If You Watch a Lot of TV, You’re Not Considered Well-Viewed

Lily Tomlin? Jane Wagner? Barbara Rowes? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: People who read numerous books are perceived positively by society. The term “well-read” implies knowledgeable and discerning. However, people who view television for endless hours are perceived negatively. The term “well-viewed” is uncommon. I have only heard it used within the punchline of a joke from comedian Lily Tomlin. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in the 1979 compilation “The Book of Quotes” edited by Barbara Rowes. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

If you read a lot of books, you’re considered well-read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you’re not considered well-viewed.
—Lily Tomlin

Interestingly, Lily Tomlin’s personal website includes a webpage listing a collection of jokes. The statement under investigation is ascribed to Jane Wagner who is Tomlin’s longtime collaborator and wife: 2

If you read a lot of books, you’re considered well-read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you’re not considered well-viewed. – written by Jane Wagner for Lily’s act

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading If You Watch a Lot of TV, You’re Not Considered Well-Viewed

Notes:

  1. 1979, The Book of Quotes, Compiled by Barbara Rowes, Chapter 23: Tube, Quote Page 211, A Sunrise Book: E. P. Dutton, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)
  2. Website: Tomlin Wagner, Webpage title: Lily speaks, Date: Quotation present on November 24, 2012 within snapshot in Internet Wayback Machine, Description: Classic section of comedian Lily Tomlin’s personal website. (Accessed classic.lilytomlin.com on June 16, 2020) link

It Is the Function of Art To Renew Our Perception. What We Are Familiar With We Cease To See

Anaïs Nin? Orville Clark? Barbara Rowes? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The prominent literary figure and acclaimed modern diarist Anaïs Nin stated something like the following: When we become familiar with people and scenes we cease to see them; therefore, the true artist must shake up the commonplace. The resultant novelty will enable a renewal of perception. Would you please help me to find the precise passage in which she stated this idea?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in Anaïs Nin’s 1968 volume of analysis and criticism titled “The Novel of the Future”. Below is an image from the book followed by the text of the quotation: 1

It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading It Is the Function of Art To Renew Our Perception. What We Are Familiar With We Cease To See

Notes:

  1. 1968 Copyright (Third Printing 1976), The Novel of the Future by Anaïs Nin, Chapter 2: Abstraction, Quote Page 25, Collier Books: A Division of Macmillan Publishing Company, New York. (Verified with scans)