Category Archives: Roy S. Durstine

My Mind Is Made Up. Don’t Confuse Me With the Facts

Roy S. Durstine? Fred Gymer? Ed Place? Earl Landgrebe? Anonymous?

ostrich04Dear Quote Investigator: There is a funny saying that illustrates and lampoons the notion of holding an irrationally obstinate opinion:

My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.

Apparently a legislator actually said something like this during the period when members of Congress were considering whether or not to impeach President Richard Nixon. Could you explore this saying?

Quote Investigator: The earliest pertinent evidence known to QI appeared in a 1945 article titled “Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!” by Roy S. Durstine in the periodical Advertising & Selling. Durstine was a prominent specialist in advertising, and his article described a meeting between an ad agency and a client: 1

A group from the agency had just finished its presentation of a market survey. The findings were conclusive—clearly showing that the policies being followed by the client could lead only to disappointment and perhaps disaster.

Despite the facts given in the presentation the client had no desire to change the strategy that had been previously selected.

“I still think we’ll go along as we have been doing.”
“But how can you say that in the face of this evidence?” protested the agency man.
The client stared at the presentation, deep in thought. At last he reached for a cigarette and said softly:
“Don’t confuse me with facts!”

The most striking aspect of Durstine’s anecdote was this humorously recalcitrant response. Indeed, it is possible to compress the setup and dialog to yield the quotation under investigation. Interestingly, the conclusion of the article was actually sympathetic to the fact-dismissive client. Durstine suggested that advertising was more of an art than a science, and the judgment of an unorthodox client who had succeeded in the past should be respected. Thanks to Professor Jonathan Lighter of the University of Tennessee who located this important citation.

In March 1954 a full version of the saying appeared on a sign in a legislator’s office as reported in an Alaskan newspaper. The sign was presumably intended to be comical: 2

The following sign was seen on a prominent Democrats desk:
“I’ve made up my mind — don’t confuse me with facts.”
Now, what could he mean?

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading

Notes:

  1. 1945 November, Advertising & Selling, “Don’t Confuse Me With Facts!” by Roy S. Durstine (Roy S. Durstine, Inc.), Quote Page 34, Advertising Fortnightly, Inc., New York. (Verified on paper)
  2. 1954 March 10, Daily Sitka Sentinel, Veatchcombing, Page 1, Column 1, Sitka, Alaska. (NewspaperArchive)