Saturday, August 12, 2017

Nobodys quote is by anyone and they're all wrong anyway

I was thinking of two quotes by Mark Twain, and I was thinking it would be amusing to have the first correct the second:

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.


There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Which would thus become:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, lies, and statistics.

Of course, I would have told this story in an amusing way, but there was no point because I ran into some problems. 

First, it's

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Not "damn" lies. 

I could maybe have gotten away with that. But then, second, Mark Twain didn't write the statistics quote, he merely sited Benjamin Disraeli as doing so, which probably isn't even an accurate attribution to begin with. And though my joke is vastly too fragile to hold up under such magnificent burdens, by this time I had invested a lot of time in it and so was willing to do anything, until, third: 

Mark Twain didn't write the damn "editor" quote either!

And that was the final nail in the coffin.

What the hell did Mark Twain do all day anyway!

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