Who said that great quote?
Recently the media has been abuzz with a snappy quote from actor Denzel Washington. While promoting his new movie, “Fences,” Washington told a group of reporters that, “If you don’t read the newspapers you’re uninformed. If you read the newspapers you’re misinformed.”
Very witty and very true.
Social media lit up with memes quoting Washington’s clever quote and now a whole generation of young Americans have been exposed to that great line, which is a good thing. The interesting thing is that Mark Twain wrote that line decades ago … so I guess if you read Facebook, you’re misinformed as well.
It’s not my intent to bash Denzel Washington; in fact if you listen to his entire quote, he was spot on with his criticism of the press, and I agree with him. As a humorist, I admire writers who come up with great lines, heck even good lines, and I think they should get credit for it.
Every week I see new memes online where great quotes are credited to the wrong people. I can’t keep up with the tidal wave of misquoted quips flooding the Internet and I’m betting you can’t either. Let’s play a little game of “Who really said that?” I’ll give you the quote and you see if you can guess who really said it.
“I came form a big family. As a matter of fact, I never got to sleep alone until I was married.” Was that: A) Rodney Dangerfield, B) Me or C) Lewis Grizzard? As much as I’d like to take credit for it, Lewis Grizzard wrote that. Grizzard was a great American humorist who once said,” Kinky sex involves the use of duck feathers. Perverted sex involves the whole duck.” You should really read some Lewis Grizzard.
“Getting your news from twitter is like asking a cat for directions.” Was that: A) Andy Borowitz, B) Me or C) Donald J Trump? Admit it, you thought it was Trump! Andy Borowitz, probably the funniest humor columnist in America today (I say probably because not everyone enjoys smart informed humor), wrote that little gem.
“The act of giving or receiving a gift is much like the act of making love; the anticipation is often better than what you actually get but its poor form to complain about either.” Is it: A) Oscar Wilde, B) Me or C) Ruth Bader Ginsburg? I tried to make that one easy. I wrote that a couple of years ago! I know a lot of you guessed Justice Ginsburg but, no, it was me
“A good one iron shot is about as easy to come by as an understanding wife.” Was that: A) Dan Jenkins, B) Tiger Woods or C) Bill Clinton? You notice I didn’t include myself in this group because it is well known that I have no knowledge at all in the arena of golf or marriage. The great Dan Jenkins, who once wrote, “The devoted golfer is an anguished soul who has learned a lot about putting, just as an avalanche victim has learned a lot about snow.” That’s all you really need to know about golf.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize that half of them are stupider than that.” Who said that: A) Jimmy Fallon, B) Me or C) George Carlin? Jimmy Fallon wishes he said that! Of course George Carlin said that, no list of great quotes would be complete without including a line from Carlin!
“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” Was that: A) Oscar Wilde, B) Oscar Wilde or C) Oscar Wilde? OK, it was Oscar Wilde. Maybe the most quotable English speaking person ever…with the possible exception of Sarah Palin, Oscar Wilde once said that, “Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing to do.” I’ve decided to spend the rest of my life testing that theory…so far, so good.
So how did you do on my little quiz? I got five out of six right … I missed the Borowitz quote, I fall for that Trump and Twitter thing every time!
For the record, it was also Oscar Wilde who wrote that, “ Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.” I hope this column just proved that to be true.
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at email@example.com.