When First We Fall in Love, We Feel That We Know All There Is To Know About Life, and Perhaps We Are Right

Mignon McLaughlin? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: First love is exhilarating. Infatuated lovers feel like they have acquired esoteric knowledge of the universe. This might even be true. The witty journalist Mignon McLaughlin made this point using a different phrasing. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1963 McLaughlin published “The Neurotic’s Notebook” which included the following item. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

When first we fall in love, we feel that we know all there is to know about life, and perhaps we are right.

McLaughlin shared other insights about love and desire in her book: 2

Love, like money, is offered most freely to those in least need of it.

When desire has been satisfied, we can begin to think seriously about love.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading When First We Fall in Love, We Feel That We Know All There Is To Know About Life, and Perhaps We Are Right

Notes:

  1. 1963, The Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Chapter 1: Love and Marriage, Quote Page 13, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1963, The Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Chapter 1: Love and Marriage, Quote Page 9 and 13, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)

Nobody Wants Constructive Criticism; It’s All We Can Do To Put Up with Constructive Praise

Mignon McLaughlin? Alan Sheldon? Stephen R. Covey? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Receiving criticism is painful even when it is described as constructive. The witty journalist Mignon McLaughlin made a germane comment on this theme. Would you please help me to find a citation.

Quote Investigator: In 1960 the unnamed columnist of “Thoughts and Things” in “The Herald Journal” of Logan, Utah printed the following three remarks without attribution. Boldface added to excerpts: 1

Nobody wants constructive criticism; it’s all we can do to put up with constructive praise.

Women are good listeners, but it’s a waste of time telling your troubles to a man unless there is something specific you want him to do.

Most of us could scrape by on twice our present income.

Interestingly, in 1963 Mignon McLaughlin published “The Neurotic’s Notebook”, and the three remarks above were included in the book. The comment about constructive criticism appeared on page 41 within a chapter about health, happiness, and self-esteem. 2 The remark about listening appeared on page 38 within a chapter about men and women. 3 The statement about income appeared on page 84 within a section about getting and spending. 4

QI believes McLaughlin should receive credit for these three remarks. The 1960 columnist probably saw the statements in a preliminary version of the book or an earlier piece by McLaughlin.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Nobody Wants Constructive Criticism; It’s All We Can Do To Put Up with Constructive Praise

Notes:

  1. 1960 July 14, The Herald-Journal, Thoughts and Things: Put Them in Prisons? He Proposes a Better Way, Quote Page 2, Column 1, Logan, Utah. (Newspapers_com)
  2. 1963, The Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Chapter 4: Health, Happiness, Self-Esteem, Quote Page 41, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)
  3. 1963, The Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Chapter 3: Men and Women, Quote Page 38, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)
  4. 1963, The Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Chapter 9: Getting and Spending, Quote Page 84, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)

Don’t Be Yourself—Be Someone a Little Nicer

Mignon McLaughlin? Leata McQuiston? Barbara Bush? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: “Be yourself” is an ubiquitous platitude. Here is a funny variant: Don’t be yourself—be someone a little nicer. Would you please explore the provenance of this quip?

Quote Investigator: The earliest instance located by QI appeared in a newspaper column called “Chatter” by Leata McQuiston published in the “Hobbs Daily News-Sun” of New Mexico in May 1964. The statement was enclosed in quotation marks signaling that the columnist was disclaiming credit for the humorous remark: 1

“Don’t be yourself—be someone a little nicer.”

The second earliest instance located by QI appeared in “The Spokesman-Review” of Washington as a filler item within an advertisement section called “Shop With Sue” in October 1964. No attribution was specified. 2

Thus, the quip was circulating as an anonymous joke by 1964.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Don’t Be Yourself—Be Someone a Little Nicer

Notes:

  1. 1964 May 31, Hobbs Daily News-Sun, Chatter by Leata McQuiston, Quote Page 8, Column 4, Hobbs, New Mexico. (Newspapers_com)
  2. 1964 October 29, The Spokesman-Review, Shop With Sue (Filler item within advertisement), Quote Page 5, Column 8, Spokane, Washington. (Newspapers_com)

Hope Is the Feeling We Have That the Feeling We Have Is Not Permanent

Mignon McLaughlin? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Feeling discouraged is a natural reaction to the state of the world sometimes. Currently, there is a pandemic curtailing social and economic activity almost everywhere. Yet, these pessimistic feelings will not last forever. My favorite witty person, Mignon McLaughlin, once presented a clever definition of “hope” that is pertinent.

Quote Investigator: In 1963 the U.S. journalist Mignon McLaughlin published a collection of quips and observations titled “The Neurotic’s Notebook”. Here is her germane remark: 1

Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.

McLaughlin’s book included two other statements mentioning hope: 2

When hope is hungry, everything feeds it.

There are whole years for which I hope I’ll never be cross-examined, for I could not give an alibi

Image Notes: Painting of Pandora by John William Waterhouse circa 1896. Image has been resized, retouched and cropped. The opening of Pandora’s box released death, sickness, and other maladies. The final item in the box was hope.

Notes:

  1. 1963, The Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Chapter: The General Orneriness of Things, Quote Page 58, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1963, The Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Quote Page 49 and 93, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)

We’d All Like a Reputation for Generosity, and We’d All Like To Buy It Cheap

Mignon McLaughlin? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: December is a season of generosity for many, but the eagerness of participants varies. A friend recently joked that she wanted to achieve a reputation for generosity as cheaply as possible. She disclaimed authorship of this quip. Would you please explore its provenance?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match known to QI appeared in “The Neurotic’s Notebook” by Mignon McLaughlin in 1963. The compendium contained quips, adages, and observations such as the following two items: 1

We’d all like a reputation for generosity, and we’d all like to buy it cheap.

Life marks us all down, so it’s just as well that we start out by overpricing ourselves.

McLaughlin worked as a writer and editor at magazines such as “The Atlantic Monthly”, “Glamour”, and “Vogue” for decades from the 1940s to the 1970s. She was known for her witticisms.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading We’d All Like a Reputation for Generosity, and We’d All Like To Buy It Cheap

Notes:

  1. 1963, The Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Chapter 9: Getting and Spending, Quote Page 82, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)

No One Really Listens To Anyone Else, and If You Try It for a While You’ll See Why

Mignon McLaughlin? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Imagine reading a constructive, entertaining, and edifying discussion thread on social media. If you travel through the looking glass you can envision six impossible things before breakfast.

Now, imagine reading an unconstructive, mind-numbing, and obscurantist exchange. This latter possibility reminds me of a rueful remark from the famous wit Mignon McLaughlin. Would you please help me to find it?

Quote Investigator: The journalist, short story author, and aphorism creator Mignon McLaughlin included the following adage in her collection titled “The Second Neurotic’s Notebook”: 1

No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you’ll see why.

Image Notes: Variant rendition of three wise monkeys (“speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil”) from 3D_Maennchen at Pixabay.

Notes:

  1. 1966, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Chapter 3: Men and Women, Quote Page 21, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)

Every Society Honors Its Live Conformists, and Its Dead Troublemakers

Mignon McLaughlin? Marshall McLuhan? Wayne Dyer? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: History books laud unconventional thinkers and eccentric characters who faced hardships during their lifetimes. An adage expressing this notion has been credited to magazine editor Mignon McLaughlin and media theorist Marshall McLuhan. Here are two versions:

  • The world values live conformists and dead rebels.
  • Society honors its living conformists and its dead troublemakers.

Would you please explore this saying?

Quote Investigator: The earliest close match known to QI appeared in “The Neurotic’s Notebook” by Mignon McLaughlin in 1963. The compendium contained quips, adages, and observations such as the following three. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

The works of Herman Wouk seem written by two different men: one who creates a set of characters, and another who turns on them.

Every society honors its live conformists, and its dead troublemakers.

An artist usually has no friends except other artists, and usually they do not like his work.

McLaughlin worked as a writer and editor at magazines such as “The Atlantic Monthly”, “Glamour”, and “Vogue” for decades from the 1940s to the 1970s.

The attribution to Marshall McLuhan is spurious. It may have originated when someone confused the names McLaughlin and McLuhan. Alternatively, the mistake may have been catalyzed by textual proximity. Further details accompany the 2004 citation given further below.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Every Society Honors Its Live Conformists, and Its Dead Troublemakers

Notes:

  1. 1963, The Neurotic’s Notebook by Mignon McLaughlin, Chapter 7: Politics, Arts, Professions, Quote Page 72, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans)