[Ads-l] Bogus Andrew Johnson quote?

Fri May 5 15:39:28 EDT 2017

The District of Columbia is approximately 68 square miles, of which approximately 61 square miles is land and approximately 7 square miles is water.  It was originally ten miles square (i.e., 100 square miles), but the federal government ceded the portion originally acquired from Virginia in 1846.  These seem like facts that Andrew Johnson would have known.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Friday, May 5, 2017 2:20 PM
Subject: Bogus Andrew Johnson quote?

The New Yorker quotes AJ that Washington, DC, is "twelve square miles
bordered by reality."

Despite the usual zillion raw Google hits, my Spidey-sense says fat chance.
And GB reveals nothing before 2008.

I doubt that any 19th C. person would have been likely to say that any
physical location was "bordered by reality."

If Johnson had said it, we should heard about it long before 2008.

Its form reminds me, somehow, of a recent, well-known, witticism that I
cannot bring to mind.

Has Barry or Garson looked into this?


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

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

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