[Ads-l] Quote: Sometimes I think we=?Windows-1252?Q?=92re_alone=2C_and_sometimes_I_think_we=92re_?=not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering

MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY CCDC AVMC (USA) 0000099bab68be9a-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Mon Oct 26 14:33:05 UTC 2020

Your earliest non-Pogo cite for "mighty soberin' thought" was from a letter to the editor in the Ithaca NY newspaper.
Searching newspapers.com for the name of the letter writer, R. Wade Schuette, reveals that he was a student at Cornell, and in 1973 was an employee there.

And your predecessor quote, "the idea is quite staggering", brings up Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, who collaborated on the film _2001: A Space Odyssey_.

The common denominator here is Carl Sagan, and the quote is one which would seem to be of interest to him.
Sagan taught at Cornell, and consulted on _2001_.  Sagan was familiar with the Pogo version quote as early as 1966, when the subject strip appears as front matter in his book _Intelligent Life in the Universe_, co-written with I. S. Shklovskii (1966).  I suspect that he was a vector for dissemination of the quote.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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