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Misattributed Quotes

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The Quirkster
1083867.  Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:58 am Reply with quote

There exists this idea that Winston Churchill and Lady Astor spoke these words:
Astor: "Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your tea."
Churchill: "Madame, if you were my wife I would drink it."

I thought that this exchange was misattributed. Is this true?

May I ask also, please, if this forum has a room for quotes?

Thank you very much.

 
swot
1083871.  Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:37 am Reply with quote

Here is where we store our quotes. :) Welcome.

 
WordLover
1090047.  Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:18 am Reply with quote

Here is a QI site for quote-investigation.

 
suze
1090164.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:03 am Reply with quote

The Quirkster wrote:
I thought that this exchange was misattributed. Is this true?


You're quite right - it is indeed misattributed.

Churchill's official biography has it that Lady Astor never did say those words to Churchill, but that F E Smith, Lord Birkenhead, liked to tell a story that she had.

Birkenhead was one of Churchill's best chums, and was a pompous drunk who rarely used one word when a dozen would do. The claim is that he would tell this tale at his club, and then there would be general laughter and a call for more port.

It's entirely possible that Birkenhead did indeed tell this story at his club. But the basis of the story was not new; Birkenhead must have encountered it in print somewhere.

The earliest known publication of a tale on the same lines is found in the Colorado Springs Gazette of 19 Nov 1899. A woman boarded a crowded streetcar and was obliged to sit next to a man who was smoking. Further, it became apparent to her that the man had eaten garlic and had been drinking - and this exchange is said to have occurred.

Colorado Springs never had streetcars, so the incident must have happened someplace else. A number of other American newspapers ran the story over the next few months, most of them stating that it originated in Boston (which had streetcars from 1856 until 1962, although they have been replaced by trolleybuses). This may well be true, but the issue of the Boston Evening Transcript which is claimed as the original source is believed lost.

 
gruff5
1090173.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:55 am Reply with quote

There's the Voltaire one about defending to the death someone's right to say something, even if not agreed with. Said by the character of Voltaire in a play, not by Voltaire himself.

 
AlmondFacialBar
1090176.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:13 am Reply with quote

Oh yes, the author/ character fallacy. As of last Monday, it's also become an actor/ character fallacy. The number of inspirational quotes I've found put into the mouth of Robin Williams's mouth on FB over the past week must be in the hundreds, and 99% of them were actually from characters he played.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Zziggy
1090179.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:15 am Reply with quote

Well one could argue that he did say them ...

Personally it's all the quotes apparently said by Marilyn Monroe that get me.

 
CharliesDragon
1090229.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:27 pm Reply with quote

When it comes to Marilyn I know there's a (fairly big) chance she didn't say some of the things claimed, but the sayings themselves might be reasonable enough and I can appreciate them for that.

... I'm getting the distinct feeling my view is too relaxed for this site. Well, it's still my view. I'm gonna enjoy the taste of strawberries even if you tell me they're not berries. :P

 
djgordy
1090232.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:33 pm Reply with quote

I'll enjoy the taste of strawberries even if you tell me they're not straw.

 
Zziggy
1090241.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:49 pm Reply with quote

Oh I can get behind the message of a lot of the quotes, sure, but I tend to feel that whoever really said it might be worth listening to, and is being done a disservice by having their quote misattributed. Also I might be taking it too seriously but I do tend to get annoyed by the idea that possibly people choose someone like Marilyn Monroe because they'd rather listen to something wise if it comes from a pretty blonde sex symbol.

 
djgordy
1090247.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:27 pm Reply with quote

The prettiness, blondeness and sex cymbalness of the quoter does not impinge on the profundity (or otherwise) of the quote. Especially if one considers the nonsense that spouts from the mouths of people who are unpretty, non-blonde and anti-cymbal.

 
crissdee
1090253.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:43 pm Reply with quote

The one that always grates with me, is where Tony Curtis is alledged to have compared kissing MM to kissing Hitler.

His character in "Some Like it Hot" said just that, but in such a context that it was clear his pants had long since succumbed to combustion and were but a sooty smear around his.......censored before the image took hold!

 
Zziggy
1090255.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:53 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
The prettiness, blondeness and sex cymbalness of the quoter does not impinge on the profundity (or otherwise) of the quote. Especially if one considers the nonsense that spouts from the mouths of people who are unpretty, non-blonde and anti-cymbal.

What? I only mean when quotes are misattributed. Not legitimate quotes. Was that the issue?

PS *symbol :P

 
suze
1090257.  Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:22 pm Reply with quote

gruff5 wrote:
There's the Voltaire one about defending to the death someone's right to say something, even if not agreed with. Said by the character of Voltaire in a play, not by Voltaire himself.


In fact, those very words appear in no work of Voltaire's. In his Traité sur la tolérance (1763) he did express an opinion along those lines but phrased it differently.

The wording which we all know comes from a work of 1906 called The Friends of Voltaire, published under the name S G Tallentyre although this was a pseudonym. This is an unusually structured work in ten sections, each of which is a fictionalized biography of one of Voltaire's friends. In the section about the philosopher Helvétius, there is an anecdote about an omelette which is reported to have led Voltaire to utter the famous words.

The attribution to Voltaire was first published in Reader's Digest (Jun 1934), but the woman who had written as Tallentyre - by now writing under her own name as Evelyn Hall - pointed out the error in a letter published in Saturday Review a few months later.

 
djgordy
1090300.  Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:45 am Reply with quote

Zziggy wrote:
djgordy wrote:
The prettiness, blondeness and sex cymbalness of the quoter does not impinge on the profundity (or otherwise) of the quote. Especially if one considers the nonsense that spouts from the mouths of people who are unpretty, non-blonde and anti-cymbal.

What? I only mean when quotes are misattributed. Not legitimate quotes. Was that the issue?

PS *symbol :P


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks3hDBefQs4

 

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