[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
Thu Dec 17 12:46:55 EST 2020


Thanks for your responses Wilson and GAT. Also, thanks for searching
for earlier occurrences of the "Fifty Million Frenchmen" phrase, GAT.
Garson

On Thu, Dec 17, 2020 at 10:00 AM George Thompson
<george.thompson at nyu.edu> wrote:
>
> I have a book around here somewhere that says that the expression was used
> by Florenz Zeigfeld to promote to Americans Anna Held, a European beauty
> who had performed in Paris.  If so, that takes the expression back to the
> mid 1890s.  The book would have been written during Zeigfeld's lifetime,
>  (d. 1932), or not long after.
> Later, I will see what the newspaper databases have to say.
>
> This is an expression I think of often -- believing as I do, that 50
> million Frenchmen can't be wrong, unless they hold an opinion that differs
> from mine, in which case, there can be only one explanation.
>
> GAT
>
> 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://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__en.wikipedia.org_wiki_Fifty-5FMillion-5FFrenchmen&d=DwIBaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=vjHrx0lu7UQqYIP5DtesQ5Jo28G2BTlF4ZdjXWbF77I&s=DnBcxdzxqYxvjqfRJzsXSLSbs2_EJ0uLwaQt8NcXKOQ&e=
> >
> > 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://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__en.wikipedia.org_wiki_Demographics-5Fof-5FFrance&d=DwIBaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=vjHrx0lu7UQqYIP5DtesQ5Jo28G2BTlF4ZdjXWbF77I&s=r94J29-EFUJUBcFZrqH-u4vdnTR2WLSd7mJcdjsGapM&e=
> >
> > 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://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__quoteinvestigator.com_2020_12_12_foolish_&d=DwIBaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=vjHrx0lu7UQqYIP5DtesQ5Jo28G2BTlF4ZdjXWbF77I&s=n7zgehE4sa3Qni_-R9DxtZXqf7B4c-jZirGklquQIa8&e=
> > > >
> > > > 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 -
> > https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=DwIBaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=vjHrx0lu7UQqYIP5DtesQ5Jo28G2BTlF4ZdjXWbF77I&s=xV4uFnANz4MOsV25xnwli8FtaUSY4Z_2IoD4o0xh3Ao&e=
> > > >
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society -
> > https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=DwIBaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=vjHrx0lu7UQqYIP5DtesQ5Jo28G2BTlF4ZdjXWbF77I&s=xV4uFnANz4MOsV25xnwli8FtaUSY4Z_2IoD4o0xh3Ao&e=
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society -
> > https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=DwIBaQ&c=slrrB7dE8n7gBJbeO0g-IQ&r=v2Wtu7DQZxSBMSJv-oEMNg&m=vjHrx0lu7UQqYIP5DtesQ5Jo28G2BTlF4ZdjXWbF77I&s=xV4uFnANz4MOsV25xnwli8FtaUSY4Z_2IoD4o0xh3Ao&e=
> >
>
>
> --
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998.
>
> But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
> your lowly tomb. . .
> L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112
>
> The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
> picture of his great-grandfather.)
> http://www.parliament.uk/worksofart/artwork/james-gillray/an-excrescence---a-fungus-alias-a-toadstool-upon-a-dunghill/3851
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list