Dorothy Parker? Punch Humor Magazine? Sally’s Sallies Comic Strip? Ann Landers?
Dear Quote Investigator: Previously you discussed a quote of Dorothy Parker’s which was self-critical, but she also directed her barbs at others. Here is an example [LWO]:
When a garrulous old battle-ax was praised as “outspoken,” Mrs. Parker raised an eyebrow to take dead aim: “Outspoken? By whom?”
I would like to know if Parker really said this, and if she did who was the “battle-ax”? Could you trace this quotation?
Quote Investigator: Yes, QI will attempt to locate examples of this quip, but the targets of witty remarks sometimes remain anonymous in newspaper accounts.
QI has found citations for this word-play joke that show it is more than one-hundred years old. Thus, it predates the seminal Algonquin Round table period. The quip is first attributed to Dorothy Parker on or before 1944. Here are selected citations in reverse-chronological order.