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

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 17 00:02:01 EST 2020


> "Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong"

In the '40's, this was a *very* common catch-phrase, especially on radio
and in movie comedies. Unfortunately, I was too young, at the time, to
understand what made the use of this phrase "very fun-ye," as Bert Gordon,
"The Mad Russian," mused to say. The song is sufficiently older than I am
and of such little lasting popularity that I didn't know that there was a
song with that title till now.

On Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 11:41 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
>


-- 
- Wilson
-----
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

------------------------------------------------------------
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