Quote: I am that civilization you are fighting for. (April 20, 1914)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 3 03:29:18 UTC 2013

Dan Nussbaum wrote

> I heard it attributed to Evelyn Waugh.

Thanks for your comment, Dan. An interesting and varied collection of
individuals have been credited with extravagantly proclaiming a status
personifying civilization.  Here is an example in 1940 ascribing the remark
to George Bernard Shaw:

[ref] 1940 May 3, Trenton Evening Times, The Voice of Broadway by Dorothy
Kilgallen, Quote Page 14, Column 3, Trenton, New Jersey. (The name given in
the page image was "Henry Youngman") (GenealogyBank) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]

Henny Youngman was one of a group discussing the current international
situation at Colbert's the other dinner-time, and he recalled the
heartless, characteristic quip attributed to George Bernard Shaw during the
first World War.

Some heckling acquaintances in London asked the playwright why he was not
at the front fighting to save civilization.

"I," replied Shaw, "am the civilization they are trying to save!"

[End excerpt]

Here is an attribution to Oxford professor H. W. Garrod in 1940:

[ref] 1940 November 17, Kansas City Star, The Retort Courteous, Quote Page
14C, Column 5 and 6, Kansas City, Missouri. (GenealogyBank) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]

When H. W. Garrod, professor of poetry at Oxford university was offered a
white flag by an enthusiastic woman in 1916 - during the first World war -
with the remark, "Sir, are you aware that in Flanders young men are dying
for civilization?" he replied with a bow - says Douglas Jerrold. in
"Georgian Adventure":

"Are you aware, Madam, that I am the civilization for which they are dying?"

[End excerpt]


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