[Ads-l] Pogo on intelligent life in the universe

Baker, John JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM
Thu Feb 16 17:00:42 EST 2017


I think it's unlikely that this is a line that was used more than once.  While Walt Kelly frequently re-used individual lines, this one would require an entire set-up.  He did re-use the strips that ran in the Star, but this was probably too late to be among the re-used strips.  I don't recall seeing this line in the Pogo Comics that preceded the strip, and it does seem more characteristic of a daily strip than some panels from a comic book.

The Wikiquote version cannot be correct.  This is not language that Porkypine would have used; it is too formal and correct, and the only variant spelling is "thar," which is not good Okefenokee ("they" would be more likely in the strip, as in the bona fide quotation given below).  Presumably it is based on someone's faulty memory.  I see that it was added to Wikiquote by an anonymous editor in May 2004 as one of several "attributed quotes," and the editor wrongly called the speaker "Porky Porcupine," see https://en.wikiquote.org/w/index.php?title=Walt_Kelly&diff=prev&oldid=9640.  


John Baker


-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of ADSGarson O'Toole
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2017 2:32 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Pogo on intelligent life in the universe

The Wikiquote webpage for Walt Kelly lists the following Pogo quotation.

[Begin Wikiquote version]
Thar’s only two possibilities: Thar is life out there in the universe
which is smarter than we are, or we’re the most intelligent life in
the universe. Either way, it’s a mighty sobering thought.
[End Wikiquote version]

The passage above was highlighted with a companion photo. It was also
selected as Quote of the Day in 2004. Unfortunately, Wikiquote does
not provide a citation. So, I decided to attempt to locate the precise
comic strip.

The quality of the text created by OCR (optical character recognition)
for Pogo is terrible which greatly impairs searchability. But fortune
smiled and I eventually found a candidate. The text was markedly
different, but the overall semantics and the punchline matched the
target quotation.

[ref] 1959 June 20, The Honolulu Advertiser, Pogo Comic Strip by Walt
Kelly, Quote Page B3, Honolulu, Hawaii. (Newspapers_com)[/ref]

https://www.newspapers.com/image/259239643/?terms=Pogo

[Begin Comic Strip Text]
Porky Pine: I BEEN READIN' 'BOUT HOW MAYBE THEY IS PLANETS PEOPLED BY
FOLKS WITH AD-VANCED BRAINS.

Pogo: UM

Porky Pine: ON THE OTHER HAND, MAYBE WE GOT THE MOST BRAINS...MAYBE
OUR INTELLECTS IS THE UNIVERSE'S MOST AD-VANCED.

Porky Pine: EITHER WAY, IT'S A MIGHTY SOBERIN' THOUGHT.
[End Comic Strip Text]

Question for list members: Does a Pogo comic strip exist that more
closely matches the text specified by Wikiquote? Did Walt Kelly cover
this topic more than once?  Alternatively, is the Wikiquote version
based on a faulty memory?

Garson O'Toole

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


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


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