Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 4 08:09:32 UTC 2013

I didn't find it in this 1961 version of the Catch-22 book (for some copyright reason the print-disabled text shows on my phone but not computer):

Nor in the database of subtitles or this transcript of the 1970 film.

But there is this in the book:

[Begin extract]
“They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.
No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger cried.
Then why are they shooting at me?" Yossarian asked.
They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger answered. "They're trying to kill everyone."
And what difference does that make?”
[End extract]


The earliest, easily verifiable version I found in Google Books was a 1974 New Scientist magazine, with a number of likely-looking early 1970s snippets in magazines attributing it to "they say", "a poster", "a popular bumper sticker", "others have said" or "the warning" (and one to Thomas Pynchon), so it was well-known by then.

New Scientist, 7 Mar 1974, Vol 61 No 888 Page 627
[Begin extract]
There is a poster for sale in the Harvard Co-op, and no doubt many other places in the US, which says: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you".
[End extract]'re+paranoid%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ICLVUZ-qIaLf4QSDsIDwBw&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA


The Wikipedia discussion page for paranoia includes this:

[Begin extract]
Regarding the quote "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you," being from the 1961 book Catch-22 by author Joseph Heller, I looked through an e-book version of that book and did not find that sentence. However, I did find that it is a line said by Alan Arkin, playing Capt. John Yossarian in the 1970 film, Catch-22, which may mean that the film screenwriter, Buck Henry, authored the line. Juanaquena 7 June 2013 —Preceding undated comment added 00:26, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
[End extract]


However, if it was well-known in the early '70s, I'd expect plenty of contemporary references to it coming from the 1970 film.


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list