Quote magnets revisited

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 14 20:12:51 UTC 2010

At 3:43 PM -0400 6/14/10, victor steinbok wrote:
>You forgot Disraeli and George Bernard Shaw (with an occasional help
>from Russell). In fact, I've seen quite a number of quotations
>attributed, at the same time, to Russell, Churchill and Shaw or to
>Disraeli and Churchill. Dorothy Parker is not in competition with any
>of these guys, however.

In particular, given what we (think we) know about his sex life, Shaw
would have been unlikely to put off his editor by wiring "Tell him
I'm too fucking busy or vice versa."  Russell, on the other hand, may
have been a different story.

But then again, Dorothy Parker would seem to be an unlikely source
for a bovine behavior based aphorism.


>On Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 1:27 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>>  As we know, everything that wasn't said by Shakespeare, Benjamin
>>  Franklin, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, or Groucho Marx was said by
>>  Dorothy Parker.  Listening to _Clouds of Witness_ (Dorothy L. Sayers,
>>  1926) on audiobook, I was struck by a wonderful adage that is as
>>  applicable to linguistic research as in many other domains. Bunter is
>>  addressing Lord Peter Wimsey:
>>  "[My old mother] always says, my lord, that facts are like cows. If
>>  you look them in the face hard enough, they generally run away."
>>  I was wondering whether others noticed this dictum as well, and in
>>  googling "Facts are like cows" found that indeed it had 650 hits, and
>>  also that at least three of them attribute it to Dorothy Parker.
>>  Half credit, I guess.
>>  LH
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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