Quote Origin: If I Told You That You Have a Gorgeous Figure Would You Hold It Against Me?

Groucho Marx? David Bellamy? Max Miller? Monty Python? George Little? Barney Horrigan? Anonymous? Question for Quote Investigator: In 1979 the Bellamy Brothers released a popular country music song with a humorous title: If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me? This line has been attributed to the famous comedian …

Quote Origin: Annihilation Has No Terrors For Me, Because I Have Already Tried It Before I Was Born

Mark Twain? Isaac Asimov? Vincent van Gogh? Harold S. Kushner? Harold S. Kushner? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: A famous author once commented on the anxiety induced by the contemplation of mortality. Here are two versions: (1) Annihilation has no terrors for me, because I have already tried it before I was born—a hundred million …

Quote Origin: Books Are Made Out of Books

Cormac McCarthy? Richard B. Woodward? Henry Holland? Paul Valéry? Anonymous? Question for Quote Investigator: A prominent literary figure was asked to name other influential writers. The sharp reply emphasized the interconnectedness of all cultural text: The ugly fact is books are made out of books. This statement has been ascribed to Cormac McCarthy who penned …

Quote Origin: There Is a Thin Line Between Genius and Insanity. I Have Erased That Line

Oscar Levant? Zsa Zsa Gabor? John Dryden? Colin Wilson? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: A self-deprecating comedian once delivered an acerbic remark about insanity. Here are two versions: (1) There is a thin line between genius and insanity. I have erased that line.(2) There is a fine line between sanity and insanity. I’ve managed to …

Quote Origin: The Cat Sat On the Mat Is Not a Story; the Cat Sat On the Dog’s Mat is the Beginning of an Exciting Story

John le Carré? Michael Dean? Austin Kleon? James Scott Bell? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: A popular story requires tension, danger, and conflict. A top-selling author once summarized this viewpoint with an entertaining statement about animals: “The cat sat on the mat” is not a story. “The cat sat on the dog’s mat” is a …

Quote Origin: Hell Begins On the Day When God Grants Us a Clear Vision of All That We Might Have Achieved

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? Gian Carlo Menotti? John Greenleaf Whittier? Adelaide Anne Procter? Norman Cousins? Anonymous? Question for Quote Investigator: Looking back on one’s life sometimes produces a surge of regret for lost opportunities. Here are two versions of a statement expressing this feeling: (1) Hell begins the day God grants you the vision to …

Quote Origin: Activism – It Pays the Rent on Being Alive and Being Here On the Planet

Alice Walker? Claudia Dreifus? Michael Franti? Alex Walker? Peter Noonan? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: A prominent social activist was asked to explain the rationale underlying her sustained efforts. Here are two versions of the response: (1) Activism is my rent for living on this planet.(2) My activism pays the rent on being here on …

Quote Origin: They Said It Couldn’t Be Done, But the Fool Didn’t Know It, So the Fool Went Ahead and Did It

Albert Einstein? Mary O’Hara? Raymond S. Tompkins? B. P. Fullerton? E. V. Allen? Anonymous? Question for Quote Investigator: Persistent incorrect beliefs can be a major barrier to discovery and invention. A humorous adage reflects this viewpoint. Here are two versions: (1) Everyone knew it was impossible, until a fool who didn’t know came along and …

Quote Origin: Three Stages of Discovery: First, They Deny It Is True; Second, They Deny It Is Important; Third, They Deny It Is New

Alexander von Humboldt? Voltaire? Samuel Eliot Morison? Timothy Ferris? Bill Bryson? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: Time is required for a society to fully comprehend and accept a major discovery. Resistance to a breakthrough occurs in a series of phases. Here are two versions of a cogent saying: Three degrees of doubt: First, deny the …

Quote Origin: Your Room Is Not Your Prison. You Are

Sylvia Plath? Karen V. Kukil? Ronald Hayman? Apocryphal? Question for Quote Investigator: A prominent literary figure who was experiencing bouts of intense anxiety wrote about feelings of restriction. Here are two versions: (1) Your room is not your prison. You are.(2) It isn’t your room that’s a prison, it’s yourself. This notion has been attributed …

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