Category Archives: Henry Kissinger

Even Paranoiacs Have Real Enemies

Henry Kissinger? Delmore Schwartz? Sigmund Freud? Virginia McManus? Mark Harris? Buck Henry? Joseph Heller? Anonymous?

paranoia09

Dear Quote Investigator: A family of sayings with a humorous edge was popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Here were two versions:

1) Even a paranoid can have enemies.
2) Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.

This adage has been attributed to Delmore Schwartz who wrote short stories and poetry and who also suffered from mental illness. In addition, the saying has been ascribed to the political scientist and negotiator Henry Kissinger. What do you think?

Quote Investigator: The earliest close match located by QI appeared in an article published in July 1967 about the rebellious young generation. The words were printed as a slogan on a button, and no ascription was provided. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1

When it comes to expressing their views on life, they say by button: “I Want to Be What I Was When I Wanted To Be What I Now Am,” or “Neuroses Are Red, Melancholy Is Blue, I’m Schizophrenic, What Are You?,” or “End Poverty, Give Me $10.” They further advise: “Reality Is Good Sometimes for Kicks But Don’t Let It Get You Down,” and “Even Paranoids Have Real Enemies.”

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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Notes:

  1. 1967 July 21, Christianity Today, Dear Slogan-Lovers by Etychus III, Page 20, Christianity Today International, Carol Stream, Illinois. (Verified on microfilm)

Nobody Will Ever Win the Battle of the Sexes. There’s Too Much Fraternizing with the Enemy

Henry Kissinger? M. Z. Remsburg? James Thurber? Ann Landers? Robert Orben? Anonymous?

together09Dear Quote Investigator: There is a joke about the uneasy relationship between the sexes that has been told for decades:

Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.

In the 1970s this statement was attributed to the U.S. foreign policy specialist Henry Kissinger, but I suspect that the quip existed before the 1970s. Would you explore its provenance?

Quote Investigator: A version of this jest was circulating by the 1940s. In February 1944 a newspaper in Lubbock, Texas printed the following as a short filler item. No specific attribution or acknowledgement was given: 1

“One war that will never be won by either side is the continual war between the sexes,” declares a columnist. That’s true, mainly because there is so much fraternizing with the enemy on the part of both sides.

Only part of the text was placed between quotation marks because there were two participants in the joke. The quoted words of the columnist were followed by the humorous reaction of a second unidentified person. The common modern versions of the joke simplify the presentation so that there is only one speaker.

In August 1945 a newspaper in Covina, California printed an instance of the quip and named an editor as the source, but QI suspects that the editor was simply relaying a pre-existing joke. The semantically redundant phrase “on the part of both sides” in the 1944 version has been omitted from most later instances: 2

FRATERNIZATION AGAIN

According to word from editor M. Z. Remsburg of the Vista Press, the reason the war between the sexes will never be ended is that there is too much fraternizing with the enemy!

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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Notes:

  1. 1944 February 16, Lubbock Morning Avalanche, (Short untitled item), Quote Page 8, Column 1, Lubbock, Texas. (NewspaperArchive)
  2. 1945 August 24, Covina Argus-Citizen, ‘Round the State by Leone Baxter, Quote Page 9, Column 6, Covina, California. (Newspaper Archive)

Academic Politics Are So Vicious Because the Stakes Are So Small

Henry Kissinger? Wallace Sayre? Charles Frankel? Samuel Johnson? Jesse Unruh? Courtney Brown? Laurence J. Peter?

kissinger03Dear Quote Investigator: The following saying is often attributed to the prominent U.S. foreign policy figure and Nobel laureate Henry Kissinger:

Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.

But I have also seen it attributed to the political scientist Wallace Sayre. Could you examine this adage?

Quote Investigator:
There are many different ways to state this basic idea. Here are some additional forms to help depict the range of possible expressions:

Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.

Politics on the university campus are the worst of all kinds of politics because the stakes are so small.

Campus politics are so nasty because the stakes are so small.

The republic of learning and letters works by especially bitter squabbling because the stakes are so small.

This exploration begins with a fascinating precursor in 1765 from the pen of the lexicographer and celebrated man of letters Samuel Johnson. In the following excerpt a “scholiast” referred to an academic commentator: 1 2

It is not easy to discover from what cause the acrimony of a scholiast can naturally proceed. The subjects to be discussed by him are of very small importance; they involve neither property nor liberty; nor favour the interest of sect or party. The various readings of copies, and different interpretations of a passage, seem to be questions that might exercise the wit, without engaging the passions.

But whether it be, that small things make mean men proud, and vanity catches small occasions; or that all contrariety of opinion, even in those that can defend it no longer, makes proud men angry; there is often found in commentaries a spontaneous strain of invective and contempt, more eager and venomous than is vented by the most furious controvertist in politicks against those whom he is hired to defame.

Another precursor was delivered in 1964 by Robert M. Hutchins whose long career included service as Dean of Yale Law School and President of the University of Chicago. Hutchins called academic politics “the worst kind”, but he did not include the sardonic explanation given in the full version of the saying: 3

Though I do not know much about professional politics, I know a lot about academic politics — and that is the worst kind. Woodrow Wilson said that Washington was a snap after Princeton.

The earliest direct evidence known to QI of a full statement that fits in the grouping above was printed in the transcript of a speech given in February 1969 at the annual convention of the American Association of School Administrators. The speaker was Charles Frankel who was a Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, but his phrasing indicated that the adage was already in circulation, and he provided no attribution: 4 5

It used to be said of politics on the university campus that it was the worst of all kinds of politics because the stakes were so small. We should be able to take at least minor comfort, then, from the present situation in the educational world: The stakes today are not at all small.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading

Notes:

  1. 1765, Mr. Johnson’s Preface to His Edition of Shakespear’s Plays by Samuel Johnson, Page lvii, Printed for J. and R. Tonson, H. Woodfall, J. Rivington, etc., London. (Google Books full view) link
  2. 1997, After the Death of Literature by Richard B. Schwartz, Quote Page 12 and 13, Published by Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois. (Questia: Gale, Cengage Learning)
  3. 1964 October, The Journal of General Education, Volume 16, Number 3, “Science, Scientists, and Politics” by Robert M. Hutchins, Start Page 197, Quote Page 197, Published by: Penn State University Press. (JSTOR) link
  4. 1969, Official Report of AASA (Your AASA), Report on the 1969 Annual Convention of American Association of School Administrators, (Convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, February 15 to 19, 1969), Speech: Education and the Barricades by Charles Frankel, (Speech by Charles Frankel, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University; delivered February 17, 1969 during the Sixth General Session), Start Page 75, Quote Page 75, Published by American Association of School Administrators, Washington D.C. (Verified on paper)
  5. 1971, In Defense of Academic Freedom, Edited by Sidney Hook, “Education in Fever” by Charles Frankel, (Reprinted from Official Report of AASA, Report on the 1969 Annual Convention of the American Association of School Administrators), Start Page 35, Quote Page 35, Pegasus (Division of Bobbs-Merrill Company), New York. (Verified on paper)