Quote Origin: There Are Two Kinds of Teachers: The Kind That Fill You With So Much Quail Shot That You Can’t Move, and . . .

Robert Frost? Mark Twain? Margaret Pepperdene? Apocryphal?

Question for Quote Investigator: Prominent U.S. poet Robert Frost has received credit for a brilliantly vivid metaphor describing two types of teachers. One type fills students with so much quail shot they cannot move. The other type simply prods students a little, and they jump to the skies.

Is this figurative language really from the pen of Robert Frost? Would you please help me to find a citation with the correct phrasing?

Reply from Quote Investigator: There is substantive evidence that Robert Frost employed this metaphor which is based on an incident in an 1865 short story by Mark Twain titled “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”.

Twain’s tale centers on Jim Smiley who catches a frog which he names Dan’l Webster. Smiley trains the frog to jump a long distance, and he brags that his frog can “outjump any frog in Calaveras county”. A stranger agrees to gamble on a jumping contest between Dan’l Webster and another frog. The stranger sabotages Dan’l Webster by surreptitiously feeding it quail shot so that it cannot jump. The stranger wins the bet and escapes before the deceit is uncovered.

Robert Frost was both a teacher and a poet. He once told his class to read “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”. A 1963 article in the “Agnes Scott Newsletter” described the reaction of Frost’s students. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]1963 April, Agnes Scott Newsletter, Memories of Robert Frost Abound at Agnes Scott, Start Page 1, Quote Page 1, Column 1 and 2, Published by News Bureau of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. … Continue reading

“Mr. Frost said that when his class assembled the next day they were somewhat mystified; they didn’t understand what this story had to do with a course in education. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I told them that this story was about teachers. There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just give you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.’”

This anecdote about Frost was reported by Margaret Pepperdene who was an Associate Professor of English at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. She later became a Professor of English and director of the college’s Writers’ Festival.[2]2009 November 24,  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, For 53 years, scholar nurtured students: At Agnes Scott and Paideia, she made lasting connections by Rick Badie, (Obituary of Margaret Jane … Continue reading Pepperdene heard the tale from Frost when she discussed teaching with him at his home on the Noble Farm in Ripton, Vermont.

Frost died on January 29, 1963, and the anecdote appeared in an article titled “Memories of Robert Frost Abound at Agnes Scott” in the April 1963 issue of “Agnes Scott Newsletter”.

Three more citations are included in the full version of this article which is available on the Medium website. Here is the link.

Image Notes: Public domain illustration of two frogs by F. Strothman from “The Jumping Frog” (1903) by Mark Twain.

Acknowledgement: Great thanks to Sue Ferrara and Joseph Pizzo whose tweets and inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Many thanks to the Archives and Special Collections of Amherst College Library in Amherst, Massachusetts for enabling access to the April 1963 issue of the “Agnes Scott Newsletter”.

References

References
1 1963 April, Agnes Scott Newsletter, Memories of Robert Frost Abound at Agnes Scott, Start Page 1, Quote Page 1, Column 1 and 2, Published by News Bureau of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. (Verified with scans from Archives and Special Collections, of Amherst College Library in Amherst, Massachusetts.)
2 2009 November 24,  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, For 53 years, scholar nurtured students: At Agnes Scott and Paideia, she made lasting connections by Rick Badie, (Obituary of Margaret Jane Pepperdene), Quote Page B5, Atlanta, Georgia. (ProQuest)

When a Man Loves Cats, I Am His Friend and Comrade

Mark Twain? Robert H. Hirst? Susy Clemens? Apocryphal?

Question for Quote Investigator: Several books about cats contain a quotation credited to humorist Mark Twain stating that Twain was a friend and comrade to people who love cats. I am skeptical of this  attribution, and I haven’t seen a citation. Would you please explore this topic?

Reply from Quote Investigator: In 2009 Robert H. Hirst who is the general editor of the scholarly Mark Twain Project edited a book titled “Who is Mark Twain?” containing a collection of sketches and essays by Twain that were unpublished (or rarely published) previously.

A vignette dated September 1887 and titled “An Incident” described a meeting between Twain and a young man who was carrying a gun. Twain initially feared the youth was a “lunatic out gunning for men”. Next, he worried that a group of “four sorry-looking cats” were the target. But Twain learned that the youth was hoping to provide a meal for the cats. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]2010, Who is Mark Twain? by Mark Twain, Edited by Robert H. Hirst (General Editor of Mark Twain Project), Title of manuscript: An Incident, Editor’s date of manuscript: September 1887, Start … Continue reading

Aha!—so far from being a madman, he was saner, you see, than the average of our race; for he had a warm spot in him for cats. When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.

A couple more citations for this quotation are listed in the full article on the Medium website which is available here.

Image Notes: Public domain image of painting titled “Wild Cat” by Rosa Bonheur who died in 1899.

Acknowledgement: Great thanks to Karen__Rico whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.

References

References
1 2010, Who is Mark Twain? by Mark Twain, Edited by Robert H. Hirst (General Editor of Mark Twain Project), Title of manuscript: An Incident, Editor’s date of manuscript: September 1887, Start Page 165, Quote Page 166, HarperStudio: Imprint of HarperCollins, New York. (Verified with scans of paperback edition; hardcover was published in 2009)

Never Argue With Stupid People. They Will Drag You Down To Their Level and Then Beat You With Experience

Mark Twain? George Carlin? Yul Brynner? Jean Cocteau? Bob Gray? Dilbert? Scott Adams? Anonymous?

Question for Quote Investigator: Logic and careful reasoning are the ingredients of a constructive argument. Acrimony and irrationality are the elements of a fruitless argument. The celebrated humorist Mark Twain supposedly formulated the following cautionary remark. Here are two versions:

(1) Never argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!

(2) Never argue with stupid people because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

Comedian George Carlin has also received credit. I am skeptical of both of these attributions, and I have never seen solid citations. Would you please examine this saying?

Reply from Quote Investigator: The full version of this article with additional detailed information is available on the Medium website which is available by clicking here. The abbreviated article appears below.

QI has been unable to find substantive evidence crediting this remark to Mark Twain or George Carlin. It does not appear on the Twain Quotes website edited by Barbara Schmidt,[1]Website: TwainQuotes.com, Editor: Barbara Schmidt, (QI searched the website for quotations containing the phrase “with experience” or the phrase “drag you”. No pertinent match … Continue reading nor does it appear in the large compilation “Mark Twain at Your Fingertips” edited by Caroline Thomas Harnsberger.[2]1948, Mark Twain at Your Fingertips by Caroline Thomas Harnsberger, (QI searched for quotations containing the phrase “with experience” or the phrase “drag you”. No pertinent … Continue reading

Scholar Matt Seybold of Elmira College and the Center for Mark Twain Studies examined this saying and concluded that “Mark Twain never said these words, nor anything resembling them”.[3]Website: Center for Mark Twain Studies, Article title: The Apocryphal Twain: “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience”, Article author: … Continue reading George Carlin received credit many years after the quip was circulating.

QI conjectures that the quotation evolved over time. The Bible contains a thematically related passage in Proverbs 26:4. Here is the rendering from the New International Version. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[4]Website: Bible Hub, Article title: Parallel Verses of Proverbs 26:4, Translation: New International Version, Website description: Online Bible Study Suite. Bible hub is a production of the Online … Continue reading

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.

In 1878 April “The Daily Picayune” of New Orleans, Louisiana printed an adage depicting the underlying idea without attribution:[5] 1878 April 28, The Daily Picayune, (Untitled short item), Quote Page 4, Column 1, New Orleans, Louisiana. (Newspapers_com)

To argue with a fool is to make him your equal.

In May 1878 “The Rochester Evening Express” of Rochester, New York printed another precursor while acknowledging an Ohio source:[6] 1878 May 20, The Rochester Evening Express, Happy Thoughts, Quote Page 4, Column 2, Rochester, New York. (Old Fulton)

Don’t argue with a fool, or the listener will say there is a pair of you.—Cincinnati Breakfast Table.

QI has a separate article about a family of sayings incorrectly linked to Mark Twain which is available here: Never Argue With a Fool, Onlookers May Not Be Able To Tell the Difference.

In 1956 an Associated Press columnist spoke with the popular actor Yul Brynner who attributed a partially matching statement to prominent French artist Jean Cocteau:[7] 1956 November 13, The Daily Messenger, Bald, But Not Frustrated by Hal Boyle. Quote Page 8, Column 6, Canandaigua, New York. (Newspapers_com)

Yul said the greatest advice he ever received in life was given by the French writer Jean Cocteau, who told him:

“Never associate with idiots on their own level, because, being an intelligent man, you’ll try to deal with them on their level—and on their level they’ll beat you every time.”

The above statement used the word “associate” instead of “argue”, but within a few years the remark evolved toward the modern expression. In 1958 a columnist in “The Daily Tar Heel” of Chapel Hill, North Carolina used the word “argue”. The columnist also omitted Brynner’s name and attributed the words directly to Cocteau:[8] 1958 January 15, The Daily Tar Heel, A National Lottery: Is It A Revenue Source? by Frank Crowther, Quote Page 2, Column 7, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Newspapers_com)

As Jean Cocteau once said, “Never argue with an idiot, because being an intelligent man, you will argue with them on their level, and, on their level, they’ll beat you every time.”

In 1993 an instance using the phrase “win with experience” appeared in the Usenet newsgroup comp.sys.cbm. The ellipsis occurred in the original text. The word “never” or “don’t” was omitted. No attribution was specified:[9]1993 December 12, Usenet discussion message, Newsgroup: comp.sys.cbm, From: Ben Dewberry @f272.n633.z3.fidonet.org, Subject: Zipcode Problem Solved. (Google Groups Search; Accessed August 8, 2020) … Continue reading

… Argue with idiots, they drag you to their level & win with experience.

In 1999 a version of the quip was attributed to Scott Adams’s Dilbert comic strip character. In 2009 Mark Twain received credit for a partially matching expression. In 2013 George Carlin received credit for a version of the quip.

The full version of this article with additional detailed information is available on the Medium website which is available by clicking here.

Image Notes: Illustration of a jester’s hat from OpenClipart-Vectors at Pixabay.

Acknowledgements: Great thanks to Marian T. Wirth, Brian Zachary Mayer, Thayne Davidson Muller, Robert McMillan, AnxiousPony, and Jane Bella whose inquiries led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Also, thanks to Matt Seybold for his pioneering research.

References

References
1 Website: TwainQuotes.com, Editor: Barbara Schmidt, (QI searched the website for quotations containing the phrase “with experience” or the phrase “drag you”. No pertinent match was discovered), Description: Mark Twain quotations, articles, and related resources. (Searched January 28, 2023) link
2 1948, Mark Twain at Your Fingertips by Caroline Thomas Harnsberger, (QI searched for quotations containing the phrase “with experience” or the phrase “drag you”. No pertinent match was discovered), Cloud, Inc., Beechhurst Press, Inc., New York. (Verified with search)
3 Website: Center for Mark Twain Studies, Article title: The Apocryphal Twain: “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience”, Article author: Matt Seybold, Date on website: August 7, 2020, Organization description: The Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies was founded on December 31, 1982. The Center supports Mark Twain scholarship. (Accessed marktwainstudies.com on January 28, 2023) link
4 Website: Bible Hub, Article title: Parallel Verses of Proverbs 26:4, Translation: New International Version, Website description: Online Bible Study Suite. Bible hub is a production of the Online Parallel Bible Project. (Accessed biblehub.com on January 21, 2023) link
5 1878 April 28, The Daily Picayune, (Untitled short item), Quote Page 4, Column 1, New Orleans, Louisiana. (Newspapers_com)
6 1878 May 20, The Rochester Evening Express, Happy Thoughts, Quote Page 4, Column 2, Rochester, New York. (Old Fulton)
7 1956 November 13, The Daily Messenger, Bald, But Not Frustrated by Hal Boyle. Quote Page 8, Column 6, Canandaigua, New York. (Newspapers_com)
8 1958 January 15, The Daily Tar Heel, A National Lottery: Is It A Revenue Source? by Frank Crowther, Quote Page 2, Column 7, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Newspapers_com)
9 1993 December 12, Usenet discussion message, Newsgroup: comp.sys.cbm, From: Ben Dewberry @f272.n633.z3.fidonet.org, Subject: Zipcode Problem Solved. (Google Groups Search; Accessed August 8, 2020) link

It Is Better To Take What Does Not Belong To You Than To Let It Lie Around Neglected

Mark Twain? Merle Johnson? Apocryphal?

Question for Quote Investigator: Mark Twain has received credit for the following slyly comical remark justifying thievery:

It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.

I have not found this statement in any of the stories or essays authored by Twain. Is this quotation genuine?

Reply from Quote Investigator: The earliest match for this saying located by QI appeared in the book “More Maxims of Mark”. This slim volume was compiled by Merle Johnson and privately printed in November 1927. Only fifty first edition copies were created, and a friend of QI’s accessed copy number 14 in the The Rubenstein Rare Book Library at Duke University. Below is the saying under investigation together with the preceding and succeeding entries. Adages in the work were presented in uppercase. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]1927, More Maxims of Mark by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), Compiled by Merle Johnson, Quote Page 9, First edition privately printed November 1927; Number 14 of 50 copies. (Verified with page images … Continue reading

IT IS NOT BEST TO USE OUR MORALS WEEKDAYS, IT GETS THEM OUT OF REPAIR FOR SUNDAY.

IT IS BETTER TO TAKE WHAT DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU THAN TO LET IT LIE AROUND NEGLECTED.

IS A PERSON’S PUBLIC AND PRIVATE OPINION THE SAME? IT IS THOUGHT THERE HAVE BEEN INSTANCES.

Merle Johnson was a rare book collector, and he published the first careful bibliography of Twain’s works in 1910 shortly after the writer’s death. Twain scholars believe that the sayings compiled by Johnson in “More Maxims of Mark” are properly ascribed to Twain.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading It Is Better To Take What Does Not Belong To You Than To Let It Lie Around Neglected

References

References
1 1927, More Maxims of Mark by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), Compiled by Merle Johnson, Quote Page 9, First edition privately printed November 1927; Number 14 of 50 copies. (Verified with page images from the Rubenstein Library at Duke University; special thanks to Mike)

It’s Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight, It’s the Size of the Fight in the Dog

Mark Twain? Dwight D. Eisenhower? Arthur G. Lewis? Clarence Edmundson? Bear Bryant? Harry Howell? Samuel B. Pettengill? Woody Hayes? Apocryphal?

Question for Quote Investigator: When there is a conflict between two entities an observer naturally expects the larger one to prevail, but sometimes the determination and grit of the smaller one produces an upset victory. The following adage using antimetabole is pertinent:

What counts is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

This saying has been attributed to famous humorist Mark Twain and U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. I am skeptical of these linkages. Would you please explore this topic?

Reply from Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence that Mark Twain employed this saying. Scholar Matt Seybold of the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies has also concluded that the attribution to Twain is unsupported.[1]Website: Center for Mark Twain Studies, Article: The Apocryphal Twain: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog” Author: Matt Seybold, Date: July 14, … Continue reading

The earliest match known to QI appeared in the April 1911 issue of the magazine “Book of the Royal Blue” which was published for the passengers of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Columnist Arthur G. Lewis printed a collection of sayings under the title “Stub Ends of Thoughts”. Here were four items. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[2]1911 April, Book of the Royal Blue, Volume 14, Number 7, Stub Ends of Thoughts by Arthur G. Lewis, Quote Page 21, Column 1, Published Monthly by the Passenger Department of the Baltimore & Ohio … Continue reading

We are constrained to respect public opinion or public opinion will not respect us.

As long as a man endeavors to make good there is always a chance for him to do so.

It is not the size of the dog in the fight that counts, but the fight in the dog that wins.

But few friendships survive the “down and out” condition of multiplied misfortunes.

QI tentatively credits Arthur G. Lewis with crafting this adage. The above citation appeared in the excellent reference work “The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs” published by Yale University Press in 2012.[3] 2012, The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, Compiled by Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, and Fred R. Shapiro, Quote Page 232, Yale University Press, New Haven. (Verified on paper)

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading It’s Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight, It’s the Size of the Fight in the Dog

References

References
1 Website: Center for Mark Twain Studies, Article: The Apocryphal Twain: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog” Author: Matt Seybold, Date: July 14, 2021, Website description: “The Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies is dedicated to fostering and supporting scholarship and pedagogy related to all aspects of Mark Twain”. (Accessed marktwainstudies.com on September 18, 2022) link
2 1911 April, Book of the Royal Blue, Volume 14, Number 7, Stub Ends of Thoughts by Arthur G. Lewis, Quote Page 21, Column 1, Published Monthly by the Passenger Department of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in Baltimore, Maryland. (Google Books Full View) link
3 2012, The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, Compiled by Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, and Fred R. Shapiro, Quote Page 232, Yale University Press, New Haven. (Verified on paper)

To Get the Full Value of a Joy You Must Have Somebody To Divide It With

Mark Twain? Arthur T. Pierson? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: To experience a joyful event completely one should share it with others. I think Mark Twain made a point similar to this in his collection of sayings called “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar”. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1897 Mark Twain released a travel book titled “Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World”, and the 48th chapter presented the following epigraph. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]1897, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World by Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens), (Chapter 48 Epigraph), Quote Page 447, American Publishing Company, Hartford, Connecticut; Also Doubleday … Continue reading

Grief can take care of itself; but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with. —Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading To Get the Full Value of a Joy You Must Have Somebody To Divide It With

References

References
1 1897, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World by Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens), (Chapter 48 Epigraph), Quote Page 447, American Publishing Company, Hartford, Connecticut; Also Doubleday & McClure Company, New York. (Internet Archive) link

Inspiration Is for Amateurs—The Rest of Us Just Show Up and Get To Work

Chuck Close? Stephen King? Philip Roth? Harvey Mackay? Mark Twain? Charles Schulz? Rosalyn Drexler? John Barkham? Nocona Burgess? Jill Elaine Hughes?

Dear Quote Investigator: An artist must wait patiently for inspiration to occur according to a romanticized depiction of creativity. Yet, a successful professional artist offered the following contrary viewpoint:

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.

This notion has been attributed to acclaimed photorealist painter Chuck Close, popular horror writer Stephen King, Noble Prize-winning author Philip Roth, motivational columnist Harvey Mackay, and others. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: In April 2006 Chuck Close was interviewed by fellow artist Joe Fig. The interview appeared in the 2009 book “Inside the Painter’s Studio”. The text below consists of a question posed by Fig followed by a reply from Close. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 2009, Inside the Painter’s Studio, Compiled by Joe Fig, Artist: Chuck Close, Date: April 25, 2006, Quote Page 42, Princeton Architectural Press, New York. (Verified with scans)

Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by?

Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will—through work—bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great “art idea.”

Interestingly, a character in a novel by Philip Roth employed a version of this saying while crediting Chuck Close. Also, Stephen King used a version while crediting Roth. Thus, the confusion about attribution is understandable. Details are presented further below.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Inspiration Is for Amateurs—The Rest of Us Just Show Up and Get To Work

References

References
1 2009, Inside the Painter’s Studio, Compiled by Joe Fig, Artist: Chuck Close, Date: April 25, 2006, Quote Page 42, Princeton Architectural Press, New York. (Verified with scans)

A Person With One Watch Knows What Time It Is. A Person With Two Watches Is Never Sure

Mark Twain? Albert Einstein? Lee Segall? Lee Segal? J. Millar Watt? John Peer? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: According to a clever quip it is better to have one watch instead of two. The quip has been attributed to humorist Mark Twain, physicist Albert Einstein, broadcaster Lee Segall, and others. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match known to QI appeared in “The San Diego Union” of California in September 1930 as a filler item. The creator of the quip was unnamed. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1930 September 20, The San Diego Union, (Filler item), Quote Page 4, Column 1, San Diego, California. (GenealogyBank)

Confusion—Retail jewelers assert that every man should carry two watches. But a man with one watch knows what time it is, and a man with two watches could never be sure.

The ascription remains anonymous. QI has found no substantive evidence supporting the attributions to Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, and John Peer. Lee Segall probably did employ the joke by 1961, but this occurred only after the joke had been circulating for three decades.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading A Person With One Watch Knows What Time It Is. A Person With Two Watches Is Never Sure

References

References
1 1930 September 20, The San Diego Union, (Filler item), Quote Page 4, Column 1, San Diego, California. (GenealogyBank)

There Are Three Kinds of Lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Mark Twain? Benjamin Disraeli? St. Swithin? Eliza Gutch? Charles Dilke? Charles Stewart Parnell? Robert Giffen? Arthur James Balfour? Francis Bacon? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Statistical analysis can provide deep insights into an issue. Yet, carelessness or duplicity can generate misleading results. A popular cynical adage communicates this mistrust:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

These words have been attributed to prominent humorist Mark Twain, British statesman Benjamin Disraeli, and others. Do you know who should receive credit? Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: Mark Twain did include this saying in an installment of his autobiography which he published in 1907; however, he did not claim to be the originator; instead, Twain credited Benjamin Disraeli. Yet, there is no substantive evidence that Disraeli crafted this remark. He died in 1881, and the remark was attributed to him posthumously by 1895.

Tracing this saying is a complex task because the expression evolved over time. Changes were incremental, and there was no single originator who deserved credit. Here is an overview showing key phrases, dates, and attributions.

1882 Apr 04: three classes—liars, great liars, and scientific witnesses (Attributed to “well-known Judge”)

1885 Jun 27: three sorts of liars, the common or garden liar … the damnable liar … and lastly the expert (Attributed to “counsel”)

1885 Nov 26: grouped witnesses into three classes: simple liars, damned liars, and experts (Attributed to “well-known lawyer”)

1886 Apr 10: three kinds of liars who testify in courts: “Lawyers, liars and experts” (Attributed to “distinguished judge”)

1889 Aug 12: There are liars, and d—-d liars and experts (Attributed to “eminent judge”)

1891 Jun 13: three kinds of falsehood: the first is a ‘fib,’ the second is a downright lie, and the third and most aggravated is statistics (Anonymous)

1891 Oct 10: There are three degrees of falsehood: the first is a fib, the second is a lie, and then come statistics (Anonymous)

1891 Oct 14: there were three degrees of untruth—a fib, a lie, and statistics (Charles Dilke)

1891 Oct 19: false statements might be arranged according to their degree under three heads, fibs, lies, and statistics. (Attributed to Charles Dilke)

1891 Oct 28: Mr. Parnell’s dictum respecting fibs, lies, and statistics (Attributed to Charles Stewart Parnell)

1891 Nov 07: classifies falsehood under three heads: 1, the fib; 2, the lie; 3, statistics (Attributed to Mark Twain)

1892: three degrees of unveracity—“Lies, d——d lies, and statistics.” (Attributed to “some wit”)

1892 Jan: There are lies, there are outrageous lies, and there are statistics (Anonymous)

1892 Feb: three degrees in liars: the liar simple, the d — d liar, and the expert witness (Anonymous)

1892 Jun 28: three kinds of unveracity—namely, lies, damned lies, and statistics (Arthur James Balfour)

1895 July 27: three degrees of veracity—viz., lies d—d lies, and statistics (Attributed to Lord Beaconsfield, i.e., Benjamin Disraeli)

1907 Jul 5: There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics (Attributed to Benjamin Disraeli by Mark Twain)

QI gives great thanks to previous researchers particularly Stephen Goranson and Peter M. Lee who located many of the citations mentioned above.

Below are selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading There Are Three Kinds of Lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Be Moderate In Everything Including Moderation

Mark Twain? Oscar Wilde? Socrates? Nancy Weber? Judy Tillinger? Horace Porter? J. F. Carter? Gaius Petronius Arbiter? James Ogilvy? Thomas Paine? Voltaire? Richard A. Posner? Benjamin Franklin? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The ancient Greek poet Hesiod stated:[1] 2008, Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Fifth Edition, Edited by Jennifer Speake, Entry: Moderation in all things, Quote Page 213, Oxford University Press, New York. (Verified with scans)

Observe due measure; moderation is best in all things.

An extended version of this statement has been attributed to many famous people including Socrates, Oscar Wilde, Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, and Mark Twain. Here are two versions:

(1) All things in moderation, including moderation.
(2) Be moderate in everything, including moderation.

I am skeptical about all these ascriptions for the extended statement. Would you please explore this topic, and help me to find solid citations?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive support for attributing this extended statement to any of the five people listed above. It is difficult to trace.

A collection based on ancient Greek poetry titled “Pagan Pictures” contained a pertinent four line verse called “Moderation”. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[2]1927, Pagan Pictures: Freely Translated and Fully Expanded from the Greek Anthology & the Greek Lyrical Poets by Wallace Rice, Quote Page 153, Boni & Liveright, New York. (Verified with … Continue reading

Nothing too much, doth Chilo say?
Be moderate despite temptation?
Aye; moderate in every way
Be moderate in moderation.

The biographical notes for “Pagan Pictures” stated that the material was based on the Planudean anthology, the Palatine anthology, and epigrams transcribed from ancient monuments. “Pagan Pictures” was published in 1927, and the collection did not specify an author or provide a precise citation for the verse “Moderation”. Thus, its provenance and date remain uncertain.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Be Moderate In Everything Including Moderation

References

References
1 2008, Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Fifth Edition, Edited by Jennifer Speake, Entry: Moderation in all things, Quote Page 213, Oxford University Press, New York. (Verified with scans)
2 1927, Pagan Pictures: Freely Translated and Fully Expanded from the Greek Anthology & the Greek Lyrical Poets by Wallace Rice, Quote Page 153, Boni & Liveright, New York. (Verified with scans; thanks to the University of North Carolina library system)
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