[Ads-l] Motto: We have done so much with so little for so long, that now we can do anything with nothing

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 24 10:24:30 EDT 2017


Rings a bell, but I may merely be thinking of "We are the unwilling, led by
the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for  the ungrateful," which we
discussed some years ago.

Two cents: It may have originated in the USMC (as in 1971 quot.), as it
used to be said that the latest and best equipment always went to the Army
first.

Cf. another saying (how old I don't know), "Always remember: your equipment
was made by the lowest bidder."

JL

On Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 10:02 AM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY
RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:

> A line from a Winston Churchill speech of 20 Aug 1940, with similar
> construction, may have also been an influence:
> "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so
> few".
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Never_was_so_much_owed_by_so_many_to_so_few
>
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of ADSGarson O'Toole
> > Sent: Monday, March 20, 2017 10:46 PM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > Subject:  Motto: We have done so much with so little for so long, that
> now we can do anything with nothing
> >
> > The motto in the subject line has been used by military personnel. I
> received an inquiry about its provenance. Maybe JL has encountered it in
> > his reading and has some insights about its origin. Some versions use
> "everything" instead of "anything"
> >
> > The first citation below contains a description of Douglas MacArthur
> that may be viewed as a precursor. This text contains the key punchline
> > element of doing "anything with nothing".
> >
> > Date: March 26, 1942
> > Newspaper: The Sandusky Register Star-News Newspaper Sandusky, Ohio
> > Article: General Hugh Johnson Says
> > Quote Page 4, Column 3
> > Database: Newspapers.com
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > The plaudits he has so justly won by doing so much with so little have
> left a sort of impression that he is a military magician who can do
> > anything with nothing.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Date: March 6, 1960
> > Newspaper: Daily Press
> > Newspaper Location: Newport News, Virginia Quote Page 3-A, Column 5
> > Article: Eye on the Eagle
> > Author: Howard Gibbons (Daily Press Military Editor)
> > Database: Newspapers.com
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > The tankers being flown out of Langley were built in the early 1950's,
> at the latest. Their refueling altitude is limited to under 30,000-feet,
> > their refueling speed is less than 300 knots and their maintenance
> problems—because of age and high rate of usage — are sometimes
> > almost more than can be met—although the tankers have a
> > motto: "We have done so much with so little for so long, that now we can
> do anything with nothing."
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Below is a Vietnam-era match:
> >
> > Date: July 4, 1971
> > Newspaper: Detroit Free Press
> > Newspaper Location: Detroit, Michigan
> > Quote Page 11-A, Column 1
> > Article: Bob Talbert's Detroit
> > Database: Newspapers.com
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > The current No. 1 status symbol in Vietnam among Marines is inscriptions
> on cigaret lighters, which everyone carries. It's sort of like
> > personal "graffiti." Some read: "You and me, God. Right?"
> > <<skip>>
> >
> > Fighting for peace is like making love for virginity . . . Marines have
> done so much with so little for so long, that now we can do anything
> > with nothing forever ... For those who fight for it, life and liberty
> have a flavor the protected never know.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Earlier citations of other information welcome.
> >
> > Garson
> >
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
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