Modern Proverbs Appeal

Landau, James James.Landau at NGC.COM
Wed May 23 13:09:34 UTC 2007

On West Wing there was "Economists were put on earth to make astrologers
look good."  This was spoken by President Bartlett, in a script written
apparently before Sorkin decided Bartlett's PhD was in Economics.

"If xxx, use a bigger hammer" with several substitutions for xxx.  This
also appears as "the use-a-bigger-hammer school of

A coworker of mine, who owns a pickup truck, once said, "When you own a
pickup truck, everyone is your friend."  I have no idea if he invented
this one himself or if it were an already-existing proverb.  (I have
personal experience with this concept.  Back when I drove a convertible,
someone asked me to help him move a roomful of furniture: "A convertible
is as good as a pickup."  Unfortunately it was raining hard when I got
there, and it took me a week to get my car dried out.)

Trying to check the above quote on Google, I found which contained <q>"No person
is your friend who demands your silence." - Alice Walker</q> abd <q>It's
always nice to remind the anti-Southern bigoted so-called "liberals"
that it could be Scout, or Jem, or Harper Lee herself that they are
calling "cracker."</q>

Similar sounding: "When you need to drive a nail, everything looks like
a hammer."

Useless for your purposes, but worth quoting: Mad Magazine circa 1960
postulated supporters of a Second Confederacy whose motto was "If at
first you don't secede, try, try again."

"It takes a lot of dough to make the upper crust."  I'm pretty sure I
saw this in Mad Magazine circa 1960, at which time they ran an Alfred E.
Newman quote on the Table of Contents page each month.  The only other I
remember is "America was once the Melting Pot.  Now it's the pressure

    Jim Landau (who thinks 1960 was the Golden Age of Mad Magazine)

On 5/20/07, Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Fred Shapiro <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Modern Proverbs Appeal
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> I would welcome suggestions of "modern proverbs" (defined for this
> purpose as proverbs whose earliest evidence is post-1900) other than
> those listed in The Yale Book of Quotations and Dictionary of American
> Suggestions made without checking those two reference works are fine
> Fred Shapiro
> Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
> Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
>    Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press
> Yale Law School                             ISBN 0300107986
> e-mail: fred.shapiro at
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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