MISTER MUSE AND MISS QUOTES

I have made it a rule that whenever I say something stupid, I immediately attribute it to Dr. Johnson, Marcus Aurelius or Dorothy Parker. –George Mikes, British author

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Fellow and female Americans: In case you’re not old enough — as I am — to remember the Father of our Country, George Birthington’s washday was February 22nd. OK, I admit that after all these years, I may have a hard time recalling names and certain words correctly, but what does it matter? As Christopher Shakespeare (or was it William Marlowe) famously wrote, a ruse by any other name would smell anyway.

Anyway, my point is that quotes may frequently get mis-attributed, but Miss Attributed couldn’t care less, so why should we? Well, I’ll tell you why — because we’re righters, that’s why, and we righters deserve credit where credit is dubious. Therefore, with the aid of my busty — I mean, trusty — aide, Miss Quotes, the objective here was to do an extensive investigation into the subjective and dig up our quota of misquotes (our quota being whenever we decided to quit) . You are now about to be the beneficiary of our research, which we bent over backwards to have ready for this post (just to make it a bit more fun, I’ll throw in a few correctly-attributed quotes; can you pick them out of the pack?):

1. “I cannot tell a lie.” –George Washington
2. “Give me liberty, or give me death.”  –Patrick Henry  
3. “The British are brave people. They can face anything except reality.” –George Mikes
4. “Anybody who hates dogs and children can’t be all bad.” –W.C. Fields
5. “Our comedies are not to be laughed at.” –Samuel Goldwyn
6. “I never said most of the things I said.” –Yogi Berra
7. “Let them eat cake.” –Marie-Antoinette
8. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.” –Mark Twain
9. “Elementary, my dear Watson.” –Sherlock Holmes (in the stories of A. Conan Doyle)
10. “I am the greatest!” –The Donald

Here are the misattributions:

1. The quote itself is a lie. An Anglican minister, Mason Locke, ascribed it to our first President in his pietistic biography of Washington as part of the made-up ‘Who chopped down the cherry tree’ story: “I can’t tell a lie, Pa; I did cut it with my hatchet.”
2. Possibly another biographical fiction, though not as clear-cut as the cherry tree story. Biographer Wm. Wirt based his attribution on the memory of two Henry contemporaries. The phrase resembles a passage from CATO, a 1713 play written by Joseph Addison.
4. Actually said by humor writer Leo Rosten in introducing Fields at a dinner.
5. An old Hollywood gag, not said (at least originally) by Goldwyn.
7. By all accounts, Marie-Antoinette never uttered those words. Several years before she supposedly said them, they appeared in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s THE CONFESSIONS.
8. Although Twain used this quote in his autobiography, he credited it to Benjamin Disraeli.
9. Doyle never put those words in the great detective’s mouth in any of his four novels and 56 short stories about Holmes between 1887-1927.  It was actor Basil Rathbone, playing Holmes in the late 1930s-1940s, who spoke those words and made them famous.
10. Donald Trump may think it, but it was Muhammad Ali who said it.

As a bonus, I leave you with this quote:

 

 

 

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12 comments on “MISTER MUSE AND MISS QUOTES

  1. mistermuse says:

    NOTE: By virtue of February having less than 30 days (even in this year of the leap), my post-every-fifth-day schedule is doomed to run into “the best laid plans of mice and men” by the end of the month. Thus, my last Feb. post will be on the 29th, and I’ve opted to move this post up to Feb. 24.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joseph Nebus says:

      Coincidentally, the old Roman calendar treated the 24th as the leap day. That is, in a leap year, they had two days that were both what we’d call the 24th of February. This sounds confusing, but it’s honestly better than what they had before, which was to in some years stick a whole extra month in between the 24th and 25th of February.

      Anyway, point being, having a post on the 24th so that you have a post timed for Leap Day works nicely. Somehow.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Don Frankel says:

    I knew that was Ali at the end there as I’m not only old enough to remember but I know Trump said. “It’s huge.” Which is now being pronounced as Yyyyuge. But it might get miss quoted or I might be miss quoting as Bernie Sanders also says Yyyuge as does Larry David and well most of us here in New York City.

    My favorite miss quote is General Sherman’s. “War is all hell.” He didn’t say it but when he found out he said it, he kept saying it, till he said it.

    Like

  3. arekhill1 says:

    “When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” That’s my favorite quote. Google can’t really tell us its origin, although some people attribute it to the neo-Nazi science fiction author Robert Heinlein.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mistermuse says:

    Don, when Trump said “It’s huge,” I thought he was referring to his ego (or the unbelievable gullibility of his followers).
    Good comment about Sherman. He certainly turned Atlanta into hell when he burned it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. mistermuse says:

    I like the quote, Ricardo….though I must admit I haven’t heard it before and don’t know who said it. It couldn’t have been The Donald, because he’s never in doubt about anything (& wouldn’t admit it if he was).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mél@nie says:

    over here, in “old Europe”, we just can’t imagine the fair-wigged ignorant racist as the POTUS!!! same for ted cruz(doesn’t deserve capitals!!!)
    * * *
    oh, it seems that Marie-Antoinette never stated that sentence… it’s been invented, as the French people didn’t like “the snobbish Austrian waster”… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice one! I especially like the quote at the top 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mark Scheel says:

    mistermuse,
    Now that was educational. I knew only a few for certain. Makes you wonder if anybody ever really says anything! Ha.

    Mark

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mistermuse says:

    Mark, all my posts are educational — even those expose that, unlike quote #10, I’m not the greatest (just the 3rd greatest, behind The Donald and Muhammad Ali). 😦 😦 🙂

    Like

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