[Ads-l] Quote: Congress will have to pass it to find out how it works (Aug 14 1937; found by B. Zimmer)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 27 19:42:08 UTC 2015


Ben Zimmer posted a great article on Language Log that referred to two
Supreme Court decisions which included the following quip:

[Begin excerpt]
I admit this new bill is too complicated to understand. We'll just
have to pass it to find out what it means.
[End excerpt]

The words were based on a 1947 cartoon caption which used a slightly
different wording:

[Begin excerpt]
I admit this new bill is too complicated to understand . . . we'll
just have to pass it to find out how it works!
[End excerpt]

Ben found an earlier version of the joke in the New Yorker in 1937:

[Begin excerpt]
The wages-and-hours bill has become so complicated that it is a
mystery to everybody in Washington. Congress will have to pass it to
find out how it works.
[End excerpt]

Website: Language Log
Article: We'll just have to pass it…
Date: June 25, 2015
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=19721

Below is a citation in 1933 that might be considered a precursor with
a different emphasis. I do not think it was intended to be humorous.

[ref] 1933 April 15, The Fresno Bee - The Republican, Editorial Page:
The Best Field, Quote Page 6-B, Column 1, Fresno, California.
(Newspapers_com)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Opponents of the Robinson-Meeker bill contend that it is
unconstitutional. The legislature should pass it and find out about
that.
[End excerpt]

Barry Popik has an entry about a thematic remark made by Nancy Pelosi.

Date: January 06, 2011
Article: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it"
http://bit.ly/1ebdwfq

Garson

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