Zig Ziglar? Charles Thompkins? Dana Robbins? Bob Talbert? Choupique? Bill Copeland? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: There is a fun definition of “tact” that employs a pun which contrasts the terms “be big” and “belittle”. I saw this humorous statement in a book by the prominent motivational author Zig Ziglar. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: A similar pun appeared in a Tucson, Arizona. newspaper in 1958 although “tact” was not mentioned. The paper described a PTA forum held at a local high school in Catalina. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
The first panel on family living will have the topic “How Can Our Children Be Big When We Belittle Them?” Dr. Charles Thompkins, a pediatrician who writes for Parents Magazine, will act as moderator.
In September 1970 the definition of “tact” appeared within a column published in a Jackson, Mississippi newspaper: 2
Tact, says Dana Robbins, is the art of recognizing when to be big and when not to belittle.
Dana Robbins may have been a local resident. QI does not know.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1958 November 14, Tucson Daily Citizen, Catalina PTA Slates 3 Forums, Quote Page 30, Column 1, Tucson, Arizona. (Newspapers_com) ↩
- 1970 September 2, The Clarion-Ledger, HEW-ITT TO THE LINE Let the Chips Fall Where They May by Purser Hewitt, Quote Page 16, Column 1, Jackson, Mississippi. (Newspapers_com) ↩