victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 16 18:43:44 UTC 2011

As far as the "... and so am I" verse goes, I don't have to dig to give a
firm date of March 1984 (MIT) for the expression definitely appearing on a
button--I know because I bought one then. So the 1982 citation sounds
perfectly reasonable--of course, when Jon was already fascinated by it in
1967, I was 18 months old, so I can't confirm his dating.

But what is interesting about the original "paranoid" entry--well, the
second original ("Even paranoids have real enemies")--the signature Delmore
Schwartz line does not appear until shortly after his death in 1966. Even
then, it appears as a matter of fact, never sourced. The earliest Schwartz
attribution we have so far is from 1967. By 1970 it's "an old saw", and by
1973 it is attributed to Kissinger in many different versions (including
both "paranoids" and "paranoiacs", "can have" vs. "have", etc.). There is a
record of him actually saying it in 1977 and, apparently, in 1975. Several
sources suggest that he was fond of using the expression--and who could
blame him, being in the Nixon administration. But attributions to Schwartz
continued alongside those citing Kissinger or and anonymous ones.

But there is still no record that I found of Schwartz actually using the
phrase. Nor have I found any record of the line used in the Catch-22 film
prior to the release of the film. ("Just because you're paranoid doesn't
mean they aren't after you.") So this might have been original coinage,
perhaps derived from the line attributed to Schwartz.

Does anything resembling "Even paranoid(s)/paranoiac(s) (can) have real
enemies" appear in Schwartz's poetry? The Burroughs line from 1968 provides
the most context and suggest the phrase came in response to an accusation of
being paranoid (which Schwartz certainly was to the end of his days). But I
have not been able to unearth a contemporaneous account or even one that
might have been a recollection. In 1967-70, it was just assumed that
everyone knew that Schwartz actually said it and that this was the line
Schwartz was best remembered for (his later work did not receive--justly or
not--the recognition of his first major collection Summer Knowledge, or even
his first published work In Dreams Begin Responsibilities).

So what we have right now is multiple attributions to Schwarts at about the
same time that the saying appears on buttons. The updated version may well
be due to Buck Henry.

There is also an update to the Catch-22 version that appeared in the 1980s,
if not earlier, "I am not paranoid, they really ARE after me!". (Yet another
button that I had acquired while at MIT, but one that has since been lost. I
might as well admit to another button that I got in 1985: "I don't have to
take this abuse from you--I have hundreds of people waiting to abuse me!"
which sounds distinctly Dorothy-Parkeresque. I also had acquired two posters
in the spring of 1984 that read, "Experience is the name we give to our
mistakes" and "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you". All of these
were tied to specific events, which is why I have the dates narrowed down.
The buttons were distributed by MITSFITs and the posters were purchased from
The Coop and still bear the original price stickers on the back.)


On Mon, May 16, 2011 at 11:18 AM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at>wrote:

> Here is some information about four citations I have checked on paper.
> The 1966 date given by Google Books for the match to Christianity
> Today is inaccurate. Here is the cite:
> Cite: 1967 July 21, Christianity Today, Dear Slogan-Lovers by Etychus
> III, Page 20, Christianity Today International, Carol Stream,
> Illinois. (Verified on microfilm)
> When it comes to expressing their views on life, they say by button:
> "I Want to Be What I Was When I Wanted To Be What I Now Am," or
> "Neuroses Are Red, Melancholy Is Blue, I'm Schizophrenic, What Are
> You?," or "End Poverty, Give Me $10." They further advise: "Reality Is
> Good Sometimes for Kicks But Don't Let It Get You Down," and "Even
> Paranoids Have Real Enemies."

The American Dialect Society -

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