Misattribute quotes to Ask Roger Anything

Lincoln Internet quoteOne recent Sunday night, I fell into this rabbit hole about a quote attributed to the late comedian George Carlin. “Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners.” Did he actually say it, or not? I’m still unsure, though I tend to lean against it.

Fascism is a very specific word. It’s not one that I’d think Carlin, who used the language quite deliberately, would throw around in such a casual manner.

More broadly, I hate it when people misattribute quotes to people who did not actually say them. There was this curmudgeon on the CBS News show 60 Minutes named Andy Rooney, who was born in Albany, NY. For years, including for three or four years after his death in 2011, there were Internet memes crediting some damn saying or other to him.

The exception to my general disdain is the Abraham Lincoln quote about the Internet. There are several variations on it, actually, but the one pictured is my favorite.

All of this to say…

I hereby make the request that you would Ask Roger Anything. It could be about misattributed quotes, political incorrectness, or why it was really Benjamin Franklin who invented the Internet. He did, didn’t he? Or you can ask about anything your heart desires to know, as long as it doesn’t involve calculus or Bob Dylan’s new unlisted phone number.

Per usual, I shall answer your fine queries, generally within two fortnights hence. Please leave your questions, suggestions, and interpolations in the comments section of the approximate blog, or on Facebook or Twitter. On Twitter, for reasons obscure, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck.

If you prefer to remain anonymous, sure, why not? But you’ve got to tell me that. E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to be unnamed. Otherwise, I’ll attribute the queries to you.

Presidents Day: living exes

The pendulum now swings the other way

herbert hoover
Herbert Hoover, 31st President (1929-1933) lived until 1964
There have been times in this nation’s history when the United States has had only one living President, and others when we’ve had as many as six current and former Commanders-in-Chief.

Of course, George Washington was the first President (April 30, 1789-March 4, 1797). When he died on December 14, 1799, his successor, John Adams, was the only living President until March 4, 1801, when Thomas Jefferson took over.

These things wax and wane. From March 4, 1861 to January 18, 1862, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler (who died on the latter date), Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and the then-current occupant, Abraham Lincoln were all alive.

Yet, a decade and a half later, the US experienced the longest period with no living ex-Presidents, from July 31, 1875, when Andrew Johnson died, until the end of Ulysses Grant’s term on March 4, 1877. Taylor (1850) and Lincoln (1865) had died in office, and other ex-Presidents died relatively shortly after leaving the office.

And then, there were none

When Grover Cleveland died on June 24, 1908, there were no living ex-Presidents until Theodore Roosevelt’s term ended in March 1909, and Howard Taft became President.

Calvin Coolidge died on January 5, 1933, making lame-duck Herbert Hoover as the only living President until Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inauguration in March.

Richard Nixon became the only living President when Lyndon B. Johnson died on January 22, 1973 until Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford took over on August 9, 1974.

The pendulum now swings the other way.
From January 20, 1993 to April 22, 1994: Nixon (died on the latter date), Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton (incumbent)

From January 20, 2001 to June 4, 2004: Ford, Carter, Reagan (died on the latter date), GHW Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush (incumbent)

From January 20, 2017 to November 30, 2018: Carter, GHW Bush (died on the latter date), Clinton, GW Bush, Barack Obama, Trump (incumbent)

Losing for winning

Sometimes, the person who loses the popular vote wins the Presidency.
1824 – John Quincy Adams lost both the electoral and popular votes but won the election. Because none of the four candidates, including his eventual successor Andrew Jackson, won a majority in the Electoral College, the vote was sent to the House of Representatives. They decided JQ was the best man for the job.

1876 – Rutherford B. Hayes who won the disputed electoral vote v. Samuel J. Tilden who won the popular vote

1888 – Benjamin Harrison won the electoral vote v. Grover Cleveland who won the popular vote. Cleveland both preceded and succeeded Harison

2000 – George W. Bush won the electoral vote v. Al Gore who won the popular vote.

2016 = Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million, a lead of 48.3% to 46.2%. But her opponent received 304 electoral votes to her 227.

Also

Why No One Can Agree on What George Washington Thought About the Relationship Between Church and State

Lincoln bible unveiled in Springfield, IL

Now I Know: Almost Saved By the Bell

Z is for Abraham Zapruder, who filmed JFK’s asassination

Presidents Day 2019: Second Bill of Rights

“The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth.”

Abraham Lincoln 1836
Abraham Lincoln, Congressman-elect from Illinois. icholas H. Shepherd, photographer. Springfield, Ill., 1846 or 1847

Some Presidential trivia:

From Summer Bowl 9 (Chuck Miller)

Donald Trump has 24, Ronald Reagan has 10, and John Tyler has the most at 30. The most what?

Who was the last U.S. President who did not nominate a judge for the U.S. Supreme Court?

JEOPARDY! game #7807 aired 2018-07-17

CITING THE PRESIDENT $400: In the 1970s: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $800: In the 1970s: “Our long national nightmare is over”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $1200: “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved–I do not expect the house to fall–but I do expect it will cease to be divided”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $2000: In an early 20th c. message to Congress: “We have stood apart, studiously neutral”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $2,000 (Daily Double): In the early 20th c.: “I took the canal zone, & let Congress debate, & while the debate goes on the canal does also”

JEOPARDY! game #7806 aired 2018-07-16

4, 4 (two words, each with four letters) $1000: In 1848 Martin Van Buren was the presidential candidate of this party that opposed slavery in western territories

JEOPARDY! game #7868 aired 2018-11-21

PRESIDENTIAL IRONY, Final Jeopardy! 1 of the 2 Presidents who offered Daniel Webster the VP slot; he declined both, thinking the job went nowhere.

Answers below.

Why Thomas Jefferson Owned a Qur’an

Why James Madison would say our real problem is not misinformation

“The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth.” Rutherford B. Hayes

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union Message to Congress, January 11, 1944, including the Second Bill of Rights:
“We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence… People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
“In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all — regardless of station, race, or creed.”

“I don’t give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them, and they think it’s Hell.” – Harry S Truman, 1948

“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956

The Eisenhower Matrix

When the President and His Chef Feuded Over Cold Beans

Thursday, August 8, 1974: the night that Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency (three hours)

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter pass up riches to live modest, giving and truthful lives

George HW Bush was a complex man who somehow perfectly embodied a simpler time: both a blue-blood and, to quote Nixon, a ‘nut-cutter’ who knew how to carry out the dirty work of politics

When New York Tried to Take Away a W

What Obama secretly did at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Pastor: When White Folks Say Obama Was an ‘Embarrassment’, Here’s What You Say

One Last Time (44 Remix) – Christopher Jackson, Barack Obama, Bebe Winans #Hamildrop

Answers to quizzes:

Summer Bowl 9:
The number of the age difference between the President and his First Lady
Jimmy Carter

JEOPARDY!
Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Abe Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt
Free Soil
William Henry Harrison or Zachary Taylor

Jackie and John Kennedy wedding
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and John Kennedy talking at their wedding reception, Newport, Rhode Island / Toni Frissell. 1907-1988, photographer, 12 September 1953


Photos from the Library of Congress. No known copyright restrictions.

Q is for a Famous Quotation

My late father used to say, fairly frequently as I recall, this quotation: “It is better to remain silent and be thought of as a a fool than to speak up and remove any doubt.”

But who was he quoting? I couldn’t find anything in Bartelby or Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, the latter, in print form, a constant source of my entertainment growing up.

Finally, I found a similar quotation at Quote Investigator. Was it attributed to Abraham Lincoln? Mark Twain? A Biblical Proverb?

“There is a biblical proverb that expresses a similar idea, namely Proverbs 17:28. Here is the New International Version followed by the King James Version of this verse:

“‘Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.’

“‘Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.'”

After dismissing Lincoln and Twain because the attributions to them were so much after their time, and noting the Proverbs have not quite the same sentiment, QI favors Maurice Switzer, from a “book titled ‘Mrs. Goose, Her Book’… The publication date was 1907 and the copyright notice was 1906. The book was primarily filled with clever nonsense verse, and the phrasing in this early version was slightly different:

“It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.”

This all begs the question, Is it true? Do people actually think you’re smart if you retain a mysterious silence? Perhaps; this does not appear to be a period in history when a lot goes unsaid. That apparent need to always say SOMETHING is often to the detriment of the speaker, and, quite often, of us all.

Rather off topic, but LISTEN to the Tremeloes sing Silence is Golden.

For ABC Wednesday

Presidents Day 2016

Woodrow Wilson was extremely racist — even by the standards of his time.

warrengharding

Presidents Day quiz

From JEOPARDY!:

PRESIDENTIAL MOMS
Rose Fitzgerald
Janet “Jessie” Woodrow
Dorothy Walker
Jane Knox
Hannah Simpson

PRESIDENTS’ MIDDLE NAMES
Hussein; Gamaliel; Abram; Earl; Alan

PRESIDENTS BY WON-LOST RECORD
The only one who went 4-0
2-0: He was twice too much for Adlai
2-1: 1-0 vs. James G. Blaine & a split with Benjamin Harrison
1-0, in a split decision over Samuel Tilden
One of the 2 who went 0-1

PRESIDENTS 101

The most recent left-handed president.
The first president to be born in a hospital; it was October 1924.
The first to hold an Internet chat with the public.
The first born outside the original colonies, in 1809.

ABC News ‘This Week’ Powerhouse Puzzler
Which four sitting Vice Presidents have been elected President?

ANSWERS BELOW

It’s a Scandal, It’s a Outrage

President Harding’s mistress wasn’t kidding, DNA tests show Continue reading “Presidents Day 2016”