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Quotations Mutate Toward Greater Pith


The exact quote, “Keyes finds that quotations tend to mutate in the direction of greater pith,” is from Louis Menand’s New Yorker book review of the “Oxford Book of Quotations,” by Fred Shapiro (author of the “Oxford Book of American Legal Quotations,” among others – and, by way of disclaimer, a boss of mine in a former life)

Doesn’t everyone enjoy a Good Quote now and again? And it’s even better if you can trust the source.

Also from Menand’s review:

‘There are some neat finds and a few surprises (to me, anyway) in the Yale book. I did not know that Billy Wilder was the person who said that hindsight is always 20/20. “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” is attributable to a journalist named Walter Morrow, writing in the San Francisco News in 1949. We owe the useful phrase “Sue the bastards!” to Victor J. Yannacone, Jr., identified as a U.S. lawyer and environmentalist. It was Jack Weinberg, of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, who first said “You can’t trust anybody over thirty.” Joey Adams gets the credit for “With friends like that, who needs enemies?” The phrase “You can’t go home again” was given to Thomas Wolfe by the writer Ella Winter. It was the wonderful story writer John McNulty, and not Yogi Berra, who was responsible for “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”’

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