Churchillian Drift love

Churchillian Drift

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  • For a moment there, I thought you were quoting me.

    *is relieved*

    June 26, 2010

  • “Hence, Rees’s First Law of Quotation: ‘When in doubt, ascribe all quotations to George Bernard Shaw.’ The law’s first qualification is: ‘Except when they obviously derive from Shakespeare, the Bible or Kipling.’ The corollary is: ‘In time, all humorous remarks will be ascribed to Shaw whether he said them or not.’

    Why should this be? People are notoriously lax about quoting and attributing remarks correctly, as witness an analogous process I shall call Churchillian Drift. The Drift is almost indistinguishable from the First Law, but there is a subtle difference. Whereas quotations with an apothegmatic feel are normally ascribed to Shaw, those with a more grandiose or belligerent tone are almost automatically credited to Churchill. All quotations in translation, on the other hand, should be attributed to Goethe (with ‘I think’ obligatory).”

    The Vagueness Is All, From Volume 2, Number 2, April 1993 issue of The “Quote... Unquote” Newsletters

    June 26, 2010