banjo-Tooie.
- Cloud Cuckooland is an area in the UK Theme Park Alton Towers.
- There is a Korean band named Cloud Cuckoo Land.
- "Wolkekuckuckland", or "Cloud Cuckoo Land" is a fictional country in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic books.
- Cloudcuckooland is the first album for The Lightning Seeds released in 1990.
- Cloud Cuckoo Land is the title of a biannual academic journal of architecture and urbanism published since 1996.
- "Cloud Cuckoo Land" is one of the many realms featured in the 2014 film The Lego Movie. Cloud Cuckoo Land is located above Middle Zealand and is the home of Princess Uni-Kitty. It is described as "a land up in the clouds where there are no rules, no government, no babysitters, no bedtimes, no frowny faces, no bushy mustaches, and no negativity of any kind". Reached by traveling up a rainbow, and home to the sweet and plucky Princess Unikitty, Cloud Cuckoo Land is built from every kind of piece using every type of LEGO imagination.". The Master Builders meet with Vitruvius in order to discuss how to stop Lord Business from unleashing the power of the Kragle on Taco Tuesday. Cloud Cuckoo Land was destroyed when Bad Cop/Good Cop leads the Super Secret Police into raiding it to capture Emmet Brickowski and the Piece of Resistance.
- "listing of Cloud Cuckoo Land". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason § 34, p. 133.
- The World as Will and Representation Vol. I, Part 4, § 53, p. 352.
- David Randall (2013-04-14). "10 things you thought you knew about Margaret Thatcher's Downing Street years". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-08-29.
- "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "Cloud Cuckoo Land". Cloud Cuckoo Land. 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "The LEGO Movie: Explore Cloud Cuckoo Land". LEGO.com. 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
- The dictionary definition of cloud-cuckoo-land at Wiktionary