Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 16 19:54:05 UTC 2011

Prompted by the cites, I will swear  that the long "Roses are red" form is
exactly what I heard in 1967-68. The crazily failed rhyme made it even more

The speaker was a high-school friend named John McKendrick.


On Mon, May 16, 2011 at 2:43 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       victor steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: paranoid
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> 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.)
> VS-)
> 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."
> >
> ...
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