"Stop digging."

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 10 19:21:59 UTC 2010

Thanks for pointing to Barry's work, Ben. Here is an instance from the
Hansard database with an exact date in 1983. The speaker is Healey:

Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation
HC Deb 21 March 1983 vol 39 cc549-674

Mr. Healey:
At the moment the Americans have adopted the first law of holes. I
wish that the Government would adopt that law, too. The first law of
holes is that when someone is in one he stops digging. The American
Government have, thank God, stopped digging.


On Sun, Oct 10, 2010 at 2:57 PM, Ben Zimmer
<bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "Stop digging."
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sun, Oct 10, 2010 at 12:20 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> From GB snippets:
>> 1986 Robert Fritz _The Path of Least Resistance_  (Salem, Mass.: DMA) 30:
>> The President of DMA, Inc., Dr. Kalen Hammann, has said, "if you find
>> yourself in a hole, stop digging." If you prematurely attempt to make the
>> shift to the orientation of the creative, motivated by the discomfort of
>> circumstantial stimuli, you are merely digging yourself into a deeper hole.
>> WorldCat shows a 1984 edition that GB does not.  Innumerable RGs, others
>> with "when."
> See Barry Popik's page, with cites back to 1983 (attributed to British
> politician Denis Healey):
> http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/when_youre_in_a_hole_stop_digging_first_law_of_holes/
> --bgz
> --
> Ben Zimmer
> http://benzimmer.com/
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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