Margaret Atwood? Posy Simmonds? Guy Bellamy? Marilyn Duckworth? R. D. Laing? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: The following quotation may be morbid, but I still consider it cleverly humorous:
Life is a sexually transmitted terminal disease.
Would you please explore its provenance?
Quote Investigator: Tracing this statement is difficult because it emerged from a family of related sayings. Here is a summary snapshot showing quotations with dates:
1656: Life is an Incurable Disease. —Abraham Cowley
1943: Some people think of life as a fatal disease. —Francis T. Cunningham
1968: Life is a hereditary disease. —Anonymous Graffito
1971: Life is a terminal disease. —Anonymous Graffito
1980: Life is a sexually transmitted disease. —Anonymous Graffito
1981: Life is just another sexually transmitted social disease. —Margaret Atwood
1982: Life is a sexually transmitted disease. — attributed to Posy Simmonds
1982: Life is a sexually transmitted disease. —Guy Bellamy
1984: Life is a sexually transmitted terminal disease. —Marilyn Duckworth
1985: Life is a sexually transmitted disease & there’s a 100% mortality rate. —R. D. Laing
The prominent New Zealand author Marilyn Duckworth combined expressions about transmission and mortality to yield the target quotation by 1984.
Below are selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading
Carl Jung? Sigmund Freud? Guy Bellamy? Jolande Jacobi? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: As part of a book project I have been tracking down quotations credited to the famed psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. One of the most interesting was:
Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.
The best citation I have found appeared in a newspaper article in 1975. The words were attributed to Jung, but this date is fourteen years after his death. So I am handing this task off to you, if you chose to accept it. This is a somewhat extreme statement with a humorous edge; hence, it probably did not appear in a monograph or journal article.
Quote Investigator: There is evidence that Jung made a remark of this type. The English author Vincent Brome has written a large number of biographies including some about individuals in Sigmund Freud’s circle. In 1978 he published a volume about Jung that included information from an interview with Jolande Jacobi, a long-time assistant to the psychiatrist. Jung died in 1961, and the interview was conducted in 1963 according to Brome. Here is an excerpt describing Jung from the biography together with a footnote [JJCJ]:
It was the explosive person who said one day to his wife, ‘If I get another perfectly normal adult malingering as a sick patient I’ll have him certified!’ And to George Beckwith, his American friend, ‘I’m sometimes driven to the conclusion that boring people need treatment more urgently than mad people.’ Witty on some occasions, he commented to one of his assistants, ‘Show me a sane person and I’ll cure him for you.’ [Footnote 1]
[Footnote 1 for Chapter 23] Jolande Jacobi, author’s interview, 24 Nov 1963.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.