[Ads-l] Request help with "The Fortnightly" and quotation "If fifty million people say a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 16 23:41:08 EST 2020


Thanks for your comment, Dan. Interesting connection. Wikipedia states
that "Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong" was a hit 1927 song by
Willie Raskin, Billy Rose, and Fred Fisher.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifty_Million_Frenchmen

Oddly, Wikipedia has a graph indicating that the population of France
was around 41 million in 1927. It didn't reach 50 million until the
1950s. Maybe the song included expatriates and descendants together
with women.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_France

W. Somerset Maugham's remark was penned in 1901: "If forty million
people say a foolish thing it does not become a wise one". The remark
could be considered a negation of the song lyric, but it was written
many years before the song was released. During a quick search I did
not see any matches for the song lyric before 1927.

Garson

On Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 9:10 PM Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Am I right this is a reposte to "50 million Frenchmen can't be wrong"?
>
> On Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 11:54 AM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > The quotation in the subject line is usually attributed to Nobel
> > Prize-Winning author Anatole France. I've written a QI article about
> > this topic listing pertinent citations beginning with a semantic match
> > in 1766. Feedback welcome:
> >
> > https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/12/12/foolish/
> >
> > In this message I am requesting help with the verification of an
> > important citation in  "The Fortnightly" journal of London in 1937.
> > The data below was extracted from snippets displayed by Google Books;
> > hence, this data may be inaccurate.
> >
> > Date: July 1937
> > Periodical: The Fortnightly
> > Volume 148
> > Article: The Technique of Social Health
> > Author: George Catlin
> > Start Page 412, Quote Page 415,
> > Publisher: Fortnightly Review Offices, London.
> > Database: Google Books Snippet
> > Note: Not yet verified; metadata and text extracted from snippets
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > As Anatole France sagely remarked, if fifty million people say a
> > foolish thing it is still a foolish thing.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Anatole France died in 1924, so the evidence provided by this 1937
> > citation is weak, but it is the earliest attribution to Anatole France
> > that I have uncovered.
> >
> > You could help by retrieving the journal, verifying the presence of
> > the quotation, and determining the correct metadata which may differ
> > from the metadata listed above.
> >
> > Ideally, you will send to me scans or photos validating the accurate
> > metadata and quotation. Scans showing: journal title, date of
> > publication, publisher name, article name, article author, quotation
> > together with page number.
> >
> > If you cannot relay scans that is ok. I will state that you have
> > visually verified the accuracy of the citation you supply.
> >
> > You will receive an acknowledgement in the QI article.
> >
> > Thanks for your consideration
> > Garson O'Toole
> > QuoteInvestigator.com
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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